EXCELLENT SERVICE | QUALITY PRODUCTS | COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
O&W, Inc. is a beer distributor delivering over 160 brands of beer and specialty beverages from over 50 suppliers to Washtenaw, Livingston, Western Wayne, Jackson, Monroe, Lenawee, and Hillsdale Counties in Southeastern Michigan.
5 Generations of Family
O&W Inc. began in 1917 when William Seagert owned a Tavern in Ann Arbor. Though the Tavern was named the Union Bar during his ownership today it still exists at the same location as the Old Town. During this time of prohibition, Seagert would haul truck loads of Near Beer and Birch Beer (soft drink similar to yet distinct from root beer) from the Stroh Brewery Company in Detroit for his own use and distribute the rest to taverns in the Ann Arbor area and as far west as Chelsea. At the repeal of Prohibition, William Seagert decided to continue running the family tavern in Ann Arbor, and passed the distributorship to his son-in-law, James O’Kane.
With the repeal of Prohibition the Three Tier System was established: Manufacturer, Distributor and Retailer. James J. O’Kane was a pioneer in the Distribution segment working out of a garage on Depot Street and then moving to a warehouse on 4th Avenue in Ann Arbor. His son-in-law, Hugh Wanty, joined the firm in 1948 to start the third generation of the business. Mr. O’Kane and Mr. Wanty moved the growing business and purchased a warehouse on Jackson Road west of Ann Arbor in 1954. In 1956 O’Kane and Wanty incorporated creating the company name O & W, Inc. still in use today.
In the early 1960’s Hugh Wanty began his legacy by looking for ways to make the business more efficient and profitable. He began by acquiring the Goebel Distributor in 1962 then integrated a wine business to make the operation flow on a more seasonal basis. His biggest leap occurred with the purchase of the Miller Brewing Company distributor in 1967. Hugh’s son Jim joined the business full time in 1972 and son Douglas joined the business in 1983 to complete the fourth generation.
With Hugh’s retirement in 1990 his son’s Jim and Doug Wanty assumed the reins and in 1998, purchased the Miller distributor in western Wayne and Monroe Counties. This purchase tripled the current business while expanding the O & W, Inc. territory eastward. In 2003, a new more centralized warehouse was built moving O&W to Ypsilanti then added on to in 2012 with a totaling 135,000sq ft., 65,000sq ft. of beer floor space and 12,500sq ft. of cooler space.
O&W purchased the overlapping Coors Distributor in Wayne County in 2011 creating a consolidated MillerCoors house in Wayne County. March 2013, O&W acquired another distributor growing their market share in their home market while adding new selling territory in Jackson, Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties. One month later, another distributor in Monroe, Michigan, was also purchased. With this latest purchase, O&W, now delivers close to five million cases of beer annually to seven counties and employs over 170 people.
Jim's daughters, Kit Wanty-Lambert and Jamie Brooks also work at O&W, Inc. representing the fifth generation to work in the beer business!
As of June 1, 2015, Jim has passed the torch of Presidency to his brother, Doug. Congratulations Doug!
Our 7 County Foot Print in SE Michigan. We are a part of the M1 Network, creating a seamless network of distribution across the state of Michigan.
The M1 Network's compete map.
Click here to visit the webpage.
O&W is located central to our selling territory, in Ypsilanti township.
Total market area covers Washtenaw, Livingston, Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe and western Wayne Counties. This area borders the actual city of Detroit, spanning the Ohio border and across four counties about 2100sq miles.
The territory is unique including University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University’s campuses, over 135 Golf Courses and has both an Urban and Rural mix of customers. Some communities surrounding already densely populated cities and lake communities are rapidly growing and others are changing with the economic conditions in Michigan.
DTW – Detroit Metro Airport is Romulus.
Michigan International Speedway is in Brooklyn, MI, in Lenawee County where 500,000 people visit twice a summer forNASCAR race weekends.
Total population approx 2 million people.
We service 2270 accounts.
O&W, Inc. is a 5th generation family owned business since 1933 distributing primarily beer, some non-alcoholic beverages and wine to a defined customer list.
Our mission is to:
– Maintain strong relationships with our Suppliers to grow their brands.
– Build a lasting rapport with our customer base.
– Provide quality products and service which exceeds our customer’s expectations.
– Enrich the communities we service through charitable giving, event participation and alcohol awareness programming.
– Incorporate environmental sustainability in all areas of our business.
