Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors
Location: St. Louis, MO
Industry: Beverage Distributor
Sue McCollum’s journey to becoming the CEO of Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors was unconventional. Earning her undergraduate degree in both journalism and economics, she initially pursued a career in sports broadcasting and then found public affairs as her niche. After earning an MBA with a focus on marketing, her love of public engagement led her to a successful career at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis before founding her own marketing and communications consulting company.
She ultimately entered law school in 2010 that provided her with the training required to lead Major Brands, the largest Missouri-based and operated distributor of premium wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverages, employing more than 600 people and serving more than 9,000 retailers.
McCollum took the helm of Major Brands and succeeded her husband as CEO in 2012, becoming the first woman CEO and owner of a large wine and spirits distribution company that has been family-owned and led since its founding in 1934.
“The role required Sue to step in and run the company after her husband’s brain cancer diagnosis and to deftly navigate lawsuits challenging the unlawful actions of spirits suppliers and wholesalers who targeted Major Brands after the passing of her husband,” said her staff. “After losing the most significant suppliers in her portfolio, Sue set about rebuilding the company, acquiring two smaller distributors. In 2020, Major Brands surpassed its all-time revenue mark of 2012.”
McCollum is committed to build on the 85+ years of building the business by building the communities it serves. “We prioritize being the best over getting bigger,” said McCollum. “It is just as important to focus on how you do things as it is on what you do.”
Her tenacious, innovative and persistent approach to leading has not gone unnoticed by her staff and the community. “Sue is a values-based leader who believes that a long-run, qualitative leadership focus produces the best results for stakeholders,” said her staff. “She has embraced adversity and developed a new entrepreneurial spirit in the organization as she led it through unprecedented times.”
McCollum also tackles community engagement and philanthropy with an entrepreneurial spirit. “She believes that we all need a higher calling and using the organization as a platform for doing good work in the community is important to her,” said her staff. Major Brands donates to more than 300 organizations each year and engages in innovative, employee-driven activities to improve community quality of life.
For her commitment to supporting the staff, her industry and the community, McCollum has been named a Titan.
Sue is a die hard Buffalo Bills and Marv Levy fan.