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  • Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:05 PM | Anonymous

    Led by female executives, committee will champion women in the industry, highlight job opportunities

    LANSING — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today announced the creation of a new advocacy and education committee led by female executives from family owned beer, wine and spirits distributors in Michigan. The Women’s Advocacy Committee will champion, nurture and highlight female leaders and key job opportunities in what was once a male-dominated industry.

    “The MB&WWA Women’s Advocacy Committee  wants to put an end to the stereotypes and misconceptions about the beer and wine distribution industry in Michigan and beyond,” said Kit Wanty-Lambert, executive vice president of O&W Inc. and chair of the Women’s Advocacy Committee. “Women are no longer just answering phones and doing clerical office work at Michigan's family owned beer and wine distributors, they are playing a role in sales, marketing, human resources, finance and operations. Women are making strategic business decisions and creating cultures of collaboration and inclusion that are opening doors that have been closed in the past.”

    The committee is made up of 10 female executives from distributors across the state, stretching from metro Detroit to the western Upper Peninsula and all points in between, as well as the MB&WWA’s vice president of operations and events and one of its lead female lobbyists.

    “There have never been more leadership opportunities for women in the beer and wine distribution industry,” said Brandi Tribell vice president of operations and events for the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association and member of the MB&WWA Women’s Advocacy Committee. “I have worked for the association for nearly 15 years and have proudly witnessed strong female leaders rise through the ranks of distributors throughout the state. And we’re just getting started.”

    “When most people think of beer and wine distributors, they likely picture a man in a logoed work shirt hauling kegs and stacking cases — but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Marcia Hune, a lobbyist and shareholder with GCSI and member of the MB&WWA Women’s Advocacy Committee. “There are major distributors throughout the state that are led by a woman and have women overseeing critical departments, like logistics or warehouse operations, on top of handling the day-to-day loading of trucks and delivering beer and wine to retailers across Michigan.”

    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.

    # # #


  • Monday, August 17, 2020 3:53 PM | Anonymous

    In total, 1.5 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan from January through September

    LANSING – Approximately one-third of every bottle of alcohol shipped into Michigan from January through March of 2019 was shipped illegally, according to data compiled by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA).

    In total, 1,535,616 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan during the first three quarters of 2019. It’s estimated nearly 484,101 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into the state during the same period.

    “For years, we’ve heard anecdotal evidence that cases upon cases of wine were illegally shipped into Michigan every month, but we had no idea it was this rampant,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “Every time an unlicensed, out-of-state retailer illegally ships alcohol into Michigan, they rob our state of much-needed tax revenue and thumb their nose at the mom and pop retailers playing by the rules and supporting our local communities.”

    In 2018, the MB&WWA began compiling data on illegal wine shipments flowing into Michigan. Data from two quarters of that year 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 shipped illegally by out-of-state retailers.

    “As we review the data each year it is becoming abundantly clear that out-of-state retailers have no regard for Michigan law and will continue breaking the rules until they’re held accountable,” Nevins said. “We encourage the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office  to continue investigating each and every complaint and to crack 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.

    # # #

  • Thursday, August 13, 2020 3:54 PM | Anonymous

    West Side Beer president will serve second term as finance chair

    LANSING – A.J. Mathews was re-elected finance chair of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting. The July 29 meeting was held on Zoom.

    Mathews is president of West Side Beer, a family owned beer distributor headquartered in Grand Rapids. West Side Beer serves more than 3,300 retailers in 15 counties out of its warehouses in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Romulus.

    “It’s an honor to be re-elected by my peers to serve as finance chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors,” Mathews said. “The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association and its members are proud to play a role in the continued growth of our state’s beer and wine industries and look forward to continuing that growth for years to come.”

    Thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field, Michigan is now a Top 10 producer of beer and Top 10 producer of wine in the country and home to breweries and wineries that have received national and international acclaim.

    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.


