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6980 Santa Teresa Blvd., Suite 201
San Jose
CA, 95119
United States
Cheryl Durzy

Alcoholic beverage distribution for businesses of all shapes and sizes

LibDib is the first fully licensed, three-tier distributor with a web platform. This platform allows Restaurants, Bars & Retailers (RB&Rs) to legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines and craft spirits made by Makers of all sizes. LibDib manages the delivery and handles all payment processing, for a streamlined distribution process. 

Via LibDib, any Maker of specialty wine and craft spirits, can easily create an account and input their products of choice. After uploading a license and basic information, the Maker defines each SKU, calculates the listed wholesale price, and defines where to distribute product—down to the account level.

Using LibDib, RB&Rs upload a license and purchase products online, streamlining the order process for both parties. RB&R’s can access sales materials within the platform, communicate directly with Makers, request samples, or set up automatic reorders or reminders. RB&Rs then receive the product via a LibDib distribution partner, 3PL or a common carrier (depending on the market and compliance regulations).

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Distribution, done differently

How does LibDib do distribution differently?

Setting up distribution in a new state is as easy as entering information online and uploading a license.  

Increased efficiencies in the delivery process via distributor partners, 3PL or common carrier (varies by market).

Transparency in LibDib’s margin (an average of 15%).

No bill backs, no aging inventory or buying back product.

Makers receive easy to read, useful sales reports, that are available at all times.

Sales materials are uploaded once for all markets.


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Cheryl Durzy talks about LibDib
How LibDib Works
How LibDib Works
A 30-second demo of the LibDib platform
How to Be a Successful Wine & Spirits Sales Team of One

One of the most exciting aspects around LibDib’s model is that Makers can personally build their brands exactly how they want. Using LibDib’s platform and digital tools, Makers of all sizes can choose how to grow their brand and determine its positioning in the market. As exciting and empowering as that is, a common question we receive is, “How can I effectively sell into a new market, particularly if that market is not geographically close to my home market?”

By understanding the basics of positioning a brand, selling and following up, Makers can be successful in any market, regardless of how close or far away the market is from their headquarters. Here’s a framework on how to sell effectively without a large salesforce.

1. Know Your Story

Before anything else, make sure that you’re comfortable sharing your brand story. It takes skill to riff on the spot and share a brand’s story effectively without putting forethought into exactly what you want to convey. You don’t need to memorize your story, but there should be a few key talking points for your brand and products that you touch on with every buyer.

Here are a few questions about your story that you should answer:

  • What was the inspiration for starting your brand?
  • How long have you been making your product?
  • What is the production method for your product?
  • What makes your brand, your wine or spirit, different from everyone else?

Make sure you can answer these questions and be able to convey your brand's story with passion and excitement.

2. Have a Plan

Regardless of which market you’re looking to expand into, it’s critical that you enter the market with a plan. There are two major questions you’ll want to consider:

What part of the market are you looking to grow into? This is the more analytical side of your plan. Consider specific regions within the market where your brand should be placed. In bigger markets, like California, look at being as specific as possible. For example, don’t view all of Los Angeles as your target market. Instead, drill down into the different parts of the city. Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Highland Park all have fantastic accounts for your brand, but they are vastly different from one another. Look at the demographics in several parts of any city to determine which ones you’ll want to spend your time in. Think about why your product will sell well in a given area.

What type of accounts are you looking for? Why? Consider whether you want to target on-premise or off-premise accounts. The size of the account, and the overall feel of the accounts you’re looking for is also important. You might want to target speakeasy style bars. Or perhaps your focus will be on boutique wine shops, larger retail chains or high-volume bars and restaurants.

Also consider looking at areas where there are on-premise and off-premise accounts close to one another. If a consumer tastes your product at a bar or restaurant and likes it, give him or her an opportunity to buy a bottle nearby and take it home. This is a great way to build your brand and create a small ecosystem within a neighborhood. From there you can expand outward from that point.

Knowing the specific areas of a market and the types of accounts you want to target will help you to be the most effective with your time.

3. Selling

Now that you know your brand and product stories, and have a plan for the areas and types of accounts you want to be in, you can confidently walk into those accounts and start selling! Make sure to call ahead and see if you can schedule an appointment with the buyer. This is always better than walking in unannounced. It’s also best to have product for the buyer to taste and salesheets for them to review. If you’re looking to offer additional POS, consider LibDib’s partner BrandMuscle to have those assets created.

If you want to hear more about selling into accounts, check out this webinar recording of LibDib’s CEO, Cheryl Duzy, as she shares best practices and talks about how she sold during her 17 years as a supplier.

4. Follow Up


Getting a new placement for your product is a reason to celebrate; it means that you’ve found a buyer who believes in you and your brand! Now that you’ve gotten that first order, this is where the power of LibDib comes into play. Using the Digital Order Template, LibDib Makers can not only prompt reorders by sending suggested orders to accounts, but you can also submit Digital Orders to make it even easier for the buyer. To access this tool, go to the Selling tab in your account. Select the market you’re selling into, and then click Order Templates.


LibDib Selling In California


You can also save accounts as templates within the platform.

Make sure that before you leave the account, you have a way to stay in touch with them and they have a way to contact you. Your “Distributed by LibDib” cards are a great way to accomplish this. Following up via email, text, or phone call is an important way to stay in touch with your buyer.

Tackling a new market on your own can feel overwhelming at first. But with a good understanding of the market you’re going into, knowing how you want to position your brand and products, and using LibDib’s tools to sell and follow up, you can be successful as a one person sales team.

News Archive

October - November - December: OND Is Around the Corner
03 October, 2019

By Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO of LibDib

Blink. It’s almost October and before we know it 2019 will come to an end. But first, its OND, the most wonderful time of the year for sales.

For those in the industry, OND (October, November, December) is this omni-present, daunting quarter where 40% of annual sales happen in the wine and spirits industry. It’s a big deal.

Keep in mind that the OND season of selling is often dependant on what has been set up in JAS (July August September). Resellers (i.e. restaurants, bars and retailers) are not necessarily looking for new placements during this time of year, but you can work with Resellers who know you and potentially secure sales for holiday specialty items and gift packs. Gifty-items like bourbons, flavored whiskey, champagne, sparkling wines, and speciality wines--that’s what buyers are looking for. October is not too late to sell these things in (especially via the LibDib model).

Given that, here are my top tips for selling wine and spirits during OND:

  1. Stay on top of reorders. Via LibDib, it’s easy to see the frequency of reorders via the “Customers” tab in the platform. Haven’t seen a reorder? Reach out and connect with the buyer. Chances are a direct outreach will remind them it’s time to restock for the holiday season. For more details on how to effectively work with Resellers, read Ben Salisbury’s amazing blog post on the subject here.

Here’s an example of what the order frequency window looks like on LibDib:



2. Introduce Gift Packs. It’s the holiday season. Time to entice shoppers to gift your amazing wines and spirits. Not up for creating tons of gift packs? Offer gift packs to just a few accounts. That’s the beauty of LibDib. We make it easy for Resellers to try new things in small quantities. Take price posting into consideration when thinking about timing (some states require that), but overall October is a good to try a small quantity of gift packs. Best practice is to work with a buyer who is already familiar with your product. But if you want to “post and pray” LibDib has an “OND” section where you can list your products. You never know who might find your packs! For inspiration and ideas on your gift pack program, check out this blog post.

3. Communicate with buyers who haven’t purchased in a while. Shoot a “Happy Holidays” email or “Thinking of You” card. Personal communications go a long way. They will most likely remember you when you follow up in JFM (January, February, March).

4. Get your sh*t together on LibDib. What I mean by this is that it’s time to really spiff up your LibDib brand page. Update products, pricing, vintages, and packaging. Add new pictures, videos, POS, and any interesting content. Consider rainbow packs to increase points of distribution and allow retailers to try new things. Spend some time with the platform, watch a few videos and make your page the best out there. Do you have a trade page on your web site? Is it linked to your LibDib unique brand page? Should be! Also, make sure your accounts are all listed on your web site for consumers to find them....that is work that absolutely must be done. Just read this blog post and you’ll know what to do.

So there’s your OND action item list. Happy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannaukah and Christmas! Let’s get out there and sell.

LibDib Expands into Colorado
10 September, 2019

LibDib’s fourth state opens the market to all Makers via the company’s web-based three-tier distribution channel

San Jose, CA, September 10, 2019 – LibDib, the web-based wholesale alcohol distributor, today announced that the company has received a license to operate in the state of Colorado. Any licensed wine or spirits producer, from anywhere in the world, can now distribute products into Colorado via LibDib. LibDib is perfect for Makers who want to introduce new and emerging wine and spirits brands, small production products, special event and limited availability offerings, gift packs, and more.

“We’re thrilled to bring LibDib’s innovative approach to the three-tier system into the state of Colorado,” said Josh Zeller, COO of LibDib. “Our latest market is full of exciting opportunities for wine and spirits Makers. Any producer looking to expand their distribution or introduce new products to the market, should consider joining us in this great state.”

LibDib now operates as a licensed wholesaler in California, Colorado, New York, and Wisconsin. The company’s modern web platform,, legally and efficiently brings products to market. Makers simply sign up online, enter product information, choose their markets, suggest pricing, and utilize LibDib’s digital tools to engage with on and off premise buyers. More Maker information on the Colorado market can be found here.

“Colorado has almost 10,000 on and off premise accounts and is a top 15 per capita state for alcohol consumption,” said Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO of LibDib. “To open this state to any Maker and any product, gives them an opportunity to increase their sales, no matter what the production size.”

Via LibDib, Resellers gain access to hard to find brands and the LibDib “book” is a searchable online store filled with hundreds of unique products. Products are delivered compliantly and LibDib handles invoicing, payment processing, collections, state reporting, and compliance. Colorado Resellers who are interested in signing up with LibDib, can find more information here.

LibDib is a proud partner of RNDC, one of the nation’s largest wine and spirits wholesalers. The partnership is allowing both companies to quickly expand web-based three-tier distribution to a wide range of states. Colorado is the first state where RNDC and LibDib are operating jointly. Both LibDib and RNDC plan to expand their digital offerings to additional states in the future and these markets will be announced as they come online.

About LibDib

LibDib, LLC, is a licensed wholesale distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary desktop and mobile friendly web platform. LibDib is available to any Maker and using LibDib, Restaurants, Bars & Retailers legally and efficiently purchase wines and spirits. The company was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California with 24 employees, LibDib can be found online at as well as on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTube, and LinkedIn.

A Maker's Guide to Private Barrels and Clubs
06 September, 2019

Recently, our very own Andrew Lincoln, Reseller Experience Lead here at LibDib, hosted a webinar to cover how Makers can work with barrel and club programs. Here's an overview.

Andrew Lincoln, LibDib by Andrew Lincoln, LibDib Reseller Experience Lead, Clubs

Q. What is a Barrel Program?

A. A barrel program provides the opportunity to showcase a Maker's wine or spirit in its purest form by highlighting unblended products - it comes straight from the barrel. For these programs, Makers present products with unique characteristics that can't be found anywhere else. Resellers then personally choose their own barrel so that they receive a one-of-a kind spirit for their establishment, which is ultimately what a barrel program is all about!

Q. What are the benefits of working with a barrel program?

A. It could mean a major sale and a potential new revenue stream, plus marketing opportunities for both Makers and Resellers. It brings brand recognition and can increase your market presence, which can lead to new influencers and consumers. Lastly, you can build new industry connections and relationships as you promote your program to on and off premise accounts. The sky is the limit!

Q. What is a Private Label Program?

A. A private label program provides the opportunity to showcase wines or spirits to an on or off premise account or club. The product is marketed as the Reseller's own label and can be a lucrative program for Makers. Resellers personally choose the product from a Maker, making it the ultimate in custom labeling for a Reseller. 

