Ep. 010: Steve Uharriet, Fruit Fly Swatter

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Steve Uharriet:
There was an art to work on a hand truck, too.

Tracy Neal:
Oh, yeah.

Steve Uharriet:
So when you go in with that first, you know, a hand truck load would be 10 cases or 10 cases high of cans or, you know, or seven cases of glass or whatever. So I go to kick under my first stack. All right. I lost it. I lost the first stack.

Tracy Neal:
In a domino?

Steve Uharriet:
Are you kidding? Yes, it did.

Tracy Neal:
The whole thing domino?

Steve Uharriet:
All the cases were gone. There's beer from the glass.

Tracy Neal:
My guests for episode number 10 is Steve Uharriet. Steve is a veteran of the beer industry in Northern California. And he's the first supplier to have on this podcast. However, he earned a seat at this table, not because of who he works for today, but because he had the most unique title of anyone I've ever met. When he started in this industry nearly 40 years ago, I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. iSellBeer presents to you. Steve Uharriet.

I am not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr Lebowski, I'm the dude.

Hey, I tell you what, you can take a good look at a pictures asked by sticking your head up there. But wouldn't you rather take his word for it?

Film and eat all the frickin chips. Kip.

A point. Don't be jealous that I've been shown online with games all day.

We have a pawn in the back, a pool and upon a good.

Welcome to the iSellBeer podcast with Tracey Neal, a production for sales reps and distributors who are driving around all day selling beer and the official home of the iSellBeer Nation Facebook group. And now your host. The 1989 winner of the John M. Studebaker Wheelbarrow Race in Hangtown, California. Tracy Neal!

Tracy Neal:
All right, Steve. Thanks for joining me. For the iSellBeer with Tracy Neal podcast. Good to have you here.

Steve Uharriet:
Thank you. Thanks for having me, Tracy.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome. So one of the reasons why I want to have you on the podcast, is because we were talking about your first day on the job. And I could I was just laughing hysterically about your first day job. But before I get to that, tell me, when you were when you were younger, maybe in your junior high to high school years, we're talking pre beer here. What did you think you wanted to do for a career when you grew up?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, for me, that's easy, OK? Because we back then, it was would have been back in the 70s, OK? You know, as a young kid coming like in high school, we we drank a lot of beer. OK. Did we drank. We drank beer. And the thing that, you know, I wanted to do was get into an industry that was, you know, beer, you know, because I loved beer.

Tracy Neal:
So, you knew, you want to work in a beer.

Steve Uharriet:
At that age. I did.

Tracy Neal:
Even back in high school.

Steve Uharriet:
I did. Some kids know that they want to play baseball. And some kids know that they want to play football or, you know, sports or doctors or lawyers. But, you know, we we had beer. You know, we were drinking beer.

Tracy Neal:
So what kind of exposure did you have to the retail side of beer? To have the comprehension then that could be a career, because, I mean, I think back to you know, I liked a little bit of beer in high school. I liked a lot of soda. There were a lot. I like to go to the movies, but even when I was a young man in high school, I didn't understand that the movies were an industry that needed people to help make it work. So what gave you that exposure?

Steve Uharriet:
Right. That well, it would have been the Joseph George family. OK. So I grew up with Kevin George, who is my age. So if I go back a little bit, so what what really led me into it, too. And then combining both of them was that I got the opportunity to go work in the summers for Joseph George distributors and become a fruit fly swatter.

Tracy Neal:
A fruit fly swatter.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. I was a fruit fly swatter.

Tracy Neal:
Now, where what part of the country are we in for Joseph George Distributor?

Steve Uharriet:
The Santa Clara County in Northern California. That's right. It was a beer, wine, liquor distributorship for five counties.

Tracy Neal:
The Santa Clara right down next to San Jose.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. Then the warehouse is right next to the Santa's Airport.

Tracy Neal:
Ok. Your first? Yeah. Casey, you've you've actually jumped ahead. And my next question, which was, what was your first day on the job like? And you're telling me that you were a fruit fly swatter?

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. And fruit fly swatter was that you were in the breakage department fixing all the broken dented cans and things that may have come in from the days and on the route. You know, the root drivers come back in or they let me fall when. That's right.

Tracy Neal:
So you're in high school. You're that extra breakage.

Steve Uharriet:
Fixing breakage.

Tracy Neal:
Now, why are there so many fruit flies?

Steve Uharriet:
It's just they just they love the beer. They love the I guess, the multi ness or the that just attracts them to the beverage and.

Tracy Neal:
One of the country warehouse, breakage during the summer.

Steve Uharriet:
Tons of fruit flies. That's right.

Tracy Neal:
And would you swap the fruit flies to get rid of them or you actually kill them?

Steve Uharriet:
Just swat them, get rid of home until you washed off the can you know of it of it's you know the liquid that broke off on the other cans. So the flies loved it, you know.

Tracy Neal:
Now it's a fruit fly swatter. Were you in charge of repairing the breakage?

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. That's right. We repair the breakage. So and that's what led me in to liking beer so much and so much more was because let's say back then, it was whenever bottles, whether it be Heineken or.

Tracy Neal:
What were the brands you were working with?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, we had back then there would have been really no craft. It was all imports. It would have been more Molson, Heineken, Ganas. OK. Stuff like that. And our main brands were Olympia and HAMM's. We were an Olympia, HAMM's distributorship. OK, so we dented cans. We couldn't resell them.

Tracy Neal:
How do you undent a can?

Steve Uharriet:
You don't. You don't. But it still has the beer and it is still very, very drinkable. So we would buy him for a couple of bucks a case or a buck a case. So I was again back then. We would buy the breakage or we would take the breakage home. And that's what we went out with. And we're party in with, you know, where we went for high school parties. So evidently, I was everybody's best friend back in high school because I had so much beer in my trunk. So that's what led me down the road of just having that experience. And watching, you know how the warehouse work the truck work came in, just kind of watching that for the summer, led me to believe that, you know, this was a pretty cool job and a pretty cool industry to get into. OK. You know, I liked beer and I can get beer cheap or free. Yeah. And that's what led me down that path.

Tracy Neal:
So that was your first exposure. You know, in a summer job, what was your first real job that you had in the beer industry or a real like when it started to be you knew it was going to become a career.

Steve Uharriet:
So then you became 18 years old. And then I became a driver. I could become a good driver at 18.

Tracy Neal:
And was obviously driver cell.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. It was driver cell and pre cell. We did have pre cell, so I was on a pre cell route for a while.

Tracy Neal:
Now explain driver cell. I haven't had a interview candidate yet who'se explained that I know what it is. But some of our some of our younger listeners. Right. Some guys that are newer in the industry may not know what driver cell means. And I'd love to hear you explain what drivers cell is.

Steve Uharriet:
So driver's cell is you have all your inventory on the truck and you go out with the truck.

Tracy Neal:
Whatever they decide to give you that morning.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. Your inventory is based on, you know, what you have in the house, whatever items or products or styles you have. They would load the truck up and then you would take the truck out to a predetermined route or set of accounts and you would walk in. You know, most of them were on premise or a little mom and pop shops and you would sell what they needed off the truck. So then you would go in and take him entry, see what their needs were for that week. And then you would, you know, make the order slip you down the very end.

