Reyes Makes 3rd California Wholesaler Acquisition of 2019 with W.A. Thompson Deal

The Reyes Beverage Group, the largest beer wholesaler in the U.S., announced today its third California wholesaler acquisition of the year, with the planned purchase of W.A. Thompson.

The acquisition of Bakersfield-based W.A. Thompson will add 7.1 million case equivalents and 2,500 accounts to Reyes subsidiary Harbor Distributing, according to a press release. The deal is expected to close in early December.

“I am looking forward to adding the High Desert region to our California territory, welcoming our new employees from W.A. Thompson, Inc., and building new relationships in the local communities,” Reyes Beer Division West president Tom Reyes said in the release.

Reyes has added 37.7 million cases to its California business this year through the acquisitions of W.A. Thompson, northern California’s DBI Beverage in July and Santa Maria’s Central Coast Distributing in February. The company’s total volume in the state has now topped 97.7 million cases.

California accounts for about half of Reyes’ overall volume. Nationwide, Reyes sells more than 200 million case equivalents and serves more than 85,000 retail accounts. The W.A. Thompson acquisition marks Reyes’ seventh transaction in California since June of last year, and the second time it has significantly expanded its geographic footprint within the Golden State.

W.A. Thompson operates warehouses in Bakersfield, Lancaster and Barstow, extending Reyes’ reach into southeastern California. The wholesaler’s portfolio includes offerings from Constellation Brands, MillerCoors, and Boston Beer Company, among others.

A spokesperson with Reyes Beer Division said Harbor expects to hire the “vast majority” of W.A. Thompson employees, and noted that only W.A. Thompson employees are eligible to apply for jobs at the three warehouses at this time.

Reyes has made waves in California both through purchasing wholesalers, as well as buying the distribution rights of Constellation Brands products in the state within the last 16 months.

Constellation Brands – which makes Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, and Ballast Point beers, among others – forced four Southern California beer wholesalers to sell the company’s distribution rights to Reyes last year. In separate deals, Reyes acquired the rights to sell Constellation’s offerings from Ace Beverage in Los Angeles; Triangle Beverage in Santa Fe Springs; Beauchamp Distributing Company in Compton; and Markstein Beverage Co. in northern San Diego County.

To accommodate the incremental business, Harbor opened a 355,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Santa Fe Springs last October. The warehouse is located 126 miles southeast of W.A. Thompson’s Bakersfield facility, 85 miles south of its Lancaster warehouse and 110 miles southwest of its Barstow warehouse.

Reyes operates wholesalers in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. It is the country’s ninth-largest privately owned company and boasts annual sales of $33 billion.

The news of this wholesaler acquisition comes on the heels of two other consolidations: KEG 1, a wholesaler network in 11 states, purchased Colorado Springs, Colorado-based RMC Distributing; and Wright Beverage purchased Certo Brothers Distributing in western New York.

An average of two to three beer wholesalers consolidate each month. In 2018, 27 distributor deals were completed.

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