Oct 022018
 

Grupo Modelo was founded in Mexico in 1922, and within just three short years the Mexican brewery introduced Corona and Modelo Especial.  Now, 93 years later, Grupo Modelo maintains a more than 60% market share in Mexico and is part of ABI.  In the U.S., Constellation Brands now owns Modelo, with Corona and Modelo Especial being the number one and number two imported brands, respectively, in the U.S.

In the last fifty years, perhaps only the success of Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light, equals that of Corona.  In the early 1980s, Corona was packaged in a stubby brown bottle and was predominantly sold in border cities, sales, however, sky-rocked when Grupo Modelo began packaging Corona in a clear long neck bottle.  For decades, the brand grew at double-digit rates.  Fueling Corona’s growth were the sales teams of Barton Beers and Gambrinus. The relationships developed with wholesalers, and increased package additions, which included 12-packs, seven-ounce bottles, cans, single serve, and draft, all added to Corona’s sales explosion.

Modelo Especial’s growth, however, was much slower, taking years to establish a foothold.  Part of that sluggish growth was due, in part, to the poor quality of Modelo’s packaging, but also because both importers’ primary emphasis was on the growth of Corona.  In recent years, however, Modelo has caught fire with some truly effective advertising and support.

Modelo and Corona are the two great success stories of the beer industry.  Wholesalers who have had Modelo for years are envied by their competitors.  While Modelo Especial continues to produce double-digit growth, the recent scan data proves that something is happening to Corona.  Corona and Corona Light are beginning to show a decline in sales.  In fact, Corona Light is down as much as -13% in the recent four-week period.

Much of Corona’s waning can be attributed to Constellation’s roll-out of new products, including Corona Familiar, and the very successful Corona Premier, targeted at Michelob Ultra.  The beer industry has historically shown that when a successful product produces offshoots, the flagship brand begins to lose volume. Or can Corona’s slow decline be attributed to the much-discussed product lifecycle?  After over 35 years of growth is the consumer looking at Corona as another product of the past generations?

Many brewers’ brand-marketing groups view line extensions as an easy way to add instant volume and increase the brands’ retail space.  But perhaps the question is: what is the real cost of line extensions?  The argument can easily be made that if the overall portfolio grows, then the brewer wins!  The real cost of these extensions, however, might be paid by the wholesaler considering the warehousing, logistics and manpower investments that have to be made.

The industry can only wonder what other future line extensions are being planned by Constellation brands.  Perhaps wholesalers will see Corona Lime, Corona Light Lime or Orange in the coming years?  Why not?  It seems to be working for Bud Light.

The next five years will be interesting for the Corona family.  Success is a lousy teacher.  It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose!

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Sep 252018
 

It is likely that if you have been in the beer industry for any amount of time, you are aware of either a wholesaler or vendor who has broken state or federal laws.  This is nothing new.

In a past blog, it was illustrated that, as a Schlitz wholesaler with a 30%+ market share, I lost all of my draft handles on South Padre Island just prior to spring break, the largest selling month of the year.  It turned out that AB had obtained my draft accounts. Soon, however, the TABC investigated and discovered inappropriate activity and the AB wholesaler was fined $2,000.  Given this action by the TABC, a wholesaler could assume that a $2,000 fine was the baseline for buying draft accounts.  That being said, the wholesaler or vendor could then determine a risk/reward approach to buying accounts.  Is the account worth the risk of a $2,000 fine?

The recent $900,000 fine paid by Warsteiner for trade violations continues to be a focus for TTB seminars and discussion.  Going forward, this fine could be considered the baseline for penalties against similar sized importers or brewers, regardless of whether the actual violation fits the crime.  If the TTB maintains this standard in fines, does the industry have a 2019 baseline going forward?  If so, then a vendor of Warsteiner’s size, 75,000+ HLs, could assess the risk/reward benefit for incurring TTB violations.

Perhaps the most sought-after venue in the U.S. for any German brewery is the German pavilion at Epcot Center in Florida.  This pavilion hosts over one million visitors annually and depletes over 7,000 kegs.  A multi-year pay-to-play contract for a German brewer and their local wholesaler at Epcot is highly sought after and could facilitate positive momentum for the vendor and their brands. The vendor could totally focus its annual marketing on Epcot’s German pavilion by using the location in a majority of its p-o-s and incentive programs for wholesalers.  Winners of the incentive could receive an all-expense paid visit to Epcot and the German pavilion.  Conversely, the pavilion’s leadership could visit the German brewery, spending time there with brew masters and senior management.  Most vendors will see the opportunity to be showcased in a venue like the Epcot Center as a reward, and might be willing to risk a fine of $900,000.  Consideration for such a fine would include: the keg volume over a three-year period; the opportunity to showcase one’s products in front of over three million people; and having one’s brand be the primary product served.

