Chicago, IL – Wirtz Beverage Illinois, a leading distributor of fine wine and spirits, opened the doors of a 605,000 square foot, multi-use training and distribution center. The state-of-the-art facility includes corporate offices, conference centers, training facilities and 500,000 square feet of warehouse space.
“The new facility serves as more than warehouse and office space,” said Julian Burzynski, Senior Vice President, Wirtz Beverage Illinois. “It’s taking everything we do and bringing it together under one roof. Very few distributors in the country have been able to put the best of everything – sales, marketing, operations, logistics, technology and training – together in this way. Plus, it’s close to the airport and close to the city. Collectively, we think it’s a real point of differentiation and advantage for Wirtz Beverage and its partners.”
The facility’s new warehouse has the capacity to hold 2.5 million cases of wine and spirits and includes a 25,000 square foot temperature-controlled wine storage facility, the largest in the country. The advanced conveyor system sorts and moves up to 10,000 cases per hour to 39 shipping and receiving bays. The building will serve as the central headquarters for nearly 1,000 Wirtz Beverage Illinois employees and 1,500 premier beverage products.
Two stories of corporate offices, a full gym with locker rooms for employees and a company-cafeteria, emphasizing healthy fare, also complement the facility. The Alchemy Room, designed by chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, features a commercial kitchen and demonstration bar with high-definition video screens for training, education and beverage development. The facility was developed by Wirtz Realty Corporation, a subsidiary of Wirtz Corporation, in thirteen months. A public plaza, pedestrian path and commercial outlots join the facility on 66 acres of land formally known as Sportsman’s Park Race Track.
“From a development standpoint, this was a significant project,” said Anthony Iatarola, Senior Vice President, Wirtz Realty Corporation, project developer. “We were fortunate to have the cooperation and support of everyone from the Town of Cicero, Cook County and the State of Illinois. Because of that, we were able to complete it on budget and ahead of schedule. “
To celebrate the grand opening, Wirtz Beverage Illinois and Wirtz Realty co-hosted an evening reception for approximately 400 guests, ranging from supplier partners from around the world, local dignitaries and sports and media executives, to government officials and Chicago Blackhawk Ambassadors.
The festivities included tours of the 605,000 square foot facility as well as cooking and cocktail demonstrations in The Alchemy Room. A special time capsule ceremony was also in honor of the company’s past, present and future.
Among the items placed into the capsule to be opened in 2045, marking the 100th year Anniversary of the Wirtz family’s entrance to the beverage business, were:
- Family and historic photos from 1945-current day
- Commemorative items from wine and spirits suppliers, including one-of-a-kind etched bottles
- A Chicago Blackhawk Hockey Team jersey signed by the 2011-2012 team
- A proclamation from the State of Illinois declaring May 2, 2012 Wirtz Beverage Group Day
- A DVD and brief summary chronicling the project from inception to the opening
Wirtz Beverage Illinois is a member of the Wirtz Corporation family of companies. Wirtz Corporation has diversified holdings in real estate, insurance, banking, entertainment and sports, including the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Wirtz Corporation will maintain its corporate headquarters at 680 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.