• Thursday, January 13, 2011 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    Compan A Leadin Powers beer ind Written b Powers STATIS  Name  Count  Est: 19  Emplo  Reven Website: w MANAG  Co-Pre  Co-Pre  Gener How doe products performa That’s ex number o in the De ny Report: P ng Innovato Distributing dustry & imp by Michaela Distributing TICS : Powers Dist ry: United Sta 939 oyees: 150 nue: $100 Mill www.powers GEMENT esident: Rob esident: Gerry ral Manager, C es a compan , staying abr ance. xactly what P of acquisition etroit, Michig Powers Dis or in the Be g diversifies plements an McNamara g Co. tributing Co. ates lion sdistributing Powers y Powers CFO: Gary Th y become a reast of indu Powers Distr ns in its 71-y an region. C stributing Co eer Distribut s its produc n effective & Produced hompson n innovator ustry trends, ributing Com year history, Co-President o. ting Busine cts, stays on improveme By Chris Po in the beer d and constan mpany has b the family-r t Gerry Pow ess n top of the ent strategy owers | Tue distribution i ntly improvin been doing s run company wers says, “W e y Jan 4, 2011 ndustry? By ng its people since 1939. T y now distrib We’re workin y diversifying e, processes Through a butes 85 bra g hard to g its s and ands maintain the family and look forward to another 71 years of prosperity.” Though Powers Distributing continues to offer mainstream beer brands such as Heineken, Coors and Miller, the company is now supplying high-end brands with unique flavors, ingredients and panache through its IBC division. DETECTING CONSUMER TASTES The International Beverage Company, or IBC, is a subsidiary of Powers Distributing that provides direct selling to hand-selected retailers on specialty products. These specialty beers are consumed for flavor, provide a unique experience and spark conversation. With the growing popularity of craft beers, which are increasing in sales by 20 to 30 percent year after year, IBC has been an excellent complement to the mainstream marketplace. Gerry, his brother and co-president Rob, and General Manager and CFO Gary Thompson believe that the consumer is now looking for something unique other than mainstream beers, from coffeeroasted and spiced to fruity flavors and beyond. “When there is a special flavor that hasn’t been done before, it may be the next hottest thing in the beer business,” Rob says. In fact, Acai berry and pomegranate are two popular flavors at the moment. With two fully Cicerone Certified representatives, the IBC division has become the craft go-to group in Michigan. IBC aims to teach people about the nuances of beer and provide knowledge to the marketplace, not only in Michigan but online as well. The information has been well received on the IBC Beer Blog (, which has a beer finder, recipe index and offers beer and food pairings. Thompson says, “The beer industry needs this to go forward. Beer has to become more sophisticated, and we want to bring in the specialty part of beer that people will talk about. We’ve really delved into that.” CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING Part of Powers Distributing’s success has stemmed from implementing an effective continuous improvement strategy. “The Powers Distributing mission is to be the best distributor we can be and constantly improve our people, processes and performance. That is the center of our continuous improvement strategy,” Rob says. “If we’re the best we can be and execute effectively, profitability will be the best it can be.” Purposely excluding profitability from its mission statement, the company believes effectively driving commitment to partnership with suppliers and customers will inevitably deliver the financial success. “If you execute properly in the marketplace, take care of your people, work for a team effort, those profits automatically come. That’s what separates us and makes us different,” Gerry explains. Constantly increasing the value of assets, lowering liability and increasing stockholders’ equity is what the management team focuses on. “It’s that the improvement of our people, processes and performance that we enjoy. We like to see improvement in execution and excellence,” Rob says. This has clearly been a recipe for success. Delivering results year after year, Powers Distributing has won numerous supplier awards including the Corona Crown Excellence Award in 2008 and 2009, Presidents Award Winner in 2009 and the Clean Transportation Award in 2009. MAKING TECHNOLOGY A PRIORITY Part of that continuous improvement strategy is the investment in new equipment and technology, which has made Powers Distributing an innovator. “We’re quite proud of our technological advances and like to stay abreast of technology because it makes us effective,” Rob says. In fact, Powers has the largest privately owned fleet of hybrid tractors in the US. The vehicles save 53 tons of carbon emissions over the life of the truck, keeping the world a greener and a cleaner place. The company has also switched its warehouse management to a remote audio order processing system. When a customer calls in an order, it is communicated on headphones to the order builder. The system can check to see how many cases are available then checks with inventory to make sure it’s accurate. “Accuracy has improved because handwriting decreased. At this point, we’re 99 percent accurate on every order,” Rob says. Along with that, the system tells when replenishment is needed and where the product can be picked up. It prevents the company from making delays when it’s time to replenish orders. Everything has been automated from standard documents to ship notices and beyond. THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS The delivery employees of Powers Distributing are a blend of seasoned veterans and men just beginning their careers in the beer business. The talented delivery department has a combined total of 853 years in the business for an average of over sixteen years! What makes them stay so long? Thompson says, “Rob and Gerry have built a company where the employees share in the success of the company. They are compensated fairly, which stimulates them to treat the company with respect.” The drivers of Powers Distributing are among the highest paid beer drivers in the country, which allows for very little turnover in the company. There’s also a great 401K plan, an onsite workout center and the opportunity for seasonal flu shots. The general sales division is a pretty impressive group, too. Much more than salespeople, the team members are trademarked professional beer consultants. They won’t only sell customers beer, but inform them of the best way to lay out their coolers, and if it is a retailer, let them know what the best brands or styles should be on tap. Rob says, “This is to ensure there is good representation of all the styles to capitalize with the consumer and the consumer’s attention on different tastes and flavors.” GOING FOR THE GOLD Powers Distributing makes no secret that it has lofty goals and wants to see $100 million revenue over the next five years. “First and foremost, we need a greater share of the existing marketplace. Secondarily, there are a number of beverage suppliers that aren’t in the marketplace yet and we will demonstrate that we are the best choice for them here,” Rob says. The company is also looking at expanding beyond beer-only wholesalers. People are beginning to sample and drink new products, and Powers Distributing is aiming to stay in touch with those consumers. The company will likely evolve into a beverage distribution network that includes soda, liquor, wine and beer in one facility. “The beverage business is changing. There are so many efficiencies to be gained by combining those operations into one warehouse,” Gerry says. Thompson says that the company will also continue being an innovator when it comes to new marketing trends. “We expect to expand that effort and driver greater interaction with our consumers,” he says. “There will also be a continued commitment to sustainability. It’s important to people, us, Michigan and the environment as a whole.” 

