By Amy Looker – editor National Liquor News

The Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) opened its 20th consecutive annual conference in Hobart this morning.

A record number of 230 delegates have headed south to Wrest Point in Hobart for a week of business sessions, presentations, panel discussions and the opportunity to network with fellow retailers and key suppliers.

This year's conference marks the first time ALSA has held a conference in Tasmania and also coincides with the association's 30th anniversary year.

The Premier of Tasmania, Lara Giddings MP, officially opened the conference this morning, welcoming delegates to Tasmania and acknowledging the industry for its commitment to establishing responsible drinking campaigns.

"It's very much an issue of individual, industry and government responsibility and the actual intention of all of those three when you confront those issues," Giddings told delgates.

"As a government we're trying to work towards a common end that we can all support.

"There will be a debate along the way, but that's naturally what happens in a democracy and we hope that as a result of that debate we end up with the best system.

"I do want to commend you as an industry for what you are doing voluntarily to try to keep ahead of that debate with the responsible drinking campaigns and pushing that message to parents of young people and consumers of alcohol that when they do drink, they must do so responsibly."

Also part of today's program is a presentation from Woolworths Liquor Group's director, Brad Banducci, on the Australian regulatory environment and its impact on the retail sector, along with a presentation by economist Peter Switzer and an overview of the Alcohol Beverage Advertising Code (ABAC) by Professor Michael Lavarch.

Tomorrow's conference will open with a presentation from Nielsen's Michael Walton and the official ALSA Expo and Trade Day, where delegates will be able to sample the latest products from suppliers.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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