  • Thursday, August 13, 2020 3:53 PM | Anonymous

    Rave Associates president will serve second term as vice chair

    LANSING – Jim Warbritton was re-elected vice-chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting. The July 29 meeting was held on Zoom.

    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 has been an honor to serve the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors as vice-chair for the past year and helping navigate the association through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Warbritton said. “Despite the recent challenges, our members continue to 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 10 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.

    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.


  • Thursday, August 13, 2020 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    Henry A. Fox Sales president will serve second term as chair

    LANSING – Brien Fox was re-elected chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting. The July 29 meeting was held on Zoom.

    Fox is CEO of Henry A. Fox Sales, a family owned beer, wine and spirits 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.

    “This has undoubtedly been a challenging year for Michigan’s beer and wine distributors, and the entire alcohol beverage industry in our state, and I’m proud of how our association and the industry has come together to help their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fox said. “Despite the current challenges, Michigan’s beer and wine distributors will continue to 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.

    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.


  • Monday, July 13, 2020 2:24 PM | Anonymous

    Donation part of $100,000 pledged to groups and nonprofits across the state

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Henry A. Fox Sales, a statewide beer, wine and spirits distributor, today announced $15,000 in donations to three food banks in West Michigan:

    • Feeding America West Michigan
    • The StoreHouse Grand Rapids
    • Kids’ Food Basket

    Each food bank will receive $5,000.

    “Food banks here in West Michigan have seen demand grow exponentially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as parents find themselves out of work and families struggle to make ends meet,” said Brien Fox, president of Henry A. Fox Sales. “I’m hopeful these donations will help our food banks restock their pantries so they can continue providing food to families in need.”

    According to the Food Bank Council of Michigan, the state’s food insecurity rate — or the number of Michiganders who don't have reliable access to nutritious food — will be nearly 15% through 2022.

    “It is because of partnerships like Henry A. Fox Sales that Kids’ Food Basket is able to help thousands of children and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. This generous gift and the kindness of Henry A. Fox Sales make such an incredible impact, especially right now as our food costs have risen by 66% since COVID-19 began. As a charitably funded nonprofit organization, every healthy, critical meal is funded by the support of our strong West Michigan community,” said Bridget Clark Whitney, president and founding CEO, Kids’ Food Basket. “Further, as so many of our local families are struggling with the barriers of poverty, healthy food access is more important than ever, especially during this global pandemic. As this partnership shows, when things seem at their worst, we have the opportunity to be our best. On behalf of the children we serve, thank you!”

    “If you’re hungry, you only have one problem: Figuring out where your next meal is coming from and the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to this stress,” said Dr. Phil Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “I want to thank Henry A. Fox Sales for stepping up to help ensure no family or child goes hungry.”

    Last month, Henry A. Fox Sales announced $100,000 in donations to more than 20 organizations across the state helping some of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents during the global health pandemic.

    Henry A. Fox Sales is a family owned and independent beer, wine and spirits distributor serving retailers and restauranteurs throughout the state. Their team of nearly 150 sales, delivery, warehouse and front office staff take pride in being the distributor of choice and valued trade partner to their customers and suppliers.

    # # #


  • Thursday, July 09, 2020 4:34 PM | Anonymous

    Craft beer lovers can toast the resolve, success of state’s craft beer industry during Michigan Craft Beer Month

    ORION, Mich. — July is Craft Beer Month in Michigan and Powers Distributing, an independent family owned beer distributor, is proud to work with craft brewers around the corner and across the state to help grow Michigan’s flourishing craft beer industry.

    “Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our state’s economy, it’s never been more important to support local businesses — and that includes your local craft brewery,” said Jeff Bright, Director of Marketing at Powers Distributing. “We’re proud to promote growth, choices and competition by working hand-in-glove with craft breweries big and small across Michigan to help them succeed during these difficult times.”