Q. What is the definition of a Club Program?

A. Clubs are groups of product offerings Reseller provide to their customers. Some clubs are offered by independent Resellers and some Resellers solely offer wine or spirits clubs. By offering products to these programs you can build your brand exposure and increase your revenue. It's important to sweeten the deal for club offerings, but by providing them with something unique or interesting.

Q. What are the benefits of club offerings?

A. Clubs can provide a huge amount of exposure for Makers - you gain mass exposure quickly by introducing your program. Clubs help create unique offerings for establishments. It also helps accounts get through their barrel inventories if they have one. If an account does not have a club program, maybe encourage them to start one. It could also be an increase in revenue, foot traffic, and social exposure. Think of all of the end consumers you can reach by being in a large club. 

Q. How to Create Offers Club and Barrel Programs:

1) Provide solid product offerings:

  • Select products that showcase unique profiles or that represents you as a brand. Have pre-made sample bottles. 
  • Choose products From Multiple single barrels.
  • Include products from different parts of the rickhouse that gives unique flavor profiles of individual barrels.
  • Make sure offerings showcase your winery/distillery.

2) Prepare and provide samples:

  • Samples must come straight from the barrel and cannot be watered down. 
  • Offer the choice of barrel strength or custom proof (if applicable.)
  • Remember this is you in a glass, so choose samples accordingly. 


3) Customize the offer for the account:

  • Offer customized packaging with the name of the entity and/or barrel chosen. 
  • Original artwork could also be included, depending on the need of the reseller. 
  • Find out what they need to develop a successful offering. 


3) Be prepared to present a solid offering to accounts*:

  • Set tier pricing with LibDib, so no negotiating has to take place at a later date. 
  • Finalize the ordering process.
  • Develop a cost analysis (barrel proof vs. non barrel proof).
  • Have information on typical yields.
  • Develop a turn around time.

* Have this information before hand to prevent any delay or hold up for any deal on the spot. 

4) Sweeten the deal:

  • Send the barrel to the account with the bottle delivery (if available.)
  • Stay in touch, they will be excited to know status throughout the process.

5) Provide a solid tasting selection:

  • Provide samples of your best product expressions.
  • Allow the staff or buyer to taste on the spot or at a later date (whatever is most convenient for them).
  • If the buyer or staff agree on a sample, they will reach out about receiving an exclusive selection from you!

Q. What do I do once I make a placement? 

A. Follow through!! Once you have made a sale or made it into a club as a selection, make sure to check up and follow through with the account. Do not let this fall by the wayside and rest on this as one time sale. This is your opportunity for continued business! Be sure to check in through email, call, or stop if you're in town. See how your product is doing and take feedback- relationships are everything and more will come.

Have More Questions? Email Andrew -

LibDib Suggests: The Secret Every Wine/Spirits Retailer Needs to Know
14 August, 2019

If you’re a restauranteur, bartender, mixologist or retail store owner, your strive to wow your customers with the best products. The best cocktails. The best wines. After all, that’s what keeps them coming back.

What if we told you that you can save time and get access to the coolest craft spirits and small production wines? How?

It’s a hidden gem at LibDib that our reseller customers LOVE...It’s called LibDib Suggests.

One of our reseller customers recently shared with us his love for this program:

"LibDib Suggests makes things faster and more convenient. The Reseller team’s suggestions are relevant specifically to my business. For instance, we’re a boutique shop and the Reseller team put together a LibDib Suggests List that was relevant to me. Not some algorithm, but products that will truly wow my customers.” - Eric R., retailer

The LibDib Reseller Team - Wine and Spirits

LibDib Suggests was created by our Reseller team, the group of LibDibbers who go above and beyond to make sure that 1) You can access the products you are most interested in and 2) You get tip top customer care because you deserve it!

Here’s how LibDib Suggests works:

  1. You email our reseller team at
  2. They work with you to determine the best products for your business.
  3. The LibDib reseller team creates a personalized list of the products that will wow your customers.
  4. You buy what you want online and it’s delivered to you. LibDib does not have large minimums so you can buy exactly what you need!

Keep in mind you have to be a LibDib reseller customer. You can sign up online or our Reseller team can help you set up an account. Once you’ve sent in your license we can show you the world of new products that fit your exact needs.

Get Ready for OND...
30 July, 2019

Believe it or not, the holiday season is right around the corner. That means that OND (i.e. the busiest time of the year for the alcohol industry) is also rearing its head. It’s time to get your packaging ready for OND offers. 
Holiday packaging is what off-premise Resellers love to offer. Three bottle boxes, sets of smaller bottles, special gift packs, custom glassware--all are popular. It’s really about offering the perfect gift pack. You may be doing this for your DTC business. If so, you can replicate those efforts. Just upload your holiday offerings to LibDib. Resellers can then search and purchase your holiday gift sets. 

Need OND ideas? We’re here to help. Below are a few of the most popular OND offerings available on LibDib. Keep in mind that you can reach out to our new partner, BrandMuscle, to develop creative packaging ideas. BrandMuscle can design any custom packages and print anything you need for OND. You can also read our blog post on POS materials for more inspiration. 

Now go out and have your best OND season ever.

Kings County Distillery

Kings County Distillery - Kings County is a perfect example of quality packaging and mixed sets for OND. They offer two interesting and popular gift sets. One features their three main whiskies in 200ml bottles.  Packaged in a handsome, homemade wooden box, this set is a great gift. The box has a burned-in image of the paymaster building from the 1900s, adding an extra cool touch. Kings County also offers 5-bottle sets with their the moonshine, bourbon, chocolate, peated bourbon. 


Crooked Water Spirits

Crooked Water Spirits - Crooked Water’s 3-packs showcase their best and brightest products: Simple Vodka, Sundog Gin and Abyss Gin. All in 200ml sizes, this gift pack is nicely packaged and easy for resellers to stock up on.


RE:FIND Distillery

RE:FIND Distillery - RE:FIND distillery goes all out on the holidays, offering a 3-pack of their Limoncello. Their packaging is in line with their branding that’s focused on seasonally fresh, locally grown and vibrantly flavored

LibDib Unveils New Instant Impact Portal to Provide Sophisticated Distributor Marketing Services to All Emerging Wine & Spirits Brands
15 July, 2019

New BrandMuscle-powered portal offers custom on-demand POS materials, design services and distributor marketing support to LibDib Makers

San Jose, CA, July 15, 2019 — LibDib, the only web-based distributor of alcoholic beverages, today unveiled their new LibDib Instant Impact Portal, an online service powered by BrandMuscle, the leading marketing firm for distributors nationwide. LibDib’s Instant Impact Portal is now available to all live LibDib Makers, providing them with access to marketing and design services, as well as digital and printed materials, at a lower cost compared with independent designers and printers.

“We are so excited to offer our Makers access to the same services that established suppliers have been enjoying for years,” said Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO of LibDib. “Our partnership with RNDC has enabled us to grow our service offerings and match the services RNDC provides to their suppliers. This is huge for our Makers as it allows them to easily support and grow their sales and marketing efforts.”

LibDib’s Instant Impact Portal offers:

  • The ability to create consistent and affordable marketing materials with no retainers.
  • Access to custom on-demand POS materials, from web to print.
  • Integrated design management for brands.
  • Access to more than 100 graphic designers.
  • Custom and Maker-supplied marketing templates.
  • Templates that can scale for various application – from table tents to menus, brochures, signs, and truck wraps.
  • Field rep access to materials as needed.
  • Online payment and direct shipment.

“Having access to BrandMuscle’s powerful platform really helps emerging brands showcase their products in the marketplace,” said Tanya Riesbeck, LibDib’s Director of Maker Experience. “It is all part of LibDib’s vision to bring emerging brands into the 3-tier system and give them the ultimate chance at success.”

The Instant Impact Portal is available to all live LibDib Makers via LibDib’s online platform. Makers simply sign-in to LibDib and access BrandMuscle from the “Resources” tab inside the platform. Interested Makers can sign up at

About LibDib, LLC

Liberation Distribution, LLC (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary technology platform. LibDib focuses on the evolution of alcoholic distribution utilizing technology to provide three-tier compliant services for any brand. Using LibDib, restaurants, bars and retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines and craft spirits. The company is a proud partner of Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) who they formed a partnership with in December 2018. LibDib was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

LibDib Taps Josh Zeller for Executive Team
26 June, 2019

Seasoned RNDC operations expert joins tech-based distributor as COO

Josh Zeller, LibDib COOSan Jose, CA, June 26, 2019 — LibDib, LLC is pleased to announce that Josh Zeller, a 20-year veteran of Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), has joined LibDib as Chief Operations Officer (COO). Zeller will be responsible for all aspects of distributor operations, including logistics, reseller experience and finance, and is the first executive hire since LibDib’s launch in March 2017. 

“I am so pleased to have Josh join our growing team of exceptional people,” said Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO of LibDib. “His operations experience is second to none and his knowledge and industry relationships will be extremely valuable as we scale into new markets with our strategic partner, RNDC, over the next few years.” 

Zeller’s role at RNDC as Director of Operations provided opportunities to engrain himself within both corporate operations and sales. At RNDC he also oversaw numerous projects across the $7 billion organization, including IT investments, inventory management and driving culture across multiple markets as the company has grown. 

“The partnership between LibDib and RNDC has created the perfect opportunity for me to use my experience to help scale the evolution of the three-tier system via technology,” said Zeller. “It’s an exciting time for our industry and I am pleased to join the team at LibDib as we take this company to the next level.” 

Zeller has a BA in Economics and an MBA, both from the University of Austin, Texas. He will remain based in San Antonio, Texas, and also will act as the Interim Office Manager of LibDib South.

About LibDib, LLC

Liberation Distribution, LLC (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary technology platform. LibDib focuses on the evolution of alcoholic distribution utilizing technology to provide three-tier compliant services for any brand. Using LibDib, restaurants, bars and retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines and craft spirits. The company is a proud partner of Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) who they formed a partnership with in December 2018. LibDib was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn

Thoughts from the First-Ever 3-Tier Wine Symposium
11 June, 2019

By Cheryl Durzy

I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the recent Wine Industry Network’s 3-Tier Wine Symposium. This was the first event of its kind, which to us further indicates the real need in the marketplace for more 3-tier options and support.

At the event, I participated in a keynote panel with Jake Hegmann, VP of Legal and Regulatory Affairs at WSWA, and Philana Bouvier, Senior VP of New Business at Young’s Market (she fields 90 requests per DAY for new distribution).

The overall theme of the event: How do small and mid-sized wineries navigate the 3-tier system and their relationship with wholesalers.

Our kick off panel really set the stage. Jake talked about the current state of distribution. He spoke about how people talk about consolidation but in some states the number of wholesalers has actually grown. Because of the large player consolidation, a number of newer smaller wholesalers have started up, offering new opportunities for Makers of all sizes. With that comes different challenges. However it’s great to see that the industry is continues to evolve based on changing market conditions.

It was interesting for me to hear from other suppliers and wholesalers who spoke about their relationships. My biggest take-away was that to be successful in 3-tier distribution, wineries need to work. They need to be out in the marketplace, building their own buyer relationships and selling wine. That takes time, resources, money, and sales prowess. Believe me, I know, I’ve been there and used to do this for my family winery.

To simplify and make it really clear: Whether a Maker is with a big distributor or a small distributor, Makers need to be out there building their own buyer relationships.

An interesting quote from a distributor: “You are not selling to your wholesaler, you are selling through your wholesaler (to accounts).” Think about that. Who is ultimately your customer? In the end it’s the Reseller.

Another interesting take away was the discussion in regards to “Work Withs.” For those new to the work-with/market visit/ride-withs, read here for a good summary and be sure to continue on to the comments section to read the reps POV. I am paraphrasing here, but one distributor panelist said “Remember those days when you would get picked up at 9am, have a coffee and review your day with the rep? You would hit 8-10 accounts, end the day at Happy Hour and it was a great day. Those days are over.”

The best way to work a market with a rep these days? Review their account list, research the accounts and ask to get appointments with the top 3 your brand would do well in. Better yet, make those appointments yourself and then call an order into the rep. Times...they are a-changing!

