David Sherman Corp. began as a private label supplier to the families' distributorships in Missouri and Arkansas, but over the years it gradually became a branded spirits marketer. The company first started developing brands in late 1970s, and in 1980 it acquired the Everclear grain alcohol brand from the old American Distilling Company. "Private label remains an important part of our business, but today brands account for the lion's share," says Donn Lux. "Over the years, we've evolved into a national marketer of regional brands." In 1999, David Sherman acquired Arrow Cordials and Rebel Yell Bourbon from Diageo, and in 2002 it bought Margaritaville Tequila, an ex-Seagram brand which had been with Pernod Ricard. The Missouri distributorships (Paramount and Manhattan) were sold to Glazer's in April 2000, while the families still own a stake in the Arkansas operation (Strauss Distributors).
David Sherman Corp.'s total company volumes last year rose nearly 5% to 1.69 million cases, according to Impact Databank. The portfolio's biggest brand is the Arrow Cordials line at 375,000 cases, followed by Juarez Tequila (280,000 cases), Tvarscki vodka (175,000 cases), Salvador's Margarita cocktail (160,000 cases), St Brendan's liqueur (155,000 cases), Admiral Nelson rum (150,000 cases), Juarez Triple Sec (140,000 cases), Ezra Brooks Bourbon (140,000 cases) and Margaritaville (115,000 cases). The company also is active in wine importing, with brands including Jakob Demmer (Germany), Yago Sant'Gria (Spain), Boucheron (France) and Barbella (Italy).
David Sherman Corp. also sells outside the U.S., its international sales comprising about 2% of total volume. The main export activity involves the company's Bourbon brands in Asia, as well as Bourbon and other products in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean. "It's small in relation to the whole business but it's an important part of our development," says Lux.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions