Local Choice Spirits (LCS) is proud to announce its historic partnership with minority-owned Kentucky distributor Legacy Wine & Spirits. Launched by Louisville entrepreneurs Kelvin Young and DJuan Ditto, Legacy brings underrepresented brands to the Kentucky market, including award-winning staples likeLCS Black Cherry Bourbon from the diversity branding, woman-owned distillery The Striped Pig. The Legacy founders aim to give smaller distilleries the opportunity to grow their brands, as well as to create generational wealth while leaving behind a legacy that inspires creative problem solving and community prosperity.
“The liquor world doesn’t have a lot of African-Americans in certain positions, but just like any other consumer product, we do spend a lot of money on it,” Ditto said. “So, why not have more control over where the money goes, and then put it back in the community?”
Securing distribution in new markets presents a major challenge for smaller, unknown brands; Ditto and Young missed out on multiple opportunities when they started out as brand ambassadors for LCS years ago, despite their success in introducing LCS products to local markets. Forming Legacy Wine & Spirits in 2017 was a collaborative solution to eliminate the roadblocks they faced as they learned their way around the $253bn industry and saw the opportunity to play a larger role in it.
Young explained. “When we started, we were just thinking of sales and marketing, not the whole process needed for success. Going through trials and tribulations … We realized where the value was and the position we needed to put ourselves in where no one could stop our progress. We had to become the distributors ourselves”.
Since launching Legacy, Young and Ditto have received their licenses and encouragement from other diversity players to establish a lasting presence in the industry. LCS CEO Pixie Paula Dezzutti has been their strongest advocate, championing the development of other African American and minority distribution companies, such as Forte International Spirits in Forsyth County Georgia. Legacy’s story is all too familiar to Dezzutti, who is no stranger to doing things outside the box to succeed in the industry. LCS carved its niche in the market in 2012 upon seeing the opportunity to help launch and build smaller female and minority brands while putting profit back into the community, pioneering a Sip&Share initiative. As an outlier in the industry herself, Dezzutti has experienced the challenges of establishing product distribution and brand awareness in new markets. Dezzutti spent many years building visibility and viability in Kentucky’s Commonwealth as an empowerment speaker for minority branding, and as a director/shareholder of O.Z. Tyler Distillery, now Green River Spirits, in Owensboro. Her experiences led her to help promote Legacy Wine & Spirits.
“This industry is dominated by traditional gatekeepers that are very homogenous,” Dezzutti said. “By having different perspectives, our vision is exponential. We offer so much more perspective collectively. Distilled spirits should be an open playing field for all.”
Young adds,“Our story, I think, could be used as motivation for other people to think outside the box and to do things that not everybody else is doing. Our ultimate goal is to create generational wealth, and to leave our Legacy. We look forward to working with our partnering brands to make our mark in this still growing industry.”
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