In this episode, we have our guest Nelson Aberu from 3050 Imports, who discusses the wine importer and distribution business’s nuances and supply chain challenges. We also had a chance to touch on the different contracting and system interaction requirements of the wine importer industry. Finally, we touched on the nuances associated with Wine importer and distribution businesses in Ontario and Canada.
- [0:17] Intro
- [2:26] Personal journey and current focus
- [4:18] Perspective on growth
- [5:09] Vendor relationships in the wine distribution industry
- [8:25] Sales and purchase order structure of a wine distributor
- [9:57] Inventory and warehouse processes of a wine distributor
- [15:13] How to work with international wine exporters?
- [22:56] Quality and testing processes
- [28:57] Wine distribution in other provinces
- [31:01] Closing thoughts
- [32:37] Outro
- The LCBO, as some of us might know, it is a monopoly. It controls all liquor flow and sales through the entire province. Okay, so any single purchase at any retail point, whether it’s a government store, whether it’s a brewery, whether it’s a winery, whether it’s online, it’s all LCBO sales, every single bottle.
- The LCBO has issued forms for all of these processes. And basically, we enter all the product information into their system and into their ordering system. Basically, that system generates codes for everything, purchase order numbers, item numbers, so on and so forth.
- We can’t establish specific payment terms with each of our suppliers, that would be a unique and appropriate situation agreement for that particular relationship, you’re dealing with one system, one set of rules, some producers in some regions, they don’t find doing business in Ontario attractive, because it’s such a rigid system. It’s a take it or leave it kind of market to be for that reason, because of the rules.
- A lot of people do want to be here because you’re dealing with one purchasing power that buys for the entire population. So really, some producers find it really attractive to be here for that reason. Some of them find it to be quite frustrating to do business in Ontario.
- The system in Quebec is very different from the one in Ontario, and the one in Manitoba is very different from the one in Ontario as well. So every province has a different way of seeing things and running their business to make it even more complicated.
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Nelson Abreu has invested 17 of his professional career years in the wine importer business and is founder of 30.50 Imports Inc., an Ontario wine agency dedicated to the marketing and sales of imported wines; and co-founder of WineWire.ca, the first web portal in Ontario to offer consumers direct access to imported wines usually only available at restaurants.
Nelson is a WSET Diploma graduate and an elected member of the Wine Judges of Canada. In 2012 Nelson achieved 1st place and became Grand Champion of The Wine Tasting Challenge.
Nelson Abreu 0:00
The way wine is traded in Canada is deeply rooted in prohibition days. And they’re getting looked at differently right now. If you think of what happened this summer with restaurants for the first time, we’re able to sell alcohol off-premise in Ontario for the first time.
Growing a business requires a holistic approach that extends beyond sales and marketing. This approach needs alignment among people, processes, and technologies. So if you’re a business owner, operations, or finance leader looking to learn growth strategies from your peers and competitors, you’re tuned into the right podcast. Welcome to the WBS podcast, where scalable growth using business systems is our number one priority. Now, here is your host, Sam Gupta.
Sam Gupta 0:53
Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the WBS podcast. I’m Sam Gupta, your host, and principal consultant at digital transformation consulting firm ElevatIQ, who doesn’t enjoy drinking wine. But did you know that the wine importer and distribution business is very complicated, similar to cannabis or tobacco businesses? And if you’re selling in Canada, especially in Ontario, there is a different complexity level as everything is so monopolized and government-controlled.
In today’s episode, we have a guest, Nelson Abreu from 3050 Imports, who discusses the wine importer and distribution business’s nuances and its supply chain challenges. We also had a chance to touch on the different contracting and system interaction requirements of the wine industry. Finally, we touched on the nuances associated with wine distribution businesses in Ontario and Canada. Let me introduce Nelson to you.
Nelson Abreu has invested 17 of his professional career years in the wine importer business and is founder of 3050 imports, Inc, an Ontario wine agency dedicated to the marketing and sales of imported wines, and co-founder of winewire.ca, the first web portal in Ontario to offer consumers direct access to important wines, usually only available at restaurants.
