Breakthru Beverage Group, the result of a part-merger between leading alcoholic drinks wholesalers The Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage, has said integration work is going well after launching in 19 US markets.

The company, which was first announced in October, was officially established on New Year's Day but began operations yesterday with a portfolio of wine, spirits and beer brands totalling more than US$6bn in annual sales. It said local teams had delivered "excellent results" during the holiday season and that work to merge the two businesses was well underway.

"The pace at which we are moving should indicate the level of commitment and excitement we have about Breakthru," said Greg Baird, Breakthru's president & CEO.

When Wirtz and Charmer announced the merger they said it be "one of the largest and most established wholesale distributors" in North America. It is the second largest wholesaler in the US, behind Southern Wine & Spirits, and replaces legacy house names in markets including Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington DC. 

The company said yesterday Nevada will transition to the Breakthru brand "in the ensuing weeks" as the state licensing process concludes. 

Wirtz Beverage Canada and Alliance Beverage in Alabama, Arizona and Mississippi will maintain their names, while Wirtz and Charmer previously said some of their other markets such as New York and Connecticut will not be controlled by Breakthru.