Republic Beverage and Block Distributing have agreed to merge, creating what observers say will be the country's fifth-biggest wine and spirits wholesaler. The combined company will use the Republic name and employ more than 2,500 in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, co-vice chairman Alan Dreeben told just-drinks.

Jeffrey Goldring will join Dreeben as the other vice chairman. Eddie Block was named COO for Texas and Oklahoma, while Bill Goldring will oversee operations in the other four states.

Financial terms for the merger were not disclosed.

The move solidifies a decade-old partnership between Block family and the Goldrings, who also own Magnolia Marketing of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and United Beverage in Arizona.

"We're just two families and groups of people who share the same values and visions," Dreeben told just-drinks. "We're just getting into lock-step."