  • Wednesday, January 12, 2011 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    North St Written b Tuesday From con system. S more atte O&W Inc Kit Morge back to t (its name his son-in the comp cover Washten corner of Corona, of smalle cases. O&W als consume used to b Twisted T Recent b says that time, smo think afte opening young pe Undeniab wherever tar by Conrad Lu , 02 Novemb nsumers’ pe Shoppers kn ention to the c. of Ypsilant eson, VP of he mid-20s, e has change n-law, Jame pany its nam naw, Livingst f the Great L Mike’s Hard er imports an so is making er tastes and buy premade Tea due to p business tren t the public i oking laws w er the big cra back up, and eople here a bly, many to r it can–and umm ber 2010 09 erspectives, b now what bra e product in t ti, Mich. is tr marketing a when Willia ed to Old To es O’Kane, w me. Since the ton, Wayne Lakes state. Cider and H nd craft beer inroads in h d pocketbook e mixers see price concer nds in Michig s still consu went into effe ash, things h d the auto in and creating owns in the s the list of ch :08 beverage dis ands they lik their basket rying to shift, at O&W, say am Seegert o own, but it’s who in turn b en, O&W has and Monroe About 70 pe Heineken ac rs accounting high alcohol ks. With the em to be mig ns with liquo gan have no ming, but se ect on May 1 have settled ndustry is ge jobs.” state have be harities and stributors ar ke and wher than who pu , one custom s her compa owned a tave still there). H rought his s s acquired o e counties, w ercent of O& ccounting for g for the res content bev recession, M grating to dri ors. ot been friend eems more p 1 that have c down a little etting better. een hit hard nonprofits it re often the i re to get them ut it on the s mer and one any has bee ern called th He eventuall son-in-law, H other distribu which stretch &W’s busines r another 10 st of its more verages, part Morgeson n inks along th dly to the be price-sensitiv changed one bit,” she sa There’s fina , and O&W t supports is invisible tier m, but they a shelf. It’s a m community en a staple in he Union Ba ly passed hi Hugh Wanty, utors and slo h across the ss is now Mi percent, an e than 3 milli tly due to ch otes that co he lines of S everage mar ve than befo -premise sa ays. “Plants ally an emph is stepping i impressive. in the three also tend to mindset that at a time. n the area da r in Ann Arb s business o onboard, gi owly grown t southeast iller, with nd a smatteri on annual hanges in nsumers wh Sparks and rket. Morges ore; at the sa les patterns have been hasis on kee in to help . Besides -tier pay ating bor on to iving to ing ho son ame . “I eping sponsoring larger efforts like the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Habitat for Humanity and Food Gatherers of Washtenaw County, it is also a sponsor of University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital and has supported local theaters that have struggled to keep their doors open. Besides its staggering list of charitable works, O&W is turning to the Internet and social networking to raise awareness of its role in the counties where it operates. With a new website and a Facebook page with a surprising number of followers, the company is making its web presence a priority. As Morgeson says, “That was our goal this year, to make sure that people know what we do.” Part of O&W’s justification for promoting the three-tier system is the public health benefits it allows. Recently, a tainted batch of Labatt elsewhere in Michigan was taken off shelves within 24 hours of the discovery that the bottles posed a risk. In addition, Morgeson argues, passage of the controversial CARE Act (H.R. 5034, currently in Congress) would strengthen distributors’ role in beverage sales, and has the potential to keep children from ordering alcohol drinks online. “We touch every part of the community, and I’m really proud to get the message out that we employ over 100 people with good-paying jobs every year, health benefits, retirement programs, and we’re local jobs that can’t be outsourced,” says Morgeson. “I just wish that when people picked up a Miller Lite, they wouldn’t just see it as a Miller Lite, but they’d think about how it got there, and all the people that touched it.” 
  • Wednesday, December 22, 2010 3:43 PM | Anonymous

