Meet our Co-CEOs and learn how they grew the business into what is now the #1 Wine & Spirits Wholesaler- all the while continuing to stay family owned and operated.
For over 4 generations, we’ve been known for our hard work, fair-dealing, exceptionally personal service, deep regional expertise, and an ongoing commitment to do right by our staff. The Cooper & Ross families have built our business from a one-man corner store to a state-wide network of associates and facilities distributing known brands and emerging innovative products to all 83 counties. We’re local, everywhere.
For nearly 80 years, time and time again, it’s all come down to family. Whether you’re working with or working for Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, we treat you like family—with honesty, respect, and trust. We care deeply about our business and yours.
Watch our family business grow
Take a trip down memory lane and see how we grew from a single store to being local everywhere with our statewide wholesaler business.
Explore our history
Cooper Miner Grocery Store
J. Lewis Cooper, Sr. started the Cooper Miner Grocery Store on N. Saginaw Street in Pontiac, Michigan.
Christian Brother's Wine
Mr. Cooper acquired a permit and began distributing Christian Brother’s Wine three days a week.
General Wine & Liquor
After a sales and management career, with the J. Lewis Cooper Co., Syd Ross left and purchased General Wine & Liquor, a small Detroit wine distributor on the city’s east side.
O’Donnell Importing Company
General Wine & Liquor purchased Don-Lee Distribution – Wine Distribution Rights expanding the portfolio.
General Wine & Liquor Moved
General Wine & Liquor moved from Mack Avenue address in Detroit to the Sears, Roebuck and Co Building in Highland Park ( current location )
HJ Van Hollenbeck
Diversified Portfolio in Metro Detroit for the J. Lewis Cooper Co.
Awarded ADA Rights
Late in the year- General Wine & Liquor and J. Lewis Cooper Co. were awarded the ADA rights from the state, allowing for the privatization of the delivery of spirits.
Viviano Wine Importers, another fine wine distributor, was purchased by J. Lewis Cooper Co., enhancing their fine wine presence.
Decanter Imports was sold to General Wine & Liquor and expanded the fine wine division.
Both companies enjoyed great success, each making significant additional business acquisitions including: Bellino Beverage (2003), Tom Ryan Beverage (2006), Demorest Sales (2006), Oak Distributing (2007), Gordon Wines (2007), and Classic Wine.
Syd Ross and Lewis Cooper III began discussions on merging their two companies.
Little Guy Wine
Little Guy Wine Company was founded. As the name implies, the company was created because they are passionate about small production wines and the “Little Guys” who are doing what they love. They search for the hand crafted, unique, and hard-to-find wines from the around the world.
Great Lakes Wine & Spirits was Formed
Great Lakes Wine and Spirits, LLC was formed, becoming the largest alcohol beverage wholesaler in the State of Michigan, servicing all 83 counties.
First Acquisition of GLWAS, showing commitment to continued expansion by both families and helping solidify the distribution of the middle of the state.
Started our wine footprint in the Upper Peninsula.
Bayside Beverage Company
Bayside Beverage Company was acquired in February, and marked the beginning of Great Lakes Wine & Spirits’ involvement in beer distribution. GLWAS also purchased Nate Beverage, Ward Beverage, and Tasson Beverage, expanding our beer and wine business in northern and southwestern Michigan.
Thompson Beverage Co.
This expanded the territory of existing brands into the important Ann Arbor market.
With Wicksall we were able to continue to consolidate our statewide wine brands into the Traverse City region.
Earl Smith Distribution
Added territory to brands in the thumb region.
Helped expand into south central Michigan centering around Jackson.
Fabiano Brothers Inc (wine rights)
2017 GLWAS purchased the wine rights from Fabiano Brothers further expanding the list of statewide brands.
This acquisitions gave GLWAS expanded presence in Kalamazoo area.
This purchase expanded the footprint of statewide brands into the Ann Arbor area.
Awards & accolades
What people are saying
Join our growing team!
Want to nerd out about wine? Can’t stop recommending your favorite new drink? You’re the right fit for Great Lakes Wine & Spirits. Join the crew and enjoy working with likeminded, passionate people.