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Insurance mogul and vintner Bill Foley expands California wholesaler with Pacific Wine Distributors acquisition

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The California wholesaling side of Bill Foley’s Santa Rosa-based wine and spirits businesses expands further into the Golden State with the acquisition of a Southern California distributor.

Epic Wines & Spirits (www.epic-wineandspirits.com) on Feb. 1 purchased Pacific Wine Distributors, based in the east Los Angeles suburb of Irwindale, renaming that operation Convoy Beverage Alliance, according to the announcement Tuesday. It's the first acquisition by Epic since Foley purchased it in 2013, according to Tiffany Miller, executive vice president for purchasing and administration.

"It brings logistics services in house for (Southern California) but does not expand coverage," she said in an email. "We have always serviced the entire (California) market through (third) party logistics solutions. We use a dedicated logistics service in (Northern California) and with this acquisition now have independent coverage for the entire state."

Under the deal, Pacific founder and General Manager Gino Pacella under contract will continue to manage the new division of Epic, and existing office, warehouse and transportation workers and drivers of the 45-truck fleet become Epic employees. Together, Epic and Convoy have 198 employees.

“Consolidation is changing the landscape of the distributor tier in the Western United States,” said Shawn Schiffer, CEO of Epic, in the news release. “Our acquisition of Pacific Wine Distributors gives Epic Wines & Spirits the independent organic transportation capacity to offer a wide range of suppliers a full-service distributor choice in California.”

Convoy will continue to serve Pacific’s more than 100 clients, including alcohol wholesalers, independent producers, retailers and importers.Epic Wine & Spirits started in 1995, and its portfolio now includes over 500 brands, including about 40 produced by Foley Family Wines.

Foley, who is also executive chairman of Fidelity National Financial, owns wineries in California’ North and Central coastal areas, Pacific Northwest and New Zealand, as well as hotels and resorts in the North Coast and elsewhere.

This story has been updated with comments from Epic Wines & Spirits executive Tiffany Miller.

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