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  • Wednesday, November 16, 2022 11:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BATTLE CREEK, Michigan – Employees at Atlas Sales Inc. are putting in extra hours to help ensure retailers are well-stocked ahead of the holiday season – the busiest stretch of the year for beer sales.

    “We’re proud to partner with suppliers across Michigan and beyond to help ensure consumers have an unmatched selection of beer to enjoy this holiday season,” said Bud Dunn, vice president of Atlas Sales Inc. “No matter what you choose to celebrate during the holidays, beer has a way of bringing people together. From stouts and IPAs to classic domestics and everything in between, Atlas Sales is working hard to make sure shelves are well-stocked and tap handles are flowing.”

    Michigan’s independent, family-owned beer distributors employ nearly 5,000 people and have a community impact of nearly $5 million. Atlas Sales Inc. is no exception with their involvement and sponsorship of numerous organizations and local events.

    “At Atlas Sales, we are passionate about what we do for our community and gladly embrace any opportunity to share the wide range of many fine products available in the beer industry,” Dunn said. “Since day one, our mission has always been to be the best vendor for each of our customers. I’m grateful to every member of our team for their commitment to helping us carry out that mission and helping ensure a successful holiday season for our retailers and suppliers.”

    Based in Battle Creek, Atlas Sales Inc. has been a family-owned beer distributor since Theron “Pick” Fagan founded it after the repeal of prohibition in 1933. They service retailers throughout Calhoun County.

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  • Friday, November 11, 2022 11:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Family owned beer and wine distributor committed to supporting, employing local veterans

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Rave Associates today announced it is donating 110 Detroit Red Wings tickets to Michigan military troops in recognition of Michigan Military Appreciation Week. The Ann Arbor-based, family owned beer and wine distributor donated the tickets to honor their military service and that of our veterans on Veterans Day.


    “Our active military and veterans put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day as Michiganders and Americans, and our donation of Red Wings tickets is one small way we can show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice,” said Jim Warbritton, Rave Associates president, who served in the Michigan National Guard for 17 years. “It is our sincere hope this opportunity gives members of our military a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy all the action on the ice. We are proud to partner with the amazing Detroit Red Wings organization to honor our military this Veterans Day.”

    As part of its continuing commitment to local veterans, Rave Associates also contributes to Blue Star Service Dogs. The program provides service dogs to military veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries as a method of healing.

    Rave Associates employs military veterans in all aspects of its operations, including management, sales, warehouse and semi drivers. Military veterans play a central role in the company’s continued success in supporting local businesses and offering an ever-evolving list of choices for consumers.

    “The skills our military veteran employees have developed through years of service help us continue to serve our community, local retailers and beyond,” Warbritton said. “They bring self-discipline and a commitment to teamwork to the job, are willing to take on any task, and help keep our front office, warehouse and deliveries run seamlessly to best position local retailers for success.”

    Michigan is home to nearly 570,000 veterans, according to 2020 data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are roughly 19 million veterans across the United States.

    Michigan’s independent and family-owned beer and wine distributors employ thousands of Michiganders and pump millions of dollars back into local communities we call home every year.

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  • Tuesday, October 18, 2022 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Enforcement by Attorney General Dana Nessel, Michigan Liquor Control Commission continues to yield decrease in illegal shipments

    Lansing, MI – According to data compiled by the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA), 106,653 bottles of alcohol were shipped illegally into Michigan from out-of-state retailers during the first quarter of 2022. 

    From January through March of 2022, 524,283 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan. Of that amount, 417,630 were from licensed shippers, meaning 106,653 bottles were shipped illegally into the state. By comparison, nearly 160,000 bottles of wine were shipped unlawfully into Michigan during the first quarter of 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, illegal alcohol shipments into Michigan were down to 71,529 bottles — a nearly 45% decrease in just one year. The data was compiled using reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan.

    The sharply dropping number of illegal shipments highlights the ongoing, nation-leading work by Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to crack down on violators and ramp-up enforcement of out-of-state bad actors. 

