The March Group Announces Investment Partnership in Global Beer Network

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The March Group announces investment partnership in Global Beer Network, an importer and distributor of premium beer.

The March Group, a middle-market merger and acquisition specialist, today announced the formation of an investment partnership in Win-It-Too, Inc., dba Global Beer Network, based in Santa Barbara, California by two individuals Steve Villiani and Cliff Lusso along with Global Beer Network founders Johnny Fincioen and wife Claudine van Massenhove.

Johnny Fincioen and Claudine van Massenhove started Global Beer Network in 1994, initially securing several beer import agreements from high-end brewers in their native Belgium with a dream of becoming successful U.S. entrepreneurs. Theirs is a classic American success story.

After selling their information technology consulting company in Belgium, the couple decided that they wanted to relocate to Santa Barbara, California. Shortly after arriving in the United States, the dynamic couple decided to do something fun in their next business venture. "Johnny was a beer aficionado," explained The March Group Managing Director Ian Joseph. "In Belgium, beer is a national pastime. There are over 140 breweries and 600 brands. The couple was able to convince some of Belgium's best brewers that had never had U.S. distribution to give them an import agreement. They moved to the United States and started from scratch."

Their U.S. import agreements are exclusive and from some of the leading Belgium breweries. They established several distribution agreements for the premium products and set up a Website that, in recent years, receives over half a million hits per month.

Their company grew between 30 and 50 percent annually until, in 2007, the couple realized that it was time to bring in additional expertise. After attending a workshop, they turned to The March Group to find the ideal partner.

Recalled TMG's Ian Joseph, "Ultimately we found the ideal partners were two individuals with specific experience and expertise. They not only brought their experience but also capital to the partnership which brought some liquidity to the founders and an orderly ownership transition
over time."

Steve Villiani previously worked in the beer industry for more than 20 years. Villiani worked his way up through the ranks at Anheuser-Busch in the sale and marketing sector of the company. "Steve knew that the high-end product was where the action is in the beer market these days," said partner Cliff Lusso, who has a banking and venture capital background and expertise in growing small companies. "And he knew that Belgium beer, in particular, is at the top of the
food chain."

In 2007, Villiani was living in Florida running a distributorship of primarily Anheuser-Busch products. "He had come across the Global Beer opportunity and really loved it," continued Lusso. "He is a sales and marketing manager, not really a finance and operating manager, so he showed it to me and I thought it was great opportunity."

After looking at the package put together by The March Group, the two men visited Global Beer Network, met the owners and were impressed.

"I think Johnny and Claudine needed some other people and talent to take it to the next level," observed Lusso. "They couldn't leave the office. They'd be lucky if they saw a customer every three years. Steve's goal as the new president is to see every customer every quarter."

With plans to expand in new states and to grow the number of distributors in both existing and newly added states, Lusso said he hopes to see continued double-digit growth. "We have more than 42 fantastic products and over a dozen are award-winning, gold medal beers in national competition," says Lusso, who, as COO, is positioned to manage the growth.

The March Group's Ian Joseph said he sees a win-win arrangement for Global Beer Network. "It had been a husband and wife operation. Villiani's beer expertise enables the company to become a more professional operation. That's not to take away anything from Johnny and Claudine. They did a great job, but Steve's had a lot of training, working his way through the management ranks of Anheuser-Busch. Plus, Belgium Beer is the industry's fastest import category, so they have incredible opportunities."

Global Beer Network is an importer and distributor of premium Belgium beer. It imports and is the wholesale distributor of 42 leading Belgium beers. The company holds exclusive import agreements for the entire United States with 10 exceptional Belgium specialty breweries. It's consumer-friendly, popular Website address is http://www.globalbeer.com/ where information regarding specific beers, and the locations where the beers are distributed is available.

About the Company
The March Group is an investment bank with more than 20 years of experience, specializing in the marketing, negotiation and sale of privately held mid-size businesses. The March Group provides a full spectrum of investment banking and consulting services designed to help entrepreneurs obtain financing in all stages of their company's development. They take a hands-on approach to selling a business by offering workshops, evaluating the company, managing the marketing process, and negotiating the sale.

With a robust network of buyer relationships throughout the world, The March Group provides their clients with unparalleled contacts developed over a 20-year span of successful operations. Contact the firm's Corporate Marketing Director, Kelli Matonak, for more information kmatonak @ marchgroup.com or 866-663-5806.

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