A $12 billion alcohol beverage company is being formed with the merger of Republic National Distributing Co., which has a corporate office and top executive in New Orleans, and New York-based Breakthru Beverage Group.

Republic, a wholesale wine and liquor distributor and sales company, also has corporate offices in Atlanta and Dallas, while Breakthru, a beer, wine and liquor distributor and sales company, has an office in Cicero, Illinois.

The new company will not have a physical corporate headquarters but rather a virtual one since executive and senior leadership reside across multiple states, said Matt Freeman, Republic's director of corporate communications.

Republic President and CEO Tom Cole, of New Orleans, will serve as chief executive officer of the merged company under terms of a letter of intent. 

“The merger of RNDC and Breakthru will create strategic opportunities that will benefit our associates and our business partners in a rapidly changing and highly competitive marketplace," Cole said.

The transaction is targeted for completion in the second quarter.

The combined company also will benefit from a broadly expanded footprint, said Cole, who has served as president of Republic since its creation in 2006 and helped grow it to be the nation’s second-largest distributor of wines and spirits with sales of approximately $6.5 billion. 

Republic, with 9,500 employees, has operations in Louisiana, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The company boasts that it is Louisiana's largest wholesaler of premium wine and spirits, supplying alcohol to restaurants and hotels across the state.

Along with the New Orleans location, the company has offices in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Shreveport. 

Breakthru, with 7,000 employees, has operations throughout Canada, but also is in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. Breakthru was formed in 2016 through the merger of family-owned wholesalers Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage Group.

“Breakthru looks forward to joining forces with RNDC to establish an even stronger foundation of industry knowledge, talent, history and heritage," said Breakthru's President and CEO Greg Baird, who will serve as chief integration officer of the merged company.

Continuous innovation and agility are keys to wholesaler success as retail customers grow, and beverage alcohol suppliers seek to be more nimble, efficient and responsive to evolving consumer demands, the companies said.

The merger of RNDC and BBG also will facilitate investments in technology that will enhance all aspects of their business, officials said, from supply chain management, customer and supplier connections, e-commerce, predictive analytics, digital marketing, data transparency, consumer experience and operational efficiency.