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National Beer Wholesalers Association lauds Olson

Published: Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

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SPRINGFIELD – William Olson, president of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, received the National Beer Wholesalers Association Life Service Award at the National Beer Wholesalers Association 76th Annual Convention in Las Vegas on Sept. 30.

The honor, given to individuals who have made a contribution that enhanced the malt beverage industry on a state and/or national basis and/or has a proven record of promoting a positive image for the malt beverage industry, was awarded by NBWA 2012-2013 Chairman of the Board Bob Archer and NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser.

“Bill Olson has been a champion for Illinois distributors the past 28 years, delivering results, and serving with distinction,” Purser said.

“Bill confronted head on an issue in Illinois involving the independence of beer distributors and the existing rights of small brewers,” Archer said. “He persevered through intense, and some might say unprecedented, opposition by building a coalition of large and small brewers, retailers, distributors, and public health groups to help clarify the separate and distinct roles of brewers and distributors. The compromise he helped achieve ensures that the state’s small brewers can maintain their current rights, while at the same time maintaining strong three-tier protections for the state of Illinois.”

Under Olson’s management, numerous other changes to the Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act, which regulates a distributor’s relationship with suppliers, were enacted including:

• Efforts to maintain distributor’s independence and creating market access for all brewers by prohibiting a brewer from preventing a wholesaler from selling products of other brewers.

• A distributor’s right to brand “extensions,” the right to sell its distributorship, and the right for a distributorship to be passed to a family member.

• The requirement that a brewer can only cancel a distribution agreement for good cause.

Olson is a past president of the Wholesale Beer Association Executives, an organization of chief staff officers of state beer wholesaler associations, and serves as a WBAE representative on the Industry Affairs Committee of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. In 1989, he was elected by his peers to be “speaker” of the Illinois Third House, an organization of registered lobbyists in Illinois. Olson has been the recipient of several awards, including ABDI’s “Richard A. Mautino Award” for industry service in 1995.

ABDI members play an increasing economic role to Illinois’ economy by providing thousands of jobs with benefits.

They collect and pay $63 million each year in excise taxes to the state and pay more than $280 million in direct wages and health care benefits.

For information ABDI, visit

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