MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIRMAN
Happy 2016 to everyone and I hope you had a great holiday and New Year! It’s hard to believe that March is already upon us. Thanks to all Luxco staff, vendors, suppliers, distributors and retailers for your assistance toward another successful year for Luxco.
I love the cover story of this issue, highlighting the veterans working for Luxco. I am proud of our efforts in reaching out specifically to vets as they return to civilian life after ‘putting it all on the line’ for all of us. We can all learn so much from many of them in their work ethic, dedication to Luxco and their overall humility. One of our employees who recently passed, Wes James, was a decorated Marine and worked for Luxco for 8 years, yet I never knew that or had any idea (nor did most of his co-workers at Luxco) until his funeral. He just did his job and rarely spoke about the years passed serving his country. I want to again thank all of you for joining our Luxco family!
Overall our performance throughout 2015 was slightly below last year as our revenue was down just under 5%, but we were able to successfully accomplish our main goals of:
• Controlling production input costs.
• Raising prices on key brands and segments.
• Expansion of our sales and marketing teams to better address our growing portfolio reach.
• Re-alignment and re-organization of our executive team and our field sales teams.
Throughout 2015 we were working on a full re-organization of the field sales force in hopes of better addressing the demands of our customers. This was a long and involved process among me, Dan, David and a host of others. On July 1, 2015 we announced that Ryan Earey had become National Sales Manager, Dan Streepy was heading up a new division overseeing International & National Accounts, and that we were creating three new and distinct business units to oversee various parts of the USA. I am thrilled to report that this is all now done and that ALL new leadership positions were filled by promoting current Luxco employees. Further, we then filled those vacated positions by hiring some wonderful new salespeople from the likes of Bacardi, Western Spirits, and Sidney Frank Importing. I feel better than I ever have about our newly expanded field sales team structure and their ability to take Luxco far into the future by building great brands.
The final step in our executive realignment was having all executives (other than me!) reporting to David Bratcher. 2015 was a transitionary period as we realigned the sales team, but as of January 1 of this year our new team is complete and David is overseeing everything in its entirety. I am hopeful that all of you will support him as you did me (and my father before me) in his quest to be a great leader at Luxco and take us to new heights. We have all the correct pieces in place now, so let’s make it happen!
Finally, I am happy to report that our new distillery project is moving along and we hope to break ground in the next few months. Once operational, we will be producing all of our own American whiskey for all of our brands. This is by far the largest capital expansion project in the history of Luxco and couldn’t be coming at a more exciting time. The whiskey business worldwide is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and we are able to share in that enormous growth opportunity.