Pine State Trading awarded marketing contract for liquor sales

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LEWISTON — Pine State Trading, which was awarded the contract to administer Maine’s wholesale liquor business for the next 10 years, has also been awarded the marketing contract.

The two other companies bidding for the marketing work were Dirigo Spirit, led by Ford Reiche of Cumberland and Timothy Agnew of Yarmouth, and CD&M Communications, led by Duncan Stout of Portland.

According to a statement issued by Gov. Paul LePage’s office Friday, the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations awarded the spirits marketing contract to Pine State Trading in Gardiner based on a ranking system. The Pine State Trading bid was submitted by James Bass, the company’s senior project manager, and Terry Goddard, vice president of liquor operations.

In considering the proposals, the state’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services, scored the proposals on a points system for the various business plans and presentations, staffing and facilities, vendor experience, financial incentives and economic impact, among other things. In nearly all categories, Pine State Trading scored highest.

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Last month, the same company was awarded the contract to administer liquor sales, including warehousing and distribution of spirits to licensed dealers across the state.

The new contract for administration is expected to be a much more lucrative deal for the state than the current one with Maine Beverage. Over the last decade, the state has received roughly $190 million from that contract. Under the new deal, the projection is that Maine will receive $450 million in the next 10 years.

The new contract is expected to cover $183.5 million in revenue bonds taken out by the state to pay a portion of old debt to Maine hospitals.

The state will now negotiate a marketing contract with Pine State Trading based on its winning proposal.

“I am pleased to report that the contract for warehousing and the contract for marketing will meet or exceed the benefits we estimated would flow from the RFP process” when it was first established, according to Gerry Reid, director of Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations. “This is an extremely positive outcome for the state,” he said.

And, in the release, LePage said he was “pleased to see my administration’s strategic vision for new spirits agreements come to completion,” enabling repayment of the hospital debt and capturing significantly more wholesale revenue from liquor sales for the state.

Maine controls the distribution, price and promotion of spirits, one of 18 such jurisdictions across the country. The new contracts for administration and marketing will take effect July 1.

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