Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. Appoints Industry Veteran, Kevin Fennessey, as Senior Vice President-Marketing

MIAMI, March 2, 2009 – Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor and control state broker with a tradition of service excellence since 1968, today announced the appointment of wine and spirits industry veteran, Kevin Fennessey, to the newly created corporate position of Senior Vice President-Marketing. Mr. Fennessey’s appointment is effective on April 1, 2009, and Mr. Fennessey will report directly to Brad Vassar, Executive Vice President-General Manager.

According to Mr. Vassar, Mr. Fennessey brings almost 30 years of experience in the U.S. wine and spirits industry. He began his career with Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc. in 1980, and during the following 20 years with the company, he served in various sales and marketing positions—rising to Senior Vice President within the North America division in 1999. In 2002, Mr. Fennessey joined Pernod Ricard as Senior Vice President-Marketing, where he oversaw the company’s portfolio of wine and spirits. In 2006, Mr. Fennessey joined The Absolut Spirits Co., Inc. as its President and Chief Executive Officer where he focused on brand building and brand acquisitions. 

Commenting on Mr. Fennessey’s appointment at Southern, Mr. Vassar said, “We are extremely excited to have Kevin join the Southern Family. Given his long and distinguished record of accomplishment, leadership and professionalism in the wine and spirits industry, his presence will help Southern to continue to elevate its performance and growth.” Outlining Mr. Fennessey’s role, Mr. Vassar added, “In taking on this new role and working closely with our supplier partners, Kevin will oversee and coordinate all of Southern’s corporate Marketing departments, including On- and Off-Premise National Accounts, Business Intelligence and inVision—Southern’s local product sampling and marketing group. Kevin will also work with me to develop and manage a group of corporate supplier brand executives who will coordinate closely with strategic suppliers on brand-building activities across the Southern enterprise. Bottom line:  Kevin will ensure that Southern maximizes value for our brand owners across our footprint and through all of our sales channels.  He will truly be an ‘advocate’ for our suppliers both at Southern and with the trade.”

Mr. Fennessey said: “I am extremely honored to be joining Southern, a truly world-class company and the leader of the wine and spirits distribution tier. I’m excited to take my experiences from the supplier realm to Southern and look forward to assuming my new responsibilities next month.” Mr. Fennessey added, “Over more than two decades, I have come to know Harvey and Wayne Chaplin as well as many of Southern’s senior executives. They are relentless champions and supporters of the supplier brands they represent; bold leaders and visionaries regarding strategic acquisitions and joint ventures; and committed and empathetic stewards of a Southern culture that rewards perseverance and excellence. I am truly thrilled to become part of this great organization.”

Wayne Chaplin added, “Kevin is truly an industry-savvy, world-class executive—and we look forward to him joining our senior corporate executive team. With suppliers and distributors moving toward heightened levels of collaboration across multiple markets, Kevin’s background will be ideal in sustaining and growing the tightly-integrated, fully-transparent and mutually-beneficial approaches that Southern is employing with our strategic supplier partners. Kevin’s ‘steady-hand-on-the-rudder’ leadership style and values of fairness and hard work will serve him well at Southern long into the future.”

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America:

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor, with current operations in 28 states. The multi-state distributor currently operates in:  Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia—and the additional six states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah through the Southern Wine/Spirits West partnership.  In addition, SWS has announced two additional pending strategic arrangements—one with Glazer’s in the center of the country and one with The Odom Corporation involving the aforementioned Pacific Northwest states and Alaska—resulting in an incremental 9 markets to Southern’s present footprint. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 10,000 team members.  For more information contact:





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