| A Brief History of Southern Wine & Spirits of Kentucky|
Southern Wine and Spirits of Kentucky is the state's single largest alcohol distribution company. As was the case with many distributor operations, it became a Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. company through acquisition. Based in Miami, Southern Wine and Spirits of America was founded in 1968 and is now the largest alcohol beverage distribution company in the United States.
With approximately 235 sales and support staff working statewide, operating chiefly from one distribution center in the state, Southern Wine and Spirits of Kentucky marshals a comprehensive distribution, marketing and merchandising network. The company's state-of-the-art Louisville facility is home to its statewide sales, executive, administrative, educational, transportation and business operations. The Louisville complex is designed to provide excellence in customer service for both on- and off-premise accounts, as well as for brand owners and suppliers. Moreover, the Louisville site is suited for rapid expansion in the future.
Supported by these impressive operational capabilities, Southern Wine and Spirits of Kentucky offers timely deliveries to the state's hotels, resorts and racetracks, as well as to hundreds of restaurant and retail establishments operating from Paducah in the west to Ashland in the east.
Noting the closeness of his sales staff to all their Kentucky customers, Mr. Will Conniff, Executive Vice President/General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Kentucky, says, "I'm the only person from Florida in the entire operation." That, according to Mr. Conniff, is intentional. Mr. Conniff explains that Southern Wine and Spirits of Kentucky is the result of a merger of two Kentucky-based distributorships acquired by Southern Wine and Spirits of America in January 1998. At the time of the acquisitions, Mr. Conniff oversaw the entire merger process and wanted to be absolutely clear to both employees and all the new distributor's customers that the recently formed entity--the combination of the former Louisville Crown and Crane Distributing houses--would be staffed by Kentucky sales and support professionals.
"That policy is as true today as it was the day I arrived to begin working in Kentucky," said Mr. Conniff. "As a result, our market share has grown dramatically--through winning new business from brand owners and a lot of hard work."
Mr. Conniff added, "we are the genuine innovators in the market. Our overriding concern is to be the best service provider in the state, and we measure ourselves against all service industries in the state, not just against our direct competitors."
He firmly believes that opportunities will increase to build premium wine and spirits sales, thanks in large part to the growing trend that's seen the opening of more fine dining establishments across the state. He explains, "Kentucky is really developing cuisine in the state, which naturally lends itself to more wine-by-the-glass sales opportunities." Noting the company operates in the "Bourbon Capital of the World," Mr. Conniff adds, "Bourbon is King in Kentucky, and we spend an enormous amount of time and effort hosting special events at the local Bourbon distilleries we represent for both in-state and out-of-state visitors and customers.”
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.