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  • Monday, August 01, 2011 4:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jim Holton and Joe Fabiano Like many local businesses, Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co. grew from humble beginnings. The very first batch of beer from what is today Mt. Pleasant Brewing began life in a college dorm room, and has grown, over the past 3 years, into an acclaimed Michigan craft beer. This summer, as adults raise a toast to friends and family with mugs of cold Michigan beer, we'd like to tell the story of what helps make Michigan the Great Beer State. It's a story of innovation and entrepreneurship. It's also a story about building partnerships and how our separate businesses ‐ a craft brewer and a beer distributor ‐ can thrive under a pro‐growth alcohol distribution system in Michigan that balances business needs with public safety. One of the first things Mt. Pleasant Brewing did three years ago when it was time to reach a wider market was find a distributor. Fabiano Brothers, which distributes to retailers and taverns in more than 30 counties, was a natural choice. And for Fabiano, supporting a local hometown brewery that made quality products made sense. Fabiano Brothers' network covers a region stretching from Midland to Mackinac Island, from Caro to Kalkaska. A fourth‐generation company with roots dating to the late 1800s, Fabiano Brothers employs more than 300 people in highly skilled, good‐paying jobs. At Mt. Pleasant Brewing, growth has also been a theme. From two employees when the brewery started, Mt. Pleasant Brewing today employs 12 people and recently added new fermentation units to keep up with demand ‐ and demand, as other Michigan craft brewers know, is growing. Michigan's craft beer industry as a whole grew an impressive 21 percent from 2009 to 2010. Sales of Michigan craft beer almost doubled from $11.2 million in 2007 to $22 million in 2010. Much of that growth is the result of Michigan's beer distribution system, which consists of three separate, independent tiers ‐ brewer, distributor and retailer. Each segment of the beer sector is distinct and independent. Brewers like Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co. do what they do best ‐‐ make beer. Distributors like Fabiano handle the logistics of reaching new markets and maximizing distribution. And stores and restaurants sell a wide range of beer without undue outside influence. For craft brewers and their fans, Michigan's beer distribution laws ensure that small brewers can compete with large, out‐of‐state beer conglomerates. That means more competition, more choices and ultimately, more jobs. The alternative would be what Scottish craft brewer BrewDog complained about in the June edition of Beverage World. In Britain, large corporate breweries own bars and restaurants. Small independent beer‐makers must sell their products through these large breweries, which have little incentive to sell craft beers and instead, step up sales of their own products in bars they own to consumers who have fewer choices. Not good for consumers or independent craft brewers. Michigan, on the other hand, has more than 80 craft beer‐makers, ranking our state fifth nationally, with at least three more planning to open this year, according to the Associated Press. Mt. Pleasant Brewing and Fabiano Brothers are like family today, investing in the future together and growing, thanks to Michigan's beer distribution law. We're proof that the partnership between small brewer and distributor results in growth and success. Jim Holton is founder of Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co. Joseph Fabiano II is president of Fabiano Brothers Inc

  • Thursday, July 28, 2011 4:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A well-known Macomb County beer distributor and his wife rescued a missing New York pilot who spent 17 hours in Lake Huron after his plane crashed. Dean Petitpren, president of Petitpren Inc., a wholesale Anheuser Busch dealer in Mount Clemens, and his wife, Diane, were heading to the Upper Peninsula in their yacht when they spotted the pilot in the water without a life jacket on Wednesday. Petitpren, a philanthropist who resides in Grosse Pointe Farms, told WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) the couple saw pilot Michael Trapp waving a sock over his head to grab their attention. “He said he had already taken his pants off because they were too heavy. So he was in his undershirt and undershorts,” Petitpren told the TV station. “Of course, from the boat (he) looked like a pineapple in the water. We got the boat around, came alongside him and threw him a ring and got him aboard.” Petitpren