SWS of Illinois To Partner with Restaurant Association and SERVSAFE Alcohol

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Contact: Will Conniff

                                                                 Executive Vice President, General Manager

                                                                 Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois & Kentucky

                                                                 Tel: (630) 685-3211



Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois

To Partner with Illinois Restaurant Association and


SERVSAFE Alcohol  to Donate 100 Free On-Line Classes for Members of Hospitality Trade


BOLINGBROOK, ILLINOIS - March 23, 2009:  Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois, a division of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the country’s leading wine and spirits distributor and Control States Broker with a tradition of service excellence since 1968, today announced that the Company is collaborating with the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) and SERVSAFE Alcohol, a division of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), to raise server alcohol awareness training to the restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels that comprise the hospitality trade.

The SERVSAFE certificate program, according to the NRA, was developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to raise the bar in responsible alcohol service training and certification. The SERVSAFE program offers real-world training solutions, as well as practical knowledge and best-in-class resources that seek to prepare and protect hospitality operations across the state, according to the NRAEF. To date, IRA and SERVSAFE have trained 10 Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois employees as certified instructors. The SERVSAFE curriculum and certificate program is recognized under the regulations of State of Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET) program.

Will Conniff, Executive Vice President - General Manager, Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois & Kentucky, said, “Southern Wine & Spirits, has a long tradition of social responsibility in the communities that we are privileged to serve. Our collaboration with the Illinois Restaurant Association and SERVSAFE Alcohol is a reflection of our corporate values and our commitment to the state’s hospitality industry and all the people of Illinois. We are very pleased to join the IRA and SERVSAFE in this effort, and we plan to support this program throughout 2009 and beyond.”

Mr. Conniff added, “Because the Company is committed to promoting alcohol awareness training, Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois has further pledged to conduct quarterly public classes to all eligible servers.” The first quarterly Southern-sponsored public class is scheduled for March 23, 2009. 

Mary F. Barranco, Director of Education, Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois and Kentucky, said, “To help promote the SERVSAFE Alcohol training program, our Education team at 

Southern is distributing promotional information to our sales representatives to distribute as widely as possible. In addition, we are including this information on our web site—including news of the introduction of our first quarterly public SERVSAFE training course, as well, in all our communications efforts.”


Ms. Barranco added, “April is alcohol awareness month. To help further raise awareness and train restaurant personnel, SERVSAFE Alcohol is donating 100 free on-line classes—on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible servers can sign up on line. To facilitate certification under the SERVSAFE program, the IRA and Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois will offer a city-wide testing day on April 27th for those who take the on-line course.” The IRA will be proctoring at their site and Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois certified instructors will proctor at two other sites—one additional city location and a western suburban location. The test costs $15.00 and the servers will be certified upon passing the test.


Mr. Conniff concluded, "On behalf of Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois, I would like to thank our partners at the IRA and at SERVSAFE.  Additionally I’d like to express our gratitude to DePaul University's School of Hospitality Leadership for donating classroom facilities at no cost.  These facilities will enable us to conduct proctored SERVSAFE tests in a convenient location for servers."

For more information on SERVSAFE, please log onto: www.southernwine.com/OfficesNationwide/Illinois/ILHome/tabid/147/Default.aspx

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America:

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor, with current operations in 29 states. The multi-state distributor currently operates in:  Alabama,  Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia—and the additional seven states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah through the Southern-Odom/Spirits West partnership.  In addition, SWS has announced an additional pending strategic arrangement with Glazer’s in the center of the country—resulting in an incremental 8 markets to Southern’s present footprint. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 10,000 team members.  For more information contact: www.southernwine.com.


About SERVSAFE Alcohol:

For more information, please log onto: www.servsafe.com