Tracy Neal:
Tell me if I'm correct. If you weren't very good at selling, you'd come back with a full truck.

Steve Uharriet:
Full truck. That's right. And if your goal was not to come back with a full truck.

Tracy Neal:
And if you were really good at selling, then the last stop or two on your out may not get anything. Is that right?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, that's correct. That could happen. Or you would be short something. And then then at the end of the day, you would do kind of a oh, god, what would they call it? Like a will call. I'm going to put in an order, say, hey, this is an hour long special call needs five cases of Heineken and they used to have will car special drivers that would go out with stuff that you may have missed on the previous day or for the week. OK, so that was that was a pre cell truck.

Tracy Neal:
So as a as a driver who remember your first day. Well, first, what did you have to have a special license to drive a truck?

Steve Uharriet:
No, not back then.

Tracy Neal:
No, no. So just anybody drive with our guy jumped in.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Jump in. A big old truck and around town.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Do you remember your first day in the truck?

Steve Uharriet:
I remember some of my first days in the truck. Yeah. They were they were obviously older trucks and we used to call them 8 bays.

Tracy Neal:
Eight bay trucks, four on each side?

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. So that that do like pallet bays. It could drop a pallet in a bay for base on each side. So you had an eight bay truck and the eight bay truck. They weren't roll-up doors. They were slider doors. And you had to have. I remember my pouch. I used to have on my belt with a special key to open the door, dock, bay door. And so if you were driving or make a bad turn or some would happen, sometimes the beer would bang up against the door. And then you you go get to your stop. You go to open the door while the door is jam because beer's up against the door, you know? So the only way to get the beer sometimes to get the door open was you had to go on the other side of the truck, crawl up over the bay into the other bay, and then restack it all and then open the door. It was, it wasn't fun. A lot of times. So you learned very quick how to break it down and make it low. So when you take a turn, the load wouldn't fall up against the door. Yeah. And, you know, make it that much simpler for yourself during the day. But it was a pain in the ass. It was. And that was not fun. And then one other time I had a really nice order. Big order. And I remember the liquor store to this day was P.T. Liquors. It was on Meridian Avenue, I think. I must have had 80 or 90 cases lined up. Right. And, you know, when you're working a hand truck.

Tracy Neal:
It lined up out in the street, in the parking lot?

Steve Uharriet:
Not not in the parking lot, in the store. Okay. In the middle of an aisle with like liquor on both sides. Just in the middle of a store. In the middle of the aisle.

Tracy Neal:
Because you had you had hand tracked him in the right hand.

Steve Uharriet:
Truck him in and then, you know, they counted in and, you know, they make sure that the count is right. So like inventory and everything that you bring in.

Tracy Neal:
And how big how big is this liquor store?

Steve Uharriet:
It's a good sized liquor store. Okay. Oh, yeah. Peter, was it good? Yeah. It was before. Yeah. Back then, liquor stores were where you got you know, you went to get your beer and stuff like that. So it was a big liquor store. I had it all lined up and you know, there was an art to work on a hand truck too.

Tracy Neal:
Oh yeah.

Steve Uharriet:
So when you go in with that first, you know a hand truck load would be 10 cases or 10 cases high of cans or, you know, or seven cases a glass or whatever. So I go to kick under my first stack. All right. I lost it. I lost the first stack.

Tracy Neal:
In a domino?

Steve Uharriet:
Are you kidding? Yes, it did.

Tracy Neal:
The whole thing domino?

Steve Uharriet:
All the cases were gone. There's beer from the glass shooting everywhere. But not only did some of the beer, most not most of it, but it was a mess and it broke a bunch of liquor bottles on both.

Tracy Neal:
So nine stacks of beer, 10 high.

Steve Uharriet:
Oh, yeah.

Tracy Neal:
You knock not the first one over dominant almost nine more times and fell into both sides of the aisle.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. And it was like broke. Liquor bottles broke. This broke that. And I'm just I'm like 18 year old kid just standing there shaking my head. You know, this is the last day on the job for me. I'm done.

Tracy Neal:
Little did you know you're a highly qualified to be a supplier. It was not me.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. We can sell more beer? Yeah. So the owner comes over and he's just looking at me, shaking his head. And like, he was pissed. He said, what? This and that. So, I mean, you know. So I called the office, called the office, told them what happened, and they sent me out of bunch of help out, clean it up. You know, I got it all cleaned up and then just continue with my route. But you learned from those mistakes on how to work that blade real quick. Yeah. The hand truck blade because. Yeah, it was like especially work on a hand truck blade on carpet, you know. Oh yeah. Tilt that top handle on the top the.

Tracy Neal:
Tilt and pop. Right.

Steve Uharriet:
Tilt and pop. Then you'll learn that very quick when you had to stay there for four or five hours cleaning up a mess. That was just it was horrific. So that was one of my first days and I really remember.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And then and then what did you do? When did you move off of the truck? What was your next job?

Steve Uharriet:
So I was probably on the truck for a couple years, a year or two. And I always had, you know, always wanted to move up in the in2. You know, I wanted to learn as much as I could at the distributorship level and everything I could, because, you know, being a fruit fly swatter, I got to watch the warehouse. I watched two guys on the forklifts and driving the forklift. So I wanted to be a warehouse foreman and drive the forklift. I thought that you could drive job. So I became a night loader. Okay. Driving the forklift, loading the trucks at night. All the freight. All the trucks. Right. And actually from my. Back then, when I was working, it was probably one of the best jobs I had in the beer industry.

Tracy Neal:
Really? What made it so nice?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, so you'd go in? I would go in at four o'clock. We'd work from 4 to midnight, OK. And then Fridays. You were so low. They were all presell trucks and you probably loaded maybe half of what you would on a Monday through Thursday. As far as inventory going out the door and you we got off it probably, 7:30, 8:00. We were that fast and done. So as a kid that would like to go out when he's 20, 21 years old. So I had I got to go out on Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday nights and then sleep in, OK? It had to be at work four o'clock. It was awesome. It was great. So I was a truck loader. Then I became the warehouse foreman at night. You know, there was about four or five of us that would load trucks at night.

Tracy Neal:
Ok. All still the same place where you started.

Steve Uharriet:
All the same place of Joseph George. Yeah, I worked there for about eight years.

Tracy Neal:
And then the the gentleman you said you grew up with the seven Kevin George.

Steve Uharriet:
Yes.

Tracy Neal:
Is he still in the beer business today?

Steve Uharriet:
No, he is not. As far as I know, he lives in Mississippi and he's doing shrimping stuff for shrimps.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Well, he was Forrest Gump?

Steve Uharriet:
His brothers, his brother still in the industry. And they have a boutique winery gift shop gift basket on Meridian Boulevard called Joseph George. Distributers give gifts at baskets.

Tracy Neal:
Ok, so you know there. And when did they cell out of the business?