said the pilot was in 45 feet of water with calm seas and warm water. He said the pilot looked exhausted and his eyes were starting to close. The Petitprens were aboard their boat Eagles Nest when they made the discovery and feel it’s a miracle they were able to assist the pilot. They had been talking about the missing pilot and knew they were boating through the area where the plane had been reported missing. Trapp, 42, was able to survive by swimming and treading water after his 1966 Cessna 150 went into the lake after the aircraft had engine problems. He was flying alone from Gouverneur, N.Y., to Wisconsin for a family reunion. Petitpren said the pilot was happy and talkative when pulled to safety. “I asked him if we wanted some water at that point and he said, ‘No, I’ve had enough water.’” Trapp was taken to a hospital in Harbor Beach for treatment. He told WWNY-TV in Watertown, N.Y., that he was inspired to keep going because “there’s a lot of people that depend on me.” “It’s amazing what goes on in your mind when you’re laying in water and you look up at the skies and watch the shooting stars and watch meteorites go round. Gives you time to realize what’s important in life at that point,” he told the TV station. Trapp, who owns an auto repair shop, said he contacted the Federal Aviation Administration when the engine began stalling over the lake on Tuesday. He said: “I’m going in right now.” “Holy moley,” Trapp thought to himself, “what in the world just went on?” He told the TV station that he took off his pants and shoes and “just went into survival mode.” He doesn’t consider himself physically fit at 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 pounds. “I kept going, kept going. There’s a lot of things I want to do yet,” Trapp said. He said he was unsuccessful in using a credit card to try to reflect the sun and get the attention of several boats that were in the area. Finally, the Petitprens spotted him waving a sock around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and pulled him aboard — “by the grace of God,” he said. Trapp believes he swam 15 miles after his two-seat Cessna crashed 17 miles from shore, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Harbor Beach Police Chief Sid Schock said Trapp was “quite chilled” but talking when he was put in an ambulance, about 125 miles northeast of Detroit. He was examined at a local hospital, then transferred about 90 miles to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw where he was in good condition, spokeswoman Kristin Knoll said. Trapp told WWNY that he couldn’t walk. He did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment about his extraordinary ordeal. The president of the Harbor Beach hospital, Ed Gamache, would not discuss Trapp’s health but said he was talking to doctors and in “excellent spirits.” “It’s a remarkable story,” Gamache said. At Trapp’s auto garage in Gouverneur, there was high praise for the boss. “He’s just strong-willed,” Mike Cutway said of Trapp’s survival swim. Jim Dreyer, a Grand Rapids-area man who has swum across Lake Huron and other Great Lakes, said Trapp’s weight probably helped insulate him against cold water. “It’s amazing what the human spirit is capable of,” Dreyer told the AP. URL:

  • Friday, May 13, 2011 4:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Powers, O&W, Eastown in metro Detroit join with Penske, United Way ORION (Friday, May 13, 2011) – Oakland County-based Powers Distributing Co. will donate and deliver 36,000 bottles of water early Saturday morning to the region of Alabama struck by monster tornadoes that killed more than 350 people and left thousands injured and homeless. Powers drivers Randy Spicer and Jim Macheske, along with delivery and fleet manager Joe Dinverno, will make the 1,600-plus-mile drive to Tuscaloosa, Ala., on a truck donated by Penske. The early Saturday morning delivery is part of an effort by Powers to assist with disaster relief in Alabama, partnering with other metro Detroit distributors, O&W Inc. based in Ypsilanti and Eastown Distributors Co. based in Highland Park. “When we saw the devastation in Alabama, we knew we had to do something to help the survivors get back on their feet,” said Jerry Powers, president of Powers, on Friday during a media availability session. “Our employees at Powers deserve the credit for taking the initiative and volunteering to help deliver the water to Alabama. When Michigan’s economy was in serious trouble, the rest of the nation stood with us and helped us get back on our feet. We’re proud to work with our fellow distributors and other partners here in Michigan to help our fellow Americans recovering in the South.” Established in 1939, Powers Distributing