Miami-based Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits LLC announced the launch of its new Travel Sales and Export division, becoming the first major U.S. wholesale distributor to offer brokerage services to travel and export market channels, the company says. The new division will serve supplier partners as a broker across the Caribbean and Latin American regions, the cruise line industry, and duty-free operators in the Americas. As a broker, Southern Glazer’s will act as an agent of record and provide sales, marketing and logistical support to these markets, it says.

“Many of our supplier partners continue to express interest in finding new growth avenues, while also maintaining a single-broker solution across all export and travel retail sales channels,” said Wayne Chaplin, chief executive officer of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, in a statement. “We are well positioned to deliver that one-stop solution by leveraging our infrastructure, expertise and trading partner relationships to more effectively introduce supplier products in these underserved export markets.”

To increase product offerings and improve product availability across these markets — for expanding existing presence and expediting new product introductions — Southern Glazer’s will leverage the strategic location of its Florida-based distribution network, the company says.

“Our new Travel Sales and Export division solution is another way we can add value for our supplier partners by addressing some of the supply chain and service challenges they face in these channels,” said Brad Vassar, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. “Because of our distribution facilities’ geographical proximity to many of these markets, our expertise in logistics and the broad product portfolio we maintain for our supplier partners, we have the unique ability to help suppliers, cruise lines, duty-free operators and distributors optimize their growth opportunities across the export region.”

Sal Gentile, vice president and general manager of travel sales and export, will lead the division, reporting to John Wittig, Southern Glazer's eastern region president. Gentile is a 25-year Southern Glazer’s veteran, the company says.

“I’m excited to lead a team of dedicated experts who will bring additional value to our supplier and distributor partners in these strategic markets,” Gentile said.

Wittig added: “We’re excited to bring the same high level of brand stewardship, customer service and logistics efficiency to the Caribbean and Latin American regions, cruise lines and duty-free operators in the Americas that we provide in U.S.-based Southern Glazer’s markets. Our suppliers and distributor partners will benefit from a dedicated, on-the-ground presence of Southern Glazer’s employees across these markets who can provide the attention, education and service required to meet their needs effectively.”