By Cheryl Durzy, Founder & CEO, LibDib -
Recently, LibDib announced that our tenth state is now live for Makers. New Jersey is now open to any and all wine and spirits brands looking for distribution in the state (and will be open to Buyers soon!)
As I sit back and think about the incredible accomplishment of opening 10 states to distribution in 5 years, I am amazed at what LibDib has done. This March we celebrated our 5-year anniversary, which in start-up land is quite an accomplishment. This summer our team will finally gather in person to celebrate this half-decade milestone.
As we document our incredible growth, I thought it would be fun to share facts about each LibDib market. As I look through the list of states where we offer three-tier compliant distribution, I am in awe of our platform that was completely built from the ground up.
The beverage alcohol business in the United States is really complicated and varies by state, by product, and sometimes even by county. In one state, something must be price-posted in advance before a price can be updated. Tax rates, at-rest requirements, Maker compliance requirements, wording on invoices. It’s all different by geography. The LibDib platform was built for this. It was not made on top of another out-of-the-box platform (like many distribution platforms are). LibDib was built from scratch for the wholesale business of alcohol and we are very proud of that.
10 Fun Facts About LibDib’s 10 Markets:
- California was the first LibDib license. The state is the country’s largest beverage alcohol market and continues to be LibDib’s largest market. To support the state’s at-rest requirement, we are licensed in multiple warehouses throughout California.
- New York, our second market, was the first Price Posting state we started operating in. In the early days Price Posting was very manual, but now the process is mostly automated on LibDib. We also now operate in two other Price Posting markets: Connecticut and New Jersey.
- Wisconsin was our third market and it is the only LibDib state where Makers are responsible for paying the state excise tax.
- Colorado was our fourth state. It was also the first market LibDib operated in with RNDC as our partner. LibDib now has two warehouses in the state, enabling us to support shipments of 1 bottle or pallets. We cover all corners of the Colorado market, which if you’re familiar with Colorado geography, is not an easy feat (especially in mountain areas). Another interesting fact, Colorado is the only state in which the distributor cannot import products into the state. So, Makers must work with a separate importer in the state or get their own importer licenses if the volumes justify it. LibDib purchases from the importer as the distributor and the importer pays the Maker.
- Florida was one of the easier states to do business in. Makers do not need an additional license for the state, but they do need to register their brands. Fortunately this can be done online.
- Illinois was our sixth state and we opened it during Covid. The majority of our business is currently off-premise. However, as businesses are reopening we are seeing more and more on-premise accounts sign up every day. Once again, Makers are thriving in this amazing market. Another fun fact, in Illinois distributors are assigned by county and a Maker can only have one distributor in the state.
- Texas was our first LibDib@RNDC market (hint, hint more to come), we operate as a sales division at RNDC. Via LibDib’s innovative model, any Maker can enter the market to showcase their products to Buyers. Buyers then order from RNDC and the product is delivered from there. LibDib offers a place where all Makers can start out, grow and get into the top national distribution network. We already have several Makers in Texas who are showing signs of graduating to RNDC within a few months. Another fun Texas fact: on-premise accounts must order spirits via a “Class B” licensee (a retailer). The retailer orders from a distributor and then the on-premise account will often pick up the product at the retailer.
- Connecticut was our second price posting state. This one is another technology head banger as our Makers ALSO have to Price Post and there is no automated notification to tell us if they did or didn't (at least not yet).
- Maryland, to be honest, thus far Maryland was one of the easier states when it came to getting our license. It was also easy for Makers to enter the market. Because we have a lot of Buyers that love the LibDib concept in Maryland, every Maker should go into this key state.
- New Jersey, we worked on this license for about two years. It was truly a joy to announce this market last month. It really rounds out our East Coast distribution. Makers can now invest in a brand representative in the NY/NJ/CT area and have access to many opportunities within those states.
10 Markets. 5 Years. What can we do in the next 5 years?
Thank you to all our supporters: Our Buyers, Makers, Investors, RNDC, Vendors, Partners, Warehouses, and more. We are thankful for you every day. Cheers to you and cheers to 5 years of LibDibbing!