Small Alcohol Distributor 3 Sheilas Is Bringing Sustainable Wine and Spirits to Arizona

From left: Nancy Mangone, Joanne Spencer, Marc Christenson from Dented Brick Distillery, and 3 Sheilas Brand Ambassador Jane Crafter at the 2022 Pride in the Pines in Flagstaff. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Mangone)

By Robert Gundran

June 16, 2023

3 Sheilas’ portfolio has over a dozen wine brands that feature a woman as the lead winemaker.

Distributors are a key link in the supply chain. They’re the midpoint between producers and consumers. Hensley Beverage Company, with chairwoman Cindy Hensley McCain, and Crescent Crown are two of the largest in Arizona for alcohol distribution. 

In 2018 a new player entered the industry. 3 Sheilas is owned and operated by Nancy Mangone and Joanne Spencer, a married couple from opposite coasts who joined together to bring lesser-known brewers, distillers, and winemakers to Arizonans. 

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“We think there’s a lot of great wines and spirits out there that have smaller productions, are handmade, and high quality,” Mangone told The Copper Courier. “In our experience, they couldn’t find a distributor because they didn’t have enough volume.”

Mangone grew up in Long Island, New York, while Spencer was born in San Francisco but has been an Arizonan since she was five.

Joanne Spencer and Nancy Mangone (Photo courtesy of Nancy Mangone)

Mangone said she and Spencer applied for 3 Sheilas’ distribution license at the end of 2020 and got it approved in 2021. 

On 3 Sheilas’ website, you won’t find any major brands, but Mangone said that’s by design. 

“We look for wines and spirits that have more natural ingredients that are new to the Arizona market,” she said. “We look for wines that are sustainable, and also products that are made by diverse suppliers.”

Mangone said 3 Sheilas’ portfolio has over a dozen wine brands that feature a woman as the lead winemaker.

The field is mostly dominated by men, with only 14% of California wineries featuring a woman at the helm, according to the Women Winemakers of California

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“We have 10 organic wines, 20 that are sustainable, and wines from Black winemakers in South Africa,” Mangone said. “We try to give people who are diverse providers an entry into the Arizona market. One of our tequilas is Native American-owned. A lot of those folks have had a hard time breaking into the market.”

Spencer previously worked for another distributor, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, as a sales representative, and Mangone was an environmental lawyer before pursuing distribution. Mangone noted that her previous job helped her in pursuing wines that are both organic and sustainable. 

“We think those are better for the person drinking them and better for the earth because [the makers] aren’t using methods that are interacting with the land in an adverse way,” she said. 

Larger distributors will likely continue to keep most of the market share, and with that the largest brands in beer, spirits, and wine, but Mangone said that’s not the primary thing she’s interested in.

“We’re trying to do this the right way and make it more personal.”

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Author

  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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