The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2013

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Page 52 of 162

MILESTONE Fine-Tuned AMERICAN WINE & SPIRITS CELEBRATES 20 YEARS PHOTO: ANNE WATSON by Meridith May and John Curley Jon Newlon (front) stands in front of the offices of SW&S/Cerritos in Southern CA with the American Wine & Spirits folks who have been with the company for 15 years or longer. Left to right: Mike Levine, Carlos Joseph, Ray Sodeika, Neal Koppel, Kamil Totah, Michael Lampson, Michael Coleman, Craig Schisler and Gordon Stange. I n the early 1990s, Southern Wine & Spirits of California was experiencing growing pains. A good problem to have as business was booming and the new Golden Age of wine and spirits was emerging: Brands were coming out of the woodwork looking for distribution. Industry icon and Southern's national President of its Wine Division, Mel Dick, knew full well how to attract brand owners to Southern, but the emerging challenge for the California Division was how to accommodate small, niche-y brands that needed a hand-selling approach to reach the growing number of buyers seeking lesser-known names. Part of the answer came when Jim Allen (who is now SVP, Fine Wine, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.) resurrected American Wine & Spirits (American) in 1993, he asked Craig Schisler to head up the sales division in Southern California and Joe Milo in the North, with the objective of building a fine wine division for Southern Wine & Spirits of California. Allen occupied himself by 52  /  the tasting panel  / june 2013 TP0613_042-79.indd 52 5/23/13 4:33 PM

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