A Brief History of Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona
Today, Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona is one of the state’s largest wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverage distributors. In fact, Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona has grown extremely rapidly over the past decade and is poised to record even stronger growth during the next few years, according to a recent survey in Impact Newsletter, a publication of M. Shanken Communications.
Since its founding in 1968, Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), is the leading nationally recognized wine and spirits distributor in the United States known for its historic commitment to delivering the highest standards of customer service, creative marketing programs and partnerships. The Company is also known for its best-in-industry professional and well-trained sales, operational and support staff, its ongoing investments in and contributions to hospitality and beverage education for its staff, its customers and to many national educational institutions. In addition, Southern is justly respected for its deeply held belief in the importance of giving back, for being a socially responsible corporate citizen and for making generous contributions to national, state and local charitable organizations.
With more than 200 sales and support staff now working statewide, operating chiefly from one distribution center in Tempe, Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona is able to field a state-of-the-art distribution, marketing and merchandising network. Southern’s modern Tempe facility is headquarters for its statewide sales, executive, administrative, information management, educational, transportation and business operations. Like its counterparts in other Southern markets, the Tempe-based statewide team is focused on providing first-class customer service for on- and off-premise chain and independent accounts as well as for brand owners and suppliers. According to Executive Vice President, General Manager, Mr. Michael Jahn, who also oversees the Company’s operations in New Mexico, the entire Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona team celebrated its 15th anniversary in July 2006.
Backed by these superb operational and personnel capabilities, Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona is able to offer rapid delivery services to the state’s hotels and resorts, hundreds of chain and independent retail accounts, as well as independent restaurant and retail establishments throughout the entire state of Arizona. Mr. Jahn explains that the parent Company’s Arizona operation is the result of its entry into the state in 1991.
Mr. Jahn, a 20-year veteran of the Company and who previously worked in the Company’s California operation, says: “Based on my experience in Southern California, I learned how to manage an extensive portfolio of diverse brands.” In Arizona, over the past 15 years of growth, Mr. Jahn has been instrumental in implementing a number of innovations and service-oriented improvements in the Arizona operation, including: creating category-management partnerships with the majority of major retail chains in the state; overseeing operational enhancements at the Company’s Tempe facility; installing state-of-art data processing and information systems; training, educating and managing an outstanding sales force dedicated to providing first-class customer service; hiring full-time Wine & Spirits Sales Specialists to help drive growth; appointing a new National Accounts Manager to make headquarter calls on regional and national chains; and being the first distributor in the state to field a full-time Hotel/Resort catering sales team.
Proof that these innovations have worked – furnishing Southern Wine & Spirit’s industry-leading technological, administrative and aggressive sales prowess from the national parent company to its Arizona operation -- Mr. Jahn reports proudly that Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona’s overall sales have grown exponentially over the past 15 years. Mr. Jahn adds that these gains have come by achieving strong organic growth from Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona’s existing wine and spirits portfolio, as well as from new products from its lineup of brand owners and supplier partners.
According to Mr. Jahn, Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona is extremely determined about winning still more business in the future and maintaining its impressive record of growth. Mr. Jahn notes that the state’s population almost doubled in size during the last decade, rising from approximately 3 million in 1990 to well over 6.5 million in the year 2010. And Mr. Jahn adds that after the Nevada market, the state of Arizona has recorded the nation’s second largest per capita growth rate in terms of net immigration – a clear sign of more opportunity for growth in the years to come.
Mr. Jahn is very proud of the accomplishments of Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona: “We have raised the bar. In spite of this population boom, the distributor competition here has not developed the necessary aggressive stance to keep up with the growing business. In contrast, we pattern our sales efforts to the needs of the customer, we pattern wine sales to the local cuisine; we are firm believers in the importance and unique needs of all categories of wine, spirits and beer and other beverages and we have a clear understanding of the taste preferences of Arizona’s different demographic groups.”
Summing up his vision for the future of Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona, Mr. Jahn says, “We see continued growth in both population and our sales in Arizona. We want to be the most respected distributor partner in the state, it is our destiny.”
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. In addition, Southern operates in Minnesota through a joint venture with J.J. Taylor Distributing Company. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs nearly 14,500 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly. For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, see: http://www.southernwine.com.