Warsteiner’s willingness to pay a fine of that size without further negotiations with the TTB may, or may not, motivate other vendors to do the same thing. Or, that amount alone may cause some vendors to remain on the fence.  Either way, do not expect this type of activity to disappear.  Such inappropriate pursuits have been going on for years, and in all likelihood will continue

I have no problem with cheating…whatever you can get away with….right?

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Sep 182018
 

When Miller Lite was introduced in the early 1970s, along with AB, Coors, Schlitz, and other light beers, it took the industry ten years to realized that the light segment was not only here to stay, but could make a major impact on industry sales.

When Corona changed from their stubby brown bottle to the longneck clear bottle, sales for the beer skyrocketed. Corona, however, unlike many other light beers, was not taken seriously until the early 1990s, a full ten years after the bottle change.

It can be said that the craft beer segment took about 10 years to develop.  Boston Beer, Anchor, Sierra Nevada, and other breweries were established long before the mid-2000s, but it was not until AB was purchased by InBev that the crafts actually began to soar.  Now, more than 10 years later, crafts are part of the industry fabric even though their overall sales have begun to slow.

In the September 4th issue of Beer Business Daily, Harry highlighted several of the beer brands that realized successful sales over the Labor Day weekend.  Michelob Ultra remains the engine driver for AB, but Bud Light Orange seems to have grown legs.  Natty Daddy and Ultra-Pure Gold maintain their growth, thereby further adding to AB’s successes.  Corona Premier and Corona Familiar continue to look like winners, and with Modelo and other Constellation brands, life is good!  MC’s Keystone Light and Keystone Ice sales are rising, and add Hamm’s and Steele Reserve to the mix and one sees the number increasing. As BBD illustrates, MC does not have a premium growth share until you look at Sol.  Coors Banquet, however, continues to chug along.  Most of these beers are light lagers that are increasing in volume and share.  Once again, the light segment remains alive despite the struggle that Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light are experiencing.

A recent visit to the local Total Wine store before the Labor Day weekend revealed what might be the beginning of another ten-year change.  While walking into the retail store, looking for the holiday weekend’s beer specials, the end-caps revealed a true surprise. There was not a single end-cap that highlighted either a light lager or a beer.  Every end-cap featured a seltzer!  White Claw, Truly, Seagrams and others were with special PTCs.  Prices on the light lagers and imports were not special PTCs!  I cannot recall a major summer holiday that did not have any lager beers displayed or featured on the floor!  Perhaps this was an enigma, but the fact remains not a single light lager or a beer was starred at this particular retail establishment.

Scan and syndicated data show these seltzer products are on fire this summer.  So the question is: are these products just a summer seasonal or are they here to stay?  As with light lagers, Corona, and crafts, the industry could be on another ten-year growth of a new category.  This time it appears the industry is taking these products seriously.

Whatever happened to “Light Lagers!”

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Sep 112018
 

At around 6 AM west coast time, 17 years ago today, my wife called my cell phone and asked if I was watching “Good Morning America.”  At the time, I was at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas getting ready to attend the NBWA’s annual conference morning events.  Shortly after switching the channel to the news program, I watched the incidents unfold at New York’s World Trade Towers.  It was then that I received another call.

This call was from the VP of Malts at Glazer’s, my employer at the time.  At his suggestion, I quickly contacted the in-house travel agent for Glazer’s and asked to reserve a van at the Las Vegas airport.  Within minutes we were all downstairs in the lobby with other beer industry wholesalers, brewery reps, and state association members.  We were all trying to understand the events that were occurring in our nation.  We had just heard from one of the state executives who had a contact at the White House that there would be no commercial flights until the weekend. All U.S. airline flights had been canceled.

We made the decision to grab the van that I had earlier reserved and make the drive back to Dallas.  The VP and I headed to the Dollar Rental office, where approximately 50 other people waited in line for rental cars.  The Dollar employees handed out bottled water and cookies while the stunned patrons awaited their turn to secure a vehicle.  By the time we got to the counter, there were only two vans left. We quickly secured one of the vans and headed back to the MGM hotel, loaded our Glazer’s team members and stopped by a convenience store to obtain food for the long drive home.

