Craft Business Daily:
We talked with co-presidents Eric Forrest and Andy Moore of Bigfoot Beverages, nee Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Bend, Roseburg, Eugene, Coos Bay and Newport. Recall from yesterday’s report that their rebrand will see them selling craft beer, starting with Vail’s Crazy Mountain. It just makes sense, Eric said, with their footprint. “We operate in 30% of the state of Oregon. And right now in the communities we operate in, we are the only local distributors left.”
There are very few accounts or account types they don’t service. “We’ve been in business for 50 years, have relationships with 90% of accounts … everyone pours Pepsi. It’s a natural extension for craft to have it come off your local truck from your local delivery guy.”
Asked why you don’t see more soda distributors getting into craft, partner Andy says we might soon. Of course, the legalities complicate things in some states. “Maybe in this part of the country there’s more opportunity that’s easy to see because of the highly developed craft business … There are other Pepsi and Coke bottlers that run beer businesses; sometimes they’re completely separately run entities. And a few that have [craft beer]. But I don’t know that anyone has gone to the extent that we did [in planning a rebrand].
“We think the old days of beer and wine [being] separate from soft drinks are over. It’s trucks, warehouses, people and relationships. There just aren’t that many differences that you can’t be taking advantage of scale.”
JB Shireman of First Beverage Group, which helped advise the deal, thinks we’ll see more of its kind. “Columbia was a prime example. And it’s not just craft, the entire beverage category is diversifying … that’s not going away. [These are] just sheer models of efficiencies. So we believe that when we do this the right way, we think it could very well be catalyst for change around country.”