• In 50 years, I don’t think you’re going to look back at 2020 and say, “The good old days”!

    Just when I thought I had seen it all, after my many years in the beer industry, along came 2020! As we all know, a myriad of things changed last year, and not for the better. There was, however, a year I recall that was worse than 2020. When I first began working on a […]

  • The Legal Eagle

    Looking back on the beer industry over the past decades, it is difficult to grasp the number of changes that have taken place. Changes which have affected all three tiers. One change that has become an almost daily function is the importance that lawyers play in navigating the business. While it is quite common for […]

  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

    By the mid-1980s, as the Coors Brewery continued their territorial expansion plans, they were no longer appointing non-beer distributors to become new wholesalers. Non-beer potential wholesalers, however, continued to apply for distributorships with the company. Coors Brewery had learned that it was more beneficial to have an established distributor than to take a chance on […]

  • We really can’t forecast all that well, and yet we pretend that we can, but we really can’t.

    This month, the Coca-Cola Company announced that it will eliminate almost half of its 500 brands to ensure room for future offerings. This includes the elimination of Tab, the industry’s first diet cola which now occupies less than a one percent share of the soft drink market. Why has it taken Coke so long to […]

  • It’s going to be hard but does not mean impossible.

    In the early 1960s, Coors began its expansion from West Texas into the North Texas area, including the Dallas/Ft. Worth market. As new distributors were appointed, they were expected to exclusively distribute Coors. This required a change of operational plans as many of the new owners had previously been wholesalers for other brands, including Jax […]

  • In this business you can’t make any plans.

    It took several years after Miller Lite rolled out that it would sell as almost everyone doubted that it would. Once it became apparent that Miller Lite was the real deal, all the other breweries jumped on the bandwagon. The big nationals went all in, first it was Budweiser Light, which as we all know, […]

  • A bankruptcy judge can fix your balance sheet, but he cannot fix your company.

    Finding and purchasing a beer distributorship forty years ago was not that difficult. Though many of you may find this hard to believe, during the 70s one could frequently find an AB, Schlitz, or a regional distributorship advertised for sale in the Wall Street Journal. In addition, there were brokers, Pohle Partners being one of […]

  • Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the month.

    Over the years, many of the articles posted on this site have been designed to illustrate that history does, in fact, repeat itself. Much of what has just taken place in the beer industry has roots in the past. In other words, the industry has “been there and done that!” Recent articles within the industry […]

  • Happy Anniversary…year 8!

    This writing begins the ninth year of BeerBusinessUnplugged posts. For the past eight years, the posts were a weekly occurrence, but as of January of this year, they became monthly. Needless to say, this year has produced more disruption in the industry than in any year past. In 2019, despite the tremendous growth of the […]

  • Partnership is the way. Dictatorial win-lose is so old school.

    Decades ago, the term partnership in the beer industry meant something.  There were a number of national exclusive houses that were single brand wholesalers, predominantly AB, Schlitz, and Coors.  The same was true for regional beers. For example, many Pabst-only and Hamm’s-only houses were located in the mid-west and exclusively carried those brands.  Chicago had […]

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