WEBB Banks was on its way to delivering its best year ever in 2020 when the COVID-19 hit the region. Now the Americas spirits and wine distribution company is setting itself up for life after the Coronavirus, Andy Consuegra, Managing Director, WEBB Banks, tells TMI.
“We grew nicely in 2019, not as fast paced as the previous year, but we did end the year up 10%. But we would have broken our record for our best year in 2020, exceeding 2019 by about 30%. In addition to organic growth, a lot of new business was coming in,” says Consuegra. “But things have changed. Tourism is pretty much closed in the Caribbean and this was our high season.”
WEBB Banks has a clear strategy for getting through this crisis, says Consuegra.
“My message to the team each day is positive, that we’ll get through this. We are working with our partners on terms. We are focused on getting through this, solidifying our partnerships, managing our risk, and launching new brands focused on well- known, highly recognized brands.”
Consuegra points to Tito’s Vodka and the Beringer wine portfolio as brands he expects to keep growing after the crisis.
“We are going to be focused more on brands that do well in off-trade. On-trade brands will have the biggest decline in the short and medium term. In the U.S. we are seeing that trusted, recognized brands are doing well in off-trade.”
Tito’s Handmade Vodka is WEBB Banks’ most important brand, says Consuegra. WEBB Banks began distributing the brand along with Illva Saronno in Americas travel retail and cruise beginning October 1, 2019. WEBB Banks also rep- resents Tito’s in domestic markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, and handles major global accounts Dufry and DFS around the world.
“These brands added a lot of business and then starting March 1, 2020 we took on the Constellation Brands wine portfolio for the Caribbean, which was a big boost to our business as well. We were already doing Constellation’s spirits portfolio, and now we’ve added their wines,” says Consuegra.
“These brands give us even more power and scale in the Caribbean. Our strategy is to be the number one supplier of wine and spirits to all our wholesalers that we work with. It really enables us to go into accounts and be a full stop service with our distributors.”
WEBB Banks had planned to launch some new brands at the now canceled Duty Free Summit of the Americas.
“We were planning to launch Whistle Pig, Templeton Rye, and Hine cognac. We have them for the Caribbean, Central America, military, and for Americas duty free.”