Startup RTD Wine Brand Secures National Distribution & Key On-Premise Placements by Leveraging RNDC and LibDib

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Graham + Fisk’s was started by two friends who met at summer camp 25 years ago. In 2015, they canned their first wine brand, and then followed that up in 2020 with the launch of Graham + Fisk’s, with the idea of slightly smaller, super crushable cans filled with award-winning wines.

Three years later, Graham + Fisk’s has secured national distribution that includes key placements with national on-premise retailers. How did this start-up brand find major success? The founders say it has to do with distribution.

During the COVID pandemic, Graham + Fisk focused on retail placements and direct-to-consumer channels. The founders wanted to get back to on-premise and began to work on a strategy that could be implemented quickly when these locations opened back up. A national on-premise buyer was launching a new national menu and the founders pitched the Graham + Fisk’s to them. Upon approval, the founders were then tasked to shore up national distribution within just two months. They approached RNDC and were able to secure a major portion of their distribution with them. However, as an emerging brand shipping 3-10 cases at a time to each location, Graham + Fisk’s needed to find a solution that would support them in many of their key markets. That’s when RNDC introduced them to LibDib.

LibDib was a key addition to their operations. The founders were excited to learn that the initial hurdle of setting up accounts with a new distributor was eliminated as LibDib was able to leverage their partnership with RNDC. 

On the back end, co-founder Fisk Biggar says, “LibDib handled everything. Our portfolio manager set everything up and once we opened a second national account, the orders started rolling in.”

After that, the Graham + Fisk’s team says the LibDib reorder feature made it very easy for accounts to maintain their stock / or / keep up on their monthly orders .  Orders kept coming in and the brand was able to manage inventory easily on the backend using the LibDib platform. 

“With LibDib we are able to manage our inventory and know where we are at all times, without having to wait on an inventory update from our distributor,” said Fisk. “That direct communication with the buyers enables us to manage accounts in a much more intimate way. We know who the buyers are, we know when they buy. Having that relationship and being responsive has enabled us to build that trust with accounts.”

Fisk also says the partnership between RNDC and LibDib has made it incredibly easy and added efficiency. In markets where LibDib was a new concept for buyers, Graham + Fisk’s was able to leverage RNDC’s brand equity to build trust. They would talk to Buyers about LibDib being the future of distribution and Buyers were more than receptive. 

Today, the brand has a number of national accounts and has found success in more than 40 USmarkets. When asked what advice they would give to startup brands, Fisk says, “Sign up for distribution with LibDib. There is no downside! If your goal is to be a national brand and you don’t have national distribution, look at the LibDib map and go after their markets.”

Beyond that, he says signing up for a Gold membership has been key. “The LibDib team is so supportive. They provide great customer service and are amazingly responsive,” he adds. 

The partnership between RNDC and LibDib has enabled Graham + Fisk’s to create a national footprint. Having a proof of concept with their first national account gave them clout to get into other accounts and was a huge validator. 

“We’ve seen success with what we’ve secured, we’ve built our distribution map across the US, and we’re going after national accounts,” added Fisk. He also says that for brands starting up they need to know that it’s not a level playing field when you’re competing against the major suppliers but adds, “LibDib gives access and opportunity to those of us who are trying to enter this competitive marketplace.”