A Lifetime in the Control States

Michael Mosley has spent most of his life working with control state officials and brokers. As VP of Control States at Sidney Frank for more than 25 years, he lived through industry ups and downs, including brand introductions, failures and sales. Following a two-year retirement, he rejoined the industry at Conecuh Ridge, maker of Clyde May’s whiskey. I recently spoke to Mosley about his decades of experience in the beverage alcohol industry.

Beverage Wholesaler: What’s the biggest change you’ve observed within the control state system in the past three decades?

Michael Mosley: The greatest thing I’ve seen is the willingness and ability of agency officials to modernize. They’re educating their retail staff, taking them on distillery tours, and overall becoming more engaged. They want to have more product knowledge than they did when I started. In the old days a customer asked for a bottle, bought the bottle and walked out of the store. It’s not like that anymore.

BW: Without picking favorites, are there some states that have modernized better than others?

MM: It’s difficult to answer, because every state has advanced in some way. New Hampshire is doing great things with their store displays. Pennsylvania has really stepped up their wine category. Virginia has tremendous people on the marketing side putting merchandise on the floor and showing consumers they’re more than just an ABC store.

BW: As a supplier, how do you go about gaining listings in control states, adding more sizes or expressions, and avoiding de-listing of your brands?

MM: The most important thing is to go into a meeting informed, and have a story to tell. Always go in with honesty and integrity, and make sure you have a marketing plan to explain how you’re going to build the brand. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

BW: What’s new with Clyde May’s?

MM: We do have something coming up that’s really fantastic, and in the near future we’ll announce a groundbreaking on a Conecuh Ridge Distillery in Alabama. I don’t want to give too much away, but that will be coming very soon.

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