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Impact Exclusive: Top 10 Wholesalers Achieve Solid Growth, Look To Further Expansion In 2013

April 26, 2013

Despite an environment of upheaval marked by control state privatization pushes, changes to state licensing laws and the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the leading U.S. spirits and wine distributors are all in growth mode—and on pace for big gains in 2013.

Each of the top 10 distributors is projecting revenue growth of at least $20 million this year, according to Impact’s exclusive report. Impact is projecting an aggregate growth rate of 8% for the top 10 in 2013, representing a gain of $2.5 billion.

While each of the top 10 players is enjoying marked organic growth this year, they’re also uniformly focused on getting bigger—and better. “There are more and more demands from our trading partners, so we need to continue being more efficient,” says Tom Cole, president of Republic National Distributing Co., the number-two U.S. distributor behind Southern Wine & Spirits. “Expansion is absolutely part of that, and when there’s an opportunity, we want a seat at the table.”

Glazer’s has undertaken an ambitious expansion strategy, with a goal of reaching $10 billion in sales by 2020—more than double its current output. Glazer’s made its first foray outside the U.S. market in 2012, when it formed a joint venture with U.S. Virgin Islands-based Premier Wines and Spirits to distribute beer, wine and spirits in the U.S.V.I.

RNDC and Glazer’s collectively dominate Texas’s middle tier, which doesn’t have a strong number-three player. But Miami-based Southern is closely eyeing the Lone Star state—the nation’s third-largest market for spirits and fourth-largest for wine.

“We want to have a national footprint to better serve national on- and off-premise accounts, and Texas is one of those very large markets where national accounts have a huge presence,” says Southern’s president and COO Wayne Chaplin.

Southern acquired a distribution license in Texas five years ago but still doesn’t operate in the market. “We’re still focused on getting an opportunity there, and we’re still optimistic that it will happen.”

For a full report on the U.S. market’s top 10 wine and spirits wholesalers, see Impact’s April 15 & May 1 issue.

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