There was also a lot of talk about meetings with distributors and how relationships matter.

Something else that was super interesting and is a paraphrased quote: “If you, the Maker, can’t sell it into an account, how is my sales team supposed to do it? We are not magicians.” You need to have a product that people want, is priced appropriately and has a story that, well, ultimately sells.

My favorite clip from the day: What is your differentiator? Are you unique, do you stand out from the crowd, or are you trying to be like everyone else with just one more gimmick?

3 Low-Cost Ways Small Brands Can Punch Above Their Weight
10 May, 2019

Who doesn’t love a good David versus Goliath story? Underdogs besting much larger and more capable foes is the stuff of legends. When the “little guy” wins against overwhelming odds, a part of us shares vicariously in the triumph.

Any Maker who’s a “David” in today’s land of giants knows full well the unnerving gauntlet of obstacles they face. However, with a little help from technology and a lot of ingenuity, small brands can pack a mighty blow to even the most formidable rivals.

It’s truly a marvelous time to be a small brand because the key to success lies not so much on strength as it does on strategy. Economy of movement beats economic might. Authenticity trumps ACV. One-to-one marketing trounces mass media. Historically, access to Resellers was only possible through “traditional” means and methods. Not so much anymore which is very good news for the bootstrapping entrepreneur.

Make no mistake - there is indeed a learning curve. But, once mastered, the return on time invested is as certain as Game of Thrones prequel.

To get you started, here are a few ideas you can start implementing today.

  1. Keep your focus narrow. Don’t try to reach everyone. It seems counter-intuitive but the key to selling more is to ignore most customers. The 80/20 Rule is real. Take a little time to consider who are the most likely Resellers to be interested in your products. First consider the “attributes” of your ideal customer. Then set out to create a list of specific Resellers that fit that criteria. For example, if you produce a superb, hand-crafted gin, create a list of the best places to drink gin or buy gin and start reaching out to them directly. A simple Google search of “best gin joints in Milwaukee” returned 20-25 great prospects. Follow them on social media. Sincerely and authentically engage with the content THEY post. Reach out to them using their “info@____” email address found on their website. Write a letter from one owner to another. Not everyone wants to buy just the big-name brands. It’s not an either/or but, rather, a both/and. You can be one of the “ands!”
  2. Email marketing is not dead. Far from it! While Google AdWords and “real” Facebook advertising can bring even the most seasoned marketing veteran to tears, learning to use MailChimp or Constant Contact is well within everyone’s reach. The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing costs $14.00 on Amazon and will pay for itself a gazillion times over. A subscription to Constant Contact starts as low as $20 per month. Start diligently collecting Resellers’ email addresses. If you have only ONE now, that’s a very good start. Just keep adding to your list little by little and one day you’ll have hundreds. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago but the second-best time is today! PS- do not under any circumstances purchase email lists. Build your list the old-fashioned way – by earning it. If you send out emails now to a general list, segment your trade list and create separate emails with content intended exclusively for Resellers.
  3. Put out the digital welcome mat to the TRADE. Most of you reading this have a place on your website to sign up for your email list. But that is just not enough. Small, independent Resellers use their phones daily to do research, read articles, and consume social media content. You need to make it as easy as possible for fans to identify themselves as members of the Reseller community. Unhook the velvet rope and let them cut the line. If you have a simple “sign up for our email list” form, consider expanding it slightly and add a checkbox that says “trade member” or “spirits buyer” or something like that. Some websites have a trade section, but it caters mostly to distributors. Nothing wrong with that per se but if you are a small brand it’s not through the distributor where most Resellers will find you. When you are contacted by a Reseller, stop everything and connect as quickly as possible with them! It’s called one-to-one marketing for a reason.

For David, one smooth stone was all it took…

About the author: Ben Salisbury is the Founder/President of Salisbury Creative Group, Inc. which specializes in helping wineries and craft distilleries achieve high levels of sales effectiveness. Leveraging his knowledge and experience from three decades in the industry, Ben and his team deliver sales, marketing, and modern distribution expertise to a wide array of adult beverage clients.

We help small brands box above their weight class by leveraging new, modern strategies in their sales process. When you’re small or in start-up mode, you must be able to do the most with the least and that’s where we come in. We help give small brands a fighting chance by teaching them how to work smarter not harder!

The Technology Evolution of 3-Tier Distribution
11 April, 2019

Alcohol distribution. The three-tier system. Big distribution. All of these terms elicit strong emotions in our industry. We know. We spent last week at the 76th Annual WSWA conference in Orlando where we discussed three-tier distribution with our colleagues. We met with big distributors, small Makers and everyone in between.

Do you know what the overall feeling in the room was? Working with distributors within the three-tier system is changing. Has changed. Why?

Technology is evolving the way we do business.

As the only distributor to also be a technology company, we couldn’t be more excited about this. After all, we are based in Silicon Valley and we are complete tech geeks.

Now that we’ve returned from WSWA, we think it’s time to give everyone a quick snapshot of what we see in terms of technology and how it’s changing alcohol distribution.

  • Small producers (Makers as we call them) are getting distribution. If they want to get their products into a market, they can do it. This is new. Prior to LibDib launching, there weren’t a ton of options. But with our model they can get distribution (currently in 3 states). We are growing and our new partner RNDC is working with us to expand our technology-based offering to new markets. Everyone is seeing the need for this. Be on the lookout for further news on how LibDib and RNDC are evolving distribution together.
    • The technology behind this is no small feat. Our team of engineers (which comprises almost half of our company) carefully crafted our proprietary technology for 2 years. We built a platform on solid ground and it’s amazing.
    • Technology makes the lives of Makers and Resellers easier. inviting and encouraging direct communication with buyers, control over POS and marketing materials, immediate account depletion information, etc. All of these features (and more) within the platform to make the lives of our makers and customers easier. In fact many of the features we offer are a result of users asking for them. Technology  evolves and will continue to change things very quickly.
  • Technology makes the distributor-buyer relationship more efficient with:
    • Regular reorder reminders – LibDib can automatically alert you when it’s time to reorder and with a simple response or text you can place your reorder.
    • Online sample requests. Buyers can request a sample online and taste on their own time. Technology has made it that easy.
  • Encouraging communications between Makers and Resellers. Buyers ultimately enjoy talking to the person behind the brand and technology can make that seamless for both sides. We’ve definitely found that to be true with LibDib.
  • Buyers get access to hundreds of new small production craft spirits and wines.They can browse when they want, create favorites lists, etc. It’s just like any other online shopping experience except only a licensed reseller can buy these products.

The technology evolution of the three-tier system is happening. LibDib is excited to be part of it.

Working with Resellers Is Your Job. Here’s How to Do It
20 March, 2019

The hardest things to grasp and accept can sometimes be counter-intuitive. Like not using your car’s high beams in the fog, or putting on your oxygen mask before your child’s. And my favorite: you’re more likely to cut yourself using a dull knife than a sharp one.

Here’s another counter-intuitive truth guaranteed to put your left brain in a full nelson: Expecting to sell your brand through distribution without having and executing a go-to-market strategy. The industry has changed and there are now tons of small producers. At the same time distributors are consolidating. There’s no way wholesalers can effectively service every small brand out there. It’s not profitable nor sustainable from their end. No matter what the size of the distributor, brands have to do their share these days.

I’ll tell you the truth that others won’t: It’s ultimately up to YOU, the  brand, to create your own destiny. Rich rewards await small brands who understand that “generating demand” falls on YOUR to do list. The great part about this is that restaurants, bars and retailers are very receptive to brands reaching out to them. Especially brands that are a good fit for their focus.

Reach out to them directly. Meet them at their point of need (differentiation and improved margins). Even better: draw them to you using social media advertising. Did you know you can target Facebook ads to a trade audience (wine & spirits buyers)? Are you using Facebook Pixel to re-target to everyone who have visited your website? Do you diligently work to grow your email database of trade contacts?

Have you spent time in the market talking to buyers about their pain points and their desires? Have you taken what you’ve learned and used it to sharpen your messaging in your trade ads on Facebook, Instagram, and your email marketing? These are just a few of the new and modern ways of operating in lieu of relying too much on your distributors.

I’m speaking from a deep well of experience when I say you CAN control your own destiny. But it starts with accepting the very counter-intuitive truth about what it means to have a distributor. Once you’ve crossed that mental hurdle, there’ll be no limit to what you can achieve.

About the author: Ben Salisbury is the Founder/President of Salisbury Creative Group, Inc. which specializes in helping wineries and craft distilleries achieve high levels of sales effectiveness. Leveraging his knowledge and experience from three decades in the industry, Ben and his team deliver sales, marketing, and modern distribution expertise to a wide array of adult beverage clients.

We help small brands box above their weight class by leveraging new, modern strategies in their sales process. When you’re small or in start-up mode, you must be able to do the most with the least and that’s where we come in. We help give small brands a fighting chance by teaching them how to work smarter not harder!

3 Simple Things To Do Today To Be More Appealing to Resellers
22 February, 2019

LibDib Blog Post 2/21/19

A major part of the wine or spirits business is appealing to Resellers. Whether it’s on-premise or off-premise, what and how offerings are presented to Buyers can make or break sales. 

Resellers have limited shelf and behind-the-bar space. Those spaces are highly sought after by pretty much every brand out there. Combine that with the general market noise and Buyer mindshare can be difficult to grab. We’ve outlined how to plan and work the market and tips to be a successful Maker, but what can wineries and distilleries do right now to make products more appealing to Buyers?

Here’s 3 simple things to do today to entice restaurants, bars and retailers to buy products: 

  • Offer Tiered Discounts – Provide Retailers with the extra incentive to commit to products by offering a discount (where legal). Tiered discounts provide better margin for retailers who love to wheel and deal. As a Maker it can be beneficial for product placements. Discounts can also push Retailer buy-ins and, ultimately, sell through. What types of discounts are effective? A break for a retail stack (3 cases), BTG (2 cases), or larger discounts for 10+cases (potential club opportunities). t. Resellers buy all kinds of items at discount and sometimes full price can be a deterrent. Be competitive and keep the conversation going by offering discounts up front. Tiered discounts can easily be added to each LibDib offering. Not sure how to do that? Check it out here
  • Add a “Find Us” section to your website for both Accounts and Distributors This may sound simple but many brands overlook this. The “Find Us” page should include:
  • Accounts: Consumers need to know where they can buy your products.  Resellers want to see that Makers are driving consumers to their locations (compliantly of course). Many Resellers look to see if Makers have a map or list “where to buy” on their website before even considering a new product. If they are going to add new products to the highly competitive shelf set or behind the bar, it’s essential for the Maker to contribute to the sell through. The easiest way to do that? To tell your customers where to go to buy products!
  • A Distributor List: Be sure to add a place where Resellers can easily find and contact your distributors in each state. List each distributor by market on a “Trade” page with contact information or links to the respective distributor websites. LibDib has a cool feature–each Maker has an individual brand page. Add your LibDib brand page link to your website and Resellers can go straight to your LibDib page (brand pages are Buyers can see listed products, materials and collateral (pricing is hidden until they sign up.) Some Makers with good brand page examples include Ving Vodka, Hersly Wines, Nasty Woman Wines, and Naked Winery
  • Create a Stunning Brand Page – It’s really simple to create a nice brand page on LibDib. The Makers who spend the time doing this not only make their brand more appealing overall, but allow Resellers to grab needed information more easily. Be sure to add a nice background image, a logo, contact information, and a brief description of the company. Products will populate based on offerings (again, without pricing info until a Reseller logs in) and brand photos will appear. Check out Mammoth Distillingfor inspiration. Also, professional bottle shots, tasting notes, shelf talkers, and other marketing materials go a long way. Resellers need content to market and sell to their customers. Providing them with access to everything at the point of sale via LibDib is a major selling point. 

