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  • Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:55 PM | Anonymous

    In total, more than 400,000 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan from January through March

    LANSING – Nearly one-third of every bottle of alcohol shipped into Michigan from January through March of this year was shipped illegally, according to data compiled by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA).

    In total, 408,397 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan during the first quarter of 2019. It’s estimated nearly 130,000 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into the state during the same period.

    “The latest quarterly shipping report shows no signs of the disturbing trend of retailers skirting state law and shipping wine illegally into Michigan letting up,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “When unlicensed out-of-state retailers illegally ship alcohol into Michigan, they are robbing our state of much needed tax revenue and thumbing their nose at the mom and pop retailers that support our local communities.”

    Last year, the MB&WWA began compiling data on illegal wine shipments flowing into Michigan. Data from the first and third quarters were unavailable, however data from the second and fourth quarters showed more than 1 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan in just six months, and at least 300,000 of those bottles were wine illegally shipped from out-of-state retailers.

    “As more and more data become available each quarter, one thing is clear: Out-of-state retailers show no regard for Michigan law,” Nevins said. “We encourage the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to investigate each and every complaint and continue cracking down on these bad actors.”

    The data were compiled using reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan.

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  • Thursday, August 08, 2019 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    Rave Associates president previously served as finance chair for two terms

    LANSING – Jim Warbritton was elected vice-chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting on July 31.

    Warbritton is president of Rave Associates, 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.

    “It’s an honor to serve the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors as vice-chair. I look forward to working with our friends at breweries, wineries and retailers across the state to ensure Michigan remains a top producer of beer and wine for years to come,” Warbritton said. “MB&WWA members help promote growth, choices and competition by working hand-in-glove with breweries and wineries big and small to help them succeed today and into the future.”

    Michigan is a Top 5 producer of beer and Top 10 producer of wine in the country thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field. At a time when craft beer production is decreasing across the country, Michigan craft beer production increased by 10% in 2018.

    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 most progressive state trade associations in the alcohol beverage industry.


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  • Wednesday, August 07, 2019 4:37 PM | Anonymous

    Henry A. Fox Sales president previously served two terms as vice-chair

    LANSING – Brien Fox was elected chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting on July 31.

    Fox is CEO of Henry A. Fox Sales, a family owned beer and wine distributor located in Grand Rapids. Henry A. Fox Sales distributes beer, cider and wine throughout West Michigan and the entire state. The distributor works with suppliers large and small from right here in Michigan, across the country and around the world.

    “I’m proud to take the helm of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors and represent an industry that has a greater than $10 billion impact on Michigan’s economy,” Fox said. “Michigan’s beer and wine distributors create jobs and give back to their communities while helping craft breweries, wineries and local retailers compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field.”

    Michigan is a leader in both beer and wine production thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field. At a time when craft beer production is decreasing across the country, Michigan craft beer production increased by 10% in 2018.

    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.

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  • Friday, August 02, 2019 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    20,000-square-foot warehouse addition includes more truck bays, new keg cooler

    FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. – John P. O’Sullivan Distributing, a family owned beer and wine distributor in Flint Township, officially opened its new, 20,000-square-foot addition to its warehouse during a ribbon cutting ceremony today. The new warehouse – which now totals nearly 80,000-square-feet – includes more truck bays and a new, state-of-the-art, energy efficient keg cooler.

    “This new addition to our headquarters in Flint Township will make our team even more efficient and give us more space to better serve our customers and community,” said Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing. “We pride ourselves in using innovative, cutting edge technology to deliver wide varieties of products to consumers while conserving energy and protecting our Great Lakes. This state-of-the-art warehouse addition is another example of how we efficiently connect consumers with their favorite beers and wines.”

    John P. O’Sullivan Distributing is located in an industrial development district in Flint Township near Bishop Airport and all three major interstates. The distributor employs more than 100 people, from front office staff and warehouse workers to drivers and salespeople.

    “Every day, we work hand-in-glove with breweries and wineries right here in Michigan, across the country and around the world to help them succeed today and in the future,” O’Sullivan-Butler said. “Our state is a Top 5 beer producer and a Top 10 wine producer and is poised to keep growing through a system that promotes fairness and a level playing field.”

    U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, state Reps. Tim Sneller, D-Burton, and John Cherry, D-Flint, and state Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint, were among those who attended today’s ribbon cutting.

    “John P. O’Sullivan Distributing has been a great community partner and will be for years to come,” said Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint. “We are pleased to toast them on their warehouse expansion and for proudly calling Flint Township home.”

    # # #

    U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (blue scissors) and John P. O’Sullivan Distributing President and CEO Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler (yellow scissors) cut the ribbon on the beer and wine distributor’s 20,000 square-foot warehouse expansion. Photo courtesy John P. O’Sullivan Distributing.


    John P. O’Sullivan Distributing President and CEO Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, her family and the John P. O’Sullivan Distributing team. Photo courtesy John P. O’Sullivan Distributing.

