LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s first Black-owned liquor distribution company is continuing to pave the way for people who look like them in the alcohol industry.
We first told you about Legacy Wine & Spirits back in 2021. Co-owners Kelvin Young and Djuan Ditto have nearly doubled the retail partners they work with from 2021 and increased the liquor products they sell.
With the big expansion, the business partners also hope to add two new employees to their team this year, including a delivery driver and a sales manager.
“People don’t understand that somebody has to start it,” Young said. “So we wanted to be the people in our family that started that legacy and leaving the wealth for generations behind us.”
Louisville natives Young and Ditto were in the beginning phase of becoming Kentucky’s first Black owned liquor distributor—gaining their distribution license in 2020.
“It’s kind of a funny thing, because we didn’t start off to be distributors, we started off to be brand ambassadors. And to help us facilitate being better ambassadors, we got the distribution license,” said Young. “Especially with us being in Kentucky, this is the Bourbon Capital. So you would think by now that there would be a Black people or people who look like us in this space.”
According to a recent study by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Black Americans represent 12% of alcohol consumers, but they make up just under 8% of the sector’s labor force and 2% of executives in the industry.
Most hours of the day, you’ll find Young and Ditto in their warehouse. The two say Brand Ambassador Group, established in 2017, is the backbone of their entrepreneurial journey.
It helps the childhood best friends prioritize working with Black and women-owned liquor brands—expanding the industry to give others what they have and making their family proud.
“It’s a bigger magnitude of what we’re doing. Creating the platform that every brand can be successful in. So that’s what we’re trying to do right now with being in Kentucky and being here,” said Ditto.
With Kentucky’s support, the best friends are expanding. They operate with 6 different brands, they’re up to 80 retail partners–that’s increased from 45 in 2021. And their portfolio includes 32 products–up from 26 also in 2021. The boxes weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds with everything from lime tequila, black cherry bourbon, mango vodka, white wine and more.
The duo routinely makes deliveries across the state. But this week they’re in Louisville at Skyway Beverage Shoppe. They’ll do the same backbreaking work to unload it all.
But the two say another part of their business expansion this year is to hire a delivery driver, a sales manager and even start out-of-state delivery options. The two say it’s something they didn’t think was possible this soon.
“If you feel passionate about what you got, go for it. And once you’ve done it, be the type of person to say at least I did it,” said Ditto.
“And if something doesn’t work, don’t feel bad. Just move on to the next thing,“ Young added.
This duo is proving to their family and other entrepreneurs that creating your own legacy is possible.
If you’re looking to meet the owners of Legacy Wine & Spirits, their next event will be at the first ever Black Wine Fest in Cincinnati. You can head here to learn more about their business and where their liquor brands are sold.