Jay Frary joined Sheehan Family Companies out of college in 2003, starting as a sales rep in NYC and steadily working his way up the corporate ladder to sales manager and eventually, vice president of wine and spirits. Jay manages the W&S strategy, budgets, suppliers, and distributors across 14 states for the company’s distributor business and nationally for its import dealings. He is one of five VPs who oversee 18 distributors in the Northeast for over 1,000 brands as well as manages the company’s national import business, which is comprised of more than 75 distributors.
The family-owned company is one of the largest beer wholesalers nationally by size and St. Killian Importing is their import division. In 2012, Jay was instrumental in establishing Blueprint Brands as the organization’s wine and spirits division and in 10 years, has grown it into a multi-million-dollar division that spans the U.S. He has introduced hundreds of products from other countries into the U.S. that are becoming household brands, including Gin Mare, which he first brought here in 2014, and has recently sold Brown Forman. He credits the growth of the spirits division to his keen understanding of the brands and how to build them. “Once they are on the shelf, you have to create programming around them for consumers to understand and engage,” Jay said. “We recognize smaller brands excel with extra attention. We care about what we’re creating and building, and really make sure we’re fully able to successfully grow via building effective platforms.”
When it comes to sales and marketing, the company’s strategy is more about longevity, and Jay strives to curate a portfolio of brands that adds value to the retailers across their markets and can grow consistently each year. The portfolio has evolved to include brands that Jay has created and developed to fill niche pockets across the US. These brands have taken on a life of their own and are now distributed nationally. “We try to get ahead of the curve by understanding trends and investing in them. We were in the now-popular, ready-to-drink, and mezcal categories before our competitors. One of our core strengths is being flexible and capitalizing on unique opportunities before everyone else,” Jay added.
Vice President of Wine & Spirits — Sheehan Family Companies