Steve Uharriet:
I want to say it had to be it had to be in the late 80s or.

Tracy Neal:
And their primary core brand was did you say with Heineken?

Steve Uharriet:
It was what was Olympia and Hamm's and Heineken. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And then they had a liquor.

Tracy Neal:
So Heineken was it probably a lot smaller back then?

Steve Uharriet:
It was, but it did pretty well I think it did pretty well because there was you know, you got to remember there was no other really avenues like there is today. Yeah. So Heineken, Molson they were big they were big brands back there because people drank better beer. That's what they had to drink.

Tracy Neal:
Ok. So they were kind of the high end import.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
OK. So then what what was your next career move?

Steve Uharriet:
With inside Joseph George or.

Tracy Neal:
When did you leave Joseph George?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, I became a salesman at Joseph George. OK. I went and I only did the whole thing. That's right. A fruit fly swatter all the way to salesmen, to sales manager, you know, sales manager or route manager and head salesmen are working under me. And then I they closed and then I went to work for Amy Fox. For Mike Fox, OK, which was the Anheuser-Busch distributor, OK. So I spent three or four years there as a salesman on the sales team.

Tracy Neal:
Nice. Any any good stories from the Amy Fox days?

Steve Uharriet:
Not just the usual. Not really. Just sold a lot of beer, sold a lot more beer there than we did when we were over at Joseph George. Because, you know, Anheuser-Busch back then was or still is a big brand. Yeah. So it was fun. It was fun selling them. We had everything. I mean, you know, water. Cal Perry, a you know, still the.

Tracy Neal:
Amy was very progressive in growing their portfolio outside of the beer business.

Steve Uharriet:
Yes. Yes. They took on back then. They took on a lot of brands, New York seltzer. We had a lot of the seltzer waters and stuff. Yeah. So, no, that was fun to sell there.

Tracy Neal:
So now we're in probably, what, the early 90s?

Steve Uharriet:
We're probably now in the early 90s. That's right. That's right.

Tracy Neal:
And then what did you do after you left Amy Fox? And by the way, the reason this is interesting, I think, and I've been told by a couple listeners is that they know there are a lot of younger folks getting into this industry and whether they're starting in the warehouse or on the truck or as a merchandiser or as a sales rep. And sometimes I've been told that sometimes they look at some of the senior executives of the industry today and think, well, I could never do that.

Steve Uharriet:
Mm hmm.

Tracy Neal:
Well, you're a senior executive in this industry now, and you've been in a couple of major roles, which we'll get into later. But I think it's good for them to hear that you can start out as a fruit fruit fly swatter.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Right. And make your way up. So that's why we're kind of going through the chronological.

Steve Uharriet:
I think the story I'd say to that is, is is back then even back then, like when I had an ambition just to be the warehouse guy, the warehouse form and then go into sales is I always wanted to do and learn as much as I could about the industry. Yeah, I loved the industry. I had an ambition back then, even when I was a salesman at Joseph George. I always wanted to work for a manufacturer. I always wanted to work for Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors or, you know. Back then, it would have been Miller or Coors. Yeah, I always had that ambition. So I thought I needed to learn as much as I could about the industry to prepare myself for that.

Tracy Neal:
Ok. So then what was your next move for Amy Fox?

Steve Uharriet:
After I left the Amy, Fox had an opportunity to go to G. Heileman Brewing Company. OK, yeah. So I went to G. Heileman.

Tracy Neal:
And the big brand since G. Heiliman is no longer around again for silver.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
When you were an industry folks. What were the major brands in G. Heileman?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, major brands under G Heiliman and at that time would have been Henry Weinhard's. OK, Henry Weinhard's.

Tracy Neal:
By the way, depending on where you're at in the country someplace, you know, some people call Henry's.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
And other people call it Weinhard's.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. Nobody ever calls it Henry Weinhard's.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. When you when you're somewhere where they call it Weinhard's and people start talking about Henry having no idea what they're talking about.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
It's subversive.

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah, that's right. So we we we had Henry Weinhard's, we had our old style. OK. We had not we had old Milwaukee. We had Burgie, Burgermeister Mickey's Malt Liquor, Colt 45. God, the list goes on. Lone Star Beer. Black Label. Carling Black Label.

Tracy Neal:
The Suitcase.

Steve Uharriet:
Blatz Beer.

Tracy Neal:
Blatz?

Steve Uharriet:
Blatz Beer Schmidts. We had a lot of there were there were a lot of labels under the G. Heileman portfolio, OK. But the big one for us out here on the West Coast was Henry's OK. Or Weinhard's and Mickey's. And then we did a whole host of private labels. OK. Which we you know, it's that's an interesting story, too. Back then.

Tracy Neal:
We'll tell me there's only one because I remember that back and we're talking about the mid 90s now. And when the mid 90s root, this is when Jim Cook was kind of trying to educate the consumer about contract brewing. Right. I mean, he had that famous quote, I don't know if it's a commercial or what, but he basically said, if my grandmother goes to your kitchen and make it, we're al-asaad. Is it hurlers on your your Les? That's right. Right. And so there was this movement on not only a little bit of craft. Right. With the Red Hook went public. Sam Adams went back to do a public pyramid, went public and then die. But also I remember Anheuser-Busch, I think it was Anheuser-Busch was making that Oregon ales the friend would authorize seen as a bit of impostor, because the threshold for authenticity back then was, did you have a brewery? Right. I it was less about size because there was a micro right and craft terminology. But what did you have? A brewery? And so you guys, we're doing some.

Steve Uharriet:
We did a lot of contract brews.

Tracy Neal:
OK.

Steve Uharriet:
And we did we did make Sam Adams out of the Blatz, Weinhard plant.

Tracy Neal:
Ok.

Steve Uharriet:
For Jim Cook for a number of years.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, a lot of people don't remember that. A lot of the Boston beer brand.

Steve Uharriet:
Was always made by G. Heileman Brewing Company.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, a lot of contract beer in the early days.

Steve Uharriet:
And Jim's absolutely correct in that you can use, you know, making beer. You can if you have the recipe, you can use the kitchen. And that's all it was. Yeah. And was in everyone's zestful about it because he was all about. Well I don't want to get too far ahead of yourself here, but he was just all user a marketing guru. Yeah. Jim could you all about marketing and marketing the beer and where it was made was, you know, didn't it not you're not going to say it didn't mean as much as his marketing did, you know, in marketing the beer to the country. But as long as he got the word out there, he could use any kitchen once.

Tracy Neal:
Yep. There was another popular brand during that time from the SBA piece. We could l.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
It was very success.

Steve Uharriet:
Yes. Now they're also one that wanted the first one of the one of the original craft to come out. Yeah. One of the first.

Tracy Neal:
Ok. So then from Jill himon anchor steam and anchor steam is good thing but is back.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
What about 100 years or so.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. And they're still out there. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
So then from G. Heileman, where did you go?

Steve Uharriet:
So from Gee Hileman, I left G home and went to Gordon Barash. OK. Dan Gordon and Dean years He Dan Gordon. And that was back in the 90s. Still.