LibDib Is a Distributor Not a Broker and Why It Matters
22 February, 2019

Is LibDib a broker? We get that question all the time and the answer is no, we are not a broker. LibDib is a fully licensed, three-tier compliant wholesale distributor. We utilize a technology platform to connect buyers and sellers in a modern and efficient way.

And no worries if our model causes you to scratch your head and ask “What exactly is LibDib?” We do things differently and sometimes that’s hard for some people to wrap their brains around. We’re evolving alcohol distribution and it’s huge that we provide access to ANY Maker that wants it. However, change and evolution are both parts of being a Silicon Valley technology company (yes we are that too!) and we understand that sometimes we have to explain our business model in a little more detail, to industry veterans and newbies alike.

LibDib has worked really hard to become licensed as a distributor in each state that we operate in. It requires A LOT of forms, diligence and compliance. We follow all regulations (just like every other distributor in the U.S). It’s what sets all of us apart from “fourth tier” options, which are unlicensed. Being a wholesaler has provided us with the opportunity to  partner with other amazing distribution partners as we expand to new markets.

So, what does a broker do vs. a distributor?

A broker is an unlicensed entity who helps brands with sales, sometimes marketing, and distribution. Whether they are a brand’s ‘feet on the street’ or negotiate deals with distributors, they are people who help Makers sell. We happily work with brokers, but not all of our Makers use them. It really depends on the Maker’s needs and goals.

It’s important to note that a broker cannot legally process an order from a retailer, bar or restaurant. They cannot invoice or collect from the account. They can’t price post or report sales and taxes. The regulations require the order to be processed through a licensed distributor/wholesaler. That’s how the three-tier system works.  

However, our platform is ideal for brokers who are out there in the market, making sales and assisting brands with their account relationship efforts. Brands can easily add a broker as a team member, customizing their ability to interact with the platform. In addition, LibDib has a number of tools for them that provide some significant broker efficiencies (digital order submission, auto-order reminders, 24/7 live reports, a front-facing e-commerce solution with a unique URL for sales materials and business cards to name a few.)

Libdib offers hundreds of products from all over the world. Cool stuff not available everywhere. Resellers order online or from the Maker, really utilizing the best ordering process that works for you. LibDib gets it to you compliantly. Super simple. 100% three-tier compliant.

Check us out.

LibDib and Capitol-Husting Company Partner in Wisconsin
04 December, 2018

LibDib and Capitol-Husting will provide three-tier compliant web-based distribution to ANY licensed maker of wine and spirits, from any place in the world

San Jose, CA, and Milwaukee, WI, December 4, 2018 — Liberation DistributionTM (LibDibTM), the only technology company and licensed wholesaler to offer a three-tier compliant web-based platform to sell wholesale alcohol, today announced a partnership with Capitol-Husting Company, Inc., a well-established, family owned and operated alcohol wholesale business in Wisconsin. The partnership will allow any licensed producer of wine and spirits to sell their products into the state of Wisconsin and any licensed business in the state to purchase products at LibDib’s founder and CEO, Cheryl Durzy, made the announcement during her opening keynote at the Craft Beverage Distribution Conference.

“We are excited to bring LibDib’s innovative approach to the three-tier system to the state of Wisconsin,” said Greg Alevizos, Owner and President of Capitol-Husting Company, Inc. “Our partnership provides extensive new distribution options for small, craft producers at a time when consumer demand for these products continues to rise.”

“Capitol-Husting Company is extremely forward-thinking when it comes to the distribution of craft wine and spirits,” said LibDib Founder and CEO, Cheryl Durzy. “Not only does this open a third market for manufacturers on the LibDib platform, but Capitol-Husting’s long-standing relationships will allow our small producers to quickly grow this new market and will bring hundreds of products from around the world into the state of Wisconsin.” 

All Makers on the LibDib platform will send product to Capitol-Husting’s warehouse and Capitol-Husting will directly handle delivery to the accounts. This process will keep manufacturers and retailers in three-tier compliance. LibDib Makers, both existing and new, can now add their companies, brands, products, and pricing to the LibDib platform for availability to businesses in Wisconsin. Wine and spirits producers who are interested in expanding distribution into Wisconsin can sign up for free at

LibDib’s marketplace will go live for resellers in Wisconsin after the first of the year. At that time restaurants, taverns and retailers in the state, will be able to purchase craft products through With a simple purchase process, LibDib automatically handles the invoicing, payment processing, collections, state reporting and compliance. LibDib’s lower margins and Capitol-Husting’s longstanding distribution processes, means prices will be competitive for retailers/restaurants and ultimately the consumer. Interested restaurants, taverns and retailers can sign up now at and will be alerted when the LibDib storefront goes live. 

LibDib has been available for over a year to restaurants, bars and retailers in California and New York. Wisconsin is the third state where the company is licensed to do business. LibDib plans to expand to additional states via their recently announced partnership with Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC). Those specific markets will be identified and announced in the near future.

How LibDib Works

Makers can visit and sign up for a free, no obligations account. After uploading licenses and basic information, Makers define product selection, provide an FOB (plus fulfillment) price and define where to distribute. Restaurants, bars and retailers shop and order products through an easy-to-use web interface. 

About LibDib

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a licensed wholesale distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary desktop and mobile friendly web platform. LibDib changes alcohol distribution by leveling the playing field for everyone. Using LibDib, Restaurants, Bars & Retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews from Makers of all sizes. The company was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn. 

About Capitol-Husting Company, Inc.

Capitol-Husting Company, Inc. locally, family-owned and operated premium wine and spirits wholesale distributor in Wisconsin. The company employs more than 120 sales professionals and services customers throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.   Capitol-Husting also owns and operates a subsidiary wholesale company named Allstate Liquor and Wine Company, which services customers throughout the state of Wisconsin.  Origins of The Capitol-Husting Company date back to 1877 and is currently owned and operated by the Alevizos Family, who have been involved in the business since 1947. 

Republic National Distributing Company and Liberation Distribution Join Forces
26 November, 2018

Strategic partnership between RNDC and LibDib opens new markets to all licensed Makers, while providing RNDC with a robust technology platform

Atlanta, GA, and San Jose, CA, November 26, 2018 – Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), one of the nation’s largest wine and spirits wholesalers, and Liberation Distribution™ (LibDib™), the first technology company to offer a three-tier compliant distribution model for all Makers, today announced plans to form a strategic partnership. As a part of the agreement, LibDib Makers will soon be able to tap into RNDC’s advanced logistics to deliver craft products to buyers in all available markets. In return, RNDC will have access to LibDib’s technology and data collection, enabling the company to further expand their value and services.

“Technology is evolving this industry at an incredible pace, and innovation is the key to the future of wholesale alcohol sales and distribution,” said Tom Cole, CEO of RNDC. “As part of our commitment to providing consistent value and service to all our stakeholders, the combined force of RNDC and LibDib will offer new, fully three-tier compliant solutions at both ends of the distribution process.”

RNDC is currently the nation’s second largest wholesale alcoholic beverage distributor with operations in 22 states. LibDib provides distribution services to any licensed Maker and currently operates in California and New York. This partnership will allow both companies to quickly expand web-based three-tier distribution to additional states. Those specific markets will be identified and announced in the near future.

“I am so excited to announce that technology-based three-tier distribution is a reality in half the country,” said Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO of LibDib. “We are honored to partner with a thought-leader like RNDC. Our shared resources and vision, combined with RNDC’s experience in expanding into new markets, makes for a powerful combination.”

The two companies are working closely together to rapidly integrate technologies and complete the expansion into new markets. Via the LibDib platform, licensed Makers from around the world will soon have access to markets via RNDC’s advanced logistics network. RNDC and LibDib will share data and technologies to provide both customers and suppliers with market access, modern selling tools, and the most unique and diverse portfolio in the country.

“LibDib’s Silicon Valley engineering and data science team is best in class. We are very excited to work together and further evolve both of our businesses,” added RNDC’s Tom Cole.

LibDib is the only licensed distributor with a technology platform that allows for licensed three-tier distribution for any licensed Maker, one case at a time. Since launching in March 2017, the company has significantly expanded its online offerings, and its technology platform offers ease of use, advanced selling features, and invaluable back-end data collection capabilities.

“With this partnership, everyone can take advantage of our data expertise and insight,” said Richard Brashears, CTO of LibDib. “Whether its small brands, large brands, or customers, analytics are an essential ingredient in good business decisions. RNDC and LibDib’s combined efforts will take our platforms and services to new heights when it comes to data.”

About Republic National Distributing Company

RNDC is the second largest distributor of premium wine and spirits in the United States with operations in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. RNDC employs more than 9500 individuals nationwide. For more information about the company, please visit

About LibDib

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary desktop and mobile-friendly web platform. LibDib focuses on the evolution of alcoholic distribution utilizing modern technology to provide three-tier compliant services for everyone regardless of size. Using LibDib, restaurants, bars and retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews. The company was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Regulatory Compliance for Makers: A Q&A with LibDib’s Senior Compliance Lead
29 October, 2018

It’s time for a blog about everyone’s favorite topic–regulatory compliance! Well, before pushing snooze, let me tell all Makers out there that you probably should keep reading. I’ll address some of the most common compliance-related questions LibDib fields from Makers, with the hope of guiding you toward the path of compliance…and keeping you on the straight and narrow.

So what is compliance, anyway? Well, it all stems from the repeal of Prohibition and the creation of the three-tier system by the federal government. However, the feds created the hierarchy and then ultimately left it up to the states to create their own regulations and laws regarding alcohol production, transportation, sales, and consumption within the three-tier system (even allowing state or even local governments to ban or severely restrict alcohol sales). This means the only guaranteed common denominator across the country is this notion of multiple tiers–the production/supply tier, the wholesale/distribution tier (often referred to as the middle tier), and the reseller/consumer sales tier. Everyone in each tier needs to follow the federal, “home state” (this is the state where your company is based), and interstate commerce regulations that apply to their tier — and that’s compliance. It is making sure all of those i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

As your distributor (yes, LibDib is the middle tier), we have our own set of regulations that guide our operations and are specific to wholesalers. Makers, you also have your own set of specific regulations which you need to be sure to follow. This blog post is meant strictly as an overview–addressing the questions which are asked most often–and is not meant to be taken as legal advice.

Here are a few of our most Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: I’m an importer of foreign products with a Federal (TTB) import license in the state where I am located. Why are you asking me for a Home State License?  

A: Because you need one. Just because you are licensed by the TTB to import alcoholic beverages, it does not mean you have all authority to sell or otherwise “deal” in the alcohol industry. Most states have a licensing/registration requirement for businesses who make or import alcoholic beverages, and allstates are different — what LibDib needs to see is your state’s equivalent of the federal permit. This licenses you as an alcohol company in your home state. This isn’t always an authorization to sell your product, but it very well could be (again, every state is different). As the  distributor, LibDib requires our Makers to prove that they are fully licensed at the state and federal levels before we can greenlight anyone to do business on our platform. We encourage you to call the agency which oversees alcohol beverage licensing in your state, and/or to work with a licensing consultant or attorney to determine the best course of action as a viable, fully-licensed, alcohol-based import business.

Q: I contract with XYZ Distillery (or Winery) in another state (or in my same state). I have a federal (TTB) wholesale permit in my home state. Is this what you mean by Home State License?

A: No. In order to be paid and to legally store and resell the alcohol that another producer makes (for you/with you) under your brand name, you still need to be licensed by the federal government and by the state in which your business is located. Now, in different states, this requirement can look different, but you need to be aware that your home state, meaning where your business is located, probably has a requirement for you to be licensed. And in some states you might also need a license in the state in which the distillery/winery is located. Again, as the distributor, our role and expertise is not to determine which type of license(s) you need. We can tell you what we need before we can do business together; however, we will always suggest that you consult with state agencies, a licensing consultant, or attorney to determine the best course of action for your business.

Q: How do I fill out this out-of-state shipper application? Can you just tell me how I should answer this one question on the form? I was told I could get a marketing permit in NY but I’m hung up on this one question can you help me with my online application?