    ROMULUS – Employees at Central Distributors, a family owned distributor based in Romulus, along with their children and Santa, distributed a little Christmas cheer this Saturday to families in need. About 40 Central employees, 50 kids and Santa Claus set up an “assembly line” at the company’s warehouse in Romulus and put together about 200 gift boxes filled with food and other Christmas goodies that will then be donated to charities in the community. The event began at 8:30 a.m. with employees and their children lining up with a wide assortment of food and treats that were then “assembled” into holiday gift boxes for donation. At around 10:30 a.m., Santa then arrived on a Romulus fire truck and met all of the children of the employees. Central Distributors employees then delivered the gift food boxes to families in need. The services, food, transportation and time are all donated. This Romulus holiday tradition goes back at least 25 years. “Central Distributors is proud to give back to our community and help families in need celebrate during the Christmas holidays,” Central President and CEO Don Klopcic said. “Central Distributors has been a family owned business in this community for generations, and the community has shown tremendous support over the years. Central, our employees and their families, who live and work in the community, want to make sure that we give a little something back to our friends and neighbors.” ABOUT US Central Distributors is committed to providing quality products, superior service and choice to Michigan consumers. Central operates in an efficient, accountable and transparent way to deliver quality products to more than 1,600 retailers in western Wayne County and southern Oakland County. Central Distributors can trace its roots back to 1933, when it was established after Prohibition was repealed as a two-truck business in a 1,400-square-foot warehouse in Detroit. Today, Central Distributors continues its mission as an industry leader committed to positive growth and stability as we provide good jobs and give back to the communities we serve. Central Distributors employs 160 people, paying good wages and benefits. Central features a fleet consisting of 55 local delivery trucks, working out of a 200,000-square-foot facility on 13 acres in Romulus. Central Distributors provides transportation, refrigerated storage and quality control for beer from the time it leaves the brewery until it reaches the 1,600-plus retailers we serve in western Wayne County. In addition to selling and marketing quality Anheuser-Busch products, Central also creates many jobs ranging from sales, merchandising, warehousing, vehicle maintenance, recycling, general office management and delivery drivers. Thanks to our trained team and quality brands, Central Distributors ranks as one of the top AnheuserBusch distributors nationally. Central’s warehouse holds 650,000 cases and 40,000 kegs of beer. 