Tracy Neal:
Never trust a skinny brewer.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. That's right.

Tracy Neal:
That stance slogan.

Steve Uharriet:
Slogan. Yes. Just recently. Never trust a skinny brewer. I don't know if that was meant against Jim Cook or not, but I would take the two hand in hand. Yeah. There is a skinny brewer and there's a bigger brewer. So I worked. They were coming out to the market with bottles and I thought, well, OK, I have the experience now. And in in I thought to be able to go to a startup craft, bring their product to market. I thought I had as much knowledge as I as I needed to take somebody like that to market and make something of it. You know.

Tracy Neal:
Because you're I'm not nearly 20 years in the industry by now. Right.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. That's right. That's right. So I had I thought, you know, enough contacts, you know, through the chains and through the distributors and everybody that I've dealt with over the last few decades to take on that challenge. And for me, that was exciting to start with, something from scratch, like work. We take it where we go with it and. Dan, you know, back then, Gordon Biersch. He made some wonderful styles and the brewery restaurants were big to help, you know, establish the market. He had the brewery restaurants open before he came out with the package beers. He was in Palo Alto, Insanities A San Francisco. So he had the backing of the restaurants to really push the brand to retail. And then again, once I tasted the products, I was sold. I thought, OK, these are delicious craft beers. It was really before the big boom of the craft industry.

Tracy Neal:
I think he had a restaurant in Honolulu, too.

Steve Uharriet:
Does still open.

Tracy Neal:
Was it still there?

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah. It's still open. And you know, Southern California had one, you know, in Anaheim.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Steve Uharriet:
And one in San Diego. But so it was very successful and very challenging and very rewarding. All at the same time.

Tracy Neal:
What was what was one of the things that you're most proud of that you accomplished? Well, you recall Kurdish. What was your title there?

Steve Uharriet:
My title is that I was a national sales director. OK. So in being in that title, I took care of all the chains, all the chain distribution and all the chains.

Tracy Neal:
Is there a particular program you remember doing with the chains that.

Steve Uharriet:
Well, back then it was who was a lot of scanning and scan bags and stuff like that. There was a lot of industry stuff that you could do that you can't do now.

Tracy Neal:
So it was really price driven?

Steve Uharriet:
It was it was it was price driven, but not at first. At first we got in just because of the uniqueness and the niche of the product and the restaurants. So the consumers and the retailers knew about it. So the storyboard was pretty a pretty easy storyboard to tell. OK. You know, the cord beer story. You know, it was kind of like Dan Gordon Dean Beers. And we always attributed it to like chocolate mint, peanut butter. Yeah. You know, that one was a cook, a restaurant here. And Dan was the the the brewer. OK, so the brewer and she put them together. That's right. They put them together and they opened up, you know, a brewery restaurant, which nowadays you see kind of all over with the influx of all the craft brewers that are going on their time. You know, very much so. All their their beers and they're in into food tasting in the area at times and the pairings. So I think the most rewarding thing back then for me was that Sierra Nevada was big and always big in northern California. We're in their backyard. But we took was I was able to take the brand, Gordon Beers to be the number two selling Craft Micro in the Northern California market.

Tracy Neal:
Ok.

Steve Uharriet:
So you see about it was never of Sierra Nevada was number one. Gordon Biersmith, time was number two. Sam Adams was number three. We were outselling Sam Adams.

Tracy Neal:
Good. That's a good accomplishment.

Steve Uharriet:
That was a great accomplishment. Always. We're on the tails of Sierra Nevada, but never could overcome the BS that.

Tracy Neal:
If I recall, the Marston was one of the.

Steve Uharriet:
Masrston was their number one.

Tracy Neal:
The Masrston.

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah. Yeah. He made a delicious Czech style pilsner and a blonde bark. Yeah. And actually we were back then we go back in and I always tried to think of unique ways of selling beer and getting beer to the market. And I was way back before variety packs, you know. So I always another one of my greatest accomplishments, I think, was with Costco. We I developed a program for Costco where we would cell in full pallets of Gordon beers, like a pallet of Maritz and a pound of Lombok, a pallet of pilsner. OK. And we would we would actually let the consumer, the customer, the Costco customer. We call them a roadshow or a hand cell show. And the customer back then could pick and choose any style he wanted. And we would just put it in a black tray. And he so it is the case going door. So the customer got to pick. I went to Meriton or a blond bar and a pilsner or two pilsner, nor a case of pilsner or whatever you wanted. We did an open road show. So we called them roadshows. Very successful. I mean, sold a ton of beer off.

Tracy Neal:
You know to educate the consumer about it.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. You talk about the brand on the floor. You're talking at your hands, selling it. You know, you're talking about.

Tracy Neal:
Because the bigger styles of that time. We're really kind of a heavy bison and an amber.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
And a pale ale.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
And Gordon Beers made.

Steve Uharriet:
German style lagers.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. A little bit different.

Steve Uharriet:
Yes. If we did, we had a half wise. And and those were the four styles that were sold on the floor. But when when that stopped, I started to think, OK, well, I've got the black tray. Now how do I get it? Like as a rainbow pack or variety pack back on the floor. So I. Found a co rapper out in Richmond. You know, away from the brewery, so we ship them all the inventory, they co packed it for me and put a wee I made a descriptor card to put on the top. Gordon Beers and the crunk wrap it OK, like the Snapple ones are now or some of the some of the the soft drinks are, they're kind of still in a shrink wrap and then we sold them that. As for cases and that became I think one of the first variety packs out in this division going forward. OK. Now you see variety packs all over the place. You see avariety packs. You know, they're making them in cases real nice, you know? Yeah. Sam Adams, not too long after that came out with their variety pack and a real nice there's a dated box.

Tracy Neal:
10 or 12 year run on variety packs.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. That's right. So we were very successful in doing variety packs.

Tracy Neal:
Ok. And then and then I think when you left Gordon Biersch, is that when you went to Boston?

Steve Uharriet:
I did. I went to work for Jim Cook at Boston Beer. OK. Yeah. So I you know, it's my drive to keep going and, you know.

Tracy Neal:
Grow yourself in the industry

Steve Uharriet:
Grow myself in the industry and get with the with with with with, you know, with with with awesome brewers. I mean, these guys are like, you know, the pinnacle of.

Tracy Neal:
What makes you sit. I'm not challenging that. But I mean, you're saying that with such conviction. Yeah. There must have been a moment when you went back there and stood next to a kettle and tasted something off the pigtail. And you said, wow, these guys really know what they're doing. What was that moment?

Steve Uharriet:
Jim Cook would make every style under the sun? OK, OK. Dan Gordon was a rinehimer about he would only brew with the foreign ingredients. OK. And at the time and this is not a knock on Dan or a thing because he makes very delicious styles.

Tracy Neal:
He's one of the most decorated brew managers in the world. Right.

Steve Uharriet:
He did his thesis and his and his degrees in Munich.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. And he danced heavily decorated brewmaster.

Steve Uharriet:
The best one of the best brewers in the country by far. I mean, he has a State of the.

