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  • Monday, August 08, 2022 1:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chair, vice-chair and finance chair hail from distributors in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Flint

    LANSING — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today announced the reelection of its existing executive officers to guide the association over the next year. The election was held during the association’s recent annual convention.

    Jim Warbritton, president of Rave Associates in Ann Arbor, was reelected chair of the MB&WWA Board of Directors. A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer in Grand Rapids, was reelected vice-chair. Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing in Flint, was reelected finance chair.

    “I am thrilled to be reelected chair of our board for the next year as we continue our mission to spur new innovation, choice and competition while supporting Michigan’s small businesses,” Warbritton said. “Working together, we will maintain our commitment to ensuring Michigan has vibrant and successful beer and wine industries.”  

    Rave Associates is a family-owned beer and wine distributor in Ann Arbor. The distributor services retailers throughout eight counties in Southeast Michigan. Rave Associates, the first and largest distributor of Bell’s Brewery beer and the largest distributor of Michigan craft beer in the state, distributes both beer and wine from suppliers across Michigan and around the world.

    West Side Beer serves more than 3,300 retailers in 15 counties out of its warehouses in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Romulus.

    “Our association is nearly 50 distributors strong, and the MB&WWA board is proud to represent our members and guide the association in the next year and beyond,” Mathews said.

    O’Sullivan-Butler also serves on the association’s Women’s Advocacy Committee, which was created to highlight and amplify the important work women do for Michigan’s beer and wine distributors and to advocate for distributor interests in Lansing. She is the second woman to hold an executive leadership position within the association.

    “I am honored to be reelected finance chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors and will work to continue expanding the critical role women play  in the success and growth of Michigan’s beer and wine industry,” O’Sullivan-Butler said.

    The MB&WWA represents nearly 50 beer and wine distributors throughout Michigan. The association is recognized as one of the strongest business trade associations in the state and one of the alcohol beverage industry’s most progressive state trade associations.

    # # #


    Jim Warbritton, president of Rave Associates


    A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer


    Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Craft beer lovers can toast continued growth of state’s craft beer industry during Michigan Craft Beer Month

    KALAMAZOO, Mich. — July is Craft Beer Month in Michigan and Imperial Beverage, a family owned beer, wine and spirits distributor, is proud to work with craft brewers in their communities and across the state to support the state’s flourishing craft beer industry and provide a wide range of choices to consumers.

    “We’re proud to partner with craft breweries big and small across Michigan and help them succeed,” said Joe Cekola, president of Imperial Beverage. “As Michigan continues its economic recovery, it’s never been more important to support local businesses — and that includes your local craft brewery.”

    With more than 330 breweries dotted across the state, Michigan’s beer distributors play a vital role in helping craft brewers compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field. Distributors help breweries access retailers, expand to new markets and grow their brands — all while ensuring the freshest beer possible is on tap at bars and restaurants and on store shelves.

    “This month is the perfect opportunity to raise a glass at your local brewery and toast the past and future success of Michigan’s craft beer industry,” Cekola said.

    Michigan’s independent, family owned beer distributors employ thousands of people and pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the local economy.

    ###

    Imperial Beverage is a long-standing member of the Michigan beverage distribution community. Established in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition and purchased by Kalamazoo’s Cekola family in 1984, Imperial has grown from a one county beer distributor to a top 10 statewide beer, wine, and spirits wholesaler. With 325 employees and 4 locations in Kalamazoo, Livonia, Ishpeming, and Traverse City, Imperial provides statewide coverage that serves every Michigan County, every week, all year long.

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2022 8:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Family owned beer and wine distributor celebrating 23rd Michigan brewery contract during Michigan Craft Beer Month

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — July is Michigan Craft Beer Month and Rave Associates, an Ann Arbor-based, family owned beer and wine distributor, is proud to work with craft brewers in their communities and across Michigan to support the state’s flourishing craft beer industry.

    As part of Craft Beer Month, Rave Associates is celebrating its 23rd Michigan brewery contract, representing the distributor’s continued partnerships in the industry.

    “From our first contract signed with Bell’s Brewery back in the late 1980s to contracts on which the ink is not yet dry, we are proud to be Michigan Beer Patriots,” said Jim Warbritton, Rave Associates president. “We’re also proud to promote growth, choices and competition through our continued and strong partnerships with craft breweries big and small across Michigan.”

    Also as part of Craft Beer Month, Rave Associates is supporting the 23rd annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival taking place July 22-23 in Ypsilanti, where some of Michigan’s finest beers will be on display.

    With more than 330 breweries dotted across the state, Michigan’s beer distributors play a vital role in helping craft brewers big and small compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field. Distributors help breweries access retailers, expand to new markets and grow their brands – all while ensuring the freshest beer possible is on tap at bars and restaurants and on store shelves.

