When I moved to Seattle to marry my best friend, I was given the difficult task to learn a new market. Not just any old market, but a completely different coast. I had mastered NYC, Philly, DC, Chicago, Toronto and even Paris, Geneva and London. I knew and still do understand exactly how the markets work. It's about Liquor, Wine and Beer consumption, purchase and demography. And now I had to learn the local Seattle and general west coast markets. "Alright", I thought. I went to work for several California wineries doing exactly what I did for Vintage / Bacardi, except I actually started developing brands for distribution and marketing in very specific US and Canadian primary, secondary and tertiary markets. In 2009, I began doing it for Washington wineries. That's when I realized how good Washington wines are and how hard it was to find a good bottle in places such as Annapolis, Maryland, or Austin, Texas or even 6 miles outside of New York City in North Jersey. Couldn't find Bartholomew Winery, Two Mountain Winery, Brian Carter Winery, etc. You could find Three Rivers, L'école, Bookwalters and Hogue. But the little guys were no where to be found. .......And here's why.
Beginning my career as a sales rep. for Allied Beverage Group, I was responsible for covering approximately 100 + on and off premise accounts located between Gladstone, North Jersey, east to Asbury Park where I actually handled the Stoned Pony and as far south as the Wine Cellars in Cinnaminson, South Jersey. I covered, what was then known as the *BUSIEST market in the country. It consisted of the *#1 and the *#3 US Markets for consumption and purchase of wine and liquor (not beer). The **market rankings looked a bit like this in the late 1990's:
- #1: NYC, Western Connecticut, Northern NJ
- #2: Chicago / Gary / O'hare
- #3: Washington DC / Northern VA / Maryland
- #4: Philadelphia / Delaware / Southern NJ / A.C.
- #5: Las Vegas
- #6: Los Angeles
- #7 Houston / New Orleans
- #8 San Francisco / Bay Area
- #9 Seattle / Portland
- #10 Dallas / Ft. Worth