Tracy Neal:
Maybe in the world.

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah, by far. Yes. But he stuck to his his laurels, too. You know, he was only going to make about beer. I don't how many times I probably yelled over him over the you know, his office was here and I yelled over the partition. Hey, Dan, when am I going to get that pale ale? Because back then it was Sierra Nevada pale ale. And I always start back, dad. And there weren't that many out there that if I could have gotten, you know, something along those lines. Yeah. To cell it to compete in the market, because for me, I was always trying to compete. Yeah. What's the next style? What's the next best thing? What do I got to cell? You know, because your styles aren't going to last forever. You know, you've got to come up with something to save your space. You know, I'm thinking I've got to save my space. So.

Tracy Neal:
And back then, Sierra Nevada kind of had a three brand approach. They had the port of this state out, Haley.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. And they would make others IPA or the whole bit. Coming out later on, you know, IPA started become a big thing. And those were those were the styles that I kept trying to lean on Dan for. So I saw the writing on the wall was going to happen. So I thought, OK, I I want to move on to somebody where they'll listen and say, hey, we got a niche. We have somebody in the market that knows what's going on. And we could we could fulfill the needs of the market. And that's what led me to Jim Cook.

Tracy Neal:
And did you ever experience brewing with Jim?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, Jim, Jim, that company as a whole, send you through a whole host of training. Ok. Yeah. They want you to be, you know, beer.

Tracy Neal:
How many years this products, or months?

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah. They would they would take you back to Boston, you know, two or three times a year for training.

Tracy Neal:
And this is back before nowadays everybody is jumping on the system.

Steve Uharriet:
I've now been in the business for 30 years and I'm going back for training. OK. Like I was from square one with Boston beer. OK. But that's the way they treat all their employees.

Tracy Neal:
They went where everybody knew.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. That's right. They want you to know as much as you can about beer.

Tracy Neal:
What does that look like for a week or two. You put it on the rubber boots in.

Steve Uharriet:
Well, not right now. Is was it was more in class. Yeah. You did at the beginning. You would go out. You would watch. You know, they would take you to Boston at a smaller brewery in Boston, in Jamaica Plains. And that's a small test brewery is. They do some trout, local draft and stuff out of there. That's not the big plant where they're running. You know, the cases and everything off the line with the machinery. But, yeah, you would go back in and, you know, not that you were going become a certified yeast master or anything like that. But, you know, he took it through the gamut of, you know, the brewing process, you know, the whole.

Tracy Neal:
I've heard that a lot from a lot of Boston beer employees over the years that they especially before it was necessary in the industry. Today, it's a necessity in the industry.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Everybody does it. But 20 years ago, when when nobody was training their people on how beer was made.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
That was one of Jim's biggest priorities for every employee.

Steve Uharriet:
And it comes back to what I said earlier about his marketing and his his background with his education and school and the whole bit and just becoming just becoming more knowledgeable than your competitors on the products that yourself.

Tracy Neal:
Well, and also, to be fair, one of the most decorated brewmasters in the world. Right.

Steve Uharriet:
Right. Right. Absolutely.

Tracy Neal:
And then a legend in the industry from a marketing perspective. A brain perspective. Good. Get back. Right. Halfbacks. Legislative responsibility.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Environmental. I mean, everything.

Steve Uharriet:
Everything, everything that they could touch that. Yes. Very good. So that just led into more of my career with wanting to be with some of the best. And, you know, I consider those to some of the best. That's great. I had the opportunity to work for and learn from. So.

Tracy Neal:
Was there anything that you look back on in your career where you can say and I'm looking at it from to learn from you on this man? Did I screw that up? Does anything you ever remember, like a big a big failure, a big misstep, where maybe from a business perspective, it didn't work out the way you thought it would, but you really learned from it and were able to do something different down the road? Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Right now you're saying I can't talk about that one.

Steve Uharriet:
No. Yeah. Yeah, that. No, no. I'm just I'm just going back in the memory bank of something that we would have screwed.

Tracy Neal:
Even it was just a strategy.

Steve Uharriet:
Well, there were a lot of strategies, I think. I miss on a lot of strategies. We all missed on. And I think one of the strategies I think I wouldn't have gone so far with is going warehouse direct in the state of California. I mean, that was not a good strategy for the wholesaler network.

Tracy Neal:
Was that with Gordon Biersch?

Steve Uharriet:
That was with a G. Heileman Brewing.

Tracy Neal:
Oh, G. Heileman.

Steve Uharriet:
Yes. We hired a state distributor to do, you know, to do all of our we used to call warehouse scene to the retailers, to major retailers.

Tracy Neal:
So that experience really reinforced for you the strength and the power.

Steve Uharriet:
The strength and the power of the three tier system. That's right. And and, you know, I just I was on it. That's a good way. I learned from it. I learned from it. And it just taught me how much how much the three tier system you need. I'm not saying you can't sell beer going direct and through a two tier system. Right from manufacturer to retailer. But it you need the three tier system to be a if you're going to build a brand. Yeah. You need distributor. You're good at that. You need all outlets. You need more nowadays because there's so many styles out and so many brewers that you need them to try to touch as many retail outlets as they can and not just the major retailers. I mean, don't get me wrong, we were very successful in what we did. You know, we did a whole host of things back then. Yeah. You know, taking those G. Heileman products direct to the retailer we were out selling, you know.

Tracy Neal:
What happened to G. Heileman?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, they sold a number of times when I was there. They sold to the bond. Alan Bond out of Australia. OK. Then they went back to, you know, Heileman bottom again, Russ Cleary, I think his name was. OK. And then then I think the Stroh family bought it.

Tracy Neal:
And then Miller acquired Stroh?

Steve Uharriet:
Well, then there was the breakup right at G. Heileman broke up. So various brands went to MillerCoors and various brands went to.

Tracy Neal:
Or Miller back then.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right, Miller.

Tracy Neal:
So various brands and stripes, various brands went to Miller.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. And that that's about the time that I was you know, I had left like the year, year and a half prior to that. OK. Gordon Biersch. So as far as the breakup and all the brands and where they when whose houses you probably know. Yes, I do. We're like Mickey's went to Miller and.

Tracy Neal:
Lone Star.

Steve Uharriet:
Lone Star and other brands. And then Henry Weinhard's went to it to Miller, and now it's under the MillerCoors umbrella. You know, so, yeah, it was it was a breakup of the company.

Tracy Neal:
You know what? The things I've talked to a lot of strippers about and because I normally interview a distributor, principals and distributor legends on here, you're actually my first supplier to be on the podcast. So I'll get to that in a minute.

Steve Uharriet:
Thank you.

Tracy Neal:
But they always tell you out to about how there's such an awareness and responsibility in this industry to give back to the community and be involved philanthropically. Are there any particular events that you recall being a part of? Whether it was the distributors who worked for the supplier that you were? For maybe it was a retail chain golf tournament or something like that, but I just think it's important also to get the message out that this isn't just, you know, one individual in one state that does it, but the whole industry does it. So what's one that you remember doing that really maybe impacted you from a philanthropic community involvement standpoint?

