When new liquor laws go into effect in October, Oklahoma consumers will be able to purchase wine and strong beer in grocery and convenient stores for the first time.

That will open up a whole new customer base for distributors who for decades have dealt strictly with independently owned package stores and restaurants.

Jarboe Sales Co., one of the state’s oldest liquor distributors, has agreed to a joint venture with the largest North American distributor in a move that it says will better position it to work with the grocery and convenient chains it will now be doing business with.

Jarboe will join Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits and operate under the name Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Oklahoma nationally while maintaining the Jarboe name locally.

“It’s a great fit for us because not only do they bring a lot of resources and experience delivering to grocery and convenient stores, they also bring a lot of technology and knowledge,” said J.B. Jarboe II, managing partner of Jarboe Sales Co.

The joint venture is set to take effect Oct. 1, 2018, the same day that the state’s new liquor laws go into effect.

Currently in Oklahoma, every liquor store is independently owned and an individual may only own one. A married couple may each have one in their name.

With the new law allowing wine and strong beer sales at predominantly chain-owned businesses, it made sense for Jarboe to partner with a company with that experience.

“They also have a lot of experience in logistics and delivery technologies,” Jarboe said. “They bring a lot of industry knowledge, and we bring a lot of market knowledge of the retail package stores and restaurants. Bringing it all together makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.”

Southern Glazer’s was formed last year through a joint venture of Southern Wine and Spirits and Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. It operates in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the Caribbean, and employs more than 22,000 people.

“Southern Glazer’s has more experience than any other distributor addressing the kind of regulatory changes that Oklahoma will be facing — similar to what’s already taken place in markets like Tennessee, Arkansas and Washington,” said Brad Vassar, chief operating officer of Southern Glazer’s. “With that knowledge, and Jarboe as our partner, I’m confident that we will be able to bring the best brands, service and value to retail customers in the state.”

Allowing sales in grocery and convenient stores means 3,000 to 5,000 additional outlets for distributors. In anticipation of increased sales and to consolidate operations under one roof, Jarboe built and moved into a new facility earlier this year.

Jarboe opened in 1959 and employees about 250 people.

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Mike Averill



Twitter: @Mike_Averill