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 3:49 PM | Anonymous

     News Release 3000 North Stiles Road     Scottville, MI 49454 Contact: Thomas A. Hawley, Director of College Relations Phone: 231/843-5541 E-mail: Web Site: Date: November 1, 2010 Re: Budde Reed to Receive Campus Impact Award in Washington, D.C. SCOTTVILLE - Milan S. (Budde) Reed II has been selected to receive the 2010 Council for Resource Development (CRD) Campus Impact Award. This annual national award recognizes the voluntary effort of an individual who has made a significant and positive impact on a community college and the students it serves. Reed is being recognized for his leadership during the West Shore Community College Foundation’s major gifts campaign and will receive the award at a ceremony on November 5, during the 44th Annual CRD Conference in Washington, D.C. “I’m humbled to receive such a prestigious award, but it is the reputation of West Shore Community College that has made this honor possible,” said Reed. Reed attended Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City in 1970, and then WSCC graduating in 1971 with an associate degree. He went on to receive a bachelor’s of science degree from Grand Valley State University. In addition to serving on the college’s Foundation board, Reed, who owns the Ludington Beverage Company, is a third generation Budweiser distributor and has been involved in many community projects and groups including the West Shore Ice Arena committee, the Ludington Area Foundation, the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, and served as chair of the State of Michigan Waterways Commission. He is also a former Jaycee and decorated Viet Nam veteran. “Budde has played a key role in the success of the college’s fund raising and we nominated him for his superb leadership throughout the campaign. He spoke to many potential donors and, as an alumnus, always spoke from the heart about how the college has changed his life. We are grateful for his lifetime of service to the college,” said Charles T. Dillon, president of the college. CRD is a member-driven organization and is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges with over 1600 members at more than 700 institutions. The membership includes development officers, grant writers, foundation directors, alumni officers, college presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff. ###

  • Tuesday, November 23, 2010 3:53 PM | Anonymous

    LANSING – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association and the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers, Inc., today announced that their organizations are urging their members to expeditiously remove caffeinated alcohol beverages (CABs), such as Four Loko and Joose, from retailers’ shelves. Federal and state agencies have taken tough steps to remove the beverages. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission was one of the first states to take action when it banned 55 specific brands of CABs on Nov. 4. Last week, the federal Food and Drug Administration called the beverages unsafe and gave the drinks’ makers 15 days to change their recipes or face a ban. Shortly after the FDA action, the Department of Treasury’s Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau said shipments of the CABs are illegal. And the Federal Trade Commission warned CAB makers that they may be violating federal law. “In light of the state and federal decisions, Michigan’s family owned beer and wine distributors have started removing caffeinated alcohol beverages and will speed up the process in coming days,” MBWWA President Mike Lashbrook said. “Michigan distributors applaud the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for its leadership on this issue and we want to do our part to make sure we act without delay. With Michigan’s effective system of alcohol regulations and territorial integrity, distributors can quickly identify all products within their areas of distribution and get them out of the marketplace quickly and efficiently.” “Food stores and retailers have deep roots in our neighborhoods and we want to do our part to support the communities we serve,” AFPD President Auday Arabo said. “Our member stores are ready to cooperate with Michigan distributors to identify the affected products and get them off the shelves. We join Michigan distributors in urging all local businesses where these products are sold to join us in this important effort.” The boards of the MBWWA and the AFPD officially adopted resolutions on Friday urging their members to remove caffeinated alcohol beverages from the market. MBWWA represents around 65 family owned beer and wine distributors across the state. The AFPD represents nearly 4,000 retailers in Michigan and Ohio, including independent supermarkets, grocery stores and service stations. 