Steve Uharriet:
I mean, I can go back I mean, golf tournaments, I mean, we all do those. And I would think that would stand out to me as I call. I mean, Easterseals was a big deal. You know, used to give a lot to Easterseals.

Tracy Neal:
And when you got a lot, was it a money or time?

Steve Uharriet:
It was money and time. I mean, doing shows reas to feel.

Tracy Neal:
So you were one of the guys back in the old telephone days answering the phones?

Steve Uharriet:
No, no, not that. No, no, not that. I wish I was because then I kind of maybe met some stars. But no, we were just we would just give as much as we could. I mean, it would be, you know, grottos or whatever we could giving, you know, to the events for donations so that they could, you know, you know, get get money, you know, raised or stuff off or whatever donations you give. So.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Good.

Steve Uharriet:
But yeah.

Tracy Neal:
What about a what about.

Steve Uharriet:
That wasn't a big golfer either. You know, we go out golf, golfing, it was just like back then I'd rather just sit in the car and drink a beer and watch you guys. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
There were a lot of golf tournaments.

Steve Uharriet:
There was there a lot of golf tournaments.

Tracy Neal:
From a mentoring standpoint over all these years. Is there any when you look back on and say, boy, that person, really, they played a pivotal role in my career. That person really helped me out. Do you want to give a shout out to whether they're still alive or not theirs?

Steve Uharriet:
They're both still alive and they're brothers. Okay. One of them one of them is Scott Reimann. We work together at Joseph George Distributors and we're kind of. And his brother, Dennis Reimann.

Tracy Neal:
Scott and Dennis Reimann.

Steve Uharriet:
Dennis Reimann. Yeah. He ended up at Constellation or Corona. So he worked at G. Heileman and that's kind of was our kind of feeder getting G. Heileman.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Steve Uharriet:
And me getting away from the distributor was that I had, you know, that opportunity to at least be able to get an interview through Dennis Reimann. So, yeah, Scott got on G. Heileman and then I got on at G. Heileman so we worked together at Heileman. And then one Dennis went off and was the national account manager for Constellation or Corona calling on all the chains. California. And then Scott went on, I stayed on at Labatt, went from when when Heileman broke up, he went on to Labatt.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Steve Uharriet:
And then from Labatt went on to Heineken USA. And he's they're both retired now. So but he was with Heineken USA for a number of years. But I would say Scott by far was my mentor. Okay. He he and I would literally when we were you know, he had half the accounts and I had the other half of accounts and we were Titelman and we literally would would talk on the phone for hours, just talking strategies and overcoming objections. And what should I do? What should I not do? You know, if you you know, some of these buyers or they're pretty tough and. Yeah. And then the competition is tough. Yeah. You know, and I always drove to be the best and wanted to win. I wanted to win. And when I said I wanted to win, I wanted to win on the shelf. I wanted to win in the ad. I wanted to win in sales. I wanted to have more beer on the floor than Anheuser-Busch. And I'm just a small guy, right? Yeah, but that was my goal. I wanted to win, you know. And it was like competing against, you know, a conglomerate, you know, the biggest company beer company in the world, right? Yeah. And that was my drive. I just wanted to win. That's no cause. I wanted to open a paper on Wednesday and see Henry. Why not Mickey's malt liquor or whatever we were selling? Right. So, you know, and I laugh about it now, like, yeah. Henry Weinhard's versus Anheuser-Busch. Like, really? You know. Yeah. But it we did it, you know, we did it. And it became a success. And it and it taught you, you know, the ins and outs and it had a cell around objections and overcoming, you know, adversity at every level. You know, in, you know, you've been in the industry. It's a tough game to play. You don't want to think it's just beer and beer and it's fun.

Tracy Neal:
It's easy to give it away right?

Steve Uharriet:
You have beer. Yeah, you give it away. You give him a post off and you give him some Skåne money and they're going to promote you like that. But it's still at the end of the day, for most retailers, it comes down to, you know, dollars. I mean, you know, so you got to win. You've got to win that game somehow.

Tracy Neal:
My first brand I sold was a Killian's Irish Red. And the brand was not big enough to warrant six packs in most stores. Right. And what that means is that my. My success. Day in and day out was based on the number of 22 ounce bottles of Killian's Irish Red what I write. I placed is new. And let me just say the 22 ounce Killian's Irish Red bottle of the early 90s was not a sexy bottle. It was not a sexy bottle bottle. But you know what? I look back on that and I think they think, goodness. You know, my my my roots are based in the appreciation of every single bottle. That's right. That I placed. And when I placed a case, it was 12 bottles. And when I came back two or three days later. Yeah, four bottles had sold. Yeah. I was doing the happy dance because it meant a lot.

Steve Uharriet:
It's a product innovation.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Steve Uharriet:
It just product innovation and we used to do that a lot with G. Heileman. Yeah. You bring up that stories and I got a funny story for you. So we're back in Denver and you know how we have these, you know, corporate regional meetings and we're all sitting around the campfire and meeting thinking of what what what can we do or what packages we can do that we'd be relevant to the trade that the consumer would pick up. So we had Mickey's malt liquor and Mickey's malt liquor aroma. There were two packages that came out of that. And Mickey's malt liquor was just it was so it was the granade. It had everything for it. Right. So when was a grenade? The wide mouth. The wide mouth all? Was there a whole top before the screw top? It was a pool I threw away. It was a grenade. It pulled off like a grenade. Right. It looked like a grenade in your hand. But anyway, it really that malt liquor had no cross reference that ethnic Tri-City to it at all. Everybody drank Mickey's malt liquor right. From high school to go. I had Mickey's Micky's is great. I love the Paltalk. So we would think of of packages. So I raised my hand. I was laughs and I said, well, we cell Mickey Malt liquor six packs because back then 12 packs just started to become a big thing. And I said, why don't we do a Mickey Malt liquor twelve pack still there.

Tracy Neal:
And they did it. They did it.

Steve Uharriet:
And we sold it and we sold it and it's still selling in retail.

Tracy Neal:
Nice.

Steve Uharriet:
And then the next one was I think it was Scott Reimann or my. But somebody. We were getting kind of overpriced. So back then you kind of wanted to keep everything at 99 cents, right? Caught the price. That was the price point ninety nine cents. So we had to break the 99 cent beer and go to a buck. Twenty nine. So we were off the exit. Or they can like like you said with the Killian's with you. Why don't we do a Hornet 22 ounce Hornet bottle, put a Hornet on a twenty two ounce bottle and sold it for 99 cents. Sold the shit out of a hornet. Right. 99 cent price point. Hornet bottles. Well what comes out of those meetings is innovation. So then that's what I always try to do now in my career. Now is what's the next big thing. What's coming. What's going on?

Tracy Neal:
A lot of people don't realize the reason that all these packages exist is because of the price points. And that's what I remember, that in the late 90s, even the early 2000s, it was like there wasn't a 30 pack until we needed to hit a price points.

Steve Uharriet:
Right.