A: (Almost) every Maker’s business entity and permitting needs are unique. The state regulatory agency which has created and required the license or permit is the best place to go for advice and will provide information specific to your situation and the regulations. As your distributor, LibDib cannot help you complete license or permit applications. It’s like asking us to build Ikea furniture. We are not the experts. Specific questions regarding forms should be directed to 1) your compliance consultant, 2) your attorney, or 3) the agency that created the form. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the state agencies directly. Most regulators want to help you. And chances are that if they hear from enough applicants that a form or an online application is confusing, the more likely they are to make changes as needed.

Q: Can LibDib store my product and ship it/deliver it for me?

A: In most cases, no. With few exceptions, our business model (with far lower margins than traditional distribution) relies on our Makers shipping their own product either to the account or to one of our distribution partners’ warehouses (where required by law). You will need to contract with common carriers and follow LibDib’s Safe Shipping Guidelines so that bottles arrive intact to their destination. Sample shipments will need to be labeled accordingly. We will tell you what and where to ship to be compliant. The rest is on you.

Coming from the supplier side myself, believe me when I tell you, I know where you Makers are coming from. We recognize that most of our Makers are smaller companies who may be new to the industry or to three-tier distribution, and that you may have questions. But the first thing to recognize is that we want to act as your distributor. We can’t also act as your compliance or business consultant. It’s in your best interest to let us do our job as the middle tier — which involves helping you process orders  from new accounts, garner repeat orders from existing accounts, and allowing you to legally get your products into the hands of consumers, compliantly and efficiently via the the three-tier system. Oh, and we have created some pretty cool high-tech tools to help you in the process.

While LibDib isn’t in the business of Maker compliance, we have friends that can help! We are happy to provide referrals to our favorite industry partners so full compliance is within reach….and we can work together to sell product, fulfill orders and create more business opportunities for small Makers everywhere!

If you have questions about the contents of this blog, or another matter in the exciting world of alcohol beverage compliance, please feel free to contact me directly at Jen.hamm (at)

Jennifer Hamm

Senior Compliance Lead 

Working with Chains via LibDib
08 October, 2018

Start-up life is such an interesting animal. Literally, every day is different. Expectations and future plans can change quickly.

In California, the LibDib model now includes some chain business.  This is a big change from my initial business plan. By chains I mean retail buyers that have multiple outlets….at least 10 or more individual stores. I wish I could name them here, but the Tied-House Rules keep distributors from “providing things of value” to customers in exchange for buying alcohol. Listing a buyer online or in social media could be construed as advertising.  So I will stay on the right side of the regulations….unfortunately my dear reader will have to do a quick Google search. 

When I talk about chains, I am only discussing California. New York has a two-license rule, so independent retailers rule the roost in that market.

A number of our Makers have received chain placements, sometimes because they are successful in other markets. Other times, we submit them (or provide directions for submission) for consideration. But more often than not, our Makers hustle and pitch their businesses successfully.

As a Maker, working with the chains can be great for multiple points of distribution and (of course) case sales. But there are some important things to remember and to abide by when going after or working with chains and big buyers in general.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Do not have an “OOS situation” which is Out of Stock or a delay in shipment. Think about it. That chain has made space for your products on their shelf. Empty shelf spots are no bueno when it comes to a store’s planning and weekly sales. This is a highly competitive business. A shelf slot will not sit empty for long. You will be replaced. Once you are in and then out…it is that much harder to get back in the door, especially if the buyer does not have the confidence that you can supply the demand. This can be tough for smaller producers who do not keep a lot of inventory around. However, your mentality must change if you want to build your brand. Do not have OOS situations. All that hard work with buyer relationships can be undone with just one month of no product. Invest some time into inventory management. Have a par on the floor (at least one case per point of distribution would be my rule of thumb), but consider having a buffer if you get one half pallet or pallet shipment for a club of some sort. The investment will be worth it when your buyers are happy and your placements remain in place. And you will save money over time by not having to rebuild your distribution.
  2. Make sure you are telling your customers where they can find your products. Have a map on your website with all points of distribution. Have lists in your tasting room. Use social media (just make sure you are mentioning all your accounts, per Tied House Rules). Send emails to your customer base in each state. Check the Tied House regulations in each state, and if you promote all of your points of distribution, then you are not giving anything of value away.
  3. Where it is legal and available, try and schedule tasting events at various stores. Having customers try your products is the best way to solidify your distribution placements. If you can’t do it in person, consider a brand ambassador service (we have referrals) to pour for you. Or make a visit to the market and schedule a tour of your buyers. Even better, promote it to your customer list as well. Win win!
  4. Consider social media advertising to consumers in the areas you have placements in. For example, if a bourbon gets a retail placement in San Francisco, invest in Facebook advertising to consumers in that area that love Bourbon. Link the ad to the map on your website where your products are available. Promote good scores, awards or just be creative. If you need a consultation or help with putting together a program, let us know. We have referrals!

I love that the big chains are interested in carrying small suppliers and craft products. Exciting! It really validates our model of supporting the little guys in three-tier distribution–one case at a time. This is the future of the industry because these products are what consumers seek–authenticity and quality.  However, suppliers should make sure they are ready for the big buyers, because it is way harder to get in after being kicked out.


I Am Live on LibDib. Now What???
24 September, 2018

Congrats! You are live! You have spent time making a page full of great content and telling your winery/distillery story. Pictures, video, awards, sell sheets, recipes, pairings, social media links and you’re now getting started with LibDib. Everything is within the platform and ready to go.

Now what? Let’s discuss four relatively easy things to get you started on the path to distribution.

  1. Set up a trade section on your website. It should include, at the very minimum, the states that you have distribution in and a link to your distributor(s). Link back to LibDib in our states. Here’s a one example from one of our Makers. The easier you make it for an account to find you, the more likely the account is going to order your products.
  2. Announce your new distribution markets on social media. Be sure to tag @lib_dib or @liberationdistribution. Accounts that are following you will now know your products are available for purchase. LibDib will also repost if we see it or if we are tagged….and we have a number of accounts that follow us and express interest in our new arrivals.
  3. Invite a few accounts and add a personal note. Make sure to look in the platform under the selling tab to review this functionality. If you don’t have any pre-existing relationships in your new market, do a little online research and see if there are two or three accounts that you think you might be a good fit. Invite them to your page, offer them a taste via the “sample request” button and always follow up! Remember, sales and relationships start with one account, then two….and so forth.
  4. Consider adding a “Find Us” page on your website (if you don’t already have one). As you start to get accounts, be sure to add them. It can be really easy via Google maps. Here is a great example from one of our Makers.

One more thought. I can’t stress enough the importance of good content on your page. Accounts get to know your brand via what you put out there, and so do we. Keywords and other information provide us data ensuring the right accounts are seeing your products when they log in. We also do product curation in our marketing messages. So the more information we receive on the platform, the easier it is for for us to find you and promote, in addition to your own efforts.

Stay tuned for Part II of “I’m Live on LibDib, What Now?”….selling matches, digital advertising and working the market–both virtually and in person. Oh, and we are getting ready to launch individual brand pages (i.e. your own personal link to a unique brand page, like on LinkedIn or Facebook). Check your email and here too for an announcement when we go live.

LibDib Provides Distribution in California and New York to ANY Licensed Maker, Including Importers
03 July, 2018

Importers from around the world have three-tier access via LibDib

San Jose, CA, July 3, 2018 — Liberation DistributionTM (LibDibTM), the first technology company to offer a three-tier compliant web-based platform to sell wholesale alcohol, announced today that ANY licensed importer or maker from ANY state in the U.S. is eligible for distribution in the states of California and New York. Over 1,500 active resellers are on the platform and restaurants, specialty stores and large chains in both states can purchase craft products via LibDib. 

“There is a perception out there that certain states might be closed to importers based on limited distribution options. But, I’m here to tell you that anyone who is licensed and wants to sell their products via the three-tier system in California and New York can do so via LibDib right now,” said Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO of Liberation Distribution (LibDib). “We have importers representing 14 different countries currently utilizing LibDib in their distribution efforts.” 

LibDib is a licensed distributor with a technology platform that efficiently connects brands directly with buyers. LibDib is the only distributor to provide legal market access to ANY licensed Maker or Importer from ANY state in the U.S. Setting up distribution in a new state is as easy as entering information online and uploading a license.  

“I have found incredible success in using LibDib as my distributor,” said Ami Nahari of The River Wines  “With a portfolio of Kosher wines and spirits, we are able to target our accounts while remaining completely in control of the distribution process.” 

How to Sign Up

Importers can visit and input products into the platform. After uploading licenses and basic information, the maker defines product selection, calculates the listed wholesale price and defines where to distribute. Due to price posting in New York, transactions will go live in in that state in the following month. The LibDib web-based platform automatically handles the invoicing, payment processing, collections, and taxes, allowing both makers and retailers to do business in a more open, efficient and cost-effective way. LibDib will be expanding into other states soon. 

LibDib will be hosting a free Importer Specific Webinar on July 10 at 10am to answer any questions about the platform and our business model.  Click here to sign up and learn more about the LibDIb model in California and New York. 

About LibDib

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary desktop and mobile friendly web platform. LibDib changes alcohol distribution by leveling the playing field for everyone. Using LibDib, Restaurants, Bars & Retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews from Makers of all sizes. The company was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on Twitter,  Facebook  Instagram,  YouTube, and LinkedIn. 

Liberation Distribution, LibDib and the LibDib logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Liberation Distribution, Inc. Third-party trademarks mentioned in this release are the property of their respective owners.

Seeking Wine, Beer & Spirits Producers in Arkansas, Nebraska and North Dakota: 3-Tier Distribution Now Available on
21 June, 2018

Makers from 47 states are using LibDib’s web-based platform for distribution in California and New York

San Jose, CA, June 21, 2018 — Liberation DistributionTM (LibDibTM), the first technology company to offer a three-tier compliant web-based platform to sell wholesale alcohol, is calling all wine, beer and spirits producers in the states of Arkansas, Nebraska and North Dakota to join LibDib today and start selling to restaurants and retailers in both California and New York. LibDib is a licensed distributor with a technology platform that efficiently connects brands directly with buyers, and the only distributor to provide legal market access to ANY licensed Maker. 

“Since LibDib’s launch in March, 2017, it has been a goal of mine to have at least one Maker in every state. Makers in 47 states are now signed up on the platform and I want 50!” said Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO of Liberation Distribution (LibDib). “So, I ask Makers from Arkansas, Nebraska and North Dakota to consider LibDib! You’re making some amazing craft products and we hope you’ll join us in doing distribution differently. Next goal: compliant, 3-tier distribution to restaurants and retailers in all 50 states.”

LibDib now offers almost 2,000 products for distribution in California and more than 1,200 products in New York. Over 1,500 active resellers are on the platform and restaurants, specialty stores and large chains in both states are purchasing craft products from LibDib. 

“I can tell you that joining LibDib completely changed my business,” said craft beer producer, Scott Novosel, owner and founder of O Light Beer. “LibDib is the distributor any small producer should be working with. I would not be where I am today without them.”

LibDib’s benefits to beer, wine and spirits producers include:

  • Setting up distribution in a new state is as easy as entering information online and uploading a license.  
  • Increased efficiencies in the delivery process via 3PL or Common Carrier.
  • A low average margin of 15%.
  • No bill backs, no aging inventory or buying back product.
  • Timely payments, with easy to read, real-time sales reports available 24/7.
  • All Makers (regardless of size) are treated equally. No favorable placements, advertising or incentives.
  • Sales materials are uploaded once and are available in all active markets.
  • Business-changing features in the online distribution platform include one-click re-ordering, purchase suggestions, and direct communication between Makers and accounts. 

How to Sign Up

Makers can visit and input their products of choice into the system. After uploading licenses and basic information, the maker defines product selection, calculates the listed wholesale price and defines where to distribute. Due to price posting in New York, transactions will go live in in that state in the following month. The LibDib web-based platform automatically handles the invoicing, payment processing, collections, and taxes, allowing both makers and retailers to do business in a more open, efficient and cost-effective way.