was one of Michigan’s first Miller Brewing products distributors. Today, Powers delivers more than 100 quality Michigan and international beverage products to 2,600-plus retailers and customers in Oakland and Macomb counties. Powers employs more than 210 people in good-paying skilled jobs, with benefits, making it one of Oakland County’s leading job providers. Powers spearheads many local programs geared toward fighting underage drinking and drunken driving, from sponsoring motivational speakers who address high school students, to launching multi-media campaigns and going into communities to promote responsible alcohol use. Powers Distributing has been recognized as a national leader in sustainability and conservation. Earlier this year, Powers made history as the first national distributor to roll out an entire fleet of hybrid electricbiofuel delivery trucks and tractors, which will slash Powers’ diesel use. For its efforts, Powers won the 2009 Michigan Clean Transportation award for its investments in biofuel-hybrids trucks and tractors, as part of its commitment to reducing the nation’s dependence on imported oil, supporting homegrown renewable fuels and creating U.S. jobs. To learn more about Powers: 

  • Tuesday, May 03, 2011 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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  • Wednesday, April 20, 2011 4:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Griffin Beverage invests locally to reduce energy use, earn LEED certification ST. IGNACE – Family owned distributor Griffin Beverage Co. has earned the internationally recognized energy efficiency LEED designation for its new warehouse in St. Ignace – Michigan’s first LEED-certified beverage distribution warehouse. LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. The LEED green building rating system – developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington D.C.-based, nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders – is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being. To earn LEED certification, Griffin – serving 41 counties in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula – used local and recycled materials, worked with local contractors and businesses, and deployed energy efficient devices and techniques at virtually every stage of construction. The warehouse is located at the corner of US-2 and Portage Road, St. Ignace. “Griffin Beverage has deep roots in our community and our state and we want to do everything we can to protect Michigan’s natural resources for generations, while reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels,” said General Manager Bob Griffin Jr. “For Griffin Beverage, saving energy is good for the bottom line as well as our local economy, public health and quality of life. We are proud to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint while at the same time partnering with local businesses, suppliers and contractors to protect and create local jobs.” Griffin Beverage invested around $1 million in the 20,000-square-foot St. Ignace warehouse. They worked hand in hand with the East Lansing-based architectural firm Bergmann Associates, with the focus on making the building as energy efficient as possible. The following are some of the techniques Griffin deployed to make its warehouse earn the LEED certification:  The warehouse was sited on a location to minimize excavation and maximize natural drainage.  Builders used locally sourced and recycled materials virtually throughout the facility.  Griffin used paints, adhesives and other materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOC). Conventional paint contains hundreds of known chemical toxins that pollute the air and endanger public health. By using low-VOC paint, typically containing around half the amount of VOCs in conventional paint, Griffin is also improving the quality and safety of its indoor air.  New, electric operated forklifts eliminate indoor exhaust emissions.  The warehouse incorporates low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce the building’s overall water consumption.  Griffin’s new refrigeration system uses safer, less damaging alternatives to chlorofluorocarbon, which has been linked to ozone depletion and serious harm to the atmosphere. Griffin recycled its refrigeration system, retrofitting it with CFC-free refrigerants.  Griffin partnered with local contractors and businesses throughout the project, such as Miller Construction of West Branch; Warner Plumbing and Heating of Cheboygan; Island Electric of St. Ignace; Huskey Construction of St. Ignace; and many other regional businesses.  Griffin used polished concrete for the flooring, eliminating the use of carpets and epoxies in the office.  