Lone Star Brewing Co. was like many other successful regional brewers in the early 1970s. With the onslaught of AB, Schlitz, Miller, and Coors, Lone Star was losing volume and market share. At the time, Harry Jersig, the founder, owner, and boyhood friend of LBJ, decided to change things up and brought in a number of executives from Schlitz and other national breweries. Harry felt a change was needed to ensure Lone Star’s survival and competitive nature in the marketplace. One of the executives that Harry hired was Ray Teutsch, who he appointed as Lone Star’s Sales Manager.
At the time, I was a route supervisor for the Julius Schepps beer division, which had Lone Star. After about seven months on the job, Schepps decided to cut their supervisors from five down to three and, being the youngest, the company felt it would be easier for me to find a job elsewhere, so I was were laid off. Shortly thereafter, I had lunch with Ray in San Antonio, and within a week had been hired as a district manager for West Texas. A year later, when the current district manager left, Ray moved me to Dallas. This put me back in charge of Schepps.
Lone Star was touting the redneck rock music and the reintroduction of the Lone Star Longneck bottle and the brand was on fire. In spite of numerous meetings that Ray and I had with Schepps, the company continued to resist investing needed funds into the beer division to ensure adequate service to the market.
Schepps had made George Schepps, then close to 80 years old, in charge of their beer division. George had a professional background in owning and managing professional baseball teams. It soon became clear that George was spending his days at the Ranger’s ballpark instead of helping sell beer. Being a longtime friend of Harry Jersig, George used that relationship to protect his job. George complained to Jersig of being targeted by Lone Star and Jersig responded by having Ray remove me from the market.
At this time Ray suggested that I decide how best to deal with this turn of event and that he, Ray, would support my decision. I asked for, and was granted a meeting with Jersig on a Friday. During the meeting, Ray stood next to me and supported my actions with facts and details of Lone Star’s successes in DFW. Ray also filled Jersig in on all of Schepps’ actions and ended the meeting by suggesting a new wholesaler might be the better option in Dallas.
Jersig relented, and I was back in Dallas. Within several months Ray and I had persuaded Schepps to agree to a sell-out. Schepps sold to Billy Bob Barnett (Billy Bobs of Texas, which is another blog) and Steve Wooster, the former All-American football player for Texas.
I soon left Lone Star for Schlitz and shortly thereafter, Ray also left Lone Star for Standard Sales of West Texas. Ray became President of Standard Sales, an AB distributor with operations in Texas, Colorado, and Mississippi. Ray ended his successful career at Standard and retired to a ranch in central Texas.
To this day, I am grateful for the support Ray provided me. He could have easily moved on without me, but instead, he stood with me and provided support. It was a very powerful lesson for me and one that I have never forgotten. Ray’s actions spoke to his character. Ray Teutsch, the rancher.
2018 – Ray Teutsch – AB Distributor
2017 – Charles M. Duke, Jr. – Coors Distributor
2016 – Carter S. Huber – Schlitz/Miller
2015 – Albert Jaenicke – Hops
2014 – R.D. Hubbard – Coors Distributor
2013 – George Henricksen – Royal Imports
2012 – Diane Fall – Warsteiner
THIS IS THE LAST POST OF 2018. I WISH EACH OF YOU A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS. NEXT POST WILL BE ON JANUARY 8, 2019.