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Interview: Nick Mehall, President and CEO, RNDC

March 30, 2023

Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC), the second-largest distributor of spirits and wine nationally, is projected to see revenues of $12.5 billion this year, according to Shanken’s Impact Newsletter. After a run of expansion in which it has entered new markets from the western U.S. through Illinois and into New York and New England, the wholesale giant’s national footprint now covers 38 states and Washington, D.C. Shanken News Daily executive editor Daniel Marsteller recently caught up with RNDC president and CEO Nick Mehall for an update.

SND: How are overall conditions in spirits and wine across RNDC’s national footprint? What areas of the market are doing well, and where are there significant challenges?

Mehall: We see premiumization as a longer-term megatrend for beverage alcohol. There’s continued strength specifically within the Tequila and Bourbon spaces and we’re excited to position our portfolio for future growth in these areas. RTDs continue to be strong, but competition in that space is growing. Despite the recent broad trends in wine, we continue to believe in the strength of the wine category. It’s important to recruit the next generation of wine consumers. Normalization of our supply chain should be a tailwind as we go through 2023. Bottlenecks have been easing and we’re seeing less disruption through the entire supply chain.

SND: RNDC has made digital transformation a priority in recent years. How is the rollout and customer adoption of eRNDC progressing?

Mehall: In 2022, eRNDC surpassed several key milestones, including record sales performance, market expansion, and remarkable customer growth. eRNDC added digital access in California, Oregon, and Washington and now serves on- and off-premise customers with 24/7 access to RNDC product portfolios and order management in 17 states. It saw 69% growth in customer base last year. We have a distinct strategy of achieving incremental growth by delivering tailored customer experiences while promoting collaboration between customers and RNDC sales associates on the platform.

Looking ahead, new app features will make it easier and faster to order and reorder products, discover new brands, and efficiently manage invoices and payments. We’ll also continue to promote adoption, strategically expand eRNDC into new markets, and offer new digital capabilities to our customers, suppliers, and sales associates. The amazing growth eRNDC has shown in the past four years proves that the beverage alcohol industry is craving a more comprehensive digital experience.

SND: RNDC had also furthered its e-commerce involvement with investments in Thirstie and Flaviar. How do those moves play into RNDC’s overall strategy?

Mehall: My vision for RNDC when I took over as CEO last year was to look to the future and continue to push us to be at the forefront of the spirits industry. That’s why we chose to invest in these partnerships. Through these partnerships, RNDC has expanded its ecosystem, gaining access to consumer trends and marketing resources while expanding these services into new retail and on-premise channels. This benefits RNDC’s customers and suppliers by providing additional three-tier-compliant marketing and full-service agency solutions for their products.

SND: RNDC has continued its expansion recently, building the business further in California and expanding in key areas like Illinois, New York, and New England. Is more expansion planned?

Mehall: Our investments in each of these areas are part of our overall strategy to be the distributor of choice for our suppliers and customers. RNDC has made significant investments in people, technology, and infrastructure, as we’ve experienced significant growth since entering new markets. We’re pleased with the success we’ve had to date and we’re well positioned for continued growth. We’re always looking for new ways to provide suppliers and customers increased access with a partner they can trust in RNDC.

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