    Michigan’s independent, family owned beer distributors employ thousands of people and pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the local economy.

    “As Michigan continues its economic recovery, it’s never been more important to support local businesses — and that includes your local craft brewery,” Warbritton said. “This month is the perfect opportunity to support your local brewer or retailer and toast the resolve and past and future success of Michigan’s craft beer industry.”

    ###

  • Thursday, June 30, 2022 3:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Ann Arbor beer and wine distributor putting in extra hours to stock retailers ahead of one of the busiest holidays of the year

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – One of the nation’s most popular holidays for beer and wine sales is right around the corner, which means Rave Associates is working overtime to ensure beer and wine lovers’ favorite beverages are stocked at stores, restaurants and bars across the state.

    “The Fourth of July is one of the biggest holidays for alcohol sales, and we expect demand to be particularly high as Michigan’s beer and wine enthusiasts return to large gatherings of friends and family,” said Jim Warbritton, Rave Associates president. “We’re proud to partner with suppliers right here in Michigan, across the country and around the world to ensure our retailers offer an unmatched selection of beer and wine this Fourth of July and beyond.”

    Rave Associates is a family owned  beer and wine distributor that services nine counties throughout Southeast Michigan.

    Independence Day is one of the biggest holidays for alcohol sales each year and the number one holiday for beer consumption outside of the home, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association. For brewers, distributors and retailers, the Fourth of July marks the height of the summer beer selling season.

    “Our dedicated team of salespeople, drivers and office and warehouse staff is working around the clock with retailers near and far to ensure their store shelves are stocked and their taps are flowing for the holiday weekend,” Warbritton said. “I’m grateful to each and every member of our team for putting in extra hours to ensure a successful holiday for our retailers and suppliers.”

    # # #

  • Tuesday, June 21, 2022 8:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Flint, Mich. – Local distributor John P. O’Sullivan Distributing today announced the addition of a new 2022 Ford E-Transit Cargo Van to its fleet of delivery vehicles. The all-electric vehicle represents an exciting innovation for the company and continues its commitment to environmental sustainability, employee safety and supporting Michigan manufacturers.

    “Our company and hardworking employees believe we must do everything we can to preserve our lakes, air and land for future generations,” said Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, President and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing. “The new van is a symbol of our company’s commitment to sustainability, and it makes good sense for our business because it will save us money, incorporate new safety features for our employees and contribute to the local economy.”

    The Ford E-Transit runs solely off battery power. It includes a standard 4G LTE modem and data connectivity, and other telematics features that give fleet managers live tracking of vehicles with geofencing notifications and maintenance alerts. The vehicle also includes service reminders and driver behavior notifications, including for severe acceleration and braking events, and speeding and crash notifications. The all-electric vehicle provides more efficient routes and enhanced safety for delivery drivers.

    John P. O’Sullivan Distributing will use the van to deliver and pick up products from its warehouse and deliver them to retailers, bars and restaurants within the greater Flint area. The company is looking to add additional electric vehicles to its fleet in the future.

    The O’Sullivan family has operated a distributorship, which delivers beer and non-alcoholic beverages, in the Flint area since 1976. With more than 100 employees and state-of-the-art operational systems, O’Sullivan Distributing navigates 20 delivery routes per day, servicing over 1,700 stores, bars and restaurants throughout Genesee and six surrounding counties.

    ###

  • Monday, April 25, 2022 12:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Ypsilanti, Mich. –  Local distributor O&W Inc. today celebrated its longtime commitment to recycling and environmental sustainability on Earth Day, including serving as one of the largest recyclers in the region and investing in energy savings programs.

    “Our company and hardworking employees believe we must do everything we can to preserve our lakes, air and land for future generations, and that’s why we invest so much in recycling and conservation,” said Kit Wanty-Lambert, O&W Inc. President. “Recycling and environmental sustainability are responsible practices, as well as good business practices that help our company save money, protect resources and contribute to the local economy.”

    O&W participated in recycling 95,287,240 cans and glass bottles in 2021. In addition to cans and bottles brought back from retail, the company is committed to recycling 100% of the cardboard, plastic and paper within its facility. In 2021, O&W invested in a new solar array system on their warehouse in Ypsilanti, complete with 420 new panels producing 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and realizing savings of $20,000 annually. O&W’s additional renewable energy investment is just part of the distributor’s goal to leave the environment and industry in better shape than they found it through greener choices.

    Each day, Michiganders return as many as 10 million cans and bottles. Michigan’s beer distributors reclaim and recycle nearly 3.4 billion beverage containers each year, thereby conserving resources, reducing pollution, and protecting our Great Lakes.

