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Breakthru Beverage distribution firm goes live

New alcohol distribution and wholesale heavyweight Breakthru Beverage Group has officially gone live following the merger of Charmer Sunbelt and Wirtz Beverage.

Breakthru Beverage Group has gone live in 19 markets, marking the creation of a new alcohol wholesale and distribution leader in North America

Now one of the biggest alcohol wholesalers and distributors in North America, Breakthru was formed after Wirtz Beverage merged its entire business with Sunbelt and is now operating in 19 markets.

The company is headquartered in New York, the HQ base of Charmer Sunbelt, with a corporate office based in Chicago, the base of Wirtz Beverage. It represents a portfolio of wine, spirits and beer brands totaling with more than US$6 billion in annual sales.

The merger of both family-run distributors was led by W. Rockwell Wirtz, of Wirtz Beverage Group, and Charles Merinoff, of Charmer Sunbelt Group, who are co-chairmen of Breakthru’s board.

Daniel Wirtz, former president of Wirtz Beverage Group, has assumed the role of vice-chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group, while Greg Baird, former president of Charmer Sunbelt Group, serves as the president and CEO of the company.

“Breakthru Beverage is built upon the best of our legacy operations while setting a new path and approach forward,” said Baird. “Our vision for the future is focused on excellence and how we can be a stronger and more innovative partner for our suppliers and customers in all of our markets.”

The Breakthru Beverage brand replaces legacy house names in markets including Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington DC.

Nevada will transition to the Breakthru brand in the ensuing weeks as the state licensing process concludes, while Wirtz Beverage Canada and Alliance Beverage in Alabama, Arizona and Mississippi will maintain their names.

Breakthru will maintain existing facilities and will employ 7,000 people nationwide.

“The pace at which we are moving should indicate the level of commitment and excitement we have about Breakthru,” added Baird.  “Not only is our integration work well underway, but early indications are that our local markets teams delivered excellent results during the critically important holiday selling period.”

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