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How to Distribute a Beverage to Liquor Stores

Mr. Checkout is a national association of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to approximately 35,000 independent stores around the country and are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

How Do I Get My New Product into a Liquor Store?

Thanks to the 21st Amendment, you, the entrepreneur, have the freedom to drink beer or distribute a beverage to a liquor store. But it’s a little more complicated than that. Are you wondering how to distribute a beverage to liquor stores? If so, it takes quite a bit of research, and this article is your first step.

In the United States, each state has the power to regulate the production, sale and distribution of alcohol within its borders. This means state and local jurisdictions may have their own requirements in addition to federal requirements. State laws and regulations concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages vary widely from state to state, and may be more restrictive than federal regulations. In order to distribute a beverage to liquor stores and avoid possible conflicts, you need to know the laws in each state that you want to have a distribution network in.

Each state operates according to a three-tier distribution system, whereby manufacturers large and small must sell their products to distributors who then sell the beverages to the retailers who then pass them on to the consumers.

Research: If you plan to do business in a state, you must contact the appropriate authorities for more information about the state and local requirements. Some states are considered control states while others are considered open or license states. The rules differ for the sale and distribution of alcohol vary greatly between these two types of states. Contact the Alcohol Beverage Commission in each state you plan to do business in to determine exactly what your plan of action will be; find out what you need to do to get your alcoholic beverage product distributed to retailers and what distributors you may use.

Find a Beverage Distributor: Choosing the right distribution network and finding the right distributor is an important step of any new product launch, and finding the right distributor for your alcoholic beverage is essential to its long-term success. As a new product, you will want to look for beverage distributors that carry brands that will complement your product. Trade associations, trade publications and each state’s are all great places to look for potential beverage distributors to distribute your new liquor product or alcoholic beverage. You can also contact the liquor control commission or the liquor regulation agency for the states in question and. request a list of licensed liquor distributors.

Build Value: There is a lot of competition in the liquor industry, so it’s important to attribute value to your brand. You must demonstrate a USP, or Unique Selling Proposition, as well as long-term profitability. You have to convince potential distributors your alcoholic beverage has a viable market and that carrying your product will provide them with a competitive advantage over their competitors.

Present Your Beverage Product: In order to get your beverage product into liquor stores, you should present to your list of potential distributors, armed with a thoroughly prepared presentation, a promotional kit, product samples and spec sheets. Highlight the major benefits of distributing your beverage product and make a case that there is a market for your liquor product. Explain the potential challenges you see and how you plan to confront them. Tell these distributors why your product is the best fit for their businesses.

Now that you know how to get a beverage in liquor stores, take a look at this list of control and open states to see what your next steps should be to get your new beer or liquor product on store shelves.

If you have a product, we want to hear from you!