After completing a strong 2018 with sales value growth of over 10 per cent, NILWA is hitting 2019 in a stronger position by increasing its wholesale membership base.

In June 2017, Bidfood Australia made a move into liquor with the purchase of Festival City Wines & Spirits Adelaide, Festival City Food & Liquor Melbourne and Festival City Oz North Food & Liquor Darwin. Then on 22 November 2018 the NILWA Board approved all branch applications for Bidfood Australia, effective from 1 December 2018.

Jenny Hughes General Manager of NILWA (pictured above with Martin O’Mara) said: “It’s an exciting time for NILWA, extending our reach in on-premise gives us a significant national footprint. NILWA Wholesale Members have an exceptional service model and is the foundation they use to execute our successful Signature Drinks program which offers customers flexibility and choice. NILWA is a strong viable group, partnering with key suppliers to deliver results.”

Executive Chairman Martin O’Mara added: “The NILWA Board embraces the addition of Bidfood ‘Australia’s preferred food service distributor’ to our membership. By the addition of Bidfood, our Association’s national marketing programs can be received by a broader customer base that is complimented by the current NILWA members. We wish Bidfood every success with the implementation of their liquor strategies.”

It was a strategic decision by Bidfood Australia for Don Totino and Joe Carbone to remain with the business, bringing with them their extensive knowledge and experience from over 40 successful years in the food and liquor industry.

Totino, Chairperson, Festival Beer Wine Spirits, said: “We began in July 1978 in a 100 square metre warehouse. With hard work and passion, our family business grew to become a significant player in the food and liquor industry in South Australia, Victoria and Darwin.

In 2002 Festival City Wines and Spirits joined NILWA as a member and in July 2017, we started a new chapter being purchased by one of the largest foodservice distributors in the country, Bidfood. With a culture similar to ours, we’re now part of a bigger family.

As the founder of Festival City Wines, it is an honour to see my logo appear around Australia as part of the Bidfood brand. A huge thank you goes to our clients for supporting us over the last 40 years. Now being part of a national family with significant buying power, it is time to give something back to you all. I am looking forward to working with you for another 40 years”.

Bidfood plans to integrate liquor in 37 of their branches starting with six locations in Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Perth, Sunshine Coast and Townsville, which commenced in December 2018. More branches will follow nationally over the next 12 months, with NILWA working closely with Operations Manager Joe Carbone, who has been tasked to roll-out Bidfood’s liquor integration strategy, with the priority being the brands of NILWA Supplier Partners.

Rachel Ruggiero, CEO Bidfood Australia, said: “It is a great step forward for Bidfood to be able to offer our customers a one-stop food and liquor shop and we look forward to rolling liquor out across our vast network of 40 foodservice branches through NILWA’s Signature Drinks program.

“We are really excited to tap into the wealth of knowledge that Don Totino and Joe Carbone have across both food and liquor. They are by far the driving force behind the success of the Festival Food and Wine business which they built on respect, loyalty and family values, the very same core values that are the key to the Bidfood business and the NILWA Association. These partnerships will be great for our Customers, Suppliers and our amazing staff.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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