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Beer Capitol to Buy Wholesaler

August 20, 2008

By TOM DAYKIN

Beer Capitol Distributing Inc., which sells Pabst Brewing Co. brands and other beers to supermarkets, taverns and other retailers in the Milwaukee area, is buying another beer wholesaler that sells MillerCoors brands in Milwaukee County.

Beer Capitol, of Pewaukee, has agreed to buy Miller Brands- Milwaukee LLC of Wauwatosa for an undisclosed amount, Beer Capitol announced Tuesday. The sale, to close by Oct. 31, will create one of the largest beer wholesale distributors in Wisconsin, with 250 employees and 2,000 sales accounts, said Aldo Madrigrano, Beer Capitol chairman.

The combined company will operate more efficiently and be able to offer a wider variety of brands to its customers, Madrigrano said.

He said the combined company also aligns better with MillerCoors, the recently created joint venture that merged Miller Brewing Co. with Coors Brewing Co. Beer Capitol’s brands include Coors Light, which is not among the beers sold by Miller Brands.

Mike Merriman, president of Beer Capitol, will continue in that role, and Dave Neville, vice president of sales for Miller Brands, will hold a similar position at Miller Brands. Steve Johnson, president and part owner of Miller Brands, will not be part of the merged company.

The Madrigrano family also operates W.O.W. Distributing Co. of Sussex and CJW Inc. of Racine. W.O.W. Distributing sells MillerCoors brands and other beers in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, while CJW sells in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.

The Madrigrano family last year bought Beloit Beverage Co. of Brown Deer. Beloit Beverage sold Coors and Pabst brands to retailers in the Milwaukee area.

Beer Capitol also distributes several import and craft brands, including Corona and Lakefront. Its Pabst brands include the newly relaunched Schlitz in bottles, which uses the formula from the 1960s and has seen stronger-than-expected sales this summer.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Wholesale distributors such as Beer Capitol buy beer from breweries and sell it to retailers. Wholesalers, like breweries, have been consolidating in recent years.

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