    “The illegal practices of these bad actors who knowingly bypass state law put Michigan consumers and mom-and-pop retailers at risk and create a massive loss of tax revenue for schools, communities, emergency services, and more,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “We commend Attorney General Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for their continued commitment to holding these unscrupulous retailers accountable, protecting small, independent retailers and preserving precious tax revenue for our state.” 

    Attorney General Nessel’s aggressive approach is leading across the nation, resulting in 19 lawsuits, multiple injunctions, and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Her efforts have clearly conveyed that illegal wine shipping will not be tolerated in Michigan. The MLCC has also made it crystal clear to out-of-state retailers that wineries must be licensed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission before they can legally ship their products into the state. 

    “While there is still work to be done, we’re making significant progress for Michigan consumers, businesses, and taxpayers,” Nevins said. “We urge Attorney General Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to maintain this momentum and continue going after bad actors until illegal alcohol shipments into our state cease altogether.” 

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  • Friday, October 14, 2022 3:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New laws will bring about consistency, clarity for beer and wine distributors

    Lansing, MI – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for signing bills into law to advance and clarify multiple facets of Michigan’s beer and wine distributors’ operations. House Bills 6105-6107 had widespread, bipartisan support in the Legislature before landing on the governor’s desk last week.

    “I would like to thank the governor for signing these bills into law and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the Michigan Senate and House for passing this important legislation that will help us continue to support small businesses, create jobs, and promote competition and choice in the beer and wine industry,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “These laws will provide much-needed advancement and clarity for Michigan’s beer and wine distributors, helping ensure their continued success in delivering a wide and growing range of alcohol beverages throughout our state.”

    All three bills passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

    This package of bills addresses several issues, including the following:

    • Increases the ability for suppliers and distributors to share marketing, logistics, education, and reporting technology to better serve their customers
    • Clarifies regulations for distribution of non-alcoholic beverages
    • Legalizes the use of private labels and emerging categories of alcohol beverages
    • Ensures that allocated products are made reasonably available to all retailers
    • Allows suppliers to offer electronic coupons to consumers

    “Michigan’s vibrant beer and wine industries have grown by leaps and bounds over the years thanks to a system that promotes fairness, choice, competition, and a level playing field, and these new laws will help ensure their continued growth and success,” Nevins said.

    The MB&WWA represents beer and wine distributors throughout Michigan. The Association is recognized as one of the strongest business trade associations in the state and one of the alcohol beverage industry’s most progressive state trade associations.

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  • Thursday, September 22, 2022 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Women continue to play greater leadership roles, from CEOs to the warehouse, in Michigan’s beer and wine industry

    Flint, MI – Thursday, Sept. 22, marks American Business Women’s Day and John P. O’Sullivan Distributing, an independent, family owned local distributor, is proud to celebrate its women leaders who play a central role in supporting the state’s thriving beer and wine industry and providing a wide range of choices to consumers.

    “From day one, women have been integral to our success, and it’s exciting to see more women, from CEOS to the warehouse, help create jobs, support small businesses like local wineries, craft brewers and corner retailers, and provide choices to Michigan’s beer and wine lovers,” said Joan O’Sullivan-Butler, President & CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing. “We continue to see women take on greater roles in Michigan’s flourishing beer and wine industry, and we celebrate their courage, leadership and innovation on American Business Women’s Day.”

    John P. O’Sullivan Distributing currently has 23 women on staff, including four in leadership positions. These women hold positions in merchandising, sales, warehouse staff, drivers, office staff and leadership roles.

    “I have seen firsthand the enormous strides women have made at our company and across Michigan’s beer and wine industry, and I can tell you many more women are eager to join our ranks,” O’Sullivan-Butler said. “While our industry still has work to do to encourage the next generation of women  leaders, I hope  more women are inspired to consider careers in this constantly evolving and rewarding industry.”

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  • Monday, August 08, 2022 1:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chair, vice-chair and finance chair hail from distributors in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Flint

    Lansing, MI — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today announced the reelection of its existing executive officers to guide the association over the next year. The election was held during the association’s recent annual convention.

