M&A Deals of the Week

Beer Capitol acquires Miller Brands; General manager acquires Brookfield inventory company.

Beer Capitol acquires Miller Brands
As a fallout from the MillerCoors LLC merger, the beer distribution industry in southeastern Wisconsin is consolidating, with Pewaukee-based Beer Capitol Distributing Inc. acquiring Miller Brands-Milwaukee LLC of Wauwatosa.

Beer Capitol, which sells Pabst and other brands in Milwaukee County, has agreed to buy Miller Brands, which has sold Miller Brewing Co. products throughout Milwaukee County for many years, for an undisclosed amount. The sale is set close by Oct. 31.

The consolidation will create one distributor for all Miller, Coors, Pabst and the newly relaunched Schlitz products throughout southeastern Wisconsin, with 250 employees and 2,000 sales accounts.

Beer Capitol is owned by Aldo Madrigrano and his family, which also operates W.O.W. Distributing Co. of Sussex and CJW Inc. of Racine. W.O.W. Distributing sells MillerCoors products in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. CJW Inc. sells MillerCoors products in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.

The acquisition of Miller Brands will bring MillerCoors’ Milwaukee County accounts, including Summerfest, downtown Milwaukee and Miller Park, under the Madrigrano corporate umbrella.

"The joining of these two great companies represents a strategic move that better aligns both organizations with the newly formed Miller-Coors joint venture, building upon each companies’ recognized strengths in delivering exemplary customer service and developing long-standing relationships within local operating communities," said Aldo Madrigrano, who will serve as chairman of the Beer Capitol after the sale.

Mike Merriman, president of Beer Capitol, will continue in that role, and Dave Neville, currently the vice president of sales for Miller Brands, will lead sales efforts.

"This is a joining of two great organizations and we fully intend to build on the strong consumer loyalty to the Miller brands in Milwaukee County," Madrigrano said. "This deal gives us long-term continuity and combines the forces of a bigger, better and stronger service organization to serve our customers and offer consumers an expanded array of top-flight brands."

Miller Brands president Steve Johnson and vice president Mike Gallagher will not be part of the leadership team of the merged company, a Beer Capitol spokeswoman said.

Miller Brands has about 150 employees in Wauwatosa. When asked about the status of those jobs, Beer Capitol spokeswoman Mary Brophy said, "There are no other changes planned at this time."

Madrigrano, who is the chairman of the board of the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), was the winner of the Small Business Times Bravo! Entrepreneur Regional Spirit Award in 2006.

In a recent issue, Small Business Times published a report that predicted the pending consolidation of the beer distribution industry in southeastern Wisconsin.

General manager buys Brookfield inventory company
Jerry Bannerman is the new owner and president of General Business Services Inc. in Brookfield. Bannerman previously served as general manager of the company that provides customized inventory reports for grocery stores, specialty food stores, pharmacies, clinics and hospitals.

The company has a history of providing services throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota since it was founded in 1959, but Bannerman said he plans to expand that footprint into Illinois and Missouri. "We give retailers a competitive edge by providing a service that is objective and accurate. They can easily see which items are top sellers and which have been lost to theft or damage," Bannerman said.

General Business Services can be especially helpful for smaller hardware and convenience stores that have tight margins, Bannerman said. "Our staff members have decades of experience and can work with each owner to review the inventory and provide reports that are custom-designed for each location," he said.

Additional information is available at www.countinv.com.

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