    Michigan’s beer distributors have deep roots in their communities and the current global health pandemic has only strengthened that bond. Over the last several months, distributors have partnered with their suppliers to deliver locally produced hand sanitizer to front line medical workers at a time when there was a global shortage and make financial donations to support hospitals, food banks and other organizations helping Michiganders through this public health crisis.

    “Retailers of all shapes and sizes, from bars and restaurants to mom-and-pop retailers, have been impacted by COVID-19,” Bright 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.”

    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 nearly 5,000 people and pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the local economy. Beer is big business in Michigan and has an annual economic impact of nearly $10 billion.

    ###


  • Monday, June 08, 2020 2:31 PM | Anonymous

    Donation part of $100,000 pledged to groups and nonprofits in Michigan

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Henry A. Fox Sales, a statewide beer, wine and spirits distributor, today announced $40,000 in donations to three funds helping restaurant workers impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The funds include:

    • Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund, $30,000
    • National Restaurant Association Relief Fund, $5,000
    • United States Bartender's Guild Emergency Assistance Program, $5,000

    “As Michigan slowly and safely begins to reopen its economy it’s important to remember there are still former employees in the hospitality industry who need our help,” said Brien Fox, president of Henry A. Fox Sales. “I’m hopeful these donations will help Michiganders who’ve been working at restaurants and bars across the state make ends meet and provide for their families meet during these challenging times.”

    Last month, Henry A. Fox Sales announced $100,000 in donations to more than 20 organizations across the state helping some of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents during the global health pandemic.

    To date, the Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund has paid out $310,000 to nearly 800 Michiganders. Each person received a $395 grant. Henry A. Fox Sales donation will ensure 76 additional people will receive grants.

    “I want to thank Henry A. Fox Sales for donating $30,000 to the Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund to help restaurant workers throughout Michigan get through this public health pandemic,” said Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Restaurant workers are struggling to make ends meet and this donation will go a long way towards helping them provide for their families.”

    Henry A. Fox Sales is a family owned and independent beer, wine and spirits distributor serving retailers and restauranteurs throughout the state. Their team of nearly 150 sales, delivery, warehouse and front office staff take pride in being the distributor of choice and valued trade partner to their customers and suppliers.

    # # #


  • Wednesday, May 20, 2020 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    Poll gauged Michigan residents’ comfort level in returning to bars, restaurants, concerts and sporting events

    DETROIT — A new poll finds Michiganders plan to ease back into social activities like going out to eat and attending concerts or sporting events as restrictions are lifted or loosened in Michigan.

    The poll was conducted April 20-24 by Warrior Market Insight. It was commissioned by Great Lakes Wine & Spirits (GLWAS), a statewide distributor of wine and spirits, after the distributor was contacted by several restaurants seeking to gauge consumer sentiment on returning to some normal activities.

    “The poll drew from a panel of consumers and a social media campaign” said Mark Barron of Warrior Market Insight. “In total, over 1000 Michigan residents responded to the survey from 64 of the state’s 83 counties.”

    “This poll shows strong support for the state’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve in Michigan. It’s clear those efforts are paying off as regions of the state are beginning to open,” said Lew Cooper III, co-CEO of Great Lakes Wine & Spirits. “The poll also paints a sobering picture of how reluctant Michiganders are to return to some normal activities before a COVID-19 vaccine or antibody tests are available.”

    When asked about Gov. Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, issued on April 9, nearly 49% of respondents were neutral on the restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, while 17% felt it didn’t go far enough. Meanwhile, 12% of those surveyed felt the order went too far. More than 70% of respondents approved of plans to reopen the economy in phases.

    The poll also gauged Michiganders’ comfort with returning to normal activities, like going out to eat at a restaurant, catching a movie or attending a sporting event.

    When asked how likely they would be to resume these activities within the first week the stay at home order is lifted, respondents said:

    • 77% would be unlikely to see a sporting event, while 11% would attend one
    • 76% would be unlikely to go to a bar or nightclub, while 14% would likely go
    • 74% would be unlikely to go see a movie, while 15% would be to likely to see one, and
    • 62% would be unlikely to visit a restaurant, while 32% would be likely to visit one

    Respondents grew slightly more comfortable resuming those activities within the first month the stay at home order is lifted. The largest change in activity after the first week was respondent’s willingness to go back out to restaurants.

