DSD lines are blurring

We are back!!!!

After a 4 year hiatus, the Wine and Spirits Wholesaler Association is back with their 2023 Access Live event in Orlando.  If you are a wine or spirits enthusiast, this is the place to be.  It’s also the place to be if you are in the beverage industry as leading national wholesalers such as Southern Wine and Spirits, RNDC (Republic National) and Breakthru have massive presence here.  This is the 80th anniversary of the WSWA and this year hosts all three tiers of spirit and wine distribution where retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers are under one roof. 

Why is DSD so important?

Two of the largest costs for a retailer is Labor and Inventory.  Ever wonder why orders lag in January?  Inventory reduction before the end of the fiscal year.  Why are shelves empty or filled with out of stocks?  Store labor is stretched.  Direct Store Delivery or DSD addresses both of these costs for a retailer where they act as a store’s local warehouse and keep shelves full. 

NBWA vs. WSWA… lines are blurring

The lines are blurring across the DSD landscape, especially in beverage.  Beer wholesalers (who belong to the NBWA or National Beer Wholesalers Association) are starting to distribute spirits.  Think Miller Coors and Anheuser Busch.  Largely driven by the increase in spirit based Ready to Drink (RTD) beverages- think vodka tonic in a can.  The largest “spirit” brand in the US today is High Noon, a vodka based RTD.  The Budweiser network is distributing Cutwater, a canned “spirit” cocktail. Beer wholesalers sell a TON of non-alcohol brands too.  Monster, Bang and Celsius are all brands built by members of the NBWA.


Wine and Spirit distributors (who belong to WSWA or Wine and Spirits Wholesaler Association) are distributing beer, non-alcohol beverages and CBD infused beverages.  Although a very consolidated industry driven by Southern Wine & Spirits, Republic National (RNDC), and Breakthru, finding growth beyond spirits is critical to maximizing growth.


This year at the WSWA show in Orlando, it was clear from Tom Cole, CEO of WSWA, that the wine and spirits wholesaler industry want to own the CBD beverage space.   This group has experience in the highly regulated spirits industry and see themselves perfectly positioned to manage the future of CBD.  Big brands like DayOne, Daytrip, and Recess are well backed brands that will be ready to scale once regulations are defined by the FDA and Congress. 

As the lines blur across the DSD landscape, understanding these associations, how they operate, and where they distribute is critical for all emerging brands.

Execution basics…. AI Image Recognition

It was cool to see technology represented at the WSWA show this year with Go Spot Check by FORM representing technology used to drive compliance and execution efficiency.  AI-Image Recognition is a tool that is critical to understanding, at scale, the complexity of the store and on-premise level execution.   The complexity with spirits and wine given varied state regulations that drive localized planograms provides the fertile ground with which technology as the opportunity to grow.


For more information regarding AI-Image Recognition, Space Management, and Product Image library for the wine, spirits and beer industry connect with Jason.derienzo@visiongroupretail.com or log onto visiongroupretail.com or maxerience.com.

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