He is the best diploma graduate and an elected member of the wine judges of Canada in 2012. He has achieved first place and became the grand champion of the wine tasting challenge. With that, let’s get to the conversation. Hey, Nelson, welcome to the show. Thanks, Sam.
Nelson Abreu 2:25
Good to be here.
Sam Gupta 2:26
Just to kick things off, do you want to start with your personal story and your current focus these days?
Nelson Abreu 2:32
Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been in the wine importer business for about 17 years now.
Nelson Abreu 2:38
Yeah, well, you find your groove, and you go with it, right?
Nelson Abreu 2:43
So 17 years in the wine importer business. I started importing as an entrepreneur and have built my business since we focused on bringing in wines from all over the world really, and we distribute them within the province of Ontario. So we’re a licensed agency. Our specialty is to bring in wines and sell mainly our legacy businesses is to restaurants or business to business, we also sell a lot to retail we’re selling mostly to retail these days in this in this environment in the COVID environment.
And we have a new and strong customer base, which we call corporate. We are doing a lot of wine tastings with corporate clients where we actually entertain their clients virtually online with winemakers from overseas, giving them an opportunity to spend some casual time with their clients. So it gives them the opportunity to meet their clients’ friends and generate referrals during these online chats and stay top of mind with their clients, which is really difficult to do these days.
Because we can’t socialize like normal and or we can’t golf with our clients and we can’t eat with them. So really, we’ve taken our product and the lifestyle that goes with it. We’ve brought it online to this type of platform that we’re on right now. We’ve made a business case for it. And we are finding ways to carve new paths and during COVID right now, by continuing to sell wine and, you know, the lifestyle that comes with it.
Sam Gupta 4:18
It’s amazing. So obviously, I want to dig deeper into a lot of those things. And in my experience, the wine importer industry is very complex overall, from the contract perspective and the processes perspective. So it’s going to be a fascinating conversation. But one of the questions that we always ask our guests and is going to be your perspective on growth. What does business growth mean to you, Nelson?
Nelson Abreu 4:41
Well, business growth means taking on. As I said, we’re forging ahead in a difficult time because our legacy customers have been shut down essentially. The entire hospitality industry has been closed. So really expanding and retail getting aggressive with the having an online presence growing through different means, as I mentioned through corporate channels, increasing our retail presence in the retail system being the LCBO stores a lot of growth ahead.
Sam Gupta 5:09
Okay, so let’s talk about the supply chain a bit in terms of the supply chain. The wine importer industry is completely different. And as we were talking ERPs, so the way you guys make the contracts is completely different, the way you’re going to relationships are going to be completely different, the way you will products, our inventory is going to be completely different.
The kinds of roles you have in your supply chain, the role that LCBO is going to play is going to be completely different. So from the wine importer and distributor perspective, can you walk me through how the vendor relationships are going to work? What relationship is LCBO going to play? And what relationship you as a distributor is going to play?
Nelson Abreu 5:45
Yeah, so, the LCBO, as some of us might know, it is a monopoly. It controls all liquor flow and sales through the entire province. Okay, so any single purchase at any retail point, whether it’s a government store, whether it’s a brewery, whether it’s a winery, whether it’s online, it’s all LCBO sales, every single bottle. And what the LCBO does is it controls three functions in the process, okay, very much like the way it controls cigarettes, tobacco, the way it controls cannabis, the way it controls gasoline, alcohol is very heavily taxed.
And that’s why it’s an expensive product, it’s only food, and it’s not as expensive as it should be in the parts of the world. But the reason is that the government controls and generates a lot of revenue by controlling the importation and distribution of alcohol. Essentially, what happens is they do fulfill all of the administration with suppliers around the world that are exporting their products to Ontario.
Okay, that means cutting purchase orders and cutting payments back to the suppliers for the goods that they ship here. So all of the paperwork is arranged through the LCBO to the suppliers. Secondly, they control all of the transportation. So whatever way, shape, or form that product arrives from the seller, the supplier seller to the warehouse in Ontario, that shipping was arranged by the monopoly by the government, okay.
