Liquor distribution center expansion topped off in Bow


Monitor staff

Published: 07-31-2023 7:02 PM

Trucks pull up at the back of the warehouse, waiting to load up on cases of wine and liquor. As drivers wait for their orders, the shutters to the receiving dock slide open, revealing a massive array of alcoholic beverages ready to be delivered to restaurants and stores across New Hampshire.

Like clockwork, this is what happens every day at the DHL distribution center in Bow.

At first glance, the warehouse’s exterior, with its basic white paint, may appear mundane, but the interior tells a different story. Once inside the 242,205 square-foot warehouse, it looks like a little village, with workers efficiently organizing and loading pallets and cases of products, ensuring that each order is precisely prepared to be delivered on time.

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission entered into a 20-year agreement with shipping giant DHL in 2013 to warehouse and transport alcohol across the state. Due to growing demand, the warehouse needed an additional 27,235 square feet to store liquor cases.

Greg Featherstone, general manager at DHL Supply Chain said the expansion was planned to provide more flexibility.

“It was built to maximize storage and increase receiving capacity, which allows us to better serve the NHLC, the broker community and their customers,” said Featherstone.

Before the addition, the warehouse held 1.2 million cases. With the expansion, the warehouse can accommodate around 1.5 million cases.

While the products within the warehouse are awaiting distribution, they are not under the ownership of the NHLC. Instead, vendors and suppliers retain ownership until the products leave the building.

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The scale of operations at the distribution center on a typical day, according to both the NHLC and DHL, is as follows:

Cases sent to restaurants and bars:2,500

Cases delivered to the warehouse: 20,000

Orders placed: 250

Trucks sent to receive cases: 20 - 25

The profits generated from sales at state liquor stores are used to fund programs in education, health and human services, transportation, natural resource protection and addiction treatment and prevention.

Joseph Mollica, chairman of the Liquor Commission said the expansion is designed to streamline distribution and sales.

“Our main objective is that it will allow our business partners and the NHLC to be more efficient and effective in our business operations,” said Mollica. “It will allow the liquor commission to continue providing the best selection and value to our Granite State customers and beyond.”

As more liquor cases will be stacked on the 40-foot high pallets in the new section of the warehouse, plans are in the works to upgrade several components of the process, such as the bottle picker system, to make it more efficient.

“I won’t call out that the innovation doesn’t stop here,” said Featherstone. “We’ve got a few systems upgrades coming down the pipeline, which are going to provide efficiency and safety benefits to the building.”