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RNDC CEO Tom Cole On The Wholesale Giant’s Entry Into New York

November 22, 2021

Late last week, Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) announced that it will make landfall in the New York market early next year via a new joint venture partnership with existing wholesaler Opici Family Distributing.

The move caps a remarkable period of market expansion for RNDC, the second-largest distributor nationwide with projected 2021 revenues of $12.5 billion, bringing its U.S. footprint to a total of 38 states and Washington, D.C.

“Entering the New York market completes one of our strategic objectives of having a presence in the top five wine and spirits states by volume,” RNDC chief executive Tom Cole tells SND. “It’s another step toward realizing our vision of becoming a national wholesaler.”

Adding New York to RNDC’s footprint has been a priority for the company for some time. “RNDC has been exploring opportunities in the New York market for years,” Cole continues. “We were deliberate in our exploration of different options. After a comprehensive evaluation, we felt our best partnering opportunity was with Opici. Like RNDC, they are an established, family-owned company with a great history and excellent reputation for brand-building and customer service. We share similar values and our approach to suppliers, customers, and consumers align. This is a true collaboration that will bring more options and brands to the New York market, allowing retailers and consumers expanded choices. We look forward to building the combined portfolios of our companies to provide a more comprehensive selection of great wine.”

Asked whether further expansion is on the way for RNDC following the New York deal—as well as its recent entry into Illinois and 2019’s joint venture agreement with the Underwood family across 10 western states—Cole says, “Rest assured that RNDC will continue the path we followed for the last 20 years as we grew and improved our business.”

Cole also addressed current market conditions across RNDC’s expanding footprint as the holiday selling season gets underway. “Spirits continue to be very healthy, particularly in the premium and above space,” he says. “We’re seeing softness in the wine business, particularly below $10. Consumers are fickle now when it comes to wines. Canned wines are becoming overheated and cluttered. We do see an opportunity in sparkling wine, especially as supply issues affect the European market. With fewer imported suppliers, we’re looking to build our American-made sparkling wine brands.”—Daniel Marsteller

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