As of today, Winery Exchange is simply WX. The Novato-based producer of national and exclusive brands of wine, beer and spirits is rebranding itself to reflect how its business model has changed as the industry has evolved since its founding in 1999.
“Since we created Winery Exchange, the industry has fundamentally changed, and we have changed too,” said Peter Byck, the company’s CEO and one of its founders. “We used to be a negociant wine company, and our customers were fine with that. But with retailers consolidating, and consumers wanting more choices, we evolved to become a full-service supplier of wine, beer and spirits. Our old name didn’t reflect that.”
A significant driver of consumer demand for greater variety has been the growth of millennials. According to recent articles in both the Wall Street Journal and Market Watch, millennials will continue to determine market trends because of their willingness to experiment and their familiarity with digital marketing. In 2015, millennials consumed 42% of the wine sold in the U.S. Millennials have helped imports double in the past 20 years, especially from New World countries like Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.
“Millennials are far more likely to try imported wines, different varietals, and craft beers and spirits than older drinkers,” said Oren Lewin, WX senior vice president of marketing & strategy. “With consumers wanting more choices, and retailers wanting fewer vendors, there is a real need for suppliers who can deliver wine, beer and spirits that span multiple countries, price points and packaging formats. That’s what sets us apart.”
WX now sources wine, beer and spirits from 17 countries on five continents. They employ a staff of seven full-time winemakers and over 25 sales people. They offer exclusive retailer brands, national brands and contract production services, sold throughout the U.S. and in 12 countries. Their international client base includes retailers such as Kroger, Whole Foods, Total Wine & More, Tesco, Sainsbury, Aldi and CVS.
Lewin added that the new company name shows how the company has responded to changes in the market: “Check out our new website. It really shows how our company has evolved in response to our customers. We have an in-house team of winemakers and experts on beer and spirits; our own bottling line that has given us greater quality control and flexibility; and a marketing team that is investing to build consumer demand for our products.”
“I think this is more than just a name change,” said Byck, “It’s a coming out party that we’ve been working on for a long time. It’s like our mission statement says: We take pride making wine, beer and spirits people love – so our customers win.”