The Southeast Bottled Water Association is continuing an extremely positive path, with an actual year-over-year gain in membership, and aggressive plans for 2011. The SEBWA Board of Directors met late in September in Orlando, as part of the InterBev Convention (IBWA). Watch this website for the announcement, from committee chair Charles Waterloo, of a membership campaign to start November 1!
The Board affirmed exciting plans, pending hotel confirmation, for another convention in New Orleans, again joining the Mid-America Bottled Water Association in mid-March. Program Chairman Dr. Fred Garrett is lining up what should be the best-ever group of presenters, including IBWA’s Bob Hirst, offering CEUs for Certified Plant Operators. At the request of several bottler members, a bottle-less cooler (Point-of-Use) presentation
is being considered, including a bottler and vendor forum, discussing product and sales
methodology. Last year’s convention received “excellent” ratings on post-meeting
surveys! The 2011 joint convention should be even more informative.
IBWA updated, both at the State Affairs Task Force and at the State and Regional
Association committee meetings, the state of governmental affairs. New potential funding
authorizations for the FDA may lead to new fees and new authorities, but most of the
federal initiatives have stalled with not much new on the agenda. The legislative issues
pending at the state level are numerous, aggressive, and active. Elsewhere on this
website SEBWA will post IBWA’s state legislative draft. THE BOTTLED WATER
INDUSTRY REMAINS A TARGET GROUP FOR ADDED TAXATION. All levels
of government are looking at recycling, BPA, and taxes. The need for strong grassroots
efforts in the local and state arenas is more important than ever, and John Speed, head of
the Government Relations Committee, can be a resource, if needed.
Over the next several months, SEBWA will be making a concerted effort to update this
website, both topically and from a usage viewpoint. Members are asked to comment, and
we will be welcoming any input and news from the industry in the southeast. Clay Bell
and Executive Director Susan Gibson will be the contact points for this undertaking.
To close, I would like to mention one very bright spot mentioned at InterBev during a
presentation on bottled water trends. The HOD (Home and Office Delivery) volume gap
in 2010 is only down 1.6% year-to-date. Trends are looking much better for the industry!