– Develop a stable and challenging work environment for all employees.
– Reinforce continuous improvements in the workplace through and open door team philosophy of management.
– Create a spirit of family and unity to distinguish ourselves from the rest.
– Provide growth and advancement to talented employees.
TOUR THE WAREHOUSE
A new Warehouse was built in 2003, where all facets of the business reside.
The facility is 135,000sq feet on 13 acres of land.
We are centrally located in our selling territory with the longest travel time being about 60 minutes in any direction.
The 35,000sq foot expansion on the North side of the warehouse is complete!
The new space adds 25,000sq feet oftemperature controlled beer floor space,
7,500sq foot keg cooler to the back of the warehouse and 2,500sq feet of cold docking space to load beer right into the keg cooler from the trucks.
Package beer resides in 65,000sq feet of temperature controlled space, set at 66 degrees.
The main storage area hold the highest volume packages. Two main pick areas hold 95% of the SKU's picked everyday.
Our newly expanded Keg Cooler is now 12,500sq ft of 38-40 degree, temperature controlled cold space housing our keg beer and packaged craft beer.
Kegged and craft beer are both loaded in and loaded directly from this space
The Drive Thru is one of the busiest places in the warehouse but you wouldn’t know it. The trucks are loaded at night and parked inside for the driver’s to take out the next morning at 5am. Once the deliveries are done and the trucks come on back home, they are stripped of the empties here also. In between all the action, we wash the floor every day.
Empties are brought back to the warehouse and the cans are crushed by this machine, and then made into bricks.
This is one brick of crushed cans, about 13 cases
Here is a finished pallet of crushed cans, about 30,000 cans!
Pallets are then loaded onto a Schupan Recycling semi parked out back and they come 2 to 3 times a month to pick up all the crushed cans and process them at their plant in Kalamazoo, MI.
As P.O.S. arrives daily, it is sorted by brand and stored in the P.O.S. room so it is easy for the Sales Team to “shop”.
The Sign shop is next door and is where we create all of our custom banners, signs and posters on large format printers.
Our Sales force is unmatched in years of training and service in the Beer business.
We also offer services in:
- Draft Solutions, Fair and Festival needs
- Graphic Design and custom printed materials
- Cooler and warm shelf reset services
- Tips training and custom Alcohol Responsibility programs
- Special deliveries and weekend needs
- One Sales Manager overseeing the entire Sales Department.
- One Marketing Manager working with Suppliers to develop monthly Sales Plans and Incentives, Sales Reporting and specialty projects with both Sales and Operations.
- Five Pre Sell teams lead by a Sales Supervisor, four to six front line Sales Reps (one team has six), covering both On and Off Premise accounts selling in new product placements, displays, cooler reset programs, and P.O.S. placements. Each team has a support person titled Sales Coordinator. The Sales Coordinator relieves pre-sell routes, helps with P.O.S. placement, resets and makes all signs for the team.
- One Salesman is devoted to Detroit Metro Airport.
- One Tell Sell person who also produces specialty P.O.S., Table Tents and menu programs. This person’s account base is 276 accounts representing the lower 3% of O & W’s volume.
- Two Chain Store Supervisor responsible for meeting with all the key Off Premise Chain Store Management in our 10 Major Chains: CVS, Kmart, Busch’s, Kroger, Meijer, Rite Aid, Costco, Sam’s Club, Seven Eleven, Wal-Mart and Walgreens. He is responsible for communicating all Off Premise Chain Store information to the sales team.
- One Merchandising Manager, 27 Merchandisers.
- Three full time Space Management people focused on Resets in both the Chains and Independent stores. The Chain Supervisor is also trained in the software, as well one of our craft specialists.
- Three full time Draft Specialists/Community Events Leaders, one Full Time swing and one Full Time summer helper.
The one and only, Mark Faulkner.
The facility also includes a full service repair garage. Mark Faulkner services all of the vehicles and equipment at O&W. He also maintains the building and has been the lead on several of the “Green” projects at O&W, researching the mechanics and effectiveness of the improvements and then installing the equipment.
He also eats about a pound of radishes a day - so many that we grew him a crop right outside!
Tim Aiken joined O&W, Inc. again in 2013. As a prior driver years ago, Tim hit the road up to Toronto to pick up loads of Molson for us.
Now, he helps Mark service all of our vehicles, and puts a smile on our face every time he opens his mouth.