US wines and spirits wholesalers, Glazer's Wholesale Distributors and National Wine & Spirits Inc. (NWS), have announced that they have agreed in principle to form a strategic partnership jointly to pursue distribution opportunities in the Illinois market.

"This partnership with NWS gives us the entry into the important Illinois market fulfilling a significant component of Glazer's long term strategy of being the dominant distributor in the middle of the country," said Bennett Glazer, CEO of Glazer's Wholesale Distributors. "The Glazer and LaCrosse families both have high standards in partnering with our suppliers, employees and customers. We are excited by the opportunity to build the premier distribution company in Illinois with NWS."

The Illinois wines and spirits market is estimated to be worth around $1.3 billion. James E. LaCrosse, chairman and CEO of NWS said: "Over the past 12 years, NWS has built the best operation in Illinois. With the Glazer family as our partners, we will now be in position to take the next step in solidifying our leadership in this market. Putting our two world-class organisations together creates a strong long-term strategic distributor for suppliers across the beverage industry."

Based in Indianapolis, National Wine & Spirits, Inc. is the largest distributor of wine and spirits in the Midwest and one of the leading distributors in the US as a whole. The company, which recently lost out in a bid to become Diageo's sole distributor in Illinois, serves 36,000 retail customers across Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky.

Glazer's is based in Dallas and has annual revenues of nearly $2 billion, operating in nine states.