About LibDib

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary desktop and mobile friendly web platform. LibDib changes alcohol distribution by leveling the playing field for everyone. Using LibDib, Restaurants, Bars & Retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews from Makers of all sizes. The company was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramYouTube, and LinkedIn

Wine, Women and Wholesale: My thoughts on WSWA
18 May, 2018

I returned from Vegas almost two weeks ago (I had a trip to Florida and New York in between….ah, the start-up world) and I am just now catching up with life. 

First and foremost, what a great event. The attendees are top notch. It was a very productive three days. We touched base with and met distributors, suppliers and other potential partners, and it was absolutely worth our while. 

The content of the conference section of the event is always super interesting. This year, Madeline Albright and Rich Karlgaard spoke. However, my favorite part of the conference was incoming President Barkley Stuart’s speech. Barkley is taking over as President of WSWA.  He had a powerful message about his agenda. Barkley’s number one priority is to increase the number of female executives at the wholesale level and the overall diversity of the alcohol distribution business. Barkley also said that if the pace of hiring and promoting women in our industry continues as is, it would take 100 years for wine and spirits wholesalers to catch up to the status quo.

As a woman who recently started a distributorship, this was great to hear. Barkley told a really moving story about his mother and her career in film/storytelling about prominent women activists. 

I had a chance to speak with Barkley in the halls for a few minutes. He was with Deborah Brenner, founder of Women of the Vines and Spirits. Clearly, progress on his agenda has already been made as he sits on the board of Deborah’s popular organization (I can never get tickets to the conference…she always sells out so fast!) A very friendly, impressive and humble man, to say the least. 

However, something stood out to me at WSWA, especially since LibDib was exhibiting on one of the “looking for distribution” supplier floors. There are a lot of women hired to pour tastings and attract distributors to the booths. Many (but not all) of these women are dressed in branded outfits that are short and tight. Otherwise known as "The Booth Babes" for lack of a better word. 

I started thinking about Barkley’s new agenda and this Booth Babe phenomenon. Aren’t Booth Babes typically hired to attract men to their respective booths?  And if WSWA is trying to increase the number of women executives in the organization, isn’t it somewhat alienating to women that suppliers are projecting that they only care about their male counterparts? 

To get another perspective, I spoke with LibDib’s CTO Rich Brashears. Rich is very wise and comes from many years in the software industry and attending huge conferences. One of his comments was that the technology industry wanted to attract more women software engineers to high tech companies. So the “booth babe” went bye-bye. And the number of women software engineers increased. Interesting. 

If WSWA took a stance on the daytime* business-to-business part of the trade show and asked suppliers to implement a dress code for booth workers, would that help women feel more comfortable in the workplace and amongst their peers? Would they stay in the industry longer, being promoted and mentoring other women to do the same? 

There might be something I am missing here; I recognize that I am a newcomer to this side of the business. But do we really want young ladies walking around in very tight, short white dresses with a Maker brand on the chest? Do other women in the industry find this ok? I would love to learn more. 

Cheers to progress and the future of the beverage business!

*I think all bets are off at evening events–which are more bar/nightclub themed. This is the alcohol business and attracting consumers to certain brands via these methods is the norm.

One Year of LibDib: How Small Wine, Beer & Spirits Have Found 3-Tier Distribution Success
22 March, 2018

Small producers finally have an effective platform for 3-tier distribution

San Jose, CA, March 22, 2018 — Liberation Distribution (LibDib), the first technology company to offer a three-tier compliant web-based platform to sell wholesale alcohol, today celebrated the one-year anniversary of distribution done differently. A year ago, today, LibDib launched their online platform and for the first time all beer, wine and spirits producers were given an option for successful distribution within the three-tier system. As part of their announcement, LibDib shared stories of four producers who have taken control of their distribution in California and New York and have found success using the LibDib distribution model.

“I started LibDib to help the little guys and I am beyond excited that our Makers have found successful distribution that is allowing them to grow and thrive,” said Cheryl Durzy, Founder and CEO of Liberation Distribution (LibDib). “Makers and accounts are embracing this new way to distribute and together we are evolving a system that was set up almost a century ago. It’s been an amazing year!”

As of March 2018, the LibDib platform offers 1,500 products for distribution in California and almost 1,000 products in New York. They have nearly 1,500 active resellers on the platform with access to small production, craft products, including restaurants, specialty stores and large chains. Since their launch in March 2017, LibDib has added more than a dozen new features to their online distribution platform including one-click re-ordering, purchase suggestions, direct communication between Makers and accounts, and more. 

A large number of Makers on the LibDib platform have found successful distribution. For their one-year anniversary LibDib is highlighting a few of those makers including:

– O Light Beer – Scott Novosel dreamt of making an organic light beer for the past ten years. In September 2017, he launched O Light, the first and only certified organic light beer on the market. At first Scott tried self-distributing in his home state of California and although he is a self-described “hustler,” he quickly realized there was no way he could scale doing all the work himself. In January 2018, Scott started using LibDib and in just two months, O Light beer was picked up in 142 retail locations in California. Scott says that the key to his success is that with LibDib he spends his time selling, rather than managing his distributors. When accounts are ready to buy, he can instantly submit their orders via the LibDib online platform. He loves that LibDib handles all invoicing and payment processing so he can go back to doing what he does best: producing a great tasting organic light beer. LibDib is “truly transparent” which gives him real-time feedback on how his beer is selling and where he’s finding success. He says, “LibDib made my dream come true of providing an organic, light, and delicious craft beer to far more customers than I could have hoped for.” 

– Rhine Hall Distillery – Rhine Hall was founded in Chicago in 2013 by Jenny Solberg and her father, Charlie. They first sold in their home town of Chicago. When they wanted to distribute into other markets, they couldn’t find an ideal distributor partner in New York or California. Jenny had relationships in New York and didn’t want to hand those over to a distributor as the in-between. LibDib was perfect for her because it allowed her to make the sales, keep her relationships and work the market as she wanted to. New York will soon be their second biggest market after their home state of Illinois. She says, “With LibDib I’m in control of the whole distribution process. I don’t need to connect with the distributor rep and deal with pricing. It’s all done online. No one has time to wait for 5 people to contact you to sell what was agreed to the first time you met an account. I show up, make the relationship and sell right then and there.”

– VING Vodka – Flo Vinger started VING Vodka in the Spring of 2017. Using startup money from family, she invested much of her and her family’s life savings into creating a unique vodka that’s made with the highest quality organic ingredients and produced without any additives and zero sugar. She found that most alcoholic beverages don’t list the ingredients on the label and wanted to produce a vodka for the wellness community so that people would feel good about what they are putting into their bodies. When Flo was looking for a wholesaler, every distribution deal presented didn’t feel right to her. The financial terms were confusing and could potentially put Flo at risk. Libdib was exactly in line with Flo’s values and offered supportive, open collaboration, as well as immediate distribution in California and New York. VING contains no histamines so Buzzfeed tested VING Vodka for “Asian Glow,” the video received over 8.5 million views and VING was instantaneously in global demand. LibDib was able to respond immediately and continues to provide an avenue for VING to be shipped internationally and nationwide. Now seven months into her business, Flo says that production has increased exponentially because of her successful distribution with LibDib, adding: “LibDib is giving spirit entrepreneurs an opportunity that did not previously exist. If LibDib didn’t exist I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

– WildAire Cellars – WildAire was founded in 2005 by the Driscoll family. Based in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, this small production winery offers boutique Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Driscoll’s wanted to distribute their wines to specific fine dining establishments and high-end wine shops but found that it was tough to get a distributor. As a small production winery, they were unable to compete with the larger wineries who provided incentives to distributors.  In 2017 they signed up with LibDib and found that this new way of distributing leveled the playing field for them. They could control their target accounts and could work the market as much as they wanted. WildAire now has placements at key locations in California and have increased their sales in the San Francisco Bay Area. They say, “LibDib is a distributor who looks after the little guy. They go beyond what’s on their platform to provide a lot of other services like suggesting target accounts and providing us with suggestions on shipping and fulfillment.”

About LibDib

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary desktop and mobile friendly web platform. LibDib changes alcohol distribution by leveling the playing field for everyone. Using LibDib, Restaurants, Bars & Retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews from Makers of all sizes. The company was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on Twitter, FacebookInstagramYouTube, and LinkedIn

Liberation Distribution, LibDib and the LibDib logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Liberation Distribution, Inc. Third-party trademarks mentioned in this release are the property of their respective owners.

Be Successful With LibDib
05 March, 2018

Every day at least three new Makers sign up on LibDib. Not all of them “go live” right away (due to compliance, waiting for other markets, or just poking around) but most have the same question: How can I be successful on the LibDib platform? 

LibDib is a different way of looking at distribution. Sometimes it’s hard for Makers to wrap their minds around it. Our margins are half of traditional wholesalers. And Makers know up front that they are in charge of their own destiny when it comes to sales and fulfillment (with LibDib guiding you on how to be compliant).

Something most Makers know, especially those who have worked with distributors before: You need to have your own relationships with buyers. You need to be out there selling. There are multiple ways to do this and LibDib can provide the tools and and the access. But ultimately, selling and fulfillment is up to you.

Here are a few tips on how to be a LibDib success:

  • Share Your Story: LibDib provides every Maker with a (free!) place to post their story. Research shows that consumers (and therefore buyers supplying those consumers) are seeking products with authenticity. They want stories, experiences, a way to relate. A picture is a thousand words, a video…10,000. Even a quick phone video with an introduction, a quick shot of your still or vineyard, a pat of the winery dog. Be yourself, your authentic self. Don’t be the guy with a blank logo, pictures or labels. We actually built an algorithm to show “no image” products last in a search….we want our storefront to look good! Tasting notes, recipies, history of the brand….it all helps. Spend some time and have a great looking storefront on LibDib.
  • Price it Right: Make sure you are pricing for wholesale sales, not retail. Give your buyers the opportunity to make margin. That is one of the first things an account with look at. Here are some good tips on pricing. And remember, buyers can see your retail prices on your website. Unless you are Williams Selyem, make sure to build in good margin for the final account. On LibDib, there is complete transparency on what we are making as the distributor.
  • Link Up!: Do you have a trade section on your website where accounts can go to find out who your distributors are? You should!  Do you have a “Where to Buy?”page on your website that shows a map of your accounts? You absolutely should. Another great thing about LibDib is our Makers know every account (always live, updated depletion reports!) that is purchasing, so you can add to your website in real time.
  • Have a Plan: What is your plan to touch accounts? Are you going to do it yourself? (I highly recommend this; the best salespeople are always the Makers themselves!) Ok, maybe you can’t clone yourself….I totally get it. A salesperson or broker arrangement might work for you then. Let us know, we have a number of recommendations based on your needs. Or perhaps carve out some time to research 5 accounts you’d like to target in the marketplace. Then try another 5. Email them and schedule a call. Offer to send a sample. If you can, visit the marketplace (and let us know…we can help).
  • Follow Up (IRL and on the platform): Did you get a sample request from an account? Did you make a pitch and was told to touch base in two weeks for the order? Make sure you follow up! Leave no stone unturned. Once you make a sale or invite an account to the platform, a notification sequence is activated for reorders. This gives you the time to focus on new business.
  • Invite AccountsInviting accounts to the platform (or inviting someone that is already on the platform) gives buyers a view of your products right when they log in. It also puts them into a marketing sequence that reminds them of who you are and what you do.

  • Sell Through: Offer to do tastings to promote sell through of your products. Ask the buyer if they need POS (should be downloadable from LibDib) or if there are any other opportunities to push for that second, third and fourth order. Sell through is key to building distribution. Do you have social media accounts that you can push your users to stores (there are some TTB rules about this….be aware) carrying your products? Can you do a wine/distiller/brewery dinner?
  • Sell via the platform=data=leads: A new LibDib feature! The more you sell via the LibDib platform, the more leads we can provide. We are super excited to start beta testing our new “Prospects: feature. We use data (sales, customer, supplier and product segmentation) to find the right buyer matches for Makers. We provide contact information, a “hook” and the preferred way to reach out. The more data we have, the more prospects we can push your way. Also, as we grow, buyers that log in and curate will have a “recommended for you” window, which is based on other points of data. The more you use the platform, the better likelihood of expanding your distribution and account contacts.