Nelson Abreu 7:00
And thirdly, it is a warehouse by the government. So once it gets here, it isn’t a government. It is stored in a government warehouse until it leaves for the retail destination where the consumer can buy it or to the hands of the distributor who takes it to a consumer or restaurant, hotel, etc.
We don’t work like other food products, let’s compare us to food, the food industry, because that’s in my eyes, wine is just food, and it’s consumed with food. It’s a consumable product in the same way. So if I import cheese, I can find my supplier, I can find my transporter, I can arrange my payment terms, I can negotiate my prices, I can find the best shipping rates, I can buy my own currency, to pay my supplier, I have control the entire process. And when it lands at my facility, I’ve got control over the storage of the goods. Well, in this scenario, everything I just said is out of my control. The only thing I do there is to negotiate the price of the product. That’s it.
Sam Gupta 8:25
Okay, so let’s talk about your sales order and purchase order right. So obviously, you are acting as a sort of the agent or the broker, right? And you are representing your vendors, and you are trying to negotiate with the LCBO. But from the legal perspective, from the contract perspective, and also from the sales and purchase order perspective, how is your documentation look like?
So let’s say if I review your sales order, purchase order, what kind of line items it is going to have, and what kind of line items it is going to have when you are interacting with? And what kind of line items you are going to have when you are interacting with your supplier. Can you touch on that?
Nelson Abreu 8:58
Sure. Yeah. So basically, the LCBO has issued forms for all of these processes. And basically, we enter all the product information into their system and into their ordering system. Basically, that system generates codes for everything, purchase order numbers, item numbers, so on and so forth.
And we basically take the information that our suppliers gave us, we process it through the LCBO system that so that attaches codes to all of the items, and we use their forms to generate purchase orders. So we input all the information into the LCBO system.
But the forms that the actual supplier or producer receives are on the LCBO letterhead, not our letterhead. So essentially, we’re populating all the information, and they are creating all the forms we don’t get involved in the customs process. Okay, because they control all of that.
Sam Gupta 9:57
Right. So your role here, it seems like that If you are not maintaining any of your inventory, so you don’t have any warehouses. So your role, I mean, you almost become a service agency. Because you are not even touching the inventory, the only thing really you are doing is you are looking at a transaction, and you are processing it. And I don’t know, even if you have a sales order on your paper, right, so let’s say if you were to implement an ERP system, you are not going to have any sort of order or the purchase order because you are putting this on the LCBO system.
So the only thing you need is the file that you need to upload on the LCBO. And everything is really taken care of by the LCBO. The only thing you really need to do is you need to maintain the customer information that customers are buying from you. But at the end of the day, they are going to place the order in the LCBO system.
Nelson Abreu 10:47
There’s some little tweaking to you know, to make your comment, but that’s pretty much it, Sam, then you have to realize that this is a government-controlled industry, it is very, very rigidly structured, okay, so we the only time that we actually get the product in our hands is when we’re delivering it to our customer.
Okay, so we have to buy it from the warehouse, and we do invoice the customer for the product. And that’s the only transportation we do our transportation is all local and regional. Okay, it doesn’t move across borders. It’s strictly from warehouse to end-user or restaurant, which is a reseller business client.
Sam Gupta 11:28
So basically, once it lands in the LCBO’s warehouse, then you are buying, so you are getting a purchase order may be to LCBO, and then they are sending over that wine to you, then you are sending it to your customers, right? Because you are sending the invoice to your customers, and you’re getting paid by them.
Nelson Abreu 11:47
Exactly, yeah, but I wouldn’t say that we’re cutting a purchase order to the LCBO, that stock is assigned to us in their warehouse, so nobody else has access to it, you can say that it is our property, but we don’t own it until someone buys it.
Sam Gupta 12:05
and what is buying? And that’s where I’m not sure if I followed everything.
