BevNET Live: Central Beverage Co. President to Discuss Distribution

BevNET is pleased to announce that Donna Spagnola, President and CFO of Central Beverage Co., will be speaking at BevNET Live in Santa Monica on Monday, Dec. 3.

Ms. Spagnola will be taking part in a discussion concerning the state of distribution opportunities for entrepreneurial non-alcoholic beverage companies — both as part of the Central Beverage portfolio and as part of an emerging organization called the Midwestern Distributor Group, a coalition of independent beverage distributors who have begun to look at new portfolio additions from a group buying and marketing standpoint.

Central Beverage, an independent DSD distributor servicing the Chicago area, was one of the first Midwestern beer distributors to recognize the value of a non-alcoholic beverage portfolio and to cultivate profitable relationships with entrepreneurial brands. As of now the company carries more than 35 non-alcoholic beverage brands, including Zico, Sweet Leaf, Xenergy, Marley’s Mellow Mood, Greater Than, and Made.

Ms. Spagnola’s insights as the initial gatekeeper for new product decisions for Central Beverage will be of great value to beverage companies looking to win new distributor accounts. The discussion with Ms. Spagnola will provide BevNET Live attendees insight into the ongoing challenges and opportunities entrepreneurial brands face when attempting to get contracts with and support from large independent distributors, as well as a crash course in understanding beverage marketing in the Midwest.

About BevNET Live

BevNET Live’s Winter 2012 event will be held at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California on Dec. 3 and 4. BevNET Live is a two-day forum for beverage entrepreneurs, suppliers, distributors, retailers and investors to gather, speak, exchange ideas through interactive panels and lectures, and enhance their marketing and product development strategies through our Beverage School. Attendees can tap the expertise of investment professionals who can help groom them to attract money, business owners with inspiring success stories, and the community, which has spent a decade dedicating itself to careful reporting on the fast-moving beverage industry.

About Donna Spagnola and Central Beverage Company

Ms. Spagnola is President and Chief Financial Officer of Central Beverage Company, an independent DSD distributor servicing the greater Chicago-land market with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage products. Central Beverage Company services over 3500 retail customers in eight counties and sells 750 different items from forty suppliers.  The Company has a 100 person strong, ethnically and gender diverse employee group.

Central Beverage Company just celebrated its 10th anniversary under Ms. Spagnola and her two partners’ ownership.  Since the start of Central Beverage Company in 2002, through both acquisitions and organic growth, Central Beverage Company has grown fourfold.  At a time when most beer distributors were not thinking about non-alcoholic beverages as a part of their portfolio, Central Beverage Company embraced n/a’s as a key component of their growth and territory expansion strategy.  Their strategy has proven successful and Central Beverage Company is now seen as the “go to” DSD distributor for building non-alcoholic brands in the Chicago area.

On a daily basis, Ms. Spagnola is responsible for the financial and administrative aspects of the Company.  As an integral part of the Company’s strategic team, sheis also the introductory liaison for reviewing and accessing potential new products to add to the Company’s distribution portfolio. Ms. Spagnola is also the Company’s community and political liaison.  She served as the first female Chair of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois (ABDI) and was a recent management committee board member of the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA).  She was active for many years on the Beer Industry Electronic Commerce Commission, a joint brewer/distributor panel tasked with finding industry-wide technological solutions to current day retail delivery challenges. She is also a co-chair trustee for the Company’s multi-employer health and welfare and pension plans and sits on the Illinois DASA advisory committee. Ms. Spagnola  started her career in public accounting.  She then became the CFO for the company that was ultimately purchased by her and her two partners in 2002 and formed Central Beverage Company.