A number of the beer industry people at the NBWA convention had decided to stay in Vegas, but many others searched for ways to return home.  Some people, once they learned there were no more rental vehicles, actually bought cars in order to get home.

Because Hoover Dam was closed, we drove west and around the dam from Vegas to Albuquerque, arriving in New Mexico sometime after midnight.  During the entire drive, we were glued to the radio trying to discern what had happened.  The van was dead-quiet throughout most of the drive.

We left Albuquerque early the next morning, arriving in Dallas late on the afternoon of September 12th. Upon arrival at the Dollar Rental car location at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, we found the typical 12,000 rental car inventory at the DFW airport had all been rented. All the lots were completely empty. The return of our rental van from Las Vegas was the only vehicle, not only the Dollar Rental location, but all the rental car locations at the airport. It was an unbelievable sight.

By now the country knew what had happened in New York.  Glazer’s, like many companies, grounded its employees from flying for a while.  Many beer industry people who had stayed in Vegas were able to fly out on Saturday.  Security lines were a nightmare with over five-hour waits to get on the planes.

Today, September 11, 2018, marks the seventeenth anniversary of that fateful day. The world has never been the same.  And, just as the world has changed, so the beer industry has changed dramatically in the past 17 years.

In three years the NBWA convention will return to Las Vegas. Those of us there on September 11, 2001 should gather together and recall that ominous day 20 years ago. It was a day that would define the world.

Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.

 

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Sep 042018
 

By the late 1980s, Coors Brewing Co. had almost filled their U.S. footprint with the brewery’s eastern expansion.  At the time, Coors’ field sales were managed by two U.S. regions: one eastern, and one western.  Coors chose an executive from Pepsi, a man with no beer experience, to manage the western division.  He conducted his first regional meeting in California, during which he outlined his 10 key “turn around” points for Coors.  At the end of the presentation, the executive asked for questions. A young woman in the back raised her hand and explained that of the 10 points mentioned, a majority of them violated either federal or state statutes.  Within two years, that executive from Pepsi was gone.

In recent posts, we have discussed the fact that the major suppliers require that their wholesalers employ an experienced beer executive in the day-to-day management position.  This has been the status quo for decades, while many wine & spirit houses had attempted to break into the beer side of the alcoholic business without an experienced beer leadership team.  The requirement for experience in the beer industry has been mandatory.

Tammarron Consulting annually conducts a reverse survey allowing wholesalers to rate their major suppliers in a number of categories.  Suppliers now take the results of this survey seriously.  It is one of the best measurement tools delineating wholesalers’ input when it comes to a vendor’s performance.

Perhaps this alone is the main reason franchise statutes continued to exist.  Wholesalers do not have any input as to who leads their suppliers; however, the suppliers have a great deal of input over their wholesalers’ senior leadership.  Unfortunately, the industry has repeatedly seen a negative outcome when a brand’s senior leadership is not capable of leading (e.g., many craft breweries).

Franchise laws protect the wholesaler from vendors who are unfamiliar with the beer industry’s rules of operation.  Portfolio diversification by wholesalers adds to that protection, however, when a major vendor changes its executive leadership, the wholesale’s business may be negatively impacted.

This week Warsteiner announced new leadership for its U.S. market.  Given Warsteiner’s recent troubles/fines with the TTB, the company has put themselves in a most difficult position.  Warsteiner has made a number of personnel changes in an effort to correct past leadership decisions that did not follow federal laws.  The company needs a highly experienced and respected industry leader.  That said Warsteiner has named an outsider whose background is in German vacuum cleaners.  Since both companies are German-based, there must be a relationship, otherwise, why would Warsteiner have made this hire?

Larger beer companies have followed this route in the past and it typically takes three to five years for new outside leadership to establish relationships and learn the U.S. beer industry’s functions.  So the question is: does Warsteiner have the time to wait for this leadership change to work?  Obviously, Warsteiner believes they do but do the Warsteiner wholesalers believer they do?  Once again, time will tell.

My slogan is: I’m the least qualified guy for the job, but I’d probably do the best job.

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Aug 282018
 

Lone Star Brewing Co., like so many other regional breweries during the late 1940s thru the late 1960s, rode a successful business model by being regional.  Sound familiar?  Of course, regional breweries also had a built-in price advantage during these years.