Nelson Abreu 12:09
Yeah, so we don’t have to send in a purchase order. We just have to create a customer order in the LCBO system, basically. So the purchase order, the term that we use for the purchase order is something that is issued to the vendor that is producing the product, okay, what we’re doing is we’re creating order in their system for our customer, so that they know where that product is destined to.
Because obviously, there are huge tax implementations here. A large part of our business is business to business, it’s to restaurants and hotels, okay, and they are reselling the product. So when we receive it, it’s been we’re paying sales taxes on it when we sell it to our customers, okay, they’re paying sales tax on it.
And then when they sell it to their final customer who’s sitting in their restaurant dining, there, again, they’re selling it at an increased cost, and they’re generating sales taxes for the government. So the reason that the government wants to know who we’re selling it to is so that they can track all these businesses’ purchases and make sure that they are collecting all of the taxes. So if they know how much alcohol they purchased, then there’s no way that business will be able to circumvent sales taxes.
Sam Gupta 13:22
Yeah, it makes complete sense why they are tracking that. I’m definitely following that. So let’s talk about you know. Let’s say if you get an order from your customer, and your customers are placing an order with you, right?
You need to have a sense of the inventory that you have stored with the LCBO. So, at any given point in time, how do you verify what kind of inventory do you have in with LCBO? Is that going to be in the LCBO system as well? Or do you maintain that in your system?
Nelson Abreu 13:50
Yeah, so that information is available to you through the LCBO system, okay, and they generate reports for us. We can go in and man, you know, manually go through the system and assess our inventory situation. But they also do issue reports to us daily that show us our inventory levels, how far things are, where things are rapidly ordered from overseas, and what the ETA is so that we can track the movement of the product as well.
So it’s really up to each individual business owner, whether they want to create a system that sort of mirrors the LCBO system and tracks information and is able to, you know, coordinate all of their company’s activities, or whether they just want to use a simple call it like a QuickBooks.
Most people that start out new in the business as single owner-operators usually start out with QuickBooks and just look after their own invoicing. And then at some point, they grow up, and they expand their business, and they expand their Salesforce and then to get into more complex systems that will track that will do their own kind of forecasting on to how much lead time do we need? What are our sell-throughs on certain items, and would we be able to track all that information?
Sam Gupta 15:13
When you work with these international suppliers, do you have any specific requirements in those countries as well? Or is it fairly straightforward? LCBO is going to take care of all of that when they are working with the supplies and when you’re putting the purchase order now, this would be called a purchase order.
Nelson Abreu 15:33
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. No. 100% Yeah, it’s kind of a disjointed system when you compare it to a normal system where goods flow freely, and businesses really, really dialed down and have a lot more control over the entire process. Yeah, like our discussions with our suppliers are about allocations that we need from them on an annual basis to service the market and the growth that we’re expecting in the market.
That’s as far as it gets. But all of the system’s interaction is through the LCBO. We essentially feed their system with our requirements, and we just wait for that product to come in. And we can monitor it through their system. Interesting. But I mean, from the international perspective, since Canada is obviously super regulated when it comes to wine and some of the products that you mentioned, right? Some other countries are going to be similar in that regard.
So my assumption would be, they would like to track who is importing or exporting. So there are going to be some restrictions there. Well, when you are dealing with these international suppliers, do you experience any of that? Whether you buy from Italy versus France, it’s all the same? Yeah,
Nelson Abreu 16:44
I mean, it varies from producer to producer, really, in terms of the laws, there isn’t a region in the world that doesn’t export to Ontario or to Canada. Now, a lot of suppliers, individual producers, because of the rigidity of our system, it is very rigid, okay, you deal on their governments pay payment terms, you deal with their system, and the way it is built to work here in Ontario.
So we can’t establish specific payment terms with each of our suppliers, that would be a unique and appropriate situation agreement for that particular relationship, you’re dealing with one system, one set of rules, some producers in some regions, they don’t find doing business in Ontario attractive, because it’s such a rigid system, it’s a take it or leave it kind of market to be for that reason, because of the rules.
