Southern Wine and Spirits was founded in 1968 in Florida by Jay W. Weiss, Harvey R. Chaplin, and Howard Preuss, and is headquartered in Miami. The company expanded from Florida to California in 1969. In 1977 Howard Preuss died due to cancer. His widow, Celia Preuss, sold her part of the company to the remaining owners. Southern was one of the first companies to have statewide distribution in California, which is the company's largest market; prior to Southern's presence, California had dozens of small distributors.
The company spread to Nevada in 1976, Arizona in 1992, South Carolina in 1993, Pennsylvania in 1995, Hawaii in 1996, Kentucky in 1998, New Mexico in 2000, Colorado in 2001, Illinois in 2002, New York in 2004, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia in 2005. In 2006, the company began operations in Alabama and in 2008 entered Delaware. In July 2008, Southern Wine and Spirits merged with the Odom Corporation which added Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska to its distribution areas. Southern entered the Indiana market in 2010.
Southern now has a presence in Maryland and the District of Columbia through a joint venture with F.P. Winner Wine & Spirits as well as a joint venture operation in Minnesota with J.J. Taylor Distributing Company. Southern holds operating licenses and permits in Indiana, Nebraska and Texas.
In Jan 2016, the company merged with Glazer's, changing the name to Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits
Southern Wine & Spirits of America is a privately held company. In 2014, the company was ranked 28th on Forbes' list of America's largest privately held companies.
Harvey R. Chaplin is the Chairman.
His son, Wayne E. Chaplin, serves as the President and CEO.
Mel Dick is the Senior Vice President of Southern Wine & Spirits of America and President of the company's Wine Division. In 2001, Mel Dick was awarded the Legion of Honor medal by the President of France, Jacques Chirac for his efforts to promote French wine. He was first hired at Southern Wine and Spirits in 1969 as General Sales Manager-Wine to develop the wine operations of the company and promoted to Senior Vice President in 1991.
Brad Vassar serves as Executive Vice President and C.O.O.
Southern represents approximately 1,600 wine, spirits, beer, and beverage suppliers from around the world, and markets, promotes, merchandises, and distributes over 5,000 brands. The company employs more than 20,000 people. During a working week, Southern sales, delivery, and support staff collectively call on or service over 200,000 different chain and independent retail and restaurant customers across the country. The companies website says it's called Southern Glazer's now.