Stay tuned for LibDib webinars and future user conferences/events that will continue to educate and help everyone become the superstar Maker you all deserve to be.


Things I Learned in Florida
22 January, 2018

I was invited to speak at the Beer Industry Summit this past Monday where I was a participant on an e-commerce panel. I also stayed for the Wine & Spirits Daily Summit the following day. Both events were super interesting and I thought I would share some tidbits from my five days in the Sunshine State (besides the fact it was freezing there).

  • The content that the average person scrolls through every day on their phone is equal to the height of the Statue of Liberty.
  • Breakthru Beverage receives approximately 3,000 requests per year (across all markets, but still!) for distribution.
  • If a new brand had to pick just one thing to really invest in, packaging is key.
  • Craft = honesty. Consumers like to buy from small companies and local families because they don’t think they will get “ripped off” by their neighbors.
  • Captain Morgan was very close to being killed before it was released.
  • When Tito’s first came out, nobody would take it. The few distributors that did in the very beginning are reaping the rewards today.
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s White Claw Hard Cherry Seltzer is delicious.
  • When looking at the success of a brand, accounts sold/cases sold is not a good indicator. Look at reorders. Also, consider Instagram – how many people are taking pictures of your brand and engaging with the product?
  • On-Premise experts are seeing trends for locally made products, especially amongst travelers and millennials.

Nielson shared some data that was really interesting.

  • 75% of new products fail.
  • Rosé, ultra-premium gin, bubbles and Cabernet Franc are trending.
  • Tequila is up 8% on premise. Cognac is picking up speed.
  • Sangria RTD is a new product that is growing at a tremendous rate.
  • Alternative packaging (kegs, cans, boxes) continue to grow.

One big rumor in the halls: The big distributors are really tightening down on their portfolios. One in particular now has a 9-month vetting process before taking on new suppliers. It’s like having a baby!

A lot of great content. Many great connections. And so many data points when it comes to three-tier consolidation, the large proliferation of new and exciting craft products, incubation partnerships with distributors, and e-commerce habits and growth…LibDib is on to something big.


How Retailers Benefit When Distribution Is Done Differently
11 December, 2017


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I received an email from a key buyer asking me to outline the benefits of LibDib to retailers such as himself. He was invited to the platform by a winery in Oregon that he had done business with years ago, who had ultimately lost their distributor and had to spend their time focusing on Direct to Consumer sales. They are very small and could not find another wholesaler to distribute their products in California. Until now (gooooo LibDib!). Their award winning wines are on the LibDib platform and are available for restaurants, bars and retailers in both of our current markets (NY AND CA).

So, clearly one of the benefits LibDib has to offer retailers is access to small production products that otherwise would not have a route to market.

However, there is a lot more. Let me share:

    1. No minimums. Traditional distributors have trucks that cost money to drive around. More often than not, there are 5 case or $500 order minimums. This is usually just fine for larger customers; most retailers need at least that of their Tito’s and Jim Beam. However, a smaller retailer may only want 6 bottles of one item. With LibDib, no problem. Because our suppliers are fulfilling direct (for the most part, depending on state compliance rules), and paying for shipping themselves….this is no longer an issue. Producers can add whatever quantities they want within the LibDib platform and price accordingly. One bottle, 6 bottles, 10 cases, rainbow packs, or gift packs; it’s all possible with LibDib.
    2. No more “shit” sandwiches. Sorry for the vulgarity here. But a very smart distributor sales person once described this phenomenon to me. All distributors have things they “have” to sell. Something that’s on quota for the month and most often is from their largest suppliers who have a large influence over the monthly sales plans. So my very smart friend would put together a “shit sandwich.” On the inside was something the buyer wanted. On the outside, two things that the sales rep needed to sell. She would wrap it all up in one nice “sandwich.” Funny, but true. At LibDib, we are the ONLY distributor that doesn’t have to make quotas or sell anything in particular. It is entirely up to the buyer what they want. 12 bottles of 95 point Comartin Cellars Pinot Noir? OK! 6 bottles of Drake’s Organic Vodka? No problem. How about 48 cans of O’Light Organic Beer? You got it!!  
    3. Access to the best, most enthusiastic and educated sales force EVER: The Makers themselves. Said retailer, that I was conversing with prior to my turkey dinner, often has choice words for distributor sales reps. He can get frustrated because they don’t know enough when he has a question. Understandable, but how can they? The system is set-up for failure. Sales reps at most distributors have thousands of products and hundreds of producers in their book. There is no possible way to be an expert on even 1/100th of the portfolio. Especially when they are bombarded with the things they have to sell that month. I have said time and time again, there is no better salesperson than the Maker themselves. With the ability for Buyer and Maker to connect immediately (no salesperson in between), the passion and excitement for their products is intoxicating (ha…literally and figuratively!)  This only helps Buyers when selling to their end customer.
    4. One place….for everything. Buyers on LibDib can go to one website and do everything. Discover. Buy. Shop. Pay. Review invoices. Check delivery status. Connect with Makers. Download POS. Watch videos about cool distilleries and wineries. Get the latest media scores. It’s all inside the platform. Makers have the control to update their pages which means information is in real time. And the platform continues to get better and better everyday (thank you to my awesome engineers).
    5. Products are always current vintage. The LibDib model is different in that Makers more or less fulfill directly. This means orders are coming direct from the cellar. Product is current vintage or the most recent batch. Inventory is not “sitting around” in warehouses around the country, collecting dust until someone pays attention. Buyers get access to what is current, not what was shipped via pallets a year ago. 
    6. Supporting small, family-owned business is now EASY. Small businesses are the heart and soul of this country. Most restaurants and retailers are small businesses themselves. LibDib makes it easy to support fellow small businesses with the ability to discover and order all in one place (no tracking down 10 different Makers who self-dib  for a reorder), one invoice and payment (via ACH or check or even credit card where legal). LibDib brings the conveniences of big business to small Makers.
    7. Consumer tastes are changing. The research is there and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s coming. Consumers have less brand loyalty. They want to try new things. They care about the quality of products they are consuming and what they are putting into their bodies. They want to support local and family owned. Consumers crave authenticity. And that’s entirely what we are selling. It’s a brave new world out there, and LibDib is bringing new, exciting, small production, craft products to market every single day.    
    8. MAKE MORE MONEY. At the end of the day, retailers and restaurants can make more money selling the products LibDib is offering. You can try and compete at 20 points with Tito’s all day long. OR, you can make more money with Ving Kale, Lemon and Cucumber Vodka. It’s got a great story, the product is high-quality and the reorder rate is through the roof.

So that’s my story. I want to make things easy for buyers and makers to do business together. I won’t interfere and try to sell you random stuff. My goal is for you to find the right products and for Makers to find the right buyers. Consider LibDib a matchmaker. Coming soon…swipe right

From Wine to Silicon Valley, It's All About Selling
11 December, 2017

I spent 20 years selling and marketing wine. I have a decent palate (especially after taking the Advanced WSET and Intro to Sommelier courses) and know wine well.  I was super comfortable with selling my family’s wine and I have spent years perfecting my pitch and had it down. However, with the formation of LibDib a little over a year ago, I have been thrown into this Silicon Valley start-up life; raising money, building a company with good people, creating strategic partnerships, pivoting, investor relations and strategic thinking.

If I have learned one thing, this start-up CEO thing really goes back to selling. Selling this idea of mine with the ultimate end goal of three-tier distribution for anyone, anywhere.

I have spent the last 20 months selling my heart out. I have probably gone through my pitch (the a 30-second pitch, the  30-minute pitch and the 2-hour over drinks and dinner pitch) about 5,000 times.

I started selling the concept last spring to a core group of about 10 trusted industry friends, just to get feedback. I also went to a few VC contacts to get their ideas on next steps. Both said the same thing—go find your technologist.

Next was Rich, CTO and COO extraordinaire. I met Rich a few years prior when he built a fabulous app called Wine with Friends. But more importantly, he has been building platforms and software for the last 20 years. At first he said “Yeah, cool idea I will help put a team together for you, but call my company when you have the data.” He called me the next day…and said, “I’m in. Can I run this for you?” The rest is history. P.S. Rich loves good craft Gin too.

Once Rich was on board, the first few investors came next—and that was really new to me. Learning about the different types of financing for a start-up, shares, valuation, risk, TAM, SAM, growth projections, cap tables, SAFE agreements, scaling, angels, seed rounds, Series A, B and C, exit scenarios. I had to sell my passion, but within the language of investors. I spent lots of time reading various web sites (Y Combinator, Quora, many many blogs) and did my best. It worked and we signed up our first believers.

With that money, I started selling to those that eventually became our team. First came the builders. Finding talented engineers, pitching them to give up their well-paid, cushy enterprise jobs with free food to join a lean and mean start-up…that was very important. I have a great team of people – all with 20+ years of engineering experience. They built the LibDib platform from scratch and day after day they work on making it better.

Now it was time to start selling to the initial users, the Makers themselves. I made a list of 100 people I knew and started smiling and dialing. This is what I love to do.  Ultimately, I am a Maker in start-up CEO clothing. Telling my story and explaining the vision to other people who have lived the problem that LibDib is solving is my absolute favorite thing to do. I still do it when I can.

Launch day was imminent, so now…time to talk to the press. Industry media were unbelievably receptive and wrote some great stories about what we are doing.

After launch, we had Makers and products on the platform, ready to sell. Time to work on our first buyers. It’s a different sell to accounts. LibDib is a new way of doing things. There are many, many buyers that love the direct connections with the Makers via LibDib. They see the benefit of lower margins, nearly non-existent minimums and buying products that are unique and can make everyone more money.

Ultimately, it’s all about selling. The team, investors, the industry, and the users. It’s a little different selling a small production Cabernet vs. the vision of LibDib, but I truly love and believe in what we have built and accomplished thus far.

A Message to Retailers: It's Time to Get Crafty
04 October, 2017

It seems everyone in the industry is talking about how independent retailers can survive in the age of Amazon. We love Brad Rosen’s article “Did Amazon Just Kill Liquor Retail As We know It?” for that reason. The Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods is scaring a lot of industry people--and rightly so. One of the major reasons I started LibDib was due to consolidation (you can read all about my sales woes in another blog post).

Sure, my first frustration was distributor consolidation but it’s happening all around us: consolidation of family brands into large companies, distributors buying up small distributors, and so on. So what does all of this mean to you, the retailers? I’d say it’s time to change it up. It’s time to get crafty,

I’m not saying break out that old scrapbooking kit, I’m thinking more Beastie Boys style. It’s time to throw down and show your customers you mean business. It’s time to bring truly small production craft products into your stores.

By craft products, I mean stuff that previously was incredibly difficult to get a hold of. We all know that the key to independent retail shops is great customer service. That’s what keeps me coming back to the speciality store in my hood. They understand me and they recommend really great products that they know I will love.

And what do consumers love right now? Unique, small production stuff. That’s where LibDib comes in. Since we launched in March we’ve had Makers signing up on our platform each and every day. The majority of these Makers are people with incredible products who couldn’t get distribution and therefore, couldn’t get into your store. Now they can (in California and New York at least, more states coming soon!).  And because we charge a much lower margin than other distributors, you can sell these products at a competitive price. I should also mention that we are web-based so you can order craft products from the comfort of your office or in the back room during inventory counts. Makers ship directly to you and it’s super easy.

I’m not saying LibDib is going to save the world from Amazon but I do hope that what we are doing as a company will help all of the small guys survive and thrive. The small retailers, the restaurants, the bars, and the Makers; I want you all to succeed together.

