Feature Story


Chief Sales Officer Pat O’Sullivan reports that 2019 was a record year at Heidelberg and all selling divisions were participants in delivering our largest growth year ever!

“All cities achieved their 2019 goals,” says Pat. “A big THANK YOU for your hard work and performance results!”

Here are some highlights from 2019 which Pat says are most memorable:

Our top 20 suppliers accounted for 66% of Heidelberg business and over 80% of the growth in 2019. Of the top 20 suppliers, all had a positive year except for four (Fifco, Great Lakes, Pabst and Constellation Wine).


With a +21% increase from 2018, the beer business accounted for 60% of our company’s growth. It was mainly driven by the Seltzer category with White Claw and Truly driving much of the beer growth. On the back of Seltzers, the beer industry grew for the first time in a number of years.

Mark Anthony went from being our 4th largest supplier in 2018 to our second largest supplier in 2019, all driven by White Claw. Boston Beer sales increased by 11% and Constellation Beer 13%, also driving much of our beer growth. We expect this trend to continue through 2020.

Imports also performed very well, especially Constellation Beer Brands Portfolio and specifically Modelo Especial. Modelo Especial now outsells Corona Extra in both Columbus and Cincinnati for Heidelberg.

Anheuser-Busch business was strong in both Dayton and Cincinnati and each market achieved its corporate goals. We welcomed Cleveland-based brewery, Platform, to the Brewer’s Collective (AB’s Craft Beer Unit) when Dayton and Cincinnati began selling products in November.  Value brand Natural Light branched out with two successful line extensions: Naturday’s and Natty Light Seltzer in two flavors. Michelob Ultra continues to expand and grow (+17.4%) and added the first national beer brand to be certified as USDA Organic: Michelob Ultra Pure Gold. Dayton achieved Gold level status for Anheuser Busch’s Ambassadors of Excellence program for the second year in a row. AB is also expecting big things with the introduction of Bud Light Seltzer into the market for 2020. Yuengling successfully partnered with Hershey’s to create a very well-received Chocolate Porter. The product was only available on draft, but due to the success it will be available in bottles during the holiday season in 2020.


At a 1.6% increase, the wine business saw one of its smallest gains we have had over the last 10 years and we expect this type of growth to be the “new normal” as consumers jump into more spirits, seltzers and FMBs (flavored malt beverages). We did have some wins in the wine category with premium wines (retailing over $11) up almost double digits. Canned wines have come on strong, with a 206% increase led by Underwood and Crafters Union. Rosé trends continue to climb over 20%.

Fine Wine business achieved our 8% corporate goal and had a solid year with our top 15 fine wine suppliers.


Heidelberg Spirits Marketing Group had an incredible year due to the hard work of everybody throughout Ohio. Every division being up 39% in dollars shipped to retailers is awesome to see; commissions for the total state were +71.2%. The average dollars per case increased to $127.06, which was a 15.5% increase per case from last year. National trends are showing the spirits growth is in the premium categories and our business shows the same trends.


This Category delivered a whopping 21% growth as we introduced low-proof Fireball and Monaco, accounting for 13% of our overall low proof growth. We expect at least a 20% growth in 2020 as we introduce new private label low proof brands at Meijer, Kroger and Giant Eagle.


This category came in at a 2.9% growth for 2019. Wines at lower price points struggled, and our Premium business (wine over $11) drove growth at +7.1%. Data would indicate that some consumers are moving from wine to spirits on certain dining occasions, but high-end wines and fine dining accounts continue their dominance as the best performing segments in wine growth.


Non-Alcoholic Beverages had a phenomenal year of +19% led by Essentia water. We sold over 200,000 cases and hit our NA goal.


Besides thanking our sales Associates and managers across the company, we salute all the hard-working men and women of our warehouse, delivery, supply chain, IT and administration teams for keeping us in stock and moving forward with all our growth brands! Without the support of the entire “Heidelberg wheel” we never would have achieved this record year!

2019 Record-Smashing Sales!

1 million cases of White Claw
2 million cases of Mark Anthony products
1 million cases of Boston Beer products

1 million cases of Constellation products