By the late 1960s, the regionals were under attack by AB, Schlitz, Coors (were sold), and the soon upcoming Miller Lite.  A number of regionals sat back and did little or nothing to advance their business, thereby sealing their fate.  Lone Star, in recognizing these industry trends, however, moved quickly to remain relevant.   Lone Star not only closed their Oklahoma City Brewery, but brought in new and highly experienced leadership from national breweries including Schlitz, Hamm’s, and Miller.  These executives replaced closed-minded officials who had been running the brewery since the end of World War II and brought in more forward-thinking management.

Lone Star tied into the then youth movement of the boomers thru the Texas Red Neck Rock music genre led by Willie Nelson and others.  This marketing platform changed how the young LDA people perceived Lone Star.  The brand quickly grew and remained relevant in Texas until many years after Lone Star sold when the brand’s owners decided to walk away from the Texas music scene as well.

This year there a number of major breweries have announced layoffs and/or restructuring of their companies.  Not surprisingly to those of us in the industry as these breweries’ brands/products have slowed or gone negative.  The question is: Now where do these breweries go?  Should they conduct business as usual or go in a totally different direction?

Pabst Brewing Co., who had major layoffs earlier this year in lieu of how Small Town Brewing’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer sales turned south, has taken a different direction.  Pabst, similar to Lone Star’s experience many years ago, is undergoing a transformation versus an extensive reduction in force.

Pabst is taking bold moves in the method they not only go to market but how they reposition PBR by pricing their 12-ounce packages at 85% of the domestic premiums.  Pabst is also looking at their sales team and building it to mirror the current/future demographics the United States.

The Pabst plan is not only transformational but bold, similar to Lone Star’s strategy.  The success of Pabst’s plan is dependent on, first, the leaderships’ ability to execute, and secondly, the Pabst wholesalers’ ability to get behind the tactic at this level.  Wholesalers know that the industry needs more success stories like Pabst as this proves to be beneficial for the entire industry.  Wholesalers, retailers, and consumers all win when Pabst is successful.

PBR indexes higher than any other domestic, with craft consumers in the neighborhood of 12 xs for craft drinkers.  This puts Pabst in a unique position. Such aforementioned businesses changes could, however, put Pabst’s current position in jeopardy.  Only time will tell.

Winning takes talent; to repeat, takes character.

Editor’s note:  I regret to inform you of the recent passing of Pat McEntee.  Pat, who had previously worked with AB, Coors, Gambrinus, Tiger, and Warsteiner was not only a close friend but an outstanding professional in the beer industry.  He will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Aug 212018
 

The Pabst Brewing Co., the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co., the G. Heileman Brewing Co., and perhaps ABI all seem to have one key metric in common:  leadership.

Once Paul Kalmanovitz took control of the Pabst Brewing Co. in a hostile takeover, he immediately began slashing overheard from the company, with cuts predominantly made in sales and marketing departments.  Kalmanovitz subsequently made similar cuts with the other brands he acquired and consequently each company experienced massive sales losses.  It was not until after Kalmanovitz passed away and the Pabst holding company, S&F, acquired different leadership, did a sales resurgence occur.

Despite Frank Sellinger’s attempts to revive Schlitz, the company never survived after finance and accounting took control.  Once Stroh acquired Schlitz, the heavy debt and leadership voids sealed the future for both companies.  G. Heileman was so far in debt, there was no way it could survive and they too, soon succumbed.

AB, once the envy of the beer industry, has lost millions of barrels in volume. The company is, however, the darling of Wall Street and shareholders alike as AB continues to build a financial powerhouse.  ABI and its distributors are fortunate because Michelob Ultra remains on fire, something the others brewers never experienced.

Shareholder equity, ROI, ROA, and other financial metrics are the keys to the health of any company, including breweries, but without brand building, the financial measurements will be meaningless if the company dies as referenced by Pabst Brewing Schlitz, G. Heileman, and others.

Craft brewers, many of whom are undercapitalized, cannot take advantage of any growth opportunities because they are cash-strapped.  The beer industry is now experiencing this phenomenon as a number of breweries are either cutting staff, shrinking their footprint, or making other dramatic changes.

A major reason the above mentioned companies are failing is that while they all had, of have had, in-house talent that could overcome challenges and build successful companies; either ownership or senior leadership did not allow them to do so. They have all paid the price.  The question is: why hire this talent if one does not allow them to perform?

What is even worse is when control is turned over to someone internally who has no ability or experience to run the company.  This is typically the worst possible situation as the company’s moral dies and unless ownership quickly addresses that problem, the end result is devastating.

