Distribution & Scalability for Craft, Startup and Small Production Wine and Spirits

This webinar engaged Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO, LibDib, and Ray Lombard, Executive Vice President, Supplier Management and Business Development, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits along with a panel of craft producers to discuss scaling up and achieving measurable growth through three-tier compliant distribution. Recorded on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

Distribution & Scalability Panelists




  • WSWA launched WSWA Access: A Hub for Craft, Startup and Small Production Wine and Spirits! This portal will house resources for craft brands to access and apply to their day-to-day business. If you are interested in learning more please visit www.wswa.org/access. If you are interested in becoming a Brand Representative on the WSWA Access Advisory Council please email access@wswa.org before January 13, 2021.

  • For most brands, if you commit to winning at home and winning in your own backyard, distributors around your distillery will want to have your business and bring your product to local retailers. 

  • To build on local success outside of your state, commit to building your consumer base or you risk filling the pipeline without a customer and product will sit on the shelves. Making an investment in your sales team, events and your distributor partnership will maximize your’s and your distributor’s resources.

  • One of the things to look for in your distributor is finding someone that will work with you. This industry is based entirely around relationships, and finding the right fit and cadence of interaction is key. 

  • You have to expect to do some of the leg work yourself – no rep can sell your product like you can.

  • Have a plan and work that plan- scalability can look like one account, one county, one state at a time.

  • For 2021, growth planning is focused is on shifting away from on-premise to off-premise accounts while strengthening key on-premise retailer partnerships and growing fourth tier, e-commerce, offerings.

  • When going into control states as a craft or new brand, be ready to have enough boots on the ground to look at every shelf, nearly every day or work with a broker. Without a broker it's like distributing your product through the DMV – the retail representatives can’t be salesmen for your product. They don’t know enough about product on the shelf to function that way. Additionally, without a broker you have to become a subject matter expert on all of the laws and regulations of a given control state, limiting your ability to focus on growth and product.

  • One benefit of starting your distribution in control states can be that the additional layers of regulation can slow your growth process down to a manageable and realistic scale. These perceived roadblocks can keep you from outpacing yourself.

  • Not just the B2B but also the B2C concept of e-commerce is an opportunity for growth and engagement in 2021. Everything from expanding expertise and providing better product images, data analytics and infrastructure support to click-and-order channels like Drizly through three-tier compliant efforts is a major focus of growth for wholesalers moving forward and should be a part of scalability planning for craft brands in 2021 and beyond.

An initiative that features expert guidance, resources and best practices to help brands navigate industry challenges and identify opportunities to get to market.
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