Brewers Unleashed: how a few beer geeks are bringing change at MillerCoors

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Tenth and Blake’s pact with Terrapin has been the subject of much chatter across the industry. When posing questions around that relationship, White is quick to admit that there are likely financial benefits that will come out of it for MillerCoors. More importantly, he points out, it meshes with the underpinnings of Tenth and Blake.

“We love beer, too, and we find the craft beer thing exciting. We have the ability to bring value to these smaller breweries.”

Tenth and Blake President and CEO, Tom Cardella, filed the Terrapin deal under what he called an “alliance strategy” at a recent company presentation. MillerCoors CEO, Tom Long, recently shared that they are, “in dialogue with lots of companies.”

If Tenth and Blake is to meet that lofty goal of 60% growth over three years, acquisitions and equity investments in small breweries will be necessary to get there.

As far as the “strategy” piece of it, White says it is just a matter of looking at each potential partner individually on its own merits. He makes mention of Boston Beer Co.’s new program offering assistance to microbreweries and says Tenth and Blake has similar core competencies. For those wondering, there is no regional focus on the Southeast where Terrapin is based.

“It is one of my favorite things that we have done at the company so far.”

Tenth and Blake is also working to improve the segment in the other tiers of the supply chain through “Project Apollo,” a program unearthed by Craft Business Daily in this August write-up.

“We found that the [craft] category has been managing distributors more than the other way around. We are going in and showing them the benefits of thinking of it as a category and then helping with category management and education.”

One of the things that Tenth and Blake does is look at trends on both a category and regional basis, then analyzes how the distributor’s portfolio is performing against those trends. The distributor can then make decisions around the product mix based on the data. White says it isn’t all about getting beers from the Tenth and Blake portfolio in there either.

“As they see growth in their craft portfolio, we just hope that some of our brands will be a part of it.”

One rep with knowledge of the program said that while he’s very “pro-craft,” he really likes what Tenth and Blake is doing in this area.

5 thoughts on “Brewers Unleashed: how a few beer geeks are bringing change at MillerCoors

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  2. I wouldn’t have a problem with SAB/Miller aka Tenth and Blake getting a bigger piece of the craft market if they did it solely on the basis of the quality of their beers. Unfortunately, SAB/Miller has been one of the biggest and most active (read campaign contributions) in statehouses around the country trying to keep in place antiquated and unfair laws restricting the growth of craft brewing. Give up the lobbying and then you’ll see more acceptance for deals like Terrapin.

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