  • Thursday, July 18, 2019 4:02 PM | Anonymous

    Great Lakes Wine and Spirits donates nearly 12,000 bottles of water to Highland Park residents

    Tests at some homes have found high lead levels in drinking water

    HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – Great Lakes Wine and Spirits, a statewide wine and spirits distributor headquartered in Highland Park, is donating nearly 12,000 bottles of water to the City of Highland Park after tests found high lead levels in some homes.

    “The health and safety of our community is a top priority for all of us at Great Lakes Wine and Spirits, which is why we are donating nearly 12,000 bottles of water to the city of Highland Park,” said Lew Cooper III, co-CEO of Great Lakes Wine and Spirits. “While we distribute wine and spirits statewide, our headquarters is right here in Highland Park and we’re proud to call this community home and want to help any way we can.”

    The water was delivered today. On Wednesday, the city of Highland Park announced the results of water testing done on several homes, which found high levels of lead. Nine of the 36 homes tested came back with elevated lead levels.

    “We appreciate this generous donation by Great Lakes Wine and Spirits and thank them for being a good community partner to the city of Highland Park,” said Mayor Hubert Yopp.

    The city is urging residents to take precautions, including running tap water for up to five minutes to flush out any potential lead and using a lead filter tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53.

    “When it comes to giving back to our community, we pride ourselves on leading by example,” Cooper III said. “Whether it’s a crisis like last year’s wildfires in California or concerns with local drinking water, we’re prepared to step up and help those in need.”


    # # #

    Great Lakes Wine & Spirits is Michigan’s largest wine and liquor distributor. With 900 employees and facilities across the state, GLWAS services nearly 17,000 accounts in all 83 Michigan counties on both peninsulas. For more information, please visit www.GLWAS.com.


  • Monday, July 01, 2019 10:47 AM | Anonymous

    Thumb area beer distributor putting in extra hours to stock retailers ahead of Fourth of July

    PORT HURON, Mich. – One of the nation’s most popular holidays for beer sales is right around the corner, which means Earl Smith Distributing is working overtime to ensure beer lover’s 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 there’s no better time to be a beer lover in Michigan considering the dizzying array of options available at retailers across the state,” said Erik Smith, Vice President of Operations at Earl Smith Distributing. “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.”

    Americans are expected to spend more than $1.5 billion on beer and wine for the Fourth of July holiday, making it one of the biggest holidays for alcohol sales each year.

    “With the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday, our dedicated team of salespeople and drivers are working hand-in-glove with retailers to ensure their store shelves are stocked and their taps are flowing for the long holiday weekend,” Smith 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 our suppliers.”

    Last year, Michigan’s beer industry poured more than $10 billion into the state’s economy. Michigan is a Top 5 producer of beer in the country, thanks to a system that promotes fairness and creates a level playing field.

    Earl Smith Distributing, a fourth generation family owned beer distributor, serves retailers in Michigan’s Thumb area including St. Clair, Tuscola, Sanilac and Huron counties.

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  • Friday, May 31, 2019 1:36 PM | Anonymous

    New report shows beer industry has $10.2 billion impact on Michigan’s economy

    HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – Eastown Distributors, a family owned beer and wine distributor headquartered in Highland Park, is proud to play a role in the continued growth and success of Michigan’s beer industry.

    According to a new report released by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute, Michigan’s beer industry has a $10.2 billion impact on the state’s economy. Michigan’s beer distributors alone have an economic impact of more than $830 million, employing over 4,700 people in good-paying jobs with good benefits.

    “This new report helps quantify the enormous impact the state’s beer industry continues to have on the state’s economy and how it contributes to Michigan’s continued economic comeback,” said Paul Quasarano, President of Eastown Distributors. “We’re proud to work with breweries throughout Michigan, across the country and around the world to help them compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field.”

    Michigan’s thriving beer industry, which includes brewers, distributors, retailers and supporting industries such as agriculture, transportation and manufacturing, pumped nearly $10.2 billion into Michigan’s economy, employed over 62,000 people and paid more than $2.6 billion in wages in 2018.

    “From malthouses and hop farms to breweries and local retailers, the beer industry continues to have a positive impact on Michigan’s economy throughout the entire supply chain, and we expect this growth to continue,” Quasarano said. “Michigan is home to some of the most innovative breweries in the country and is now a Top 5 beer producer, making it not just the Great Lakes State but the Great Beer State, too.”

    Eastown Distributors is a fourth-generation family owned business serving northeast Wayne County since 1933. Eastown employs over 100 Michiganders with fair wages and full benefits.

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  • Wednesday, May 29, 2019 12:35 PM | Anonymous

    New report finds Michigan’s beer distributors pump more than $800,000 into state’s economy, employ over 4,700 people

    LANSING – A recently released report by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute makes it abundantly clear: Beer is big business in Michigan. The Beer Serves America study found Michigan’s beer industry had an overall economic impact of nearly $10.2 billion in 2018 and supported more than 62,000 jobs at breweries, distributors, retailers and more.

