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Brian Gelner lays out his priorities as chairman of the National Beer Wholesalers Association Board of Directors.
Photo provided by National Beer Wholesalers Association
Brian Gelner lays out his priorities as chairman of the National Beer Wholesalers Association Board of Directors.

Heart of America exec named board chair for national beer group

Posted online

Last edited 1:06 p.m., Oct. 2, 2019

Brian Gelner, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Springfield-based Heart of America Beverage Co., was elected chairman of the National Beer Wholesalers Association Board of Directors.

Serving a one-year term, Gelner succeeds Michael Schilleci of Tanner, Alabama-based Supreme Beverage Co. The transition was made official during the NBWA’s annual convention late last month in Las Vegas, when Gelner presented his priorities as chairman, according to a news release.

“As I look forward to the next 12 months, I see challenges, but also many opportunities, for the beer distribution industry,” Gelner said in the release, pointing to plans to grow the group’s membership ranks and increase beer sales. “I am confident that with the dedication of the NBWA staff and our membership we will continue to thrive.”

Representing 3,000 distributors, the NBWA is an advocacy group that works with lawmakers and the public to support, according to its website.

Heart of America Beverage Co. distributes brands including Mother’s Brewing Co., MillerCoors and Heineken in southwest and south central Missouri, according to its website. The company distributes around 4 million cases of product annually, Gelner said.

Heart of America Beverage in 2016 merged with the Gelner family-owned Premium Beverage Sales, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

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