Southern Wine & Spirits of America, the US's largest wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverage distributor has set up a national accounts division, which will focus on servicing the beverage requirements of the country's largest chain restaurant and hotel groups.

Wayne E. Chaplin, president and COO, said: "Our multi-state operation has grown very rapidly in recent years, which coincidentally has paralleled the growth of many of the most recognized names in the restaurant and hospitality industries, as well as that of many of our domestic and international supplier partners. As a result, it is only a logical progression that for Southern to continue to serve their supply-chain partners in executing their ever-changing market strategies, that we would establish a new strategic National Accounts sales division. This invaluable resource, made available to our customers and suppliers alike, is comprised of a group of talented and experienced executives whose sole aim is to offer professional, imaginative sales solutions and beverage program opportunities to some of the most innovative food-and-beverage operators in the world."

Overall, at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., national account activity represents approximately 35% of total restaurant, bar, club and hotel sales nationally, according to Chaplin, who added that the Company expects total national accounts sales to grow at a faster rate than the total on-premise trade channel.

The national accounts division will be headed by Ken Kribel, newly appointed as vice president, director, national accounts, Southern Wine & Spirits of America.

On a combined basis, the new Southern Wine & Spirits of America national accounts division will field a total of 32 sales and marketing executives.