US distributor Southern Wine & Spirits has a opened division in West Virginia.

Southern, the largest wine and spirits distributor in the US, said the move means it is present in 14 control states. In the US, a control state is one where there is a state monopoly over the wholesale or retail of certain categories of beverage alcohol.

Southern president and CEO Wayne Chaplin said: "We remain determined to continue building our control state group's overall reach and coverage. On a collective basis, the 14 control states in which we operate account for approximately 68% of the total control jurisdiction coverage in 2005."

The company has appointed Jay Davis to head the business in West Virginia. Davis, who has worked in the state with Future Brands, will report to Paul Criscuolo, who heads Southern's Mid-Atlantic division.

Southern's entry into West Virginia follows a deal with Seattle-based Alaska Distributors Co. in April. The two companies formed a venture, SouthernWine/Spirits West, to cover the control states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.