Tracy Neal:
You take the cost of goods, you take the market. That's Raj and having you work it backwards. And if it comes out of the 15 pack, then guess what? We're inventing a 15 pack.

Steve Uharriet:
I remember by going to go back when I first started my fruit fly swatter days, there wasn't even a twelve pack. It was all pints and six packs and you know, cause and that was it. Yeah. And then year we've got a shipment of 12 packs. We all looked at each other. We left this. This isn't going to cell twelve pack the twelve pack now. Right. Back in the day you know, twelve packs working. So I sold the shit out of it. So it's just product innovation.

Tracy Neal:
And there was a time when the 18 pack was invented to hit that 9.99 price point.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. And it's all price point. Then you look at you know now you look at 30 packs, 36 packs and what Costco is even selling, there's cigars, got a forty eight pack.

Tracy Neal:
You go the other direction with Kraft to find a 12 pack for thirty five dollars. Yep.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
So now it's continuing the timeline of your career. We're up to the last row. Right. You retire, you retire. I lost.

Steve Uharriet:
I retired from beer industry. OK, about two years ago. And just to let everybody out there know now, I'm 60 years old. Thank you very much.

Tracy Neal:
Retired at 58. Congratulations.

Steve Uharriet:
Retired a 58. And I spent, you know, 40 plus years in the beer industry. It was looking so forward to being retired. So I did I did take a year, year and a half off and a year off. And, you know, you could only watch so much Gunsmoke in Bonanza. Right. And do do little tours around the house.

Tracy Neal:
Thank goodness you had Netflix and Hulu. Right.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. So, yeah, actually, I watched. I watched the whole episode, the whole all the seasons of Breaking Bad. I think in like a week. Yeah. Nothing to do. So I started get a little stir crazy. Sorry. I started to think of what could I do? What could I do? And I always had a. A passion, too. Maybe starting my own consulting company. So now I thought, OK, I got enough experience. I know I know a lot of people in the industry. So then I reached out some to some distributors, sales managers or distributors because there are so many beers, an influx of beers in the market now.

Tracy Neal:
Portfolios are huge.

Steve Uharriet:
Portfolios huge. Yeah, thousands and thousands. I don't even know what the number is anymore of brewers and they're opening all the time and a lot of them need help. They just can't find their way through the system yet. And so I thought, okay, I'll start my own consulting company. So then I reached out to the distributor person out thinking, OK, what brands do you have in your house that are like on the cusp? Good brands that you think might need help, that I.

Tracy Neal:
Need little structure.

Steve Uharriet:
Need a little structure to own and how to get into retail through the chains or wherever they want to go. I can help them tremendously. I can help them with almost anything.

Tracy Neal:
You still have all these chain relationships.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. All the chain relationships. You know, I could help them with pricey competitors. What's their niche? Where do they want to go? You know? How do they want to drive their product to market? I could help them with that. OK. And so I got some leads. And so one of the leads was with Heretic brewing out of Fairfield with Jamal and Liz.

Tracy Neal:
What's Jamiel's last name again?

Steve Uharriet:
Zeta chef, Zeta chef.

Tracy Neal:
And Jamal is one of the most one of the most. If not, I think he's the top two top three most decorated homebrewers in the country, in the country in the homebrewing days before he'd be turned what they call turned pro.

Steve Uharriet:
That's correct. That's correct. I think he's a pro now.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, he's a pro. He's a pro. Yeah.

Steve Uharriet:
So I got to lead. So I went I went set up a meeting with with Jamal and Liz. And so my first step for me was everything I do now with the background that I had with Dan Gordon and Jim Cook in the industry. And it was is the beer and the profile of the beers. I hate to say it, but almost had to meet my expectation of the profile of what I would drink and what I would like to serve to the consumer.

Tracy Neal:
OK. So in other words, you can't work with somebody whose beers you don't particularly enjoy.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. You have like anything else you have to love and you have to get behind the product that you're selling. You have to get behind it and love it 100 percent and think like it's the greatest thing of all time.

Tracy Neal:
And by the way, I know you love your product because you brought me about four cases today for her meaning and you took 20 to 23 minutes to explain every different flavor to all the styles. Yeah, that's right. You have the product. You love the price very up to date on all the heretic brands.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. That's right. So the first thing I did was the dishrag. Got some beer. I got the beer. This was before I set up the meeting with Jamal and I tried some of his beer styles. OK. They were out there. And the one style while they all they all tasted wonderful to me. But the styles that stood out the most to me was the hazy IPA. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
And right now. And that was right the Ace.

Steve Uharriet:
And his was the make America juicy again style.

Tracy Neal:
Make America juicy again.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. And no political overtone to that. What's so good about the juice in the can?

Tracy Neal:
A lot of people that listen to this who may not be aware of this brand. I know you guys. You don't have national distribution rights and.

Steve Uharriet:
We don't but we are in out-of-state markets and we're out of our country.

Tracy Neal:
Approximately how many states?

Steve Uharriet:
Were in Idaho, Illinois? Philly? Probably one. One right now four.

Tracy Neal:
Four states?

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. Idaho. Illinois weren't in Chicago, Philly. And I think maybe Boston and California and California. A soon to open Nevada and Arizona. OK. So I tasted that the CHP chocolate hazelnut porter. OK. Has a cold. I mean, he's won so many miles. I could even tell you more. I should know more. But I'm not really read up on all the medals he's won.

Tracy Neal:
So I first met Jamal with Justin from the brewing network in two thousand I think was either 2010 or 2011.

Steve Uharriet:
You say that I just watch that video of Justin when they were in the shorts and they were romancing the Moja. Make America juicy again.

Tracy Neal:
OK.

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
I worked with Justin when we did the BYOB TV show, which was called Brew Your Own Beer. It was my first ever reality show for homebrewing, that's all.

Steve Uharriet:
And I think Jamal still does some of that. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Know he worked with us on that as well. Justin from the Brewing Network.

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah, I've got to tell you, I'm going to get off track a little bit here. So. So Jamal is an engineer, right by trade. He went to he went to see data like, yes, he's an engineer, Dan. Gordon is an engineer, Cal grad, so one went to Cal, one went to UC. You see day, I think. Wasn't an injury. Yeah. Jim Jim Cooke was. So these guys, they know, you know, something in their background. I think Jim Cook was more was he.

Tracy Neal:
Wasn't Bill Coors an engineer?

Steve Uharriet:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
I think he was. I know the background of the background of the Coors family was definitely an engineer.

Steve Uharriet:
Engineering. And and I just thought it was a funny story. You know, so Jamal's an engineer, too, so no wonder why I like him so much.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Steve Uharriet:
So I try to style. I tried Moja make America juicy again and I fell in love with it.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Steve Uharriet:
It at the time I was leaving our promise. At the time I was leaving Boston beer we were making and testing a hazy in New England because it was a New England style hazes which are starting to catch on. So I knew we might be onto something there. So he was going to do it as make America juicy again, as an offshoot, as a seasonal and just have it for three or four months. Yeah. So one thing led to another. I had my meeting with Jamal. I knew in the back of my head that I needed make America juicy again. Every day he couldn't just give it to me for three or four months. He delete me to let me play with these brands for a year or two. OK. So I went on. He hired me on as a consultant. I started as a consultant part time and, you know, started to play with the beers, get him into retail, and it's starting to take off. So now I've talked to them. Now we're making Make America juicy again everyday.