And the fees associated with being in our system. Because in a government system, they offload most of their fees back on to vendors, much like large retailers will do to suppliers. So and the other side of the coin, a lot of people do want to be here because you’re dealing with one purchasing power that buys for the entire population. So really, some producers find it really attractive to be here for that reason. Some of them find it to be quite frustrating to do business in Ontario. They’ve tried it. And they don’t like the terms. They don’t like the way costs are pushed on them.
Sam Gupta 18:27
So then, let’s say if you are sourcing a supplier for LCBO, and now they are doing business with the supplier. So what is going to be your protection, because obviously, you invested your money in sourcing the supplier, creating a relationship with them, can LCBO go ahead and do business with the supplier for their own retail store? Is that possible? Or is that supplier always elevated to you?
Nelson Abreu 18:57
Every single supplier is represented by a unique agency. So relationships are exclusive in the market, and they pay you free from a relationship. I mean, anything’s possible. Does it happen? Probably but it doesn’t happen very often that I know of.
So it’s as likely for the LCBO to be able to pry business away from an agent who has developed the demand for a specific brand in the marketplace. It’s as likely as it is for one of my competitors to try to do that as well. So it’s possible in any business in any business environment. But that comes down to your strength in your relationship with your supplier.
Sam Gupta 19:45
Okay, interesting. And how is the LCBO process work? How difficult is it to get the license? Let’s say if somebody is starting new in selling to LCBO, Is it a very difficult process? Does it require a lot of fees? How is the process for acquiring a license to sell with LCBO
Nelson Abreu 20:02
Yeah, so the license fee is $30. You, you apply for it through the alcohol and Gaming Commission, very inexpensive, it’s very easy to do. That’s not the difficult part. As long as you have a clean record in terms of criminal record, you should be able to get the same, with applying for a restaurant license would be the same thing.
The difference is, is that depending on what channel you want to be in if you want to sell products to the stores, you’re going to have to attract brands with pre-big volumes to supply that retail system, you know, there’s over 600 LCBO stores in Ontario. So you’re gonna have to find suppliers that are willing to trust you to represent their brand, you’re going to have to be able to get them into the system and then be you’re going to behave to prove to them that you can keep them in their system.
Nelson Abreu 20:5
Because if you don’t hit your numbers, you’ll be out as fast as you got in. So to get a license is quite easy to actually get operating in into the system, it’s extremely difficult, it takes a lot of investment time, it will take years of investment time, there really is no quick way to succeed unless you buy another business that’s existing because they start your quantities very, very small.
And but they train companies upward. Or they say like, Okay, you’ve proven that you can move certain volumes will increase your capacities to do business. So it’s not uncommon for people who start in this business to have two careers and do the best part times and then grow them. And then when their wine importer business or their alcohol importing business grows to the point that they can make the leap. They do that
Sam Gupta 21:38
Interesting. So tell me, why are these businesses and you are supplying to the restaurants and businesses? Why are they not buying directly from LCBO? Why are they buying from you?
Nelson Abreu 21:49
So there are two types of products. One guy per product is the product that is destined for the retail store, the retail system, and that has to be those opportunities have to be won by tenders, you have to submit your products to their buying team, just like you would approach a big-box retailer and you have to present it you have to make a business case marketing plan, and then they decided to buy it.
You ensure that you can sustain it the other way is to import privately. And it’s kind of where my company is founded and grown on you start your business, you identify the brands that you think work in the market based on your experience, and you grow those brands. And in this way, I’m not dealing with the buyer for the retail system. I’m dealing with independent or individual business owners or business groups that are purchasing.
So I can start with a brand that was never here before. And in years, I can build that into a very recognizable brand because I take it from customer to customer, and I increase the distribution of it. And I do that through the private distribution channel of the LCBO.
Sam Gupta 22:56
Okay, and how does the quality testing process work? So let’s say if the suppliers already doing the business with the LCBO directly, and they are the ones who are actually testing the product, and if there are going to be any issues? So is LCBO directly communicating with the vendor? And what if the vendor does not respond? We have to get into that process from the coordination perspective.
Are you always going to be looped in the communication? Do you have an account manager from the LCBO perspective? Who is going to call you if there are going to be any issues with your vendor? Tell me a little bit more about that process.