    “Michigan’s independent, locally owned beer distributors are proud to work hand-in-glove with the state’s craft brewers and local retailers to help them grow and thrive on a level playing field,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. “This new data makes clear that Michigan is not just the Great Lakes State but also the Great Beer State, and Michigan’s beer distributors are proud to play a role in the beer industry’s continued success.”

    According to the report, Michigan beer distributors employ 4,724 people in good-paying jobs with good benefits. The state’s distributors have a direct impact of more than $830,000 on Michigan’s economy.

    “Michigan’s beer distributors have deep roots in their communities and are proud to hire locally to fill jobs that pay well with good benefits,” Nevins said. “Thanks to Michigan’s beer distributors, our state is a Top 5 beer producer and home to some of the best-known breweries in the country and is poised to keep growing through a system that promotes fairness and a level playing field.”

    The state’s entire beer industry, consisting of brewers, distributors, retailers and supporting industries like agriculture, transportation and manufacturing, pumped nearly $10.2 billion into Michigan’s economy, employed over 62,000 people and paid more than $2.6 billion in wages in 2018.

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  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3:37 PM | Anonymous

    #WithoutDelayIPA to be delivered to more than 900 retailers hours after being packaged

    KALAMAZOO, Mich. – On Friday, May 17, Short’s Brewing Co. and statewide beer, wine and spirits distributor Imperial Beverage will again team up for the release of Short’s Psychedelic Cat Grass, triple dry hopped IPA that will be packaged and delivered to retailers throughout Michigan in less than 24 hours.

    “This one-of-a-kind release has grown in popularity over the last three years, and 2019 is shaping up to be the biggest release yet,” said Larry Cekola, Vice President of Sales at Imperial Beverage. “I want to thank the crew at Short’s and the more than 60 members of the Imperial Beverage team for putting in countless hours of prep time to ensure this event goes off without a hitch.”

    This year, the same-day-delivery Psychedelic Cat Grass event has a renewed focus on Michigan with almost all product slated to stay in-state. Short’s will release the beer in other markets in very limited quantities. Also new this year: The beer will be exclusively sold in cans and on draft. In total, more than 1,700 cases of 6-pack, 12 oz. cans and 150 kegs of varying sizes will be delivered to over 900 retailers throughout Michigan.

    Short’s will begin canning and kegging Psychedelic Cat Grass at 12:01 a.m. on May 17. The beer will then be loaded onto Imperial Beverage trucks and distributed throughout the lower and upper peninsulas.

    “Typically, beer lovers have to travel to Bellaire for beer this fresh, but thanks to the creativity of Short’s team and the ingenuity of our team at Imperial Beverage we’ve found a way to get brewpub-fresh beer to bars, restaurants and retailers all over the state,” Cekola said. “At Imperial Beverage, we’re proud to work hand-in-glove with brewers big and small to help them succeed today and in the future.”

    Psychedelic Cat Grass (7.6% ABV and 72 IBU) is a triple dry hopped American India Pale Ale first brewed for HopCat. Aromas of pineapple, mango and grapefruit accompany the brew’s slightly hazy, pale orange color and lasting white head. A dry finish is preceded by balanced flavors of tropical fruit and bitter hops.

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  • Monday, April 22, 2019 4:38 PM | Anonymous

    Beer, wine and spirits distributor renewing its commitment to protecting Michigan’s air, land and Great Lakes

    KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Imperial Beverage, a Kalamazoo-based beer, wine and spirits distributor, is celebrating Earth Day by streamlining its operations and using innovative, cutting-edge technology to reduce its carbon footprint. The distributor recently switched to a voice pick system, dramatically reducing its reliance on paper by as much as eight cases per week.

    “By implementing a voice pick system, which guides our warehouse workers by voice as they build pallets for the next day’s delivery, we have made our operation more efficient and reduced our paper usage by as much as eight cases every week,” said Larry Cekola, VP of Sales at Imperial Beverage. “At Imperial Beverage, we pride ourselves on being pioneers in energy efficiency and using cutting-edge conservation and environmental practices to reduce energy waste, pollution and protect our air and Great Lakes.”

    Instead of handing warehouse workers clipboards filled with sheets of paper to gather the next day’s orders, Imperial Beverage employees now have tablets, ear buds and scanners so they can scan each order they pick up as a voice guides them to the next 6-pack, 12-pack or case of beer or wine. Imperial Beverage estimates it was using eight cases of paper, or 40,000 sheets of paper, every week under its previous system.

    “By embracing advanced logistics and information technology, our employees are able to connect Michigan’s beer and wine lovers with their favorite products more efficiently, whether it’s made right here in Michigan, across the country or around the globe,” Cekola said.

    Based in Kalamazoo, with additional locations in Livonia, Traverse City and Ishpeming, Imperial Beverage is a statewide distributor of beer, wine and spirits employing nearly 400 people throughout the state.

    # # #

    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 & spirits wholesaler. With 390 employees and 4 locations in Kalamazoo, Livonia, Traverse City and Ishpeming, Imperial provides statewide coverage that serves every Michigan County, every week, all year long.


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