    Jim Warbritton, president of Rave Associates in Ann Arbor, was reelected chair of the MB&WWA Board of Directors. A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer in Grand Rapids, was reelected vice-chair. Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing in Flint, was reelected finance chair.

    “I am thrilled to be reelected chair of our board for the next year as we continue our mission to spur new innovation, choice and competition while supporting Michigan’s small businesses,” Warbritton said. “Working together, we will maintain our commitment to ensuring Michigan has vibrant and successful beer and wine industries.”  

    Rave Associates is a family-owned beer and wine distributor in Ann Arbor. The distributor services retailers throughout eight counties in Southeast Michigan. Rave Associates, the first and largest distributor of Bell’s Brewery beer and the largest distributor of Michigan craft beer in the state, distributes both beer and wine from suppliers across Michigan and around the world.

    West Side Beer serves more than 3,300 retailers in 15 counties out of its warehouses in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Romulus.

    “Our association is nearly 50 distributors strong, and the MB&WWA board is proud to represent our members and guide the association in the next year and beyond,” Mathews said.

    O’Sullivan-Butler also serves on the association’s Women’s Advocacy Committee, which was created to highlight and amplify the important work women do for Michigan’s beer and wine distributors and to advocate for distributor interests in Lansing. She is the second woman to hold an executive leadership position within the association.

    “I am honored to be reelected finance chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors and will work to continue expanding the critical role women play  in the success and growth of Michigan’s beer and wine industry,” O’Sullivan-Butler said.

    The MB&WWA represents nearly 50 beer and wine distributors throughout Michigan. The association is recognized as one of the strongest business trade associations in the state and one of the alcohol beverage industry’s most progressive state trade associations.

    # # #


    Jim Warbritton, president of Rave Associates


    A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer


    Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Craft beer lovers can toast continued growth of state’s craft beer industry during Michigan Craft Beer Month

    Kalamazoo, MI — July is Craft Beer Month in Michigan and Imperial Beverage, a family owned beer, wine and spirits distributor, is proud to work with craft brewers in their communities and across the state to support the state’s flourishing craft beer industry and provide a wide range of choices to consumers.

    “We’re proud to partner with craft breweries big and small across Michigan and help them succeed,” said Joe Cekola, president of Imperial Beverage. “As Michigan continues its economic recovery, it’s never been more important to support local businesses — and that includes your local craft brewery.”

    With more than 330 breweries dotted across the state, Michigan’s beer distributors play a vital role in helping craft brewers compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field. Distributors help breweries access retailers, expand to new markets and grow their brands — all while ensuring the freshest beer possible is on tap at bars and restaurants and on store shelves.

    “This month is the perfect opportunity to raise a glass at your local brewery and toast the past and future success of Michigan’s craft beer industry,” Cekola said.

    Michigan’s independent, family owned beer distributors employ thousands of people and pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the local economy.

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    Imperial Beverage is a long-standing member of the Michigan beverage distribution community. Established in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition and purchased by Kalamazoo’s Cekola family in 1984, Imperial has grown from a one county beer distributor to a top 10 statewide beer, wine, and spirits wholesaler. With 325 employees and 4 locations in Kalamazoo, Livonia, Ishpeming, and Traverse City, Imperial provides statewide coverage that serves every Michigan County, every week, all year long.

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2022 8:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Family owned beer and wine distributor celebrating 23rd Michigan brewery contract during Michigan Craft Beer Month

    Ann Arbor, MI — July is Michigan Craft Beer Month and Rave Associates, an Ann Arbor-based, family owned beer and wine distributor, is proud to work with craft brewers in their communities and across Michigan to support the state’s flourishing craft beer industry.

    As part of Craft Beer Month, Rave Associates is celebrating its 23rd Michigan brewery contract, representing the distributor’s continued partnerships in the industry.