  • Tuesday, August 31, 2010 4:57 PM | Anonymous

    http://ww spill-shou Aug. 26, 2 Michi energ By Jerry The blowb gallons of One of the endangere river that of life for As a fami understan catastroph harder to steps to in Beginning local store switched in clean v hybrids. With the n each year gallons le We’re jus businesse Michigan Jerry Pow uld-be-a-cal 010 igan oil gy Powers back from ou f oil flooded i e worst enviro ed one of the is a haven for countless fam ily-owned bus nds how impo hes in the Gul reduce our ad ncrease energy g in 2008, Pow es, bars and re from diesel to vehicles in 200 new hybrid tr . With the bio ss fuel, and c st one Michig s, families an together. wers is presid m/article/201 l-to-action-f spill sho ur dangerous d into the Kalam onmental disa great rivers in r canoeists an milies. siness that ha rtant it is to le lf and closer t ddiction to oil y efficiency i wers revampe estaurants and o a bio-fuel bl 09, by launch rucks, Powers o-fuel hybrid ut greenhouse an business th nd governmen dent of Powers 100826/OPIN for-renewabl ould be dependence o mazoo River r asters in the M n Michigan, a nd kayakers, a s served the m eave Michiga to home in M l. Businesses in their homes ed our truck f d other busine lend that redu hing a new fle s expects to sl tractors, we w e gas emissio hat is moving nt – to invest i s Distributing NION05/100 le-energy a call to on oil is now h recently. Midwest has n a river renown a river that pr metro Detroit an strong for f Michigan are w can invest in s. fleet and chan esses. We beg uces our use o eet of 15 truck lash fossil fue will reduce fu ons by at least g toward a cle in more clean g in Orion Tow 0826063/13 o action hitting home now hit us in ned for fly-fis rovides jobs, o t area since 19 future generat wake-up calls renewable fu nged the way gan by conve of fossil fuels ks and five tra el use by mor uel use by mo t 30%. ean energy fut n energy techn wnship. 36/OPINION for ren for us in Mic our own back shing and oth opportunity a 939, Powers D tions to enjoy for all of us t uels; families we deliver ou erting three do s. We increase actors that are re than 25%, o re than 20%, ture. We invit nologies and b N/Michigan ewable higan, a milli kyard and her sport fishin and a good qu Distributing y. The oil to work even can take easy ur beverages t ozen trucks an ed our investm e bio-fuel-ele or 12,500 gall or about 6,00 te everyone – build a strong -oilion ng, a uality y to nd ments ctric lons 00 – ger 

  • Saturday, August 07, 2010 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Published: Saturday, August 07, 2010, 11:00 AM Fritz Klug | Kalamazoo Gazette BATTLE CREEK — Anheuser-Busch is making a donation to relieve the thirst of volunteers cleaning the Kalamazoo River oil spill. On Friday night, Battle Creek distributor Atlas Sales was scheduled to receive 23,500 cans of drinking water to distribute to workers. The water comes in 12-ounce aluminum cans and was shipped from Cartersville, Ga. Greg Dunn, Atlas Sales president, said his company made the request from the corporate Anheuser-Busch office because of the importance of the Kalamazoo River. “We know what the river means to people,” Dunn said. “It’s important for people to support (the volunteers).” Dunn hopes this donation will spur others to assist volunteers. Hundreds of workers have helped with the clean up since the spill was first reported on July 26. Since 1988, the brewer of Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob beers has donated more than 69 million cans of water following disasters. Contact Fritz Klug at or 269-388-8553.