Nelson Abreu 23:29
Yeah, all of the above? Yes. Basically, the quality assurance lab tests everything as it comes into the province for the first time. After a year, they’ll retest the product. It’s all based on CFIA standards, Canadian Food Inspection Agency standards. And they are the only lab in the province that does this type of testing because there’s only really one importer, a physical importer that they work for.
So it’s their division. They don’t release any product, Sam, until it’s actually tested. You know, so recalls are very few because everything gets tested. And you know, they don’t release it until it passes on all levels, not just chemical analysis, but actual label analysis and everything right.
So it’s an internal quality assurance control. And because they also control the warehousing and distribution of it, they don’t let the product into the market until they give it the green light. So it’s a food product. So the standards they’re using are far they are National Food Standards that they comply with.
Sam Gupta 24:32
So some of these international suppliers that are actually trying to sell in Canada obviously are not going to be aware of the processes that are prevalent in Canada.
So is LCBO going to coach them in terms of what is required here, what they are supposed to be testing what they are supposed to be supplying? As part of the product, do they supply any certifications when they try to sell their wine here?
Nelson Abreu 24:54
So you know every product produced around the world has its own testing. I’m producing wine in France. I have local authority. If I’m going to put the local designation onto the wine, then they are going to have to get it tested before they’ll authorize that their name goes on to the bottle as an approved product, right?
So there are all kinds of local but the LCBO, even though products are tested globally, or locally, everywhere around the world, based on their own standards, the LCBO still has Canadian standards that these products have to clear. So there’s a lot of discrepancies.
Yes, we are responsible for making sure that our suppliers understand the compliance process and what they have to go through, and what it costs. And what the costs are. If the products don’t comply. Because there are fees associated with repackaging, there are fees associated with returning the product if it doesn’t get fly on a chemical level or disappear to have been destroyed if they don’t comply.
Nelson Abreu 25:5
So really, they give them the booklet, they give them the book, it says okay, well, you’re signing a contract that you want to do business with us. So here’s what you need to know. And they can look at it, and it’ll just be like, what, and then we’ll have to physically, we’ll have to physically take them through all of those guidelines and digested for them and say.
This is what you have to be prepared for. So yeah, that we do get involved that there is interacting directly with the supplier, it’s black and white to the LCBO. But we’re the ones who really make all of that technical jargon realistic as to what passes what doesn’t, how do they interpret it compared to their own standards, so on and so forth? And that’s where our expertise comes in, as well.
Sam Gupta 26:39
Yeah. So you play a much bigger role, I would say, in the process, because what LCBO is really doing is they are simply creating the educational material for you, and you are keeping up with that educational material. I’m pretty sure there are going to be updates with respect to quality as they come across these scenarios and issues in the real world that is going to be issues, and I’m pretty sure they have some sort of briefing sessions for us so that you can be educated about these changes and the regulatory changes as well.
So that you can brief your suppliers. 100%. Yeah. Okay. And from the binary perspective, let’s say, you know, if somebody’s trying to export wine from Canada to other countries, is LCBO trying to control that as well. Is the process going to be similar there? Or is it going to be different?
Nelson Abreu 27:28
Yes, his term as far as the export is concerned, the products are produced here. Anything that is sold here is considered an LCBO. Sale, whether it’s made in this country or imported into the country, anything that is traded in Ontario is considered an LCBO. Sale.
So there are guidelines for people that produce alcohol here and export it, there are very strict guidelines to which they have to like the product, whether you’re buying it here, or whether it’s being exported, there are taxes that are applied to the product, because it is an alcoholic product that producers cannot escape.
And it’s a cost of doing business for them. So when they quote, the cost of the product overseas, they still have to accommodate for the local taxes that they have to pay to the government for producing it here.
Sam Gupta 28:17
Okay, but the warehousing and inventory processes are going to be similar in the case of exporting, or the only thing they really need to worry about is going to be the taxes.