Tracy Neal:
And I think you told me earlier it was like number two. Number three at retail right now for growth.

Steve Uharriet:
It was it was it was the number two successful launch in northern California behind here in about a hazy OK, as far as dollar volume increase is concerned. That's correct. I mean, huge.

Tracy Neal:
I love you. I love the way you quantify success, right?

Steve Uharriet:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
You know, just tell me. Oh, it did really awesome. You say in dollar volume number two. That's good that.

Steve Uharriet:
You learned that as you go through. Yeah. All your talks with your friends of how you got a dollarize thing.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Steve Uharriet:
So huge success. And then, you know, then it started. Take more of my time. So now I had discussion and now we want to open new markets. And so I said, what do you mean I can do that, too? You know, open new markets. I know guys in Nevada, Arizona. We went, oh, yeah, California. And we want to roll with the brand in 2019 to the three states on the West Coast and get them, you know, in full distribution and get. Now you're unretired. Now I am unretired and I will be working. Accepted an offer for full time employment with Heritage Brewing. So excellent. I put off the other brewers that were coming to me. I think they saw the success of what was going on with Heritage. And now I've had, you know,.

Tracy Neal:
Congratulations and welcome back to the industry.

Steve Uharriet:
60 year old out of retirement.

Tracy Neal:
It's good to have a forty six year veterans back. But yeah, when you're a third. Yeah, yeah. I'd have a six year back in the industry.

Steve Uharriet:
That's right. And teen years.

Tracy Neal:
Again, we target distributors, sales reps as our core audience with this podcast. We've never done this before with a supplier. But in your supplier voice, as if you were talking to just 10 or 12 sales reps out there, I realize not all the sales reps listening have the opportunity to carry heretic. Maybe not in their state or maybe not in their house. But if you were talking to 10 or 12 sales reps who did carry heretic. Here's your chance to give the brand a little plug. What would you tell them is special about selling heretic that you would want them to remember as they walk into their next account?

Steve Uharriet:
The flavor profile, I mean, like I said earlier, it's all it's all in the liquid that Jamal makes. I mean, I think I think you have to taste it to really believe in the product. Right. I could say that the numbers are big and the sales growth and this and that. But I think the true the true test of a good brand is this repeat sales. Yeah, right. There's so many brands that go out there that don't have the lift of the repeat sales that they just sit there and it's because of the flavor profile. I think that any salesman that goes out there and wants to cell heretic items as you have to sample it yourself to really educate the person you're selling it to. Yeah, you have to try it. You have to believe in and have to love it. You have to love it. Right. Not everybody is going to love Moja, you know, but. And I learned this. Moja.

Tracy Neal:
Is that your acronym for acronym for Make...

Steve Uharriet:
America Juicy Again. Then we have Jay T.T., which we just came out with Juicier than Thou, which is a New England style. It's a hazy but with mango juice here then down here in English style hazy. That's right. OK. That's right. And it's not centrifuge and it's unfiltered. And when you pour the bottom of that can in the glass, you get all that real. Nice mango pulp and the glass.

Tracy Neal:
Really?

Steve Uharriet:
Oh, it's delicious. It's one of my favorite beers right now. Extra juice here than now. And then we have we're playing on the names a little bit. Then I think the next one might be you can't handle the juice on that. Yeah. You see where it with. Yes. Yeah. We're going to be doing a whole new tornado series. Good. So we got Tangerine Tornado coming out. We're gonna call TNT. Don't put TNT on TNT during tornado. Right. It's a nine percenter and it's a strong belt. It's delicious. Awesome. Yeah. Drinks, I say drinks like Kool-Aid. A 9 percent. I never thought I would say that in the industry. Oh, yeah. I just think for salesmen to go out there and the attributes, the attributes are in the product. You have to you have to. And Jim Cook was as good at teaching you this and teach in his people. He he he challenged his sales teams to go out and try as many beers as they can. He wants you to drink competition. I remember that. You have to. You and I did that when I got my mojo. Make America juicy again. I got that little hazy, you know, from Sierra Nevada. You know, I've got as many as I could line them up and I try and try em all. So I know what I'm kind of talking about versus the competition. This one might not be as strong. This one's not a citrusy. This one has no flavor whatsoever. You know, so on. Yeah. Or so you're kind of educated so you don't get caught in for other buyers saying, well, I tried your brand. It was you know, it was not that good compared to this one. At least you can have a fighting chance of saying we'll.

Tracy Neal:
Have that conversation.

Steve Uharriet:
You can have that conversation with him if he knew what the brands that he's selling in his stores, you know, are. So I put that out to every salesman. You have to believe in what you're selling. Yeah. You know, because if you don't believe in what you're selling, you're not going to cell it. You have to try.

Tracy Neal:
And nobody's made it further up than starting at fruit fly swatter.

Steve Uharriet:
I don't know. That's. I don't know. I would challenge everybody to try and do it. But I'll go back and say that that was a different era and that was a different time. Yeah. You know, if I could say one thing to that, which led me to the beer industry, too, because there is really two industries. And, you know, you wanted to be in the Teamsters, you wanted a good paying job. You wanted something. You could work towards your retirement. And so the two big Teamsters were well there. Three, there was construction. There was retail. Right. Grocery, retail or the wholesale beer industry. Yeah. So I chose the wholesale beer industry, not only because I love beer. Well, I loved beer and love what I do. I got to see a little bit in the inside before I really chose my career path. Who wanna work weekends in the retail trade. Who wants to work on Saturday and Sunday? Like seriously all my weekends off? Like I said when I was a forklift driver, man, I had Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night and party like crazy. Yeah. You know, I drank a lot of beer and still do. Awesome. So that's the passion for beer also. Well, Steve, it's been an absolute pleasure to chronicle your career and your growth path in the industry. We're glad you're back in the industry. Correct.

Tracy Neal:
Congratulations to Heretic for grabbing a great, great icon here, somebody who's made a lot of big changes and lot success here in northern California. Thank you for giving me your time.

Steve Uharriet:
And hopefully we'll be in a market near you soon. My goal that's my goal is to take him national and then retire again.

Tracy Neal:
Re retire.

Steve Uharriet:
Re retire. All right. Thank you so much. Thank you. Tracy had the opportunity.

Make it a great week and good luck on your next trade call. So what's the best tasting beer in America? Who cares? That's for the consumer to decide. And until they do, you will keep selling them new brands every day as a distributor sales rep. You can become a part of the iSellBeer Nation by subscribing to this podcast and using the #iSellBeer in all your social posts. Also, be sure to join the iSellBeer Nation Facebook group and visit our website. Our industry is an up and down the street business where local relationships matter. I want to thank you for making me a part of your day and wish you good luck on the objectives for your next account call. In fact, I know you're gonna crush it.

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