    • 70% would be unlikely to see a sporting event, while 17% would attend one
    • 67% would be unlikely to go to a bar or nightclub, while 21% would likely go
    • 63% would be unlikely to go see a movie, while 25% would likely see one, and
    • 38% would be unlikely to visit a restaurant, while 51% would likely visit one

    Those surveyed approve of bars and restaurants providing hand sanitizer (80%), installing physical barriers (74%), requiring social distancing between groups (70%), requiring servers to wear masks (67%) and taking customers’ temperatures at the door (46%).

    However, it likely won’t be until a vaccine or coronavirus antibody tests are available before respondents said they would feel more comfortable returning to large gatherings, like sporting events (65%) or concerts (67%).

    “This poll shows Michigan’s restaurant and entertainment industry will be slow to rebound from the economic impact of this pandemic, but it will rebound,” Cooper said. “It will be important for bars and restaurants to closely follow guidance from public health officials to ensure a safe environment for customers as we adjust to the ‘new normal’ created by this pandemic.”

    Since the start of the pandemic, Great Lakes Wine & Spirits has been at the forefront of helping Michigan’s restaurants and their employees. The distributor has spent over $500,000 to purchase gift cards for employees to use at restaurants across the state and contributed $25,000 to the Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund. The fund was created to help restaurant employees impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

    GLWAS has also been regularly delivering hand sanitizer produced by Michigan distilleries to front-line health care workers across the state.

    “At Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, we pride ourselves on stepping up and helping those in need in the communities we call home,” said Syd Ross, co-CEO of GLWAS. “By purchasing meals from restaurants, donating to a restaurant worker relief fund and delivering hand sanitizer to the people who need it most, we’re doing our part during this public health crisis.”

    # # #

    Great Lakes Wine & Spirits is Michigan’s largest wine and liquor distributor. With more than 800 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.

     

    Warrior Market Insight is a Michigan-based business led by Michiganders providing B2B and B2C customer research and insight.

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2020 4:29 PM | Anonymous

    MICHIGAN — Holland based Big Lake Brewing has released Healthcare Heroes, a beer brewed in tribute to those working in the medical field during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are joined by Imperial Beverage, Big Lake’s statewide distributor partner, in making donations to local hospitals to celebrate the beer’s release. 

    “We wanted to give something back to the healthcare heroes in our communities, and celebrate them with their own tribute beer,” said Big Lake Brewing owner, Travis Prueter.

    Initial donations include Holland Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital in Ann Arbor, two hospitals where a group of nurses helped with the name and label for the beer, as well as Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Imperial and Big Lake hope to expand that reach to hospitals in other parts of the state as funds allow.

    “As frontline heroes in the fight against COVID-19, healthcare workers are providing critical care to our communities,” said Joe Cekola, President of Imperial Beverage. “We are proud to join Big Lake in thanking and supporting them.”

    Healthcare Heroes follows two other tribute beers Big Lake has recently released: Farmer Strong and We’re In This Together. The hazy double New England IPA is brewed with Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops and rings in at 9.0% ABV. Released today, 4 packs of the tribute beer will be available statewide. Locations carrying the beer can be found at imperialbeverage.com/find-a-product.

    # # #

    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.

    Big Lake Brewing is a craft brewery located in downtown Holland, Mich. Best known for Blood Orange Haze, Michigan Amber, Camper, and Swing Juice, as well as their innovative new releases, Big Lake puts an emphasis on quality ingredients, consistent recipes, and a passion for quality control. Founded in 2009, Big Lake has grown from a half-barrel system to a fifteen barrel brewhouse and was included in the “Top 50 Fastest Growing Breweries of 2018.” More at http://biglakebrewing.com


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