Nelson Abreu 28:31
That is a better question for an actual wine producer. I’m not up to speed on the intricacies the details of the flow of product and how much of it they have control over whether they get to assign, you know, figure out their own shipping freight lines and everything like that, and their shipping terms, or whether that’s also controlled through the government. I wouldn’t be the guy that asked for that because of the side of the business that I see this importation and distribution, not export.
Sam Gupta 28:57
Interesting, though, from the perspective of LCBO. I think you mentioned that Ontario is determined. I don’t know if LCBO is really a national organization or a provincial organization. So do they control these things at the province level? Or are there any regulations at the national level as well?
Nelson Abreu 29:18
Yeah, so you probably never realized, but Canada is full of borders, provincial borders. Yep. Every province you cross has a different liquor board. So they are all provincial like India, in Quebec, it’s the SAQ, and legally, you’re not supposed to take alcohol across the border, or even though there’s no physical border, you’re not supposed to fly it in one province and take it to another province.
That’s another one of these archaic kinds of outdated prohibition laws, and producers are not supposed to take orders from people that are out of province. Ship them out of the province. Now that might happen, I’m guessing. But that is the way the systems are built up. Every single province has its own liquor jurisdiction with particular requirements and functions.
The system in Quebec is very different from the one in Ontario, and the one in Manitoba is very different from the one in Ontario as well. So every province has a different way of seeing things and running their business to make it even more complicated.
Sam Gupta 30:30
So the supplier that you are working with, let’s say, we are supplying in Ontario, as well as in Quebec, so they will be working with another agent like you in Quebec to be able to supply these wines there. And they have to go through that provincial process again to be able to sell their right.
Nelson Abreu 30:46
Yeah, they have to know it’s like selling to different countries for the—different forms, different forms, different languages, different rules, etc.
Sam Gupta 31:01
Yeah. All right. That’s it. I think this is it for today. Do you have any last-minute closing thoughts, by any chance?
Nelson Abreu 31:06
I would love for you to share with me your opinion on what I’ve just described to you as a government-regulated industry as it applies to enterprise requirement planning systems and how you see it compared to the non-monopolized the non-controlled free-market world? What does it look like to me? Because I know I’m on one side of the fence, and I can’t see over the wall.
Sam Gupta 31:34
Right now, my head is spinning, to be honest, just because of the complexity and also because of the nature of the industry. So I don’t think the plain vanilla ERP system is going to work for your industry. Just because you are literally doing more of the contracting, you are not a traditional either food business or the e-commerce business, right?
Your contracting is going to be very different. The way you interact with LCBO is going to be very different. I don’t know how the larger distributors are managing their business. Obviously, they have to do their financials. They have to manage their processes. So they must have customized the ERP for your industry. There are customized ERPs available for the wineries and also for the spirit industry that has been built over the standard ERP systems that are available in the market. But for the most part, the whole business is going to be extremely difficult, of course. So thank you so much for your time, Nelson.
Nelson Abreu 32:35
Hey, Sam, thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it.
Sam Gupta 32:37
I can’t thank our guests enough for coming to the show and sharing their knowledge and journey. I always pick up learnings from our guests, and hopefully, you’ll learn something new today. If you want to learn more about Nelson or 3050 imports, head over to 3050 imports.com. Links and more information will also be available in the show notes.
If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, you might want to check other related episodes, including the interview with Aman Ailani from the Sah.ol cold brew, who discusses the unique challenges and important metrics for a consumer brand and a food and beverage company. Also, the interview with Chris Grainger, who discusses how his company EECO, a large electrical distributor, needed to change the way they sold to their customers.
Also, don’t forget to subscribe and spread the word among folks with similar backgrounds. If you have any questions or comments about the show, please review and rate us on your favorite podcasting platform or DM me on any social channels. I’ll try my best to respond personally and make sure you get out. Thank you, and I hope to catch you on the next episode of the WBS podcast.
Thank you for listening to another episode of The WBS podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform, so you never miss an episode. For more information on growth strategies for SMBs using ERP and digital transformation, check out our community at wbs.rocks. We’ll see you next time.