    Michigan’s beer and wine distributors became the state’s major recyclers after the 1978 passage of the bottle bill, which gives 10 cents back when people return cans and bottles to retailers. Distributors initiate the chain of deposits, collecting the 10-cent-per-container deposit at the front end, refunding the deposit when containers are properly returned by retailers and recycling the materials at the end of the process. Because of the system, Michigan has the nation’s highest return rate for recycling cans and bottles.

    ###

  • Wednesday, March 23, 2022 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Addition is distributor’s latest investment into the local community

    CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Petitpren Inc., a leader among wholesale beverage distributors since 1933, today broke ground on a 30,000-square-foot addition to its Clinton Township warehouse. The expansion will help the distributor accommodate a growing roster of suppliers and the increase in packages. Petitpren Inc. is a steward of the environment and strives to give back to surrounding communities.  

    “At Petitpren, we are proud to continue playing a role in growing our local economy, giving back to our community and being good environmental stewards,” said Brad D. Petitpren, Petitpren’s president. “This expansion shows how far we’ve come since my great-grandfather launched this company out of a six-car garage immediately following Prohibition. We look forward to continuing to serve this community for many generations to come.”

    Dignitaries, including state Sen. Michael MacDonald, R-Macomb Township, state Rep. Bill Sowerby, D-Clinton Township, and Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon were on hand today to celebrate the occasion.

    In addition to a new draft cooler, the addition to the current 135,000-square-foot warehouse will help accommodate packaging space needed to serve a growing roster of beer, nonalcoholic beverage, and energy drinks. The project demonstrates Petitpren’s continued growth, including doubling the number of beverage products it distributes over the past decade.

    “With the amount of consolidation going on in the beer industry across Michigan and around the country, it’s exciting for us to look at what we’re doing to grow our operation and prepare for the future,” said Rob Herrick, Petitpren’s Director of Operations. “Our business continues to become more complex and we plan to make the changes to meet the needs of our customers now and in the foreseeable future.”

    Currently, a fifth generation of Petitprens are working at the company since its founding.

    Petitpren Inc. services over 1,200 retailers across Macomb County and a portion of Wayne County, including the City of Hamtramck. These retailers include restaurants, bars, grocery and drug stores, gas stations, independent party and liquor stores, a concert venue and a minor league baseball park.

    Petitpren Inc. has undertaken many energy efficiency projects over the past 10 years, recycles approximately 2 million pounds of aluminum annually, and donates more than $100,000 to local charities and municipalities each year. Petitpren Inc. was also a co-founder of SADD, which is now Student Leadership Services, a student-based organization that fights underage drinking and promotes alcohol education to minors.

    ###

    Cutline: From left to right, Dean, Alec, Austin and Brad Petitpren at Monday’s groundbreaking of Petitpren Inc.’s 30,000-square-foot addition to its Clinton Township warehouse. The expansion will help the distributor accommodate a growing roster of suppliers and the increase in packages.

  • Friday, February 04, 2022 10:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Shining spotlight on violations, increased enforcement contributing to downward trend in illegal shipments

    LANSING – Nearly 72,000 bottles of alcohol were shipped illegally into Michigan from out-of-state retailers during the 1st quarter of 2021, according to data compiled by the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA).

    During the 1st quarter of 2021, which covers January through March, there were 580,025 bottles of alcohol shipped into Michigan. Of that amount, 508,496 were from licensed shippers, leaving 71,529 shipped illegally into the state. The news demonstrates a significant decrease compared to nearly 160,000 bottles of wine illegally shipped into Michigan during the 1st quarter of 2020. The data were compiled using reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan.

    “Shining a spotlight on these illegal practices and ramped-up enforcement at the state level has resulted in a downward trend of illegal shipments into Michigan,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “While we have a long way to go, the good news is we’re making progress for Michigan consumers, businesses and taxpayers. I’d like to personally thank the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and Attorney General Dana Nessel for their ongoing commitment to ending the illegal shipment of alcohol into Michigan and protecting precious tax revenue for our state.”

    The latest illegal shipment figures are in stark contrast to 2019, when a total 734,365 bottles of alcohol were shipped illegally into Michigan. Illegal shipments of wine into Michigan have endangered mom-and-pop retailers and created a massive loss of tax revenue for schools, communities, emergency services and more.

    “We cannot let our guard down,” Nevins said. “Even one illegal shipment of wine into Michigan is too many, and there are still plenty of bad actors who continue to thumb their nose at Michigan law to the detriment of our families and businesses. We encourage the MLCC and Attorney General Nessel to continue targeting illegal wine shippers who threaten Michigan’s economic recovery.”