  • Thursday, August 05, 2010 5:02 PM | Anonymous

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010 Contact: Bud Dunn, Atlas Sales Inc., Battle Creek Phone number: 269-968-9758 Battle Creek Business to Distribute Free Drinking Water to Oil Spill Volunteers, Clean-Up Crew Atlas Sales Inc. to deliver around 24,000 cans of water BATTLE CREEK – Atlas Sales Inc., a family owned beer and wine distributor that serves an area including Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties, will distribute more than 24,000 cans of drinking water to the volunteers and clean-up crew working at the site of the massive Kalamazoo River oil spill. Atlas expects to distribute the drinking water by this weekend. “Atlas Sales has served this community for generations, we consider it part of our family and we want to do everything we can to help clean up the oil spill that has devastated the Kalamazoo River and the wildlife and plant life in the area,” Atlas President Greg Dunn said today. “The Kalamazoo River defines who we are in this community. Many businesses depend on a healthy Kalamazoo River to attract everything from tourists and anglers to families looking to spend a day canoeing on the river. It is one of the great rivers of the Midwest that we want to protect today and for generations to come. Atlas Sales is proud of the community and the many volunteers who stepped forward in this crisis and we are ready to do what we can to help.” Atlas Sales is working with the Anheuser-Busch emergency drinking water program to bring around 1,000 cases – or around 24,000 cans – of drinking water to Atlas’ location in Battle Creek. The water is expected to arrive Friday. Atlas will then deliver the water to a centralized location near the spill site to be distributed to volunteers and clean-up crewmembers. More than a million gallons of oil spilled from a pipeline near Marshall, contaminating an 80- mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River from Marshall and Battle Creek all the way to Galesburg just east of Kalamazoo. The oil spill is considered the worst oil disaster in the Midwest. About Atlas Sales Inc. Atlas Sales, Inc. has been in operation as a family owned beverage distribution company since 1933, serving the Battle Creek and surrounding areas. The company was founded by Theron (Pick) Fagan after the repeal of prohibition in 1933. Atlas Sales was one of the first companies organized to distribute beer and wine when prohibition ended in Michigan. During the past seven decades, the company has been located in five different warehouses that were ever larger and more modern. After Fagan’s death in 1983, Fagan’s wife Frankie Fagan took over. She then passed the business down to her son, Greg Dunn. In addition to providing quality beverages and services, Atlas today is a major employer in the Battle Creek area and is actively involved in numerous community charities, events, programs and other humanitarian causes. Atlas is especially active in statewide efforts to fight illegal underage drinking and reduce drunken driving, working in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, community advocates and education leaders. ### 

  • Tuesday, June 08, 2010 5:03 PM | Anonymous

    Local family owned beer distributor brings in new sponsors to help festival YPSILANTI – When O&W Inc. first supported the beloved Ann Arbor Summer Festival 27 years ago, Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It” hit #1 on the Billboard music chart, gas was $.81 a gallon, and the world got its first introduction to the mobile phone. “Some things don’t change at O&W: One, I will always have my beard and two, O&W will always support our community by supporting events like the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, which brings so many people together to enjoy some good, family fun,” said O&W President Jim Wanty, who has grown a beard since he graduated high school.   O&W Inc., a fourth generation beer distributor since 1933, is excited to continue its support  of the 2010 Ann Arbor Summer Festival that runs from June 18 – July 11.  And this year, O&W has stepped up its sponsorship with supplier partners to support the After Dark Series. This year O&W is the Rock Series Sponsor. “O&W is proud to support the Ann Arbor Summer Festival because it helps make our community vibrant and a destination for people from all over the region, which is exactly what we need in today’s economy,” said Morgeson, Wanty’s daughter and the fifth generation of the family to work at the family owned beer distributor. “Our family business has been a partner with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival since I was nine, and we’re very proud to continue being a part of this popular community tradition.” “This year, we asked our supplier partners to join our efforts in sponsoring the festival.  Miller and Sierra Nevada have joined us in the Series Sponsorship, and we were able to get Heineken and Mike’s Hard Lemonade to sponsor the After Dark Series on Friday and Saturday nights.  We hope that people will come out this year to support the festival and the companies that help make it happen,” Wanty said. Morgeson and festival director, Amy Nesbit, were also instrumental in launching a new program at the festival in 2009, after they realized that the festival did not have a comprehensive bottle return program. After overwhelming participation from the festival staff and help from the O&W team, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival was able to return over 30,000 bottles and cans to be recycled that year. At this year’s festival, O&W will also host a tent party for employees and their families.  Go to to learn more about this year’s festival. An active member of the Ann Arbor‐Ypsilanti community, O&W currently employs around 100 people in good‐paying jobs with benefits, and generates about $47 million in sales.  Each year, O&W pays more than $1.5 million in taxes to the State of Michigan.  The company also donates over $50,000 annually to local charities and events.  O&W is recognized as an industry leader by its suppliers, winning MillerCoors “Distributor of the Year” award in 2006 and the “High Life Achievement Award” in 2009 and 2008, in its volume class.  O&W celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2008 and currently employs its 5th generation of the Wanty family.

