October 15, 2014

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.


Delivering World-Class Wine and Spirit Selections with Award-Winning Service

Don’t let the name fool you. Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) may have started in the South (Florida to be exact), but today its southern hospitality touches 35 markets  making Southern the largest wine and spirits distributor in the United States. The company slogan “Dedicated to Sales & Service” is more than just a motto; Southern takes customer service seriously by going above and beyond to deliver top quality service that exceeds expectations and adds distinctive, measurable and innovative value for their customers and suppliers.

This can be a daunting task as the wine and spirits business is filled with high service expectations and government regulations that differ from market to market. “Expectations and laws must be managed carefully,” said Larry Sullivan, Vice President, Fleet, Safety and Compliance for Southern. “We pride ourselves in understanding the intricacies of the markets we service and delivering the highest standards of customer service.”

A well-managed distribution model is one component to the success of Southern. “We operate much like a hub and spoke network, with distribution centers (DCs) and depots in most of our divisions,” Sullivan explained. “We make nightly runs from our DCs to the depots. Four or five days a week orders are placed throughout the day, product is picked during the night, and delivery is made by 5 p.m. the next day to more than 180,000 chains, retail locations and restaurants across the United States. From on premise locations like fine-dining restaurants to off premise grocery and liquor stores, Southern’s distribution network is expansive.

A large fleet of 53-foot trailers, including 64 refrigerated trailers featuring Thermo King SB units, transports product from the DCs to the depots each night. The product is then cross-docked into route trucks for local deliveries. Southern understands the importance of delivering optimally-cooled product, especially top-shelf wines. About half of their private fleet of approximately 1,335 trucks is cooled with a Thermo King refrigeration unit.

“We have partnered with Thermo King for 25 years, working closely with Gulf Coast Thermo King near our home office in Miami. The reliable quality service and product received is beyond compare,”   said Sullivan.

 “Cold rooms within our DCs keep high-end wines and spirits between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit,” explained Jack Griffie, routing manager, for Southern’s Depot in Lakeland, Florida. “Preventing unnecessary temperature fluctuations, maintaining quality and ensuring customers get the superior product they deserve are the reasons we count on Thermo King to help us maintain that temperature in our delivery trucks.”

Southern runs a combination of Thermo King vehicle-powered and self-powered truck units on its trucks; the majority of which are V-520 vehicle-powered units. Commonly referred to as ‘coolers,’ these units eliminate driver worry. To conserve energy, back door sensors ensure that the engine and unit are shut down when deliveries are made, and temperatures are automatically set to match cold room temperatures.

The T-80 Series of self-powered units are run and controlled independently of the truck engine. They deliver a low cost of ownership by keeping maintenance costs down, improving fuel economy, and providing unmatched reliability. Southern runs 83 of these units, mainly in warmer markets that order large quantities of top-shelf product.

Creating and providing superior value for customers and suppliers is a key part of the Southern mission statement. The company has experienced continued growth since its founding in 1968— a direct reflection of their success in delivering on that promise.

“It is a pleasure working with Southern and providing the refrigeration requirements that meet their unique needs,” said John Dancu, sales manager at Gulf Coast Thermo King.

Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Miami, Florida. It is a nationally recognized wine and spirits distributor known for its longstanding commitment to delivering the highest standards of customer service and innovative value to the customers and supplier partners alike.

Learn more about Southern, their business, mission and the unique industry landscape at www.sourthernwine.com. And while you are there, be sure to check out the fun recipes shared by the company’s Mixology Masters where you are sure to find something for your next gathering!


Dealer: Gulf Coast Thermo King 

Customer: Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. | www.southernwine.com