Diversity on the Shelf: Strategies for Supporting Diverse-Owned Wine and Spirits Brands

Diverse-owned distillers and wine producers are underrepresented in the industry because of historically lacking access to networks, representation, and industry tools and resources. Here are some steps that diverse-owned brands can take to increase their chances of getting distribution:


Build relationships with distributors: Building strong relationships with distributors is critical for getting your products into stores and restaurants. Attend industry events and trade shows, like WSWA Access Live, to meet distributors, and be prepared to pitch your brand and product to them.


Utilize online sales platforms: In addition to working with traditional distributors, diverse-owned brands can also explore online sales platforms such as ReserveBar, Drizly, or other online marketplaces. This can help reach a wider audience and build brand awareness. Some even have special marketplaces just for diverse-owned brands, such as Drizly’s Sip with Purpose or ReserveBar’s Spirited Change initiatives.


Leverage social media and influencer marketing: Social media can be a powerful tool for building brand awareness and generating interest in your products. Consider partnering with social media influencers or bloggers to promote your brand and products.


Participate in industry competitions: Entering industry competitions such as the TAG Spirits Awards, San Francisco World Spirits Competition or the International Wine & Spirit Competition can help build credibility for your brand and potentially attract the attention of distributors.


Know your numbers: Numbers will lay the foundation of your sales pitch and are crucial for determining a budget plan. When creating a sales pitch and budget for distributors, numbers should back every claim. For this reason, clarifying your financials, like your profit margin, cost of your product, retail pricing, volumes and marketing budget, is your first step. Also understanding the “retail math” that goes into operating in on and off premise retail environments demonstrates to a distributor that you know the profit drivers of their customer base and can be a true business partner.


Ultimately, getting distribution for any wine and spirits brands requires persistence, creativity, and a willingness to explore a variety of strategies. By building strong relationships with distributors, leveraging online sales platforms, building brand awareness through social media and industry competitions, and becoming educated about the financials of distribution, diverse-owned brands can increase their chances of success in the highly competitive wine and spirits industry.


If you are a diverse- or women-owned brands in the wine, spirits, CBD and non-alcohol beverage industry, you may also be eligible for Southern Glazer’s Incubator Academy, which provides unprecedented free access to foundational business learning to increase potential for commercial success. Learn more about Incubator Academy and how to register here.