|History of Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania|
Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania is the Control State’s leading licensed wine and spirits broker-marketer. In contrast to so-called “Open States” where independent beverage distributors and retailers handle wine, spirits and beers sales, in the 17 Control jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania, the individual state or county “controls” or regulates the distribution and/or the sale of wine, spirits and/or beer.
According to a recent report in Market Watch, a leading drinks industry trade publication of M. Shanken Communications, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), the official state entity that handles the actual distribution and retail sale of wine and spirits in Pennsylvania, is the largest such Control State operation in the United States; it is one of 17 Control State markets where a Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.-owned operation is present.
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 225 sales and support staff now working statewide in Pennsylvania, operating chiefly from two principal offices in King of Prussia and Pittsburgh, Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania is able to field a state-of-the-art marketing and merchandising network for the entire state, which includes more than 600 PLCB state stores, as well as the state’s 14,500 on-premise accounts.
Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania’s modern King of Prussia facility is headquarters for its statewide marketing, merchandising, executive, administrative, information management, educational and business operations. Like its counterparts in other Southern markets, the King of Prussia-based statewide team is focused on providing first-class customer service to the PLCB, for on-premise chain and independent accounts, as well as for brand owners and suppliers.
Backed by these outstanding operational and personnel capabilities, Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania is able to offer efficient merchandising and marketing services to the state’s PLCB store system, as well as independent and chain restaurants operating from Pittsburgh in the west to Philadelphia in the east.
Mr. Brad M. Waxman, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania, explains that the parent Company’s Pennsylvania operation is the result of its entry into the state in 1996. Mr. Waxman says, “The most unique aspect about operating in Pennsylvania is to state the obvious: The PLCB is our only off-premise customer.” Given Pennsylvania’s control state regulations, he adds: “We need to be very attuned to the PLCB’s needs.” Mr. Waxman says, “The PLCB has become much more progressive over the last few years.” He further noted that owing to the PLCB’s desire to serve its customers – the consumers of Pennsylvania – more efficiently, the PLCB “has become more focused on the customer, has succeeded in making their stores more customer-friendly, has become more involved in areas such as category management, staff education, in-store tastings and last, but not least, has worked hard to offer a larger selection of wine and spirits.”
Likewise, Mr. Waxman said, for restaurateurs – i.e. the on-premise market – “When we sell a spirit or wine to an on-premise account, unlike an ‘open’ state, Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania is precluded under state regulations from delivering to restaurant accounts; instead, the restaurateur goes to the PLCB state store to pick up their order.” And what does this mean for a marketer/educator like Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania? Mr. Waxman replies, “Given our ability to educate our partners about current beverage trends, as well as new products, this is where our service to the PLCB, to the state’s restaurateurs and ultimately, to Pennsylvania consumers, is truly beneficial.”
In Pennsylvania, over the past ten years of growth, Mr. Waxman and his experienced Pennsylvania-based team, assisted by Ms. Judy Slinkard, Executive Vice President – Operations Manager for Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Chuck Silio, Executive Vice President, Wine Manager; have all been instrumental in implementing numerous innovations and service-oriented improvements in the Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania operation, including: creating a category-management leadership role; installing state-of-the-art data processing and information systems; and training, educating and managing an outstanding merchandising and marketing sales force dedicated to providing first-class customer service to the PLCB, as well as the state’s on-premise accounts.
Evidence 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 Pennsylvania operation -- Mr. Waxman reports proudly that Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania’s overall sales have grown substantially over the past six years.
Mr. Waxman adds that these gains have come by “achieving strong internal growth from Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania’s existing wine and spirits portfolio, as well as from the new products our brand owners and supplier partners have introduced in Pennsylvania.” According to Mr. Waxman, Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania is very determined about gaining more business in the future and continuing its impressive record of growth.
Summing up his vision for the future of Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania, Mr. Waxman says: “Our being part of the country’s single largest national wine and spirits distribution group offers us many strengths and advantages that we are able to share with all of our Pennsylvania partners, both licensees and the PLCB. Having more than 225 Pennsylvania sales and operational team members enables us to have a sharp focus on all aspects of our industry’s needs within the state.”
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.