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PIM as a Solution to Bev/Alc Industry Three Tier Challenges

February 15, 2023

In much of the United States, beverages containing alcohol have been heavily regulated for the last 90 years. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution ended prohibition, legalizing alcohol sales but transferring regulations to the states.

From this, the three tier system was born. Beverage and alcohol (Bev/Alc) regulation for most states requires division between the manufacturer or producer, the distributor, and the retailer. While this system was put into place to prevent abuses in market share, it also unintentionally adds some complexities for each segment, requiring additional relationships and product data transfers.

Product Information Management (PIM) is crucial for all manufacturers, distributors, and retails in every industry. Many with a small SKU set can manage their data without the use of software, though there are still associated risks. We often think of PIM systems as a solution for companies with a large number of SKUs but when you introduce the complexities of bev/alc and navigating the three tier system, data quality, management, and transfer become challenging to manage even at a lower product number. 

PIM can not only solve concerns about diminishing data quality as it moves through the three tier system, it can also help you enable consumer preferred features.


Bev/Alc Manufacturers, Producers, and Brands

bev/alc three tierProducers of bev/alc are the originator of product data for the beer, wine, or spirits they create. Within the regulatory system, the need to transfer product information to distributors is critical in the journey to the digital and physical shelf. Manually creating that data can be tricky when each distributor requires different details in specified formats. Beyond that, the information you provide to the distributors is likely to affect the details that accompany your product to the retailer. Being able to include and manage as many customer valued details as possible to your distributor is a long play at sharing this information with shoppers. 


“Our bev/alc clients value PIM software for the simplified organization of industry detail like proof and ABV that are of course unique, the alcohol types (categorization), and things like how aged the alcohol is.” shares Nick Rotan, Sitation implementation specialist. “Storing your bottle images and  labels, as well as recipe/cocktail information with lifestyle images can help increase customer engagement.”


Including bottle pictures as well as working with experts at Sitation to generate enhanced content like lifestyle photos or suggested recipes will provide more content and context to customers.

The amount of access distributors have to your product catalogs is a sales driver. While PIM solutions like Salsify allow you to transfer information to your distributors, features like Open Catalog allow new distributors to access your information. This means sales audience expansion without creating connections for each individual distributor.

Bev/Alc Distributors

While PIM solution values like accurate, high quality data, reduced manual touches, and a faster time to market pertain to each level, some features are particularly useful for distributors.

Bev/Alc distributors are responsible for both receiving and ingesting data as well as syndicating that information to retailers. Data in and out without introducing errors is critical to the mission of distribution. With this in mind, distribution companies lodged in the middle of the bev/alc regulatory system are focused on the organization of their distribution offerings.

Taxonomy, the way in which a set of products is organized within a hierarchy, helps to clarify offerings. It also happens to be a key function of PIM solution software. Organizing spirits, wine, and beer separately and then gradually adding specification, (example: spirits – tequila, rum, vodka, wine- Cabernet, merlot, chardonnay, beer – ale or lager) all the way down to specific brands, vintages, or country of origin, helps retailers select from distributor catalogs with ease.

Bev/Alc Retailers

The last stop in the Bev/Alc journey is to the retailer. By the time the consumer is adding a bottle of wine to their digital shopping cart or taking a case of beer to their grocer’s cash register, that product has not only gone on a journey, so has its accompanying product information. 

Among the greatest values of PIM to each player in the system is that the product details reach the consumer in the same condition they left the producer. 


“The 3 tier system means multiple gatekeepers to getting your information to the end consumer. [PIM Solution Software] gives the producer the power to give the message they want to send to their customer at the point of purchase which is huge.”

– Mike Giese, Trade Marketing Manager at Share A Splash Wine Co. 


The ultimate value for all three tiers is the single source of truth which maintains data integrity from the beverage maker’s finished product to the shelf at your local retailer.  Contact us for more details on how we have helped bev/alc players at every level and can do the same for you!

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