History has shown time and time again that when decisions are in the hands of people who are not qualified to make such decisions, the results are disastrous.  When history looks back on the craft industry, it might well be the personification of such a model.

It does not make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so that they can tell us what to do.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Aug 142018
 

Decades ago, when a major beer distributor sold out, the distributorship was typically composed of only one brand. Likewise, the distributor’s supplier was only focused on two issues: first, how much equity was in the new company and second, how much experience the new owner had in the beer industry.  If the new company had unencumbered equity of 25% or more and the new owner/manager had an executive background in beer, approval was almost certain.

In 1980, during the purchase of the Schlitz operation in south Texas, acquiring Schlitz’s approval was a simple task of following their internal procedures and interviews.  The other two breweries, Pabst and Pearl, likewise, rubber-stamped the deal based upon Schlitz’s approval.  Thirty years ago, there were rarely issues in ensuring a breweries’ approval.  The procedure was simple.

Fast-forward to today’s beer industry and one will find that a stand-alone independent sale of a beer distributorship is rare.  With the magnitude of consolidations over the decades, suppliers now demand their brands be aligned to certain houses.  The recent sale of Skokie Valley in Chicago is a good example of a supplier moving their brand to a house of their choosing.  In the big picture, the seller leaves that decision to the brewery.  Brand evaluations are made prior to the selling of the company thus ensuring the seller obtains their desired value regardless of whom the brand is eventually sold.

Bonanza Beverage of Las Vegas, a legacy Miller operation, decided to sell to Southern Glazer.  And as also reported, Southern Glazer is not the typical W&S operation in that their beer portfolio includes Constellation Brands and other major imports and crafts.

About 10 years ago, Bonanza was Warsteiner’s distributor in Vegas.  Warsteiner’s volume was not obtained from on-premise accounts and certainly had no distribution in the top casinos.  As an international brand which was sold across Europe and South America, Warsteiner asked Southern to purchase their portfolio from Bonanza.  Bonanza followed through and sold the Warsteiner brands to Southern.  In a very short time, Warsteiner had on-premise distribution in multiple major casinos and bars while still maintaining their distribution status in liquor stores and grocery stores.  In fact, Southern could place Warsteiner almost anywhere on the strip as targeted.  Sales spiked during those years simply from the act of moving into a house where a vendor could take maximum advantage of a distributor’s strengths.

With the growth of the Modelo brands, it was only a matter of time before Southern’s c-store delivery process would increase.  Realistically Southern could not compete with the AB house or Bonanza, even with Modelo in this channel, however, the opposite was true for the casino/hotel business.

Bonanza has now decided to sell its business to Southern Glazers, but MolsonCoors wants the brands to go to Breakthru Beverage who is negotiating to merge with Republic National.  This complicates the sale.  It seems that MC would allow Southern Glazers to buy Bonanza while persuading Breakthru to sell Coors to Southern Glazers, thus taking advantage of SG’s strength, combining Miller and Coors, and not dealing with Republic National.

The 800 lb. elephant is Constellation Brands.  Does MC really want to be in a house that is dominated by Constellation, a brand that is on fire in a highly dynamic on-premise market?  About two-thirds of MC houses have Constellation Brands but here is a chance that MC can avoid Constellation.

In the future, one might expect more beer brands to avoid Constellation houses.  The culmination of the Bonanza and Southern Glazers deal will illustrate the future of buy-sells in the industry.

If we open a quarrel between the past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Aug 072018
 

 

Editor’s note:  This post first ran on September 4, 2012.  Recent discussions merit a re-post.

There is a great deal of talk concerning the upcoming price increases and their effects on the market. I have received e-mails from several of you regarding this round of increases as Nielsen All Channel scans show volumes are flat, but pricing is up 2.7%. In fact, volumes have dropped from +1.2% to flat over the last year. Note too, that the amount of beer sold on promotion is down. A prelude to the upcoming price increases?

In the mid 70’s, Coors Brewing Company was reprimanded and placed under a two-year moratorium regarding price discussions when a conversation between the brewery and a wholesaler was recorded by the later. From that point forward, the talks on pricing between wholesalers and vendors always included the words “recommended” or “suggested” in the discussions, and all price letters to wholesalers had the language “we recognize your right as an independent wholesaler” and “businesses to set your prices accordingly.”

Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc. 551 U.S. 877 (2007), is a US antitrust case in which the United States Supreme Court reversed the 96-year-old doctrine that vertical price restraints were illegal per se under Section 1 of the Sherman Act.  The aforementioned case replaced the older doctrine with the rule of reason. Resale price maintenance (RPM) is the practice whereby a manufacturer and its distributors agree that the distributors will sell the manufacturer’s product at certain prices: at or above a price floor, or, at or below a price ceiling. If a reseller (distributor) refuses to maintain prices, either openly or covertly, the manufacturer may stop doing business with the said wholesaler. This marked a dramatic shift in how attorneys and enforcement agencies addressed the legality of contractual minimum pricing and essentially allowed the reestablishment of resale price maintenance in the U.S. in most commercial situations.

It is safe to say that the courts will weigh in on this topic in the future. Actually, it is somewhat surprising that this has not been a topic of discussion between all parties given the aggressive pricing in recent years. Perhaps the recession put this on the back burner. Wholesalers, in almost every situation, made sure they communicated their “minimum” GP. From the vendor’s perspective, pricing models today are usually worked backward by working off the markets’ chain leader(s) and their pricing, adding in the wholesalers GP, and then, if there is a profit, that, too, is included. All taxes, freight, etc. are included.  At Warsteiner, we analyzed each wholesaler’s contribution to our overall financial success. If the PTR was non-competitive then our numbers were negative. In all cases, profitability was volume driven.  So is it better to sell 10 cases at 30% or 1,000 cases at 24%? This brings me back to our case.

How the major breweries approach pricing will probably be still considered antitrust, which would still be illegal. With the smaller breweries, however, such discussion could be considered anticompetitive. This changes the dynamics of the discussion. Either way, Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc. has changed the pricing paradigm. Get ready. Remember though, if your price point for beer is so high no one will purchase your product. So what good does it do you?

Alliances and partnerships produce stability when they reflect realities and interests.

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Jul 312018
 

A number of years ago, during a transition period in my career within the beer industry, my wife remarked that this profession seemed quite volatile and perhaps not the most secure place to build a career.  She had a good point.  A mental review of my life in the beer industry, and the companies in which I was involved, revealed a great deal of change.

Willowbrook (Coors in Dallas) – Sold to Barry Andrews and is now a part of Andrews Distributing.

Bridges Distributing (Falstaff in Austin) – Sold years ago.

Lone Star Brewing Co. – Sold a number of times but is now part of Pabst Brewing Co., a virtual brewery.

Mid-State Beer of Alexandria, La. – One of the largest Schlitz distributors and part of Shreveport Beverage, sold out to Glazer’s years ago along with their liquor/wine house.

Orbit Corporation (Coors NE of San Antonio) – One of four San Antonio Coors distributors who, over the years, sold 13 times and is now a part of Glazer’s Beer Co.

Coors of Kansas, Inc. – Once one of the largest Coors distributors in the U.S, sold to Larry Fleming and still, after 38 years, is part of LDF.

Texas Beers Inc. – The seventh largest Schlitz distributor in the U.S., and also a Pabst, Pearl and import house, sold at least three times and is now a part of Glazer’s Beer Co.

Coors Brewing Co. – Now MolsonCoors.  Enough said.

Coast Distributors – One of the largest volume distributors in the late 1980s, was sold after 100 years of ownership to Dick Lytle and became Mt. Hood Beverage, which later became part of Columbia.

Texas Brewing Co. – Lasted only one year.

The Gambrinus Co. – Still around, minus the Modelo Products.

Glazer’s – Now named Southern Glazer’s, but without the beer.  The Glazer family still owns the beer division.

Warsteiner Importers – Still around, but hanging by a thread

Krombacher U.S.A. – I have no idea.

Without knowledge of how the beer industry works, someone outside the business would recognize the uncertainty of a career in beer.  A number of the above companies, Schlitz for example, were victims of a lack of leadership, while other companies were simply in existence during a time when the brand struggled to find a market. The Coors operation in South Texas is a perfect example of a company who struggled to find a market.  For some, it was all about the money, as was the case with Coast Distributors in Oregon.  Although for others, their failure was a result of poor decision making which cost the company any chance of success.

It seems every week an industry pub announces another brewery has been sold, joined a holding company, merged, or closed their doors, just like the companies noted in this post.  This could mean that the instability of the past, is the reality for the current model and we should expect such instability to continue into the future.  So the question should be: Is instability the nature of the beer industry?  From the outsider’s perspective, it clearly is!

The older you get…the better you were….

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am