When Alcohol Wholesaling Starts to Look Like “The Godfather”
Wirtz Beverage and Charmer Sunbelt, two of America’s biggest box movers have merged. they now are the second largest box movers in the alcohol distribution business. And now, five companies (families) control well over 50% of the alcohol box moving business in the United States.
Remember…the box movers tell us that the three tiers system’s legal mandate that booze move through a wholesaler is a good thing because it prevents producers from dominating a market and exerting pressure on retailers. It prevents PRODUCERS from dominating retailers and exerting pressure.
Rocky Wirtz, Chairman of the former Wirtz Beverge (now the “Breakthru Beverage Group”) told the Chicago Tribune that the structure of this deal didn’t matter. Instead, “What matters is we’re coming together as two families.”
This is I’m sure the line that Vito Corleone would take when he announced the Corleone Family was merging with the Barzini Family. (By the way, the Commission would never have allowed that.)
Meanwhile, Charlie Merinoff, former CEO and Chairman of Charmer and new Co-Chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group, “brushed off the suggestion that the combined company would have more clout negotiating with suppliers.”
As well he should brush that off because the clout and power his new company will wield with be with retailers and restaurants who will be stuck working with this company. And while it is illegal for wholesaler to demand a retailer purchase a bunch of cases of THAT in order to get this…..Well….
Yes, thank God we have the three-tier system to protect the industry and consumers from big producers. Just remember, the next time you hear anyone try to tell you that the Three Tier System is good for competition, protects consumers or is in any way more than a racket to protect wholesalers from having to actually work for a living in the real world, ask them why they are lying to your face.
Also, after you ask them about their lies, don’t ever again sit with your back to the door of the restaurant.