A Brief History of SWS Nevada

A Brief History of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada

Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada is the state's leading wine, spirits, beer and beverage distribution company.

Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada was formed in 1972 out of the successor company to Wynn Distributing, which was founded by Mr. Steve Wynn with then partner Mr. Larry Ruvo in 1970. Two years later, Mr. Ruvo subsequently joined forces with, and sold the distribution company to his friend Mr. Harvey Chaplin, Chairman and CEO of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

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.

Today, Southern operates in 35 states, including its original Florida market, where its corporate headquarters is located in Miami. Over the past 40 years, pursuing a determined strategy to expand through internal growth as well as through the acquisition of established wholesalers, Southern Wine and Spirits of America expanded its Florida operations into California in 1969, Nevada in 1976, Arizona in 1992, South Carolina in 1993, Pennsylvania in 1995, Hawaii in 1996, Kentucky in 1998, New Mexico in 2000, Colorado in 2001, Illinois in 2002, New York in 2004, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia in 2005. In 2006, the Company began operations in Alabama; and, in a partnership arrangement, now operates in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming as well. In 2007, the Company entered Ohio, the country's third largest Control jurisdiction. In early 2008, Southern began operations in Delaware, and also entered the state of Texas, making Southern the only major wine and spirits distributor licensed in each of the top five wine and spirits markets in the United States. On a national basis, the Company employs more than 10,000 team members.

With approximately 400 sales and support staff now working statewide, operating chiefly from two key distribution hubs in Las Vegas and Reno, Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada is able to field a comprehensive distribution network made up of various executive, warehouse, educational, transportation and training facilities. Taken together, these facilities are geared to providing excellence in customer service for on- and off-premise accounts as well as for brand owners and suppliers. With a state-of-the-art operation, Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada offers delivery to all of the state's hotels and casinos, as well as chain and independent retailers.

It is not an understatement to say that Nevada, with its Las Vegas and Reno markets in particular, qualifies as one of the most remarkable beverage markets anywhere on earth. “The Las Vegas market, with 35 million tourists, is one of the most exciting markets in the wine and spirits world,” says Larry Ruvo, Senior Managing Director of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada. “With its legendary shows and its high rollers, the city's outstanding 70 percent on-premise, 30 percent off-premise ratio of sales is most unique,” Mr. Ruvo said.

In fact, in a recent survey of the Las Vegas hospitality market, Market Watch magazine, a sister publication to Impact Newsletter, calculated that more than 100 million wine, spirits and beer drinks are consumed annually by home-town residents in combination with the millions of tourists traveling to a town that is open for business, gaming and hospitality 24/7/365. Overall, the Las Vegas market is home to nine of the world's ten largest hotels and now boasts more than 150,000 guest rooms in total, the largest such hotel room count in the world, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

To keep pace with the phenomenal growth of the Las Vegas metropolitan region in particular and the overall Nevada market in general over the last 30 years, Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada embarked on an ambitious program of steady expansion.

Beginning in 1984, Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada opened a new sales division called Comstock Wine & Spirits in Las Vegas. The company soon expanded into a statewide presence, when, in the same year, it acquired a small distributorship in Reno in Northern Nevada.

Then, in 1997, in order to properly manage the growing number of premium and super-premium fine wines brands in the company's portfolio, Southern Wine & Spirits inaugurated Battle Born Distributing. By July of 2001, Battle Born Distributing expanded to statewide distribution capability.

In 2002 Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada moved their Las Vegas facility to a new state-of-the-art 425,000 square foot warehouse, training, educational and entertainment facility.

The new operation, conveniently located near a major interstate interchange just a few miles from the Strip, will serve as home to Southern Wine & Spirit of Nevada's Academy of Spirits & Fine Service - headed by Francesco LaFranconi and its School Fine Wine & Beverage Service - headed up by Jay James, a Master Sommelier who is General Sales Manager of the company's Battle Born division.

These two sophisticated in-house educational institutions - which collectively offer complete beverage training for Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada sales staff as well as for hotel, resort, casino and off-premise sales and hospitality management executives in Las Vegas and the entire state - represent Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada's deep and passionate commitment to furthering the hospitality business through increased product knowledge and service skills.

In another sign of how seriously Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada looks to education as powerful sales tool for the drinks and hospitality industries, the company employs three Master Sommeliers, one of whom, Jay James, is the General Manager of our fine wine division, as noted above.

In addition, The Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada Academy of Spirits and Fine Service and its School of School of Fine Wine and Beverage Service both work in conjunction with the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. Members of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada's sales staff, including Mr. Ruvo himself, have been teaching classes at UNLV since the early 1970s. Indeed, led by Mr. Ruvo, Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada's commitment to UNLV is deep, with the company having raised millions of dollars in gifts and academic scholarships for students in the University's hospitality program.

Summing up, Mr. Larry Ruvo, says, “Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada has experienced the growth that it has because of our people, team spirit and dedication to our state.” For Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, that dedication and team spirit is brighter than ever.

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

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, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. 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.