Distribution Centre

Superior Customer Service

When Peter MacDonald walked through the doors of the NSLC’s Distribution Centre (DC) he knew this was the place he wanted to work. He had a wealth of experience with retail warehousing by the time he joined the NSLC in 2017 as Operations Manager of the Distribution Centre.

“This is an organization that has a large distribution system throughout the province and is connected to its customers, taking pride in delivering personalized customer service,” Peter said. 

He is excited to be working with our team in the DC who work hard day and night to deliver on our customer promise. “We have to be sure we meet their expectations every time. We must be accurate in filling orders and ensuring the product arrives in excellent condition. The people working in our DC are committed to that goal,” Peter said.

The Distribution Centre is a vital part of our business, handling 4,200 different products and accounting for a $26.2 million inventory. It services a $625.7 million network that includes 106 retail stores, 60 agency stores, four private wine and specialty stores. It also provides products to more than 2000 bars and restaurants. This means at any given time the DC has almost half a million cases of beverage alcohol on its shelves.

“It’s critically important that we do our job right to ensure the overall success of retail operations and to satisfy customer demand. We work hard to exceed our customers’ expectations. We want them to find the product they’re looking for when they want it,” Peter said.

It’s critically important that we do our job right to ensure the overall success of retail operations and to satisfy customer demand.
— Peter MacDonald

The DC shipped out almost five million cases of beverage alcohol to retail and wholesale customers last fiscal year. Some of those products were for special events hosted by the NSLC, from mixology events at The Port to the Festival of Wines and the Festival of Whisky.

The 22nd annual Festival of Wines was Nova Scotia’s premier wine event last year showcasing more than 350 wines from 12 countries. “The Festival of Wines is an opportunity for Nova Scotians to learn about some wonderful wines made here in Nova Scotia and around the world,” said NSLC Chief Operating Officer Tim Pellerin.

Its success depends on the Distribution Centre properly stocking and restocking a pop-up store set up on site. The DC was also crucial to ensuring the ever-popular Grand Tastings at the Cunard Centre in Halifax went smoothly. “The festival’s success reflected the fantastic effort put forth by teams across the NSLC,” Peter said.

In addition to their regular job of ensuring stores, bars and restaurants were properly stocked, our employees in the DC handled a whopping 72,255 bottles of wine – that included unloading each of those bottles for the temporary store set up in the Cunard Centre, replenishing inventory then repackaging unsold bottles at the end of the event. The DC also shipped out individual orders to our customers across the Province.
“The DC team did a remarkable job handling this operation – the cases were stickered with bin tab labels, checked to ensure the vintages and descriptions were correct and the barcodes confirmed. On top of all that, they placed the stickers on the 12,660 bottles of award-winning wines,” Peter said.

Most of those wines arrived on containers in the Port of Halifax from countries such as Spain, Italy, New Zealand and Argentina. Many of the whiskies and scotches from Scotland, Japan and Ireland also arrived on container ships before making their way via the DC to the extremely popular Festival of Whisky. The team ensured more than 170 selections from five countries along with whisky from Nova Scotia’s three producers were available at the festival in March.

The DC team takes extreme care with every pallet they unload from the delivery trucks that back into the bays of the warehouse in Halifax. They use forklifts to expertly place these cases of whisky and beverage alcohol from every corner of the world on shelves up to eight metres off the ground. 

When a customer walks into one of our stores and wants that bottle, the team uses the same care to ensure it gets safely and securely into the back of another delivery truck because they know its ultimate destination is your table.