Southern Wine & Spirits Announces Executive’s Retirement

One of the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributors revealed several top-level staff changes this week.

Conniff Retires

Southern Wine & Spirits announced the retirement of Will Conniff, Executive Vice President, General Manager of the company’s Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota divisions.

Conniff worked for the company for 38 years. His retirement will be effective March 1, 2016.

In 1978, Conniff joined the Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida division  as a sales assistant in the Orlando, Fla. market. Over the years, he rose quickly through the ranks. In 1981, he was promoted to Restaurant Supervisor and then named Restaurant Division Manager in 1983.

In 1993, Conniff was named Vice President and General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida’s South Florida sales region. Following the acquisition of two Kentucky distributorships in 1998 by Southern, Conniff became Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Kentucky.

He continued to add additional markets under his leadership in the years that followed: Illinois in 2005 and Minnesota in 2012.

“Working with the Chaplin family and all my Southern colleagues—the Southern Family—has truly been a privilege, both professionally and personally,” said Conniff. “Having the opportunity to lead the Kentucky, Illinois and Minnesota markets has been a cornerstone of my career.

Harvey R. Chaplin, Southern’s Chairman, said, “He has always been tirelessly focused on serving our suppliers and our customers, and he has been widely recognized in the industry for his skills and dedication. We salute him and wish him well as he begins this next phase of his life.”

Conniff’s replacement has yet to be named.

Grieder Promoted

North American Spirits & Wine Brokerage (NASWB) of Virginia, a division of Southern Wine & Spirits, announced the promotion of Nick Grieder to Vice President, General Sales Manager, NASWB, Virginia and West Virginia.

Previously, Grieder served as Director of Sales for NASWB in Iowa.

In his new role, he will be responsible for leading the NASWB Virginia and West Virginia teams to drive priorities from supplier partners and develop strategic initiatives to increase volume and value growth in both markets.

Grieder’s career spans more than 16 years in the beverage industry, including as Sales Director, Iowa for NASWB overseeing the Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA portfolios since 2011. Prior to NASWB, he held various sales and marketing roles within Glazer’s of Iowa.

“On behalf of the entire Southern organization, I would like to congratulate Nick on his new role,” said Kirt Clemens, Senior Vice President-East Control, NASWB. I’m confident that his appointment will bring added strength, focus and experience to the Virginia and West Virginia teams.”

Grieder will relocate from Des Moines, Iowa to Richmond, Va. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from the University of Northern Iowa.

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