If you’ve dealt with distributors your first reaction to this first blog post might be to run like the wind. But I’m here to tell you that you if you are small to mid-sized businesses with alcoholic beverage distribution woes, you might want to hear what I have to say. Because a year ago I was you.
My name is Cheryl Durzy and I am the founder of Liberation Distribution, otherwise known as LibDib, a new alcohol distributor launching a distributorship and a technology platform in just a week from today. We are the first distributor to also be a technology company and we are here to do distribution differently.
Why do I care about small to mid-sized beverage producers? I spent nearly twenty years managing wholesale distribution for my family’s winery (Clos LaChance) in the Northern Central Coast. My job was managing the wholesale channel of our brands. It was fun for awhile. We had a nice sweet spot with the mid-sized, family-owned wholesalers. Then over the last 10 years, things really started changing. Massive companies bought all of the good mid-sized wholesalers up and our brand was lost in the portfolio. Sales went down. Expenses went up. I missed our goal numbers every single year.
We tried everything. Hiring our own sales force to cover the market. Diversifying our portfolio with different products and finding alternative channels of distribution. A “3 ½ “ tier marketing company. And still, sales went down, expenses and effort continued to go up.
One night I stayed up late with my dad, drinking too much Pinot Noir and commiserating about our situation. At one point I had a stream of consciousness and (likely) started yelling something like this: “Let’s just start our own distributorship but make it web based and connect wineries and buyers to do business directly but we take care of all the tracking, taxes, reporting, and distributor stuff.”
That night was the beginning of an idea that eventually became Liberation Distribution. I connected with some of my Silicon Valley buddies, we formed a company, hired a rockstar engineering team and a year later we have LibDib.
Here’s my elevator pitch: LibDib allows for Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries to engage and sell to Restaurants, Bars and Retailers legally and efficiently through our modern web platform. It’s open to EVERYONE and setting up distribution in a new state is as easy as entering information online and uploading a license.
We launch on March 22. If you’re curious, go to www.libdib.com and check us out.