Newly elected chair, vice-chair, and at-large directors hail from distributors in Grand Rapids, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Ypsilanti
LANSING, MICHIGAN — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA), one of the alcohol beverage industry’s most progressive state trade associations, is pleased to announce the election of new executive officers to lead the MB&WWA over the next two years.
A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer Distributing in Grand Rapids, was elected chair of the MB&WWA Board of Directors. He succeeds Jim Warbritton, president of Rave Associates, who served two terms as chair.Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing in Flint, was elected vice-chair. Kit Wanty-Lambert, president of O&W Inc. in Ypsilanti, and Jason Howard, general manager of I.H.S. Distributing Co. in Kalamazoo, were elected to at-large director positions.
“I want to thank Jim Warbritton for his efforts in leading our growth initiatives, further solidifying the MB&WWA’s position as a top-tier trade association that helps spur new innovation, choice, and competition and supports Michigan’s small businesses,” Mathews said. “I look forward to fostering continued success in this ever-evolving industry and ensuring Michigan’s vibrant and successful beer and wine industries continue to flourish.”
West Side Beer Distributing is one of the largest beverage distributors in Michigan, with operations in each of the four largest metropolitan areas. The distributor provides industry-leading beverages from over 45 suppliers to more than 4,000 customers across 15 counties.
“I am proud to be the second woman to hold an executive leadership position for the Association,” O’Sullivan-Butler said. “Along with serving on the MB&WWA Women’s Advocacy Committee, it is a tremendous opportunity to advocate for distributor interests in Lansing and highlight women’s vital role in Michigan’s thriving beer and wine industry.”
The O’Sullivan family has operated a beer distributorship in the Flint area since 1976. With more than 130 employees and state-of-the-art operational systems, John P. O’Sullivan Distributing navigates 27 delivery routes daily, servicing 2,300 stores, bars, and restaurants throughout Genesee and 10 surrounding counties.
“Thanks to the hard work and lasting legacies of many dedicated people over the last 75 years, the Association has seen tremendous success defending the time-proven three-tier system that allows competition to flourish, giving consumers a wide range of choices,” Howard said. “I look forward to building on that success.”
As a family-owned and operated business since 1921, I.H.S. Distributing Co. serves licensed establishments across southwest Michigan.
“With more women taking on key leadership roles in the beer and wine industry, serving on the MB&WWA Board of Directors is a tremendous opportunity,” said Wanty-Lambert. “I’m honored to join this dynamic group of leaders and look forward to the Association’s next chapter of growth and success.”
O&W Inc. is a beer distributor delivering over 160 brands of beer and specialty beverages from over 50 suppliers in southeast Michigan.
On Aug. 6, the MB&WWA will celebrate 75 years. As the Association moves forward with newly elected leadership, it remains committed to representing Michigan’s independent, locally-owned beer and wine distributors and advancing advocacy for them on legislative, regulatory, legal, and public policy matters.
A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer Distributing and chair of the MB&WWA Board of Directors
Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing Inc. and vice-chair of the MB&WWA Board of Directors
Jason Howard, general manager of I.H.S. Distributing Co. and at-large director on the MB&WWA Board of Directors
Kit Wanty-Lambert, president of O&W Inc. and at-large director on the MB&WWA Board of Directors