  • Monday, June 07, 2010 5:05 PM | Anonymous

    The following guest commentary was written by Steve Arbaugh, president, Bayside Beverage Company For more than 70 years, Michigan has enjoyed a safe, efficient and working system for regulating how beer goes from a brewer to a distributor to the consumer. As a system of regulation, it emphasizes consumer safety through effective tracking and accountability. It also provides a model for how food and other beverages such as wine should be distributed to consumers statewide.   This recent Memorial Day, we got a real‐world look at how Michigan’s beer regulations can help keep potentially harmful products from consumers. On Friday, May 28th at around 5 p.m., Labatt learned that several cases of six‐pack bottles of Labatt Blue Light sent to Michigan might have been contaminated with some glass and instituted a voluntary recall. Labatt immediately informed our company, Bayside Beverage Corporation, the designated Labatt distributor serving Northern Lower Michigan, about recalling the affected beer.   Within hours, Bayside identified 86 affected cases that had been shipped into retail, when they were shipped to Michigan, when they left our distributorship and what stores received them. Seventeen Bayside employees were notified of the immediate need to respond and gave up their precious time with family and friends on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. We contacted the affected stores in Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet and Otsego counties. In many cases, Bayside management, salespeople, delivery drivers and merchandisers drove to stores to personally inspect their inventories and removed any suspect packages. We worked round the clock with our retail partners, who rolled up their sleeves and gave us their full cooperation on one of the busiest weekends of the year and they deserve a huge amount of gratitude for their efforts.     By Memorial Day, May 31, we had recalled all but a few of the cases. We worked non‐stop to get to those remaining cases of beer. In the meantime, Labatt aggressively communicated with the news media about the voluntary recall, telling consumers to be on the lookout for the affected beer, coded E10 and to call 800‐268‐BEER with questions or concerns.       One key reason Michigan’s beer distribution system could respond quickly to the possible contamination was because each distributor distributes specific brands to a single specific territory. This streamlines the distribution process and promotes accountability and efficiency. Michigan beer distributors like Bayside are responsible for keeping track of all the beer that comes to our warehouse from the brewer, and what stores it goes to after it leaves on our delivery vehicles. Our workers are trained to make sure we maintain this ironclad chain of custody. We are proud of this responsibility because it helps protect consumers.     Beer distribution’s one‐distributor‐per‐brand‐per‐territory model helped track a contaminated product within 72 hours. In 2009, a deadly salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter began in a contaminated peanut factory in 2006. A nationwide outbreak of e.coli‐contaminated lettuce that sickened dozens of people, including in Michigan, stumped investigators for months before a source was identified.       Regulations like those used for beer distribution could have protected people during outbreaks, and possibly even saved lives.       Michigan’s beer distribution regulations work. Tight regulations and territorial integrity helped us respond quickly, efficiently and responsibly in a recall. By emphasizing accountability and safety, Michigan’s beer distribution system provides a model that other food and beverage producers could emulate.


332 Townsend Street
Lansing, Michigan 48933
Phone: 517.482.5555
Fax: 517.482.1532



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