Southern Wine & Spirits of America, the leading US wine and spirits distributor, has signed a deal to form a new national distribution venture with one of the country's largest wholesalers, Glazer's Distributors.

The venture, announced yesterday (12 August), will cover 38 states and handle 80% of wine and spirits volumes in the US, making it the nation's largest wine and spirits distributor, according to the companies.

They both said the deal, subject to regulatory approval, followed a general consolidation trend in other parts of the alcohol industry. Soaring input costs have also put pressure on margins right through the drinks supply chain. 

Wayne Chaplin, current Southern Wine president - who will become CEO of the new venture - said: "Given the highly competitive landscape at the distributor level and the ever more consolidated marketplace at the supplier tier, we believe the time is right for a more national-type distribution footprint. Together we expect to be able to create significant value for all tiers of the beverage alcohol industry.

"We are confident that greater value will be created by simplifying the way to market for suppliers, creating lower go-to-market costs via our new arrangement, and improving our national on- and off-premise account penetration."

Mike Maxwell, who will serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer, highlighted the potential for cost savings. "The national synergies and economies of scale of our new company will allow us to better compete in the highly competitive and ever-changing industry landscape in the US."