International Wine and Spirits, Inc. (IWS)

About IWS

Among the many positives of the beverage alcohol industry is the ability for families to build a business. If you took a survey through the years and counted the number of small and large liquor and wine distributors you will find the most enduring and successful are family owned and operated. The trend is growing well into the 21st century. The Fernandez Brothers, owners and operators of Miami-based International Wine and Spirits, Inc. (IWS). The brothers – Jose, George and Javier– combined their vast industry experience and ventured into the wholesale business. Opening in February 1999, IWS became incorporated and began the long path to success.


Now in our sixteenth year, IWS is dedicated to importing and distributing wines and spirits from around the world. The brothers started IWS by representing two Chilean wines, “it wasn’t easy starting this business: confesses Jose. Yes, it’s easy to go out and get product because there’s lots out there, but getting it into the market was the challenge. Competition is fierce, and there were many out there who were reluctant to work with the smaller guy and his unknown brand names. Despite the obstacles. the brothers stayed with a five· year plan of adding new brands, revenue and structure in the company Being a family proved helpful. In there second year they began approaching other family business. It was easy to sit down and openly discuss product and profit since each side shared similar goals.

Today, eighty percent of the brands IWS represents and their customers are family owned. Their relationships are directly with first- and second-generation owners. Working with family owned companies is our business model.

International Wine and Spirits distributes products in South Florida, Tampa,Orlando, Jacksonville and south to Key West. Pricing products is a key milestone from how the brand’s price fits competitively to how it affects an establishment’s profit margin. IWS educates our sales team to deliver the message to consumers. Tastings, dinners and seminars all help sell our brands.Each salesman fully knows the product he represents, so he can train the retailers staff or waitstaff the best way to sell that product to the customer.

The brothers are using the power of the web to promote the IWS name and its products. All supplier labels carry their web address. The advantage is when a customer wants to buy more, he can pull up their web address, contact IWS and they will direct him to a local retailer.

A new warehouseDSC_0017 for IWS is slated to open in Central Florida early 2017. Changes are an everyday part of our business – recalls Jose.·We are determined to work closer than ever with our customers: IWS projects continued growth for the wine and spirits industry. Their future plans are very much the same as the first five years but to make increases all around. Now that we have less need for capital investment, we can concentrate on growing our existing brands rather than investing in new products and equipment,- says Javier. Through it all, it was a sense of family value that kept IWS going the first fourteen years, and as George reminds everyone, it was our passion for this industry and our company will succeed.