Southern Wine & Spirits of America Announces Organizational Appointments to Transatlantic Spirits Division

Southern Division, led by Steve Cohen as Executive Vice President and Managing Director, will support Bacardi USA's regional distribution strategy

Feb 16, 2016, 11:00 ET from Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

MIAMI, Feb. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. ("Southern")—the nation's leading wine and spirits distributor with operations in 35 markets—today announced key organizational appointments in preparation for its new role as a lead distributor for Bacardi, U.S.A. ("Bacardi USA"), the United States import and distribution arm of one of the world's leading spirits and wine producers. Both Southern and Glazer's, Inc. ("Glazer's"), which was also appointed as a lead distributor, will serve Bacardi USA separately until the two companies combine to form Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits, LLC, which is planned to occur during the second quarter of 2016.

Southern has formed a new division, Transatlantic Spirits, which will be responsible for providing support to Bacardi USA—ensuring its portfolio of brands reaches its fullest potential in the marketplace. The division will be led by Steve Cohen, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, who recently joined Southern from Glazer's to assume this new role. Cohen will report to Southern's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brad Vassar. Transatlantic Spirits will begin operations when Southern begins dual distribution alongside the incumbent distributors for Bacardi USA on March 1 (where permissible by law). Southern and Glazer's will begin exclusive distribution for Bacardi USA on April 1.

Most recently, Cohen served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for Glazer's international business. He joined Glazer's in 2012 as Senior Vice President Diageo/Moet/Hennessy (DMH) Texas, and later became Senior Vice President of Marketing and Performance – DMH Division. Prior to joining Glazer's, he served in a number of key sales positions at Diageo, including Senior Vice President of Sales for Franchise States, Vice President of Sales for Diageo Guinness – USA, and Vice President of National Accounts.

Wayne E. Chaplin, President and CEO of Southern, said, "Transatlantic Spirits will be an exciting new business relationship with Bacardi USA. As we focus on building a world-class organization to ensure the division's success, we are delighted that Steve Cohen, who has more than 20 years of cross-functional and diverse geographical sales experience, will be leading Transatlantic Spirits. With Steve's experience and leadership, our new division is well on its way toward a successful future."

Cohen will be joined on the Transatlantic Spirits leadership team by Chris Minielly, who will serve as Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy, and Kathleen Procario, who will serve as the division's National Talent Management Director.

Minielly joined Southern in 2005 from A.T. Kearney, where he had supported Southern's initial, successful NGG proposal with Diageo in 2001 - 2002. As a Director within the newly established Strategic Programs Group (SPG), he initially focused on multiple, successful supplier alignment efforts, and in 2009 moved to the Supplier Strategy Group (SSG), where he oversaw the Deutsch and Sidney Frank relationships. He rejoined SPG in 2013 as Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. As part of his new role, Minielly will oversee route-to-market, business planning, trade development, business intelligence, multi-cultural marketing and overall business platform for Bacardi USA.

Procario comes to Southern with more than 15 years of experience working for Philip Morris, Diageo and, most recently, Glazer's. In her new role, Procario will design and implement the division's talent, recruiting and organizational development strategy.

"We are very pleased to have been selected by Bacardi USA as their distributor alongside Glazer's," added Vassar. "With the combined leadership and experience of Steve and the entire national Bacardi USA team, the new Transatlantic Spirits division will deliver best-in-class support to BUSA. And, we will apply unmatched talent and dedication to service to meet and exceed their expectations." 

Cohen concluded, "I am honored to have this opportunity to join Southern and lead the new Transatlantic Spirits division. The partnership with Bacardi USA speaks to the strength of the network and commitment to service that Southern will bring to Bacardi USA as we work to grow its brands."

Additional announcements on national and regional leads will be forthcoming.

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation's largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Southern will be operational in Nebraska by the end of February 2016, and operational in North Dakota and South Dakota by April 1, 2016. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 14,500 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly.

For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, see:

Southern Press Contact: 
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Lee Brian Schrager, 305-625-4171 x 1040
Vice President, Corporate Communications

SOURCE Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.