Wirtz Beverage Group, McClane Co. Purchase Stake in Missouri Beverage Co.

Wirtz Beverage Group announced plans yesterday to expand its beer, wine and spirits wholesale business into the state of Missouri.

The Chicago-based wholesaler has formed a joint venture with convenience distributing giant McClane Co. to purchase a minority stake in St. Louis-based Missouri Beverage Co.

The expansion into Missouri will put Wirtz into six states, as it also has operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.The deal is expected to close by the end of May.

“Missouri is a market we have had our eyes for a while,” said Danny Wirtz, the company’s executive vice president.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Mr. Wirtz did said Missouri residency laws prohibit out-of-state companies from owning more than 40 percent of any business.

Mr. Wirtz discussed the new partnership with Brewbound.com on Friday.

“It’s a growth opportunity for us and we think that Missouri Beverage is one that has the opportunity to grow even more,” he said.

Missouri Beverage Co. distributes a number of notable craft beer brands including Founders Brewing, Bear Republic Brewing and Shipyard Brewing, among others.

A press release with additional details is below.

Wirtz Beverage Group, a Chicago-based leading North American spirits, wine and beer wholesaler, and McLane Company, Inc., a Texas-based global foodservice and supply chain leader, announced today the companies have formed a joint venture and entered into an agreement with St. Louis-based Missouri Beverage Company.

“The dynamics of our continually changing industry require bold, dramatic moves if we are going to continue to drive value to our suppliers and customers. Our joint venture with McLane, and together our combined investment into a new state with Missouri Beverage, is a continued step in that direction,” said W. Rockwell ‘Rocky” Wirtz, President of Wirtz Corporation.

“With our focus on technology and an institutional knowledge of the Midwest marketplace, particularly in the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, we can’t think of a better place, a better time or better partners,” Wirtz added.

The deal, which is expected to close in May 2013, will bring together the expertise of two industry leaders whose focus on integrating technology and logistics excellence into its operations have differentiated each from traditionally modeled organizations.

“When you can take the most advanced logistics company in the world, unite it with one of the top wholesalers in the country, and join forces with an established, respected on the ground distributor, you create an incredible amount of excitement and potential,” said Grady Rosier, President and CEO of McLane. “We are excited about the future and our new partners,” he added.

“It goes without saying, that joining forces with these two great organizations will be a game changer,” said Bill Reichhardt, President of Missouri Beverage. “Our new partners provide unprecedented insight and industry acumen that will be critical to expanding our service and operations,” Reichhardt added.

Missouri Beverage is a full-service distributor of spirits, wines, beers, juices and soda throughout the state. Bill Reichhardt will continue to serve as President. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wirtz Beverage Group is one of the nation’s leading beer, wine and spirits alcohol beverage distributors with operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin. It is fourth generation owned and operated. The company is a subsidiary of Wirtz Corporation whose holdings include ownership of real estate, sports, financial services and insurance companies. With more than 2,500 employees, Wirtz Beverage calls the industry’s elite beer, wine and spirit distributors its partners.

McLane, a $44 billion dollar supply chain services leader, provides grocery and foodservice solutions for convenience stores, mass merchants and drug stores, as well as chain restaurants throughout the United States. In addition, McLane also owns Empire Distributors, Inc., Horizon Wine & Spirits and Delta Wine & Spirits. McLane is a wholly owned unit of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK) and employs 20,000 globally.

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