By Max Busetti

If it’s October, it must be that time again. With the International Bottled Water Association’s (IBWA) 44th Annual Convention and Trade Show, the bottled water industry is getting ready once again to take center stage in Phoenix, Oct. 10-11, 2002.

Under the banner of “Blazing New Trails,” the IBWA intends to outdo itself with a program that’s designed to meet the highest standards demanded by today’s industry professionals. Some 150 exhibitors will display the latest products and services over 31,400 square feet inside the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center.

What’s new in 2002?
A two-day streamlined event: The trade show and main convention events have been compressed into two full days of activity instead of the traditional three days. That leaves Saturday open for exploring the many sights in the Phoenix area (see EXTRA) or for a return home.

  • Enhanced water presentations: J. Darius Bikoff, president of Energy Brands Inc. (manufacturer of the VitaminWater brand), will present a session entitled, “The Move from Category Creator to Category Owner in the Nutrient Enhanced Water Supercategory.”
  • Education Super Wednesday: From sunrise to sunset on Oct. 9, the IBWA has a fast-paced series of sessions planned covering a variety of topics from plant operations to route management, fiscal, government relations, customer service and more. Education Super Wednesday is a full day with something for everyone.
  • Keynote session with industry experts: The IBWA is proud to bring together a diverse group of industry experts for an informative discussion on the state of the bottled water industry. This session will include an audience Q&A opportunity. Each presenter will cover his area of expertise including statistics, global issues and future trends in the bottled water industry. The panelists are Michael Bellas, of Beverage Marketing Corp.; Richard Hall, of Zenith International Ltd; Jonathan Hall, of The Water Report, and William Dolan, of Bebidas magazine.
  • Water bar: Making its debut in the exhibit hall will be the IBWA Water Bar hosted by industry expert Arthur von Wiesenberger, founder of the Bottled WaterWeb and author of numerous popular books (and WC&P articles) on bottled water. This is an opportunity to sip from a menu of different waters while chatting to industry experts.
  • Wild West night: On Friday, Oct. 11, the convention will end with a bang. Check your guns at the door as you enter the Old West Saloon, where an evening of fun, games and great food awaits all. High rollers will revel in the roulette and craps tables, while the Can-Can girls and singing cowboys will set the tone for the evening. So brush off your cowboy boots, practice your line dancing, and get ready for an evening of fun and great memories. Yee-haw!

Conclusion
The combination of an industry-targeted education program, top-notch speakers, a trade show displaying new and innovative products, the new Water Bar—plus the chance to make new friends and develop business opportunities—makes this year’s convention a must-attend event for anybody involved in the bottled water industry. This will mark the last year the IBWA show will be presented in its current form. Next year, the trade show will take on a whole new look (see Newsreel).

Moreover, the Greater Phoenix area has something for everyone. The mix of Anglo, Mexican and Native American cultures is clearly evident in the food, architecture and blending of languages that give Phoenix its colorful character. The great outdoors beckons with activities such as trips to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, a leisurely river float, or hot air ballooning over the Sonoran Desert.

About the author
Max Busetti is publications director with the International Bottled Water Association. He can be reached at (703) 683-5213, ext. 101, or email: [email protected]

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