New Operating Model for Boutique Wine & Spirits Importer/Distributor

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Industry Consolidation requires new approach for small Wine and Spirits Marketplace. Highland Imports Launches Specialty Importer Distributor.

Highland Imports LLC of Shelton, CT. was born of the confluence of a number of trends in the industry of Beverage Alcohol. The two most compelling were the great movement of artisan brands, private labels and small batch production as well as the rollup of multi-state distribution into national conglomerates. It has chosen to solve the needs created through a “Pull Market” strategy.

Highland Imports has sought to fill the gap created by these two trends. Major suppliers became more and more frustrated with dealing with dozens of distributors in numerous states; they pushed some of the larger distributors into expansion for additional efficiencies.These distributors began rolling up mom and pops across the country. The larger distribution groups were then fully automated to service the needs of the large suppliers and major brands.

This left the smaller brands and suppliers abandoned in the major morass of these groups. Lacking attention and watching their margins slowly decimated by charge backs etc., they looked to a new way to get their products to market. Highland Imports seeks to make a home for those orphaned by the new dynamic of national distributors and a path to market for the latest artisan product.

Highland Imports will seek to partner with other such small to moderate sized distributors on a national and global level to form a relationship allowing these brands to hold territory or expand as necessary or desired.

Highland will also create a unique bond with programs that reach out to the consumers and retailers it serves. One of which is the “Hidden Gems” program in which retailers and consumers who have tasted the products will rate them themselves at numerous blind tasting events we host. This completes the “Pull Market” strategy of the company. This information will give the importer a clear idea of what his consumer likes and will feed that need. This program evolved from witnessing hundreds of blind taste tests in which the consumer did not rate the wine or spirit the same as the “experts”. Time and time again consumers did not agree with the various wine rating groups and others in their “Push Market” approach to merchandising. We let the actual consumers do their own rating.

“Hidden Gems” will give Highland the edge in both retail and consumer satisfaction!

Walter Marcinowski
Director of Marketing

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Walter Marcinowski
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