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Major Brands To Acquire Fellow Missouri Wholesaler MoBev

July 25, 2014

Missouri-based spirits and wine wholesaler Major Brands has agreed to acquire local rival Missouri Beverage Co. (MoBev) for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close this fall.

MoBev, with 2013 sales of around $20 million, is minority-owned by Wirtz Beverage and McLane Co., the latter of which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway firm. According to the St. Louis Business Journal, Missouri Beverage has about 150 suppliers—including Edrington, Wilson Daniels, Founders Brewing, and Rogue Ales and Spirits—and 2,000 customers. The company employs about 70 people.

In a statement, Wirtz Beverage noted that as a result of the deal, “MoBev will subsequently become a Wirtz family investment into Major Brands,” and added that, “It is important to note that our investment is forward looking and is considered separate from the ongoing litigation between Major Brands and some of its former suppliers. We will not be party to any of the current proceedings or outcomes of these legal matters.”

Wirtz is referring to legal fallout from the loosening of franchise laws in Missouri in recent years, which has resulted in Major losing Diageo and Bacardi USA to Glazer’s last year and Luxco also pulling their brands. Pernod Ricard USA, whose portfolio had been split between Major and Glazer’s in Missouri, last year appointed Major as its exclusive distributor for the state.

Major Brands and Glazer’s are Missouri’s two leading spirits and wine distributors. Late last year, Major acquired wine distributor Garco Wine Co., also based in St. Louis.

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