The windows are recycled from old cooler doors.  Bob Griffin Jr. himself cut and dried the lumber used for the tongue-and-groove paneling.  The warehouse features the use of skylights, motion-activated lighting, lighting designed to minimize light pollution, automatic climate controls and low-flow appliances  The roof is made of a material designed to eliminate heat islands and help reduce impacts on climate change. Completed in 2010, Griffin’s new warehouse earned the LEED certification in March 2011, after commissioning to measure all systems. With its main office in West Branch, Griffin Beverage delivers beer, wine and other beverages to retailers, taverns, restaurants, stores and other businesses in a geographic region measuring more than 27,000 square miles – around half of Michigan’s 58,000-plus-square-mile area. Using a network of strategically located warehouses, Griffin distributes its products to 41 counties, from Flint to Marquette. Griffin’s products include Anheuser-Busch-InBev products, as well as Michigan craft beers such as Bell’s Brewery and a wide selection of domestic and imported beers. Griffin also distributes wines and Michigan-made Faygo pop, along with other non-alcoholic beverages. Established in 1967, the two-generation family business is one of Michigan largest recyclers, recycling beverage-related plastics, aluminum, cardboard, glass and paper for the region stretching from the Saginaw area through northern Michigan and far into the Upper Peninsula. Griffin is proud to employ over 180 people at its business, providing well-paying jobs with benefits. Griffin is also very active in the communities it serves; giving back thousands of dollars to local charities supporting community programs every year, humanitarian events and causes such as American Red Cross and Humane Society. 

  • Tuesday, April 12, 2011 4:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NEWBERRY – Pike Distributors, a family owned beverage distributor, today announced that it is on track to relocate its headquarters to Marquette while still preserving operations and staff at its longtime Newberry facility. “Pike Distributors has very deep roots in the Upper Peninsula and we are committed to continuing our long partnership with all the communities we serve,” said Pike Distributors President Joe Ketvirtis, the second generation of the family to own and operate the beer, wine and beverage distributor. “We are excited about our new headquarters in Marquette, and remain firmly committed to our loyal employees and community partners in Newberry, which was Pike’s home for more than seven decades,” Ketvirtis said. “The Newberry facility will continue to be a fully operational warehouse and an important facility for our operations. Pike is proud to create good-paying local jobs, invest in Michigan and help build a stronger future for our economy here across the Upper Peninsula.” Pike expects to fully open its new headquarters in Marquette during the first week of May. The 35,000-plus-square-foot facility is located at 353 U.S. 41 East, and is an upgrade and expansion of an existing warehouse. Meanwhile, Pike’s 17,454-square-foot warehouse in Newberry will continue operations and serve its 66 retail accounts. Altogether, Pike employs more than 40 full-time employees at its three locations: Marquette, Newberry and Gladstone, with 13 employees at the new Marquette facility and 9 employees at Newberry, including three semi-divers. Pike’s employees enjoy good wages and benefits, including health care, profit sharing, 401 (k) and other benefits. Pike is also active in the local community and actively participates in charitable, humanitarian and community events. In 2010, Pike spent $16,000 on responsibility advertising and programming, as well as community giving and sponsorships in Newberry, including popular local programs such as Whitetails, the Turkey Federation, the Newberry Buck Pool and Predators Hunts. Pike distributes beer, wine and other beverages through a system of regulations that emphasize accountability, consumer safety and choice. Pike serves nearly 400 retailers and customers in Marquette, Luce, Alger, Schoolcraft, Chippewa, Mackinac and Delta counties. First established in 1937 by Mervin Pike, the business first began distributing Soo Brew, made in Sault Ste. Marie just 60 miles from Newberry. The company then began distributing Schmidt’s and Phieffer’s beer, using one small truck. Today, Pike’s distributes Anheuser-Busch, Miller/Coors, Labatt and Pabst brands, craft beers such as Bell’s Beer and Keweenaw Brewing Co., wines from Gallo and other products, with a fleet of trucks and vans and a team of skilled, highly trained professional. 