    Data collection for 2020 and 2021 has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    ###

  • Friday, January 07, 2022 10:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jim and Doug Wanty to step down after nearly 50 years at the helm, daughters Kit, Jamie and Isabel and son Cooper to run company

    YPSILANTI, Mich. — O&W Inc., an independent beer distributor headquartered in Ypsilanti, today announced the next generation of the family-owned wholesaler will take the reins of the company with the retirement of brothers Jim and Doug Wanty. Jim first joined the company in 1972 and Doug in 1983.

    Kit Wanty will succeed Doug as president, Jamie Wanty will serve as vice president of marketing, Isabel Wanty vice president of human resources and operations, and Cooper Wanty vice president of finance.

    “O&W has been a family-owned distributor for four generations, and I am thrilled that will continue under the new ownership as the fifth generation,” said Jim Wanty. “Kit, Jamie, Isabel and Cooper have been raised in the warehouse and have the knowledge and knowhow to move this company forward well into the future.”

    Jim and Doug first took over the family business in 1990. Since then, they have grown the company by acquiring six other distributors, acquired several local, regional and national brands, added additional counties to its territory and built the 100,000 square-foot warehouse that O&W Inc. calls home today. The pair also oversaw a 35,000 square-foot addition to the building in 2012.

    Jim and Doug were also champions of our industry and our local communities by serving on several committees and the board of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association and dozens of non-profit organizations over their careers.

    “The beer business has been in our blood for decades and I am happy to see our children step in and take the reins of O&W Inc.,” said Jim Wanty. “I have no doubt they will do great things and continue the legacy we have built over the years.”

    With the transition, O&W Inc. will now have three women in leadership roles, which is rarity in a male-dominated business.

    “I am excited and proud to serve as president of a company that is so respected throughout southeast Michigan, providing exceptional jobs to over 170 people, providing a premium level of service to our 2,400 licensed retailers and prioritizing giving back to the communities we serve,” said Kit Wanty. “The landscape of the beer industry has changed over the last several years and that includes recruiting and promoting women to take more prominent roles in beer distribution and throughout our organizations — and I’m proud O&W Inc. is part of that movement.”

    “We have been blessed with a rare business dynamic and exciting product set as beer distributors. Our industry has few lulls, consistently evolves, and on top of that is highly regulated. It’s a huge privilege and responsibility to be a part of such a legacy in our local communities and the beer community.” said Jamie Wanty. “It’s truly an exciting day for our family and the entire team at O&W Inc.”

    “This transition has been in the works for more than two years and it’s exciting to finally put it into action,” said Isabel Wanty. “I have learned so much from my sibling, cousins, father and uncle and can’t wait to put it to use and help our team face whatever challenges lie ahead in 2022 and beyond.”

    “The beer business has meant so much to me and my family and I’m proud to continue the legacy we have built,” said Cooper Wanty. “Despite its challenges, 2021 was a great year for our company and I look forward to building on that success for years to come.”

    In 2021, O&W Inc. moved more than 5.2 million cases of beer to retailers across a nearly seven county area in southeast Michigan stretching from Washtenaw County to Monroe County.

    O&W’s portfolio includes beverages from MolsonCoors, Boston Beer Company, Mark Anthony, Constellation Brands, Heineken USA, FIFCO, New Belgium, Griffin Claw, and many more.

    # # #

  • Monday, December 20, 2021 9:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Katie, a brand ambassador for Leinenkugel’s, is a guest of Ypsilanti beer distributor O&W Inc.

    PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Katie Leinenkugel, a 6th generation member of Leinenkugel’s — a family run brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wis. — is attending Saturday’s Teddy Bear Toss at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth. Katie is a brand ambassador for Leinenkugel’s.

    “We are thrilled Katie Leinenkugel could squeeze in a trip to Plymouth during the holidays for such a worthwhile event,” said Jamie Wanty, vice president of marketing for O&W Inc. “The annual Teddy Bear Toss is a great event to benefit the Salvation Army and children in need. We encourage everyone to come out, support a great cause and chat with a 6th generation member of the pioneering beer family.”

    Hockey fans attending the U.S National Under 18 game against the Youngstown Phantoms are asked to bring a new stuffed animal, or purchase one in the rink, and throw them onto the ice when Team USA scores its first goal. All stuffed animals will be donated to the Salvation Army and given away just in time for Christmas.

    Tickets for the game can be purchased online or by calling 734-453-6400, extension 396. Katie Leinenkugel can be found in Section 114 during Saturday’s game.

    O&W Inc. serves retailers in a seven-county area stretching from Ypsilanti east to Lake Erie and south to the Michigan-Ohio border.

    # # #

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