While MillerCoors had already announced their intention to start up a new division dedicated to its smaller brands and imports, today they announced that Tenth and Blake Brewing Co. was open for business. There’s no website yet, but there is a Facebook page.
Here’s the press release:
Tenth and Blake Beer Company Opens for Business
Earlier this summer, MillerCoors announced plans for a new company focused on craft and import beers, aimed at strengthening relationships within the beer industry and enhancing the overall segment’s volume and growth. Today, to reflect the passion, great brewing tradition and entrepreneurial spirit of its beer brands, the company announced its new moniker. Tenth and Blake Beer Company is now officially open for business.
“This is a unique and exciting period in the beer business,” said Tom Cardella, the company’s CEO and President. “With the added focus on our craft and import brands and the talent within our brewing network, Tenth and Blake Beer Company has the opportunity to make an impact and continue to help grow this segment. We’re made up of passionate brewers and merchants of the world’s finest specialty brews, and we look forward to celebrating the joy of beer with beer drinkers throughout the U.S.”
The organization wanted a name that reflects its great beer heritage from MillerCoors, while highlighting its unique and differentiated position in the industry. The 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee brews Leinenkugel’s and various specialty beers. And Blake Street in Denver is home to the Blue Moon Brewing Company at the Sandlot. These facilities will be primary sources of many of the company’s brews, while serving as incubators of ideas and future beers.
The company’s network of brewing expertise extends beyond Denver and Milwaukee, with the Leinenkugel’s Brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wis. and the AC Golden brewery in Golden, Colo. In addition to craft brews like Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s, and Colorado Native, Tenth and Blake Beer Company features top imports, such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Grolsch.
“Employees of Tenth and Blake Beer Company will take beer passion, education and capabilities to the next level,” Cardella said. “All team members will participate in training at one of our breweries, take part in beer merchant sessions and go through sales training to better understand and serve our customers.”
As an independent yet connected company, Tenth and Blake will own the strategic business drivers — marketing, trade marketing and an independent sales organization dedicated to the craft and imports business. The company will in-source other capabilities from MillerCoors, including legal, communications, HR, marketing services and consumer insights.
Hmm, I’m not sure what to make of that. Is it an admission that such a large, global company is too big to think small in the way one needs to for promoting and successfully selling smaller, niche brands? Or is it simply easier to parse out the tasks to two independent groups, one that has to think big picture, freeing the other to think small and more local? On the other hand, with sales of core brands flat or soft, perhaps it makes sense to give more focus to the smaller brands that actually are doing well.
Harry Schuhmacher from Beer Business Daily, reports that “Tom, in a letter to distributors obtained by BBD, writes that they have built a team of ‘brewers and merchants of the world’s finest specialty brews, celebrating the joy of beer with our customers and consumers’ to build a ‘deeper relationship’ with customers.” That sounds a little too rah-rah for my tastes, but then that was probably its intention.
Schuhmacher spoke to Tenth and Blake head honcho Tom Cardella, and he told him the following:
Tom says that their “entire team will participate in specially designed on-boarding programs that will include spending several weeks working inside our breweries and being certified in our beer merchant training. And everyone from the janitor to the CEO will go through sales training to better understand and serve our distributor and retailer customers. We will be an organization of merchants sharing our love of our great beers and creating value in the market.”
The new unit will have a “dedicated new sales organization” that will bring “focus” and they will provide a “dedicated supply chain function to ensure coordination of the fine motor skills needed to service smaller specialty brands” while still providing the services of a big corporation with regards to “legal, communications, HR, marketing services and consumer insights.”
The new unit will develop “distributor beer merchants (DBMs) in a whole lot of markets working side-by-side with you, our distributor partners.” DBMs will be “soley” dedicated to their import and craft brands with dedicated brewery “managers” who will “own and execute the craft and import portfolio for each of their respective management units, delivering wins to our general managers.”
And the Milwaukee Business Journal added:
MillerCoors’ 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee brews Leinenkugel’s and various specialty beers, and Blake Street in Denver is home to the Blue Moon Brewing Co. at the Sandlot. The facilities will be primary sources of many of the company’s brews, while serving as incubators of ideas and future beers, the Chicago-based brewer said.
MillerCoors also operates the Jacob Leinenkugel’s Brewing Co. in Chippewa Falls and the AC Golden brewery in Golden, Colo. In addition to craft brews like Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s and Colorado Native, Tenth and Blake Beer Company will be responsible for imports such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Grolsch.
Actually, according to the Facebook page, here’s the list of beers Tenth & Blake will be responsible for:
- AC Golden brands (see below)
- Batch 19
- Blue Moon
- Colorado Native (AC Golden)
- Henry Weinhard’s
- Herman Joseph’s (AC Golden)
- Kasteel Cru
- Pilsner Urquell
- Sandlot brands (Brewmaster’s Special, Ski Brews, Barmen, Championship Amber Ale, Right Field Red, Slugger Stout, Power Alley ESB)
- Winterfest (AC Golden)
That should keep them busy.