Distributor Profile: Big Shoulders Beverage

FROM CHICAGO, FOR CHICAGO.

Chicago Beverage System’s Chicago sales territory is compact and highly concentrated. As a result, the company puts a premium on understanding the needs of their customers, and works with their supplier partners to design programming that works for the city. VP of Marketing, Jim Vogel explains, “Some of the things that might work at a Walmart in downstate Illinois, won’t fit in a small store in Chicago. We work with our suppliers to help them develop pieces that work here. We’re local experts and try and coach our suppliers on what’s going to work in our market.” They employ technologies and constant communication with their brand teams and suppliers to ensure the needs of the suppliers are being met, and balanced with the needs of the customers. 

THE FUTURE OF THE BEER INDUSTRY

Chicago Beverage System’s focus on improvement means that they’re constantly looking to the future. They’re doing today what they know will help them win tomorrow. We asked team members what they saw as the future of the beer industry, and here’s what they said: 

BLAKE YANICS
“I’d say first and foremost, we want to maintain a strong three tier system in the state of Illinois. We’ve got to continue to work closely with brewers of all sizes to keep that system strong.”

Mary Lou Polycyn
“A comittment to being green is going to continue to be a big part of our industry, whether it’s with biodiesel fuel, the way we run our equipment, our suppliers, or our buildings and materials.”

Mike Skully
“Shelf space isn’t getting any bigger, but breweries continue to open up daily. At the end of the day local beer will continue to be big, but quality beer will become more important. In the next 5-10 years the variety will continue but if a brewery isn’t making good product, it’s not going to survive.”

Chris Ashby
“I think innovation is going to continue to be critical in the brewing industry — that we have products in the years to come that are able to capture the minds and wallets of millennial consumers and can get people to look at beer as they’re first choice in beverage.” 

Matt Tanaka

Matt Tanaka is a digital marketer who lives in Chicago with his beautiful wife Laura and their incredibly lazy French Bulldog, Bento. He is an experienced writer, obsessive planner and firm believer in the ability of digital tools to connect brands with their audiences.