The Alcohol Distribution Monopoly Disrupted

ZURB helped LibDib develop an intuitive product that simplifies the managing and distribution of wine and spirits.

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a modern web platform. Restaurants, Bars & Retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews from Makers of all sizes.


LibDib is a startup that is turning the alcoholic beverage distribution industry upside down. LibDib aims to give the power back to smaller producers and the establishments that support them. LibDib came to ZURB looking for a partner to design the user facing portions of their web application, an interface that needed to be clear and simple yet powerful enough to manage the complexities of the industry.

After talking with members of LibDib’s team and clients, we were able to narrow down their target audience into two clear groups, Producers and Accounts. Producers are the wineries, distilleries and breweries that make the alcohol, while Accounts are the restaurants and bars that order and stock it. The application had to be flexible enough to satisfy the very different needs of these two groups in a way that still felt unified, consistent and intuitive.

Producers face a number of challenges that LibDib helps them overcome, with the foremost being their inability to access distribution in the first place. Traditional wine distributors have to deal with inconsistent state laws and shrinking business accounts, causing them to favor wine from larger and more established wineries. Ultimately, small Producers are interested in growing profit margins and building self sustaining business. It’s also critical for them to build relationships directly with Accounts, and not always work through a middleman.

Accounts have a confident pulse on their business and customer needs, and need to be nimble to adjust to new trends. After interviewing several Accounts, we were able to surface this Design Insight:

Because wine consumption is heavily influenced by trends, smaller restaurants prefer to carry less stock to be able to move inventory more quickly.

We were surprised to learn just how much trends affect the wine industry. A wine can be hot one month and a total dud the next, requiring Account to be able to switch out their stock quickly or make orders on short notice. Traditionally, they are often forced by to buy several wines by wine brokers and salespeople just to gain access to the in demand wines, leaving them stuck with crates of wine that just don’t move.

This Design Insight heavily shaped the order/checkout process in the app. Optimizing the experience to enable Account to order and reorder quickly, highlighting local trends, and encouraging experimentation with up and coming wines became critical parts of the UI. The button copy was all designed around speed, making sure Accounts could quickly respond to any shifts in demand as well as identify rising stars easily with labels like “Live Expert Recommendations,” “Try This Wine” and “Hot In Your Area.”

We also sought to build on this Design Insight with how we approached the app for the Producer customer. Maps makes it easy for them to highlight where they deliver to.

The result is an easy to use app that gives both Producers and Accounts exactly what they need to forge mutually beneficial relationships with each other. Producers are able to access new markets despite their size and get help navigating state laws while Accounts are able to deal directly with their providers, stay on top of new trends, and order small batches to keep their inventory moving.

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