    “From our first contract signed with Bell’s Brewery back in the late 1980s to contracts on which the ink is not yet dry, we are proud to be Michigan Beer Patriots,” said Jim Warbritton, Rave Associates president. “We’re also proud to promote growth, choices and competition through our continued and strong partnerships with craft breweries big and small across Michigan.”

    Also as part of Craft Beer Month, Rave Associates is supporting the 23rd annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival taking place July 22-23 in Ypsilanti, where some of Michigan’s finest beers will be on display.

    With more than 330 breweries dotted across the state, Michigan’s beer distributors play a vital role in helping craft brewers big and small compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field. Distributors help breweries access retailers, expand to new markets and grow their brands – all while ensuring the freshest beer possible is on tap at bars and restaurants and on store shelves.

    Michigan’s independent, family owned beer distributors employ thousands of people and pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the local economy.

    “As Michigan continues its economic recovery, it’s never been more important to support local businesses — and that includes your local craft brewery,” Warbritton said. “This month is the perfect opportunity to support your local brewer or retailer and toast the resolve and past and future success of Michigan’s craft beer industry.”

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  • Thursday, June 30, 2022 3:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Ann Arbor beer and wine distributor putting in extra hours to stock retailers ahead of one of the busiest holidays of the year

    Ann Arbor, MI – One of the nation’s most popular holidays for beer and wine sales is right around the corner, which means Rave Associates is working overtime to ensure beer and wine lovers’ favorite beverages are stocked at stores, restaurants and bars across the state.

    “The Fourth of July is one of the biggest holidays for alcohol sales, and we expect demand to be particularly high as Michigan’s beer and wine enthusiasts return to large gatherings of friends and family,” said Jim Warbritton, Rave Associates president. “We’re proud to partner with suppliers right here in Michigan, across the country and around the world to ensure our retailers offer an unmatched selection of beer and wine this Fourth of July and beyond.”

    Rave Associates is a family owned  beer and wine distributor that services nine counties throughout Southeast Michigan.

    Independence Day is one of the biggest holidays for alcohol sales each year and the number one holiday for beer consumption outside of the home, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association. For brewers, distributors and retailers, the Fourth of July marks the height of the summer beer selling season.

    “Our dedicated team of salespeople, drivers and office and warehouse staff is working around the clock with retailers near and far to ensure their store shelves are stocked and their taps are flowing for the holiday weekend,” Warbritton said. “I’m grateful to each and every member of our team for putting in extra hours to ensure a successful holiday for our retailers and suppliers.”

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  • Tuesday, June 21, 2022 8:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Flint, MI – Local distributor John P. O’Sullivan Distributing today announced the addition of a new 2022 Ford E-Transit Cargo Van to its fleet of delivery vehicles. The all-electric vehicle represents an exciting innovation for the company and continues its commitment to environmental sustainability, employee safety and supporting Michigan manufacturers.

    “Our company and hardworking employees believe we must do everything we can to preserve our lakes, air and land for future generations,” said Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, President and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing. “The new van is a symbol of our company’s commitment to sustainability, and it makes good sense for our business because it will save us money, incorporate new safety features for our employees and contribute to the local economy.”

    The Ford E-Transit runs solely off battery power. It includes a standard 4G LTE modem and data connectivity, and other telematics features that give fleet managers live tracking of vehicles with geofencing notifications and maintenance alerts. The vehicle also includes service reminders and driver behavior notifications, including for severe acceleration and braking events, and speeding and crash notifications. The all-electric vehicle provides more efficient routes and enhanced safety for delivery drivers.

    John P. O’Sullivan Distributing will use the van to deliver and pick up products from its warehouse and deliver them to retailers, bars and restaurants within the greater Flint area. The company is looking to add additional electric vehicles to its fleet in the future.

    The O’Sullivan family has operated a distributorship, which delivers beer and non-alcoholic beverages, in the Flint area since 1976. With more than 100 employees and state-of-the-art operational systems, O’Sullivan Distributing navigates 20 delivery routes per day, servicing over 1,700 stores, bars and restaurants throughout Genesee and six surrounding counties.

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