  • Wednesday, March 09, 2011 3:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FOR IMM Contact: D Powers D 3700 Gidd Orion, MI 248-393-3 http://www Powers Concer March 8, 2 today that Series to Wilson, an soon. The new M “My brothe Fair,” said is very pro bring this e which is on plans and l Miller Lite these grea from 10am www.grea The Grea between t sponsors million pe 200 comm Powers’ s agriculture industry in Powers D Oakland a informatio ### MEDIATE REL Daniel Bryant Distributing dings Road 48359 3700; 248-393 w.powersdistr s Distribut rt Stage fo 2011, Orion, t they are sup take place on nd Cowboy T Miller stage w er and I grew u Rob Powers, oud to be a part exciting family ne of the pillar let’s support M e and Mike’s H at performing m-1am on Frid t Lakes Agric the nonprofit G such as Pow ople. Michiga modities and l support for ag e, and Power n Michigan’ ag Distributing wa and Macomb on contact 248 LEASE: t 3-1503 (fax) ting, Mille or Great L MI – Powers pporting the n n Sep. 2-5. T Troy and Two will have its de up in Pontiac an who is co-pres tner along with y event to the c rs of our state’s Michigan!” Hard Lemona g artists and o day and Satu m. cultural Fair do Great Lakes A wers. Agricultu an is also the eading the na riculture is a rs has one of gricultural sec as established County. Pow 8-393-3700. er Lite and Lakes Agri Distributing ew Great Lak he concert se Foot Fred alo ebut at the fai nd as young bo sident of the fa h the Silverdom city of Pontiac. s economy. Ma de are proud others to be a urday and 10a oes not use ta Agricultural F ure is Michiga nation’s seco ation in sever natural fit: Po the nation’s la ctor. d in 1939 and wers Distributin d Mike’s H icultural F g, Miller Lite kes Agricultur eries will featu ong with addit ir, to be held a oys had many f amily business me, the Great L We are proud ake The Great L to be part of nnounced. T am-5pm on M axpayer dolla Fair Corp. and an’s second la ond-most dive ral categories owers distribu argest deliver d is the leadin ng is headqua Hard Lemo Fair and Mike’s H ral Fair by spo ure country gi tional perform at the Silverd fond memories along with bro Lakes Agricultu to support Mic Lakes Agricult the Great La The fair will ru Monday. For m ars, relying ins d the Silverdo argest industr erse agricultur . utes beverage ry truck fleets g beer distrib artered in Ori onade to R Hard Lemona onsoring the iants Big & R mers to be an dome in Pontia s attending the other Jerry. “P ural Fair and th chigan and Mi tural Fair part kes Agricultu n from Septe more informat stead on the p ome of Pontiac ry, employing ral state, prod es that are de s driven by bio butor of Miller on, Michigan Roll Out N ade announc Miller Lite Co Rich and Gretc nounced very ac. Michigan Stat Powers Distribu he City of Pont ichigan agricul of your Labor ral Fair and h mber 2nd – 5t ion, go to partnership c, as well as more than 1 ducing more t pendent on o-fuels, a maj Coors produ . For more New ed oncert chen y te uting tiac to lture, Day host h than jor cts in 

  • Friday, January 14, 2011 3:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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"Only th th generation no II, smiling, " e companies, ive distributio tor Township. lity attracted a MO. to o, like , is ano II ng s the ry ess. good re." hed hree ." says on . Last about 22,000 people. Even though the company has called Bay City its new home for only about 18 months, "we're already bursting at the seams," says James Fabiano II. "Suppliers want us to grow or get out. They like to see economies of scale." Fabiano Brothers has added to its business portfolio the wine division of Saginaw-based Muehlenbeck Distributing Co.; Mt. Pleasant's Chippewa Beverage, Inc.; and Flint's Tom Ryan Distributing. These moves brought 97 full and part-time jobs to the area. Some of the jobs are new. Others are employees from the acquired companies that Fabiano agreed to take on. The company now services licensed retailers as far east as Lapeer County, west to Mecosta County and north to Charlevoix. The Tom Ryan acquisition means additional business as far south as Genesee County, "a huge county," says James Fabiano II, a partner/owner of the venerable firm. "We're just a small family business doing our part to stimulate the economy," he says, a smile creasing his face. In January, the company plans to break ground on the 100,000 sq. foot expansion project, pointing to May, just prior to its busiest summer months, as its target date for completion. "We