FROM HORSE-DRAWN WAGONS TO HIGH-END TECHNOLOGY – GLAZER’S BEER & BEVERAGE

Adrian Leal

General Manager, McAllen

 

It’s easy enough. Walk up to a bar, order a beer and enjoy. Have you ever given thought to the dynamics that brought that brew to your lips? How did it get there anyway? Needless to say, it takes thousands of people, from the hops growers up. By law there must be a manufacturer, an independent distributor, and retailer, none of whom can be connected. The brewer did his job and the delicious nectar moved on to the distributor – in this particular case, Glazer’s Beer & Beverage.

“The company started out 105 years ago as the Jumbo Bottling Company,” McAllen General Manager of Glazer’s Beer and Beverage Adrian Leal began. “Moving to Dallas in 1909, our founder, Louis Glazer, distributed flavored soda waters from the back of horse-drawn wagons.”

Over one hundred years later, Glazer’s is now at the top of technology in efficiently getting beverages to its customers, having made changes to the line along the way.

Two years ago, the Glazer family decided to merge its wine and spirits business with Southern Wine and Spirits Distributing creating Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.

“They basically spun off the beer division to become Glazer’s Beer and Beverage, all beer, energy drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages,” Leal explained. “We know all about the highly regulated field of beer and we’re learning how to sell the energy drink, Bang, which is not a regulated product.”

Bang is a powerful energy drink with 300 mgs of caffeine per can as well as creatine, amino acids, electrolytes, and B vitamins. 

Leal has been with Glazer’s for over seven years and said he has found a home.

He spent most of his career in industrial applications, and received a Master’s in Business Administration. Spending the first part of his career in equipment rental, he became district manager for RSC Equipment Rental in the south Texas area. It was the second largest equipment rental company in the United States.

“After United Rentals bought RSC Equipment Rental, United brought in its own managers which left me looking for a job,” Leal said. “I saw a Division Sales Manager position at Glazer’s here in McAllen and I thought, ‘I know sales management, wholesale distribution and I drank Miller Lite. Perfect.’”

The Valley interview led to a corporate interview in Dallas, and before he knew it, Leal had accepted the Marketing Innovations Manager position based in Dallas, flying around the country as he improved the distribution process for Glazer’s. He held the position for three years.

“I was an industrial guy and a certified black belt in Six Sigma, well-versed in Six Sigma techniques and tools to be more efficient – better, faster, and cheaper by applying statistics and math. Glazer’s taught me the beer business and allowed me to suggest process improvements for the beer division,” he explained.

It was between the time of being hired and being given his job description that Leal found himself falling beer, keg and energy drink in love with his new company. Appearing hesitant about accepting the position because his wife was still in the Valley finishing grad school, Glazer’s said, “No problem. You can commute,” which he did for a year.

“One of the coolest things about Glazer’s is that it is a family company and treats employees right . . . like family,” he said.

After his wife completed her graduate work, the family moved to Dallas for two years. Then, when the McAllen General Manager position became open, Leal longed to return home to the Valley. Accepting the position, he planned to head south again – but there was one slight problem, again.

“My wife had six months left of her internship and we couldn’t move. Again, Glazer’s said, ‘No problem. You can commute,’” he said.

Finally, returning to the field was exactly what Leal loved. Well versed in Glazer’s after three years in the corporate office, Leal eagerly returned to a branch location, one of 13, six of which are in Texas. Then he was transferred to Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Iowa.

Loving the variety a field management position offers on a daily basis, Leal emerses himself in its daily routines – any number of situations occurring which he needs to oversee.

“The things I enjoy most are process improvement type of work, finding something that’s broken, creating a process around it and fixing it and all that’s involved with field management, things such as refining our order picking process,” he added.

With 196 employees in its 120,000 square foot facility with overflow across the parking lot, the company receives 10 to 20 trucks a day and ships out up to 35,000 cases of product a day in peak season.  

Due to the nature of the business, many of the employees go through training to get their Cicerone certification – beer professionals.

These days, the whole alcohol industry is moving to what is called premiumization.

“It’s not just about beer drinking these days,” Leal said. “It’s more about what you’re drinking says about you. The Mexican beers – Dos Equis, Corona, Tecate, Victoria, and Pacifico – are what you call Above Premium beers. People are picking them because of what it says about them, their taste profiles and who they are as people. ‘I drink better beer!’ While the beer industry has been on a slow decline, Mexican beers, which we are the major distributor of, are up 20 to 30 percent depending on the brands.”

Planning on expansion of the location this year, Glazer’s continues to improve its part in the three-tier system-manufacturer, distributor, and retailer – to bring its beverages to the fun-loving masses.