For the first time, “any maker of speciality wine, craft spirits and micro brews can easily set up distribution”, the company says. American alcohol distribution has not changed since the three-tier system was introduced in 1933 following the repeal of Prohibition.
LibDib founder and CEO, Cheryl Durzy, who has 20 years experience in the wine industry, said that she decided the company was necessary after becoming frustrated by the lack of options available while managing her family’s brand. She said: “All brands deserve a route to market and LibDib creates an opportunity where makers and buyers can work directly together. LibDib is distribution done differently and distribution that’s open to everyone, not just a select few.”
Transactions will go live in California on 5 April 2017 and will allow restaurants, bars and retailers in the state to order from any size company, no matter where in the world they are. A New York operation is set to follow in the coming months.
Brands can already visit the website and input their products into the system. They need to upload licences and basic information, and then can calculate listed wholesale prices and define where they wish to distribute their products.
Richard Brashears, LibDib chief tech officer and a 20-year technology industry veteran, added: “The alcohol distribution market hasn’t changed for more than eighty years and is ripe for innovation. Just as the hotel and transportation industries have evolved with two-sided web and mobile platforms, LibDib has used technology to change the distribution process and make it easier, more cost effective and more efficient than ever before.”
LibDib is aiming to implement numerous market-friendly business practices, including charging a lower margin for makers, enabling direct communication between makers and accounts, giving wider access of local products to restaurants, bars and retailers, and eliminating the “middle man” with “any potential for a sales representative to strong-arm the sales process”.
LibDib was founded in 2016 and is based in San Jose, California.
Last year, independent Scotch bottler Compass Box CEO John Glaser said continued consolidation in the US distribution sector presents ‘an issue’ for the country’s spirits industry.