need the room," says Joseph Fabiano II. "This is phase II of our building plans here and will allow for company growth in the next 10 years." The two brothers cut their teeth in the family business. They started working before they could drive, recalling a time when the business had a couple of route trucks working out of a small warehouse servicing about four counties. "It was a much smaller operation then," says Joseph Fabiano II. "We've seen about nine cases grow to the point where we now distribute over 9 million boxes of beer and wine a year. On any given day we have up to 50 trucks going over 5,500 square miles delivering about 50,000 cases." When it relocated its operation from Mt. Pleasant to Bay City in 2009, Joseph Fabiano II says, "We always wanted to consolidate into an ideal location. We think we found it here... Within the Anheuser Busch system we're around the 25th largest distributorship in the nation." Easy access to I-75 and US-10 attracted the Fabianos to Bay County. Employees at the site receive, process and ensure delivery of orders in less than 24 hours. That may explain why business is a 24-7 operation except when it closes at noon on Saturday and reopens on Monday at the crack of dawn. "This place is pretty quiet now," James Fabiano II says of the distribution center on a recent weekday morning. "But you should see it on second and third shifts when the trucks are getting loaded for delivery." Fabiano Brothers apparently understand the importance of first impressions. When visitors are allowed access to the spacious main lobby at the entrance to corporate headquarters, they immediately are struck by the marble floors, cherry wood furnishings and the ultra-modern surroundings. "How do you like my bouquet?" asks James Fabiano II, pointing to a bucket containing a variety of Anheuser-Busch products displayed in the center of the lobby. "Seems appropriate for the holidays," replies the visitor. Much of its operation is technology-driven, a far cry from the days of yore, says James Fabiano II. For instance, all delivery trucks are routed using a computerized system. Drivers are equipped with hand-held computers and printers, giving them immediate access to their inventory and stops. A voice-activated system is used to store and distribute the millions of cases of product that goes through the facility each year. "We're probably the most technologically-advanced distribution company in the state," says James Fabiano II. The company may be, as the Fabianos say, a "cash business," but the emphasis on green at corporate headquarters extends beyond monetary considerations. "Everything that goes out comes back in," James Fabiano II says of the company's sustainability efforts. "We consider ourselves a green-friendly company." Retention ponds on the 20-acre site hold water that's used for eco-friendly chillers. Recycled water is used to wash company trucks and cars. Rainwater is captured and run through the sprinkling system on the grounds. The facility has been designed with lots of windows to allow natural light in. White roofs and concrete-insulated walls are other examples of the attention to detail that characterizes the facility's design-build. "We tried to think of everything," James Fabiano II says. When the facility's expansion project is completed next May, the business will have grown to encompass about 300,000 sq. ft. at 1885 Brevanda Court in Bay City. The Fabiano brothers didn't anticipate this kind of explosive growth. "If you would have told me when we moved here that we were soon going to be building an additional 100,000 sq. feet of facility, I'd have said you were crazy," James Fabiano II says. The company employs about 300 people. They work in areas such as operations, sales & marketing, Information technology, graphic design and accounting. The firm's impressive corporate headquarters is an anchor tenant in a burgeoning business park called Market Place Corporate Center. Local leaders hope Fabiano's presence sparks more economic development in that business corridor. Somewhere, Gennaro Fabiano is casting an approving eye on his family successors, confident that the piece of the American Dream he carved out a century or so ago continues to be in fine hands. "We've got to keep it going," James Fabiano II, working on Christmas Eve, says. "Our great-grandfather was a first-class, hard-working gentleman." 

  • Thursday, January 13, 2011 3:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.” 


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