As a group, spirits and wine distributors are among the smartest business people I know.
But there are exceptions.
Back when Metro New York had many distributors and wholesalers, there was one operation whose owner was – how should I put it? – the runt of the litter intellectually.
On one occasion, or so the story goes, a sales manager was having difficulty meeting the NYC plan for Chivas Regal. He paid a visit to this particular distributor and I imagine the conversation went like this.
Sales person: Listen XXXXX, we’re having problems making the numbers on Chivas and I need you to increase your inventory.
Distributor (in a slow whiny voice): But, YYYYY, I already have a warehouse full of Chivas. It’s moving slowly. How can I take more?
Sales person: I don’t care. We need to increase our shipments.
Distributor (in an even whinier voice): Well, what should I do with the cases I currently have.
Sales person (getting angry): Listen to me. I don’t give a damn what you do with the goods in the warehouse – sell it, give it away, spill it out, burn it, whatever….
Distributor (now very confused): Slow down, slowdown, I want to make sure I got it…you said sell it, burn it, what else?
Rumor has it that the distributor is now a supplier.