So, my message to all of you retailers out there is don’t panic. Just reevaluate and change things up. Start using new technology like LibDib to order products. Change up your product offering and bring in super cool, new stuff that the larger chains just aren’t going to carry. Give your customers some beverage options to get excited about again. Get crafty.

Consolidation has given only the large brands a voice and shelf space. It’s time to change that and do distribution and retail differently.

Running a Small Business: What I've Learned About Priorities
15 September, 2017

I’m a small business owner for the first time in my life and I must say, over the past year I’ve learned a lot. I don’t sleep much (I’m working on that) and I assume that many of our LibDib Makers, restaurants, bars and retailers are in the same boat. I’ve spoken to many of you who work long hours, have dumped your life savings into your business, and are working hard every day to make it happen.

Literally every day I get thrown a 100 things and for me, the most important thing I’ve learned is prioritization. Every morning I look at my to-do list and I pick the most important things I need to do that day. Here’s a little insight into what I’ve learned to focus on.

LibDib Priority #1 - Staffing

Given my business, staffing is number one. I need to have enough people to get the job done and I need to hire good people. I spend a lot of time making sure the people we hire are doers. I need people working hard and I need people who are flexible. I may ask someone to do a task that isn’t in their job description and I need them to get it done. Luckily, we have an amazing team who are all committed. I couldn’t do it without them.

I also have an amazing right hand man, Rich Brashears.  He is not only the co-founder and CTO of LibDib, but he really operates as the COO. He sleeps much less than I do, and he works twice as hard. He’s truly the reason LibDib has the best engineering team around. And, he’s definitely a cheerleader for all of us.

LibDib Priority #2 - Revenue

As the head of LibDib I need to make sure that I’m focusing on things that involve revenue. I put aside a large part of my day to make sure that we are focused on things that make money or that bring in an investment. After all, I have a staff to pay and people who rely on me.

LibDib Priority #3 - Is Everything Working?

Every single day I take a look at our systems. Are they working? Is there anything that needs to be improved? I have regular meetings with the team where we report on all processes. As a technology company and a distributor I can tell you, there’s a lot to check. I have a feeling that most of you feel the same way. Making sure things are running smoothly and adjusting things as needed, is super important.

LibDib Priority #4 - Networking

As CEO, my job is to network. In fact, this week I’m attending Women of the Vine Executive Summit in New York and the WSWA Women’s Leadership Council in DC. I’m meeting with partners, talking with Makers and overall working the market. I really enjoy this part of the business as I love meeting new people. Also, being able to network with other women in this male-dominated business, is a huge plus.

I hope this helps you just a little bit. As you struggle to check off the 100 things on your to-do list, remember that all small business owners deal with it. Once you determine what the 4-5 buckets are each day, you can more easily figure out what’s most important. I don’t have it totally figured out but I know that learning from other business owners has really helped me. And if you can get some sleep at night, that’s just a bonus.

Promoting for Makers: It’s Hard to Do Marketing When It's Your Own Business
05 September, 2017

Like you, I’m a small business owner and like you, I struggle getting everything done each day. There’s just not enough time! And that’s why many small brands aren’t able to market themselves. They simply don’t have the time or budget to go big. So they go home. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to give up, there are a few things you can do each week to start (and keep) the marketing ball rolling for your brand.

First, when it comes to marketing, set aside some time for it.

Be it 1 hour a week or 5 hours a week, set aside a time each week to work solely on marketing. Start from the beginning. Figure out your competitive set. See what they are doing in social media, online marketing and public relations. Find out where they fit into the market and most likely you’ll find a spot where your products should be. Draft up a quick plan that will get you in front of the accounts and the consumers who could potentially buy your products.

Start your social media channels BUT commit to managing them.

Set up at least a Facebook page, Twitter account and an Instagram account. Add photos, logos and product information and make sure that all social accounts are consistent with naming and imagery. After all, you want it to reflect who you are as a brand and your products. Again, look to your competitive set or even other brands you like and emulate what they are doing. Don’t copy them (obviously), but pick a look and feel that works for you and then stick with it.

Manage your social media.

There is nothing worse for a brand than an abandoned Facebook page. So, once you start, make sure you set aside time each week to post. You don’t have to post every day but at least post a few times a week. Share photos of you working in the vineyard or distilling. Bring people into your story and brand.

Send your product to the people who matter.

Submit your products to competitions. Find out which journalists write about your product category and send them a sample (if they accept samples). Be sure to include marketing materials and tech sheets on your products when you send them.

Hire someone to help.

As a business owner you also need to know when to outsource. So, if you are overwhelmed, ask around and find a marketing consultant. Ask them to create your marketing plan, brochures and social media sites. You can typically secure consultants at competitive rates (the web is great for this). It may seem like you don’t want to spend the money on marketing, but that $500 spend could open up a lot of doors for you.

This is a tough business. We love it, but it’s tough. Compound that with everything you do and it can be overwhelming. Believe me, I know. But if each day or week you work on promoting your brand, over time it will grow. It may take a while for that to happen, but it will increase your brand awareness and hopefully brand loyalty!

OND....Act Now
08 August, 2017

OND: October, November, December. The three-month period when distributors do not allow new brands, work-withs, price changes, new product introductions, or pretty much anything supplier related. OND is when 40% of the booze in this country is purchased. If you are a distributor sales rep, its heads down and sell, sell, sell. 

In the old world, if a Maker did not have a distributor lined up by September 1, they could forget being a part of this busy season. There was no access to the market for OND. Sales reps also needed to be trained/tasted, product had to be placed in the warehouse, and OND incentives put in place (good luck with that small suppliers).

That’s all changed with LibDib! We can provide access for OND holiday sales.

Thinking of a gift pack? No problem. Traditional distributors often get worried about post-holiday inventory of gift packs and other specialty items. Via LibDib, Makers have the ability to get creative with their product mix. 

That being said, there are filing deadlines in NY and they are coming up August 23 for October 1 distribution. In California, we have a little more freedom without the price postings issues.

If you want end of the year sales, now is the time.

Get on the LibDib platform, start inviting accounts and suggesting orders. It’s intuitive, easy to use and will hopefully change distribution for businesses of all sizes, everywhere.

Distribution, Done Differently.

Liberation Distribution (LibDib) is Now Available to Restaurants, Bars and Retailers in New York as the Company Unleashes New Platform Ambassador Team
01 June, 2017

New York and California restaurants, bars and retailers now have access to hundreds of boutique wine, beer and spirits products via the LibDib platform

San Jose, CA, June 1, 2017 — Liberation Distribution (LibDib), the first alcohol distributor and technology company to offer a three-tier compliant web-based platform, today announced that LibDib is now live in New York. As of today, restaurants, bars and retailers (RB&Rs) in both New York and California can purchase hundreds of boutique and craft products that previously were unavailable. In addition, LibDib announced that the company has created a platform sales team in both states to increase the adoption of the LibDib platform by RB&Rs.

“We are so happy that we are providing all Makers access to distribution,” said LibDib Founder and CEO, Cheryl Durzy. “Adoption in California has been tremendous and as of today we now offer restaurants, bars and retailers in New York access to this new way of purchasing unique and craft products. We are also excited to welcome our new platform ambassador sales team who round out our unique approach to alcohol distribution.”

LibDib now has more than 450 products on their multi-state distribution platform, with new Makers and RB&Rs signing up every single day. Products include boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews (available in California only) made by Makers of all sizes and from more than 20 states and 8 different countries.

“In addition to the products we currently have on LibDib, there are 200 more Makers in our compliance and logistics pipeline,” continues Durzy. “This is the ultimate testimony for the need of something like our platform in the marketplace.”

Restaurants, bars and retailers in California and New York can now order from LibDib to receive products from Makers of any size and from any location, whether down the street or from across the globe. Licensed resellers can create an account and sign up on The LibDib web-based platform automatically handles the invoicing, payment processing, collections, and taxes, allowing both Makers and retailers to do business in a more open, efficient and cost effective way.

About LibDib

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary desktop and mobile friendly web platform. LibDib changes alcohol distribution by leveling the playing field for everyone. Using LibDib, Restaurants, Bars & Retailers can legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews from Makers of all sizes. The company was founded in 2016, launched in March 2017, and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Liberation Distribution, LibDib and the LibDib logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Liberation Distribution, Inc. Third-party trademarks mentioned in this release are the property of their respective owners.

Liberation Distribution (LibDib) Launches the First Web-Based Three-Tier Alcohol Distribution Platform
22 March, 2017

New distributor uses technology to open alcohol distribution to any winery, brewery or distillery, while giving restaurants, bars and retailers access to a larger variety of boutique craft libations

San Jose, CA, March 22, 2017 — Alcohol distribution has not changed since the inception of the three-tier system at the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Today, a new path to distribution is available to beverage alcohol suppliers with the unveiling of Liberation DistributionTM (LibDibTM), the first alcohol distributor and technology company to offer a three-tier compliant web-based platform. With LibDib, any maker of specialty wine, craft spirits and micro brews can easily set up distribution.

“Distributor and producer consolidation has created a closed market where the little guys cannot get their product into distribution and accounts are being squeezed to purchase beer, wine and craft spirits from the very largest suppliers,” said LibDib Founder and CEO, Cheryl Durzy, a 20-year wine industry veteran. “While managing my family’s brand I became incredibly frustrated by the lack of options available today. All brands deserve a route to market and LibDib creates an opportunity where makers and buyers can work directly together. LibDib is distribution done differently and distribution that’s open to everyone, not just a select few.”

Today, makers can visit and input their products of choice into the system. After uploading licenses and basic information, the maker defines product selection, calculates the listed wholesale price and defines where to distribute. Transactions on the LibDib platform will go live in California on April 5, 2017, allowing restaurants, bars and retailers in the state to order from makers of any size and from any location, whether down the street or from across the globe. Anyone interested in the LibDib platform can create an account and sign up starting today. Due to price posting in New York, transactions will go live in the coming months.

The LibDib web-based platform automatically handles the invoicing, payment processing, collections and taxes, allowing both makers and retailers to do business in a more open, efficient and cost effective way. The company has been beta testing with a select group of makers and on and off premise accounts over the past few months. 

“The alcohol distribution market hasn’t changed for more than eighty years and is ripe for innovation,” said LibDib CTO, Richard Brashears, a twenty-year technology industry veteran who specializes in defining and developing complex software. “Just as the hotel and transportation industries have evolved with two-sided web and mobile platforms, LibDib has used technology to change the distribution process and make it easier, more cost effective and more efficient than ever before.” 

In addition to using technology to create a new system for distribution, LibDib is also implementing market friendly business practices such as: 

  • Charging a lower margin for makers with most transactions at 15%.
  • Processing payments in 30 days or less and providing on-demand sales reports.
  • Giving makers as much freedom from Franchise Laws as legally allowable, enabling them to leave at-will and at no cost. 
  • Giving restaurants, bars and retailers a large and varied selection of boutique products from which to choose.
  • Enabling direct communication within the platform between makers and accounts.
  • Creating a level playing field for everyone with no unfair incentives or price breaks.
  • No aging inventory sitting at the wholesaler warehouses.
  • Eliminating the middle man and any potential for a sales representative to strong-arm the sales process.
  • Allowing RB&Rs to buy only what they want, when they want it. No minimums. 
  • Giving access to unique, local and limited availability wines, craft spirits and beers.
  • Sales materials and POS are always up to date and accessible online.  

Makers and importers from everywhere are invited to visit and onboard their products today. The company plans to expand to other states in the coming months. 

About LibDib

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a proprietary web platform and mobile app. LibDib changes alcohol distribution by leveling the playing field for everyone. Using LibDib, Restaurants, Bars & Retailers can legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews from Makers of all sizes. The company was founded in 2016 and is based in San Jose, California. LibDib can be found online at as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. 

The LibDib Platform
Via LibDib, any Maker of specialty wine and craft spirits, can easily create an account and input their products of choice. After uploading a license and basic information, the Maker defines each SKU, calculates the ...