Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America to Recognize Contributions and Success of Two Industry Leaders

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) will salute the long records of business success, leadership and community service achieved by two industry veterans at its 71st Annual Convention & Exposition to be held April 8-10 in Las Vegas.

W. Rockwell (Rocky) Wirtz, president of Wirtz Beverage Group of Chicago, IL, will be recognized by WSWA with the Lifetime Leadership Award, presented each year to a wholesaler whose contribution to the association, the community and the beverage industry defines excellence, inspires loyalty and exemplifies leadership.

Max L. Shapira, president of Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., of Bardstown, KY, will be presented by the WSWA Educational Foundation with the Sidney Frank Award, which is given to a person who has made exceptional contributions to the industry in addition to noteworthy philanthropic and community service contributions. The award is named for Sidney Frank, a leading innovator in the beverage industry who built a number of successful brands and set records for philanthropic contributions and service.

Heaven Hill Distilleries began as a family-owned bourbon maker following the repeal of Prohibition. Under the leadership of Max and his family, the company has experienced a period of rapid expansion with extensive internal product development and brand acquisitions. Today, Heaven Hill is the country’s sixth largest distilled spirits producer and marketer by case volume with a portfolio including Evan Williams and Elijah Craig bourbons, Burnett’s Vodka line, Christian Brothers Brandy line, Admiral Nelson’s Rum and Hpnotiq Liqueur. It is the nation›s largest independent family owned and operated distilled spirits company and the world’s second largest holder of aging bourbon.

Max Shapira is the only son of Ed Shapira, one of the five brothers who founded Heaven Hill. After graduating from Washington and Lee University and earning an MBA at Harvard University, Max spent four years on Wall Street before returning to the family business in 1970. In 1996 he became president following the death of his uncle George, the last survivor of the original five brothers. Today, he and his wife Ellen are actively engaged in dozens of community and charitable activities throughout Kentucky.

Wirtz and Shapira will be recognized during an awards presentation Tuesday, April 8 at the WSWA 71st Annual Convention & Exposition at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

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