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Distributor: "I don't want 600 rarely-serviced clients. I want 100 well-serviced clients."

Last updated September 14, 2023 · By Dylan Blake

In last week's interview, Nick Wendowski of Stone's Beer & Beverage Market shared some outside-the-box thoughts on growth as a beer store owner/distributor in Philadelphia: namely, growth isn't his primary goal.

In this week's clip Nick describes how that point of view is reflected in the distribution and wholesale side of his business.

Like last week's, this week's clip doesn't offer much tactical advice for most of you (who work at/own bars, restaurants, and breweries), but I think it's important to surface points of view like Nick's, since they aren't exactly common in the industry or the larger business world.

It's also interesting to hear a play-by-play of how beer stores can double as distributors in PA.

Here are takeaways from the interview clip:

  • Across the country, the standard approach to the relationship between distributors and bars/restaurants is mostly on distributors' terms: you order from them and they tell you the day you'll get the delivery. They don't even tell you the time, and the person delivering isn't the person with whom you placed the order. This happens with the 8-10 or however many distributors you work with.
  • Because PA has some unique liquor laws and Nick has the right license, he's able to both be a beer store and distribute to bars and restaurants.
  • Basically, he buys from the bigger distributors just like many bars and restaurants do. But then he can then go on and sell what he's bought to bars and restaurants.
  • There's a markup, of course.
  • So with that markup, why would anyone use him as their distributor? He can deliver everything you want at once and come exactly when you want. He can even come same-day.
  • For some folks, that time savings, control, and the rich distributor relationship is more than worth the higher cost.
  • And that rich relationship is what Nick's after, too. Like he said in last week's interview, he's making a lifestyle play that centers on high quality relationships with everyone he does business with. And this model allows for exactly that. He doesn't need a huge client volume. He can make do with a fraction of what others need to survive.

Check out the interview clip for more from Nick about rich industry relationships and how his unique wholesale business works: