Ep. 011: Paul Rutherford, Rutherford Eostar

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Paul Rutherford:
We want to continue to grow our product. So if you're out there and you're using it, you have ideas. That's that's what we look for as we look for that feedback from the market to find out. What is it that you guys are trying to do? What kind of opportunities are there? I mean, we're not perfect. We don't sell beer. We provide tools that allow other people to sell beer. Much like you do. And so if they've got suggestions on how to make things better for for their lives, and that's gonna improve the lives of other people that are using it. And that's that's really what we're about.

Tracy Neal:
My guest for episode number 11 is Paul Rutherford, president and CEO of Rutherford and Associates. Rutherford and Associates are the makers of eoStar, one of the top route accounting software providers to the beer industry. Paul's story is not only a journey through the beer industry, but it's also a story of being an entrepreneur by building something for nothing. And I love that iSellBeer presents to you, Paul Rutherford.

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

Hey, I tell you what. You can take a good look at a yours asked by sticking your head up there.

But when you rather take his word for it and you all the freakin chips clip.

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

We have a pawn in the back pool and a pot of upon. Good for you.

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, Paul, thank you for joining me today here at the Hotel Del in San Diego. We're at the Beer Business Daily Summit. And good to have you here.

Paul Rutherford:
Thank you.

Tracy Neal:
Thanks for joining me.

Paul Rutherford:
Yes, it's my pleasure. Always a good opportunity to get down to San Diego. I like to maximize my time here.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome. So one of the first questions I want to ask you is I want to clear something up about the name of your company, because I go around the country and sometimes I hear Rutherford and other times I hear eoStar. Give me the official download. And what's the name of the company?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. So the actual name of the company is Rutherford Associates, but we just go by Rutherford. So we get referred to as the eoStar because that's our product and that's kind of the brand that most people know.

Tracy Neal:
So Rutherford Associates is the company.

Paul Rutherford:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
eoStar is the product.

Paul Rutherford:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Other products outside of eoStar?

Paul Rutherford:
No, there used to be.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Paul Rutherford:
So we actually got our start in vending. So when we...

Tracy Neal:
Vending like candy machines, coke machines?

Paul Rutherford:
Exactly. Yeah. So my brother started the company back in '86 and when he started the company it was geared towards vending operators. Same kind of idea. What we do now. But for vending operators, that level of accountability for people taking product out to machine, they would fill the machine, take money out of it. You got to reconcile that. So that's that's how the company got started was my brother started that.

Tracy Neal:
So how did that work in a vending machine with these vending machines online or was there app?

Paul Rutherford:
This is before online.

Tracy Neal:
Give me a year, time for what year are we in?

Paul Rutherford:
So '86 was when he started.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And your older brother? What's his first name?

Paul Rutherford:
Mike.

Tracy Neal:
Mike? Okay.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. So yeah, he got his start, you know, writing programs for vending operators when he was up at Syracuse University. So we actually started off in the Air Force intelligence and when he got out of the Air Force, he went to college on the G.I. Bill and didn't pay for everything that he hoped it would. So he wrote some programs and things to help pay the bills and started work with some...

Tracy Neal:
Was he a computer science or did they call it computers?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, he was.

Tracy Neal:
So he knew how to write code?

Paul Rutherford:
Yes.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And then this code would reside on a laptop or handheld?

Paul Rutherford:
Yes, he started off. An offer. He's always worked with. Actually, when he worked at IBM and Burrows and things like that, he worked on mainframes. But for his own programming, that is primarily done. It's always worked on personal computer. So I remember early on I was a kid and he worked on the old Radio Shack TRS-80s.

Tracy Neal:
TRS-80s. Nice. I had a TRS-80 or my mom had a TRS-80 with decathlon on it.

Paul Rutherford:
Oh yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. And we I think we broke the spacebar because you have to go, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, jump.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. The one I remember on there was a dancing demon. So it was a little demon that you could kind of program in the dance moves. And I remember the thing. The program ran on a cassette recorder. So...

Tracy Neal:
Nice. So did this vending machine support software generate revenue?

Paul Rutherford:
It did. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Significant enough that it was a business or was it kind of a side college gig?

Paul Rutherford:
Well, initially it was a side college gig. And then when he ended up going down to the University of New Mexico and he got his master's degree and then he built a business out of it saying, hey, you know, kind of help pay my way through school with this. I can make a business out of it. And he did. So he grew that from '86 on until I joined the company in '95.

Tracy Neal:
Was he dealing with beer at all. '86 through '95?

Paul Rutherford:
No.

Tracy Neal:
So you know, just candy vending machines or.

Paul Rutherford:
So he started off with candy vending machines, then he started getting into some related things. So a lot of the vending operators did things like bottled water, office coffee. So he started work with them and then because you can then do order entry as opposed to just vent tickets, then you got into things like bakeries and dairies and eventually got into soft drinks. And that's how we ended up in beverage. That's how we ended up in Holland, actually. Was there a doctor, a bottler.

Tracy Neal:
You have customers in Holland?

Paul Rutherford:
Sorry, Holland, Michigan.

Tracy Neal:
Holland, Michigan. Okay.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, I made that mistake for.

Tracy Neal:
International?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. It would be nice.

Tracy Neal:
Of all the large countries to pick. That is my question, why Holand?

Paul Rutherford:
We're one. No. So we're we're in Holland, Michigan.

Tracy Neal:
Holland, Michigan. Okay.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, that's where we're based now. So he started the company in Albuquerque, but then moved it up to Holland, Michigan because we were working for. It was Brook's Beverage, at the time was the Dr Pepper/Seven Up bottler up there.

Tracy Neal:
Now, what's your background in terms of school?

Paul Rutherford:
My background. I went to the University of Georgia. So I grew up in Atlanta. I went to the University of Georgia. I paid my way through school.

Tracy Neal:
You had Coca-Cola in the background, right?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, pretty sure as my baby bottle. But yeah, when when I had to go to school, I didn't have scholarships or anything like that. So I paid my way through school by working at an insurance company.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Paul Rutherford:
So when I went to Georgia, I majored in risk management and insurance, and that's what I came out with. And I graduated there in '93. And I went back to I was working for a third party administrator. And Mike came down actually for a vending show that was in Atlanta and start talking to me about what I was doing there. And at that time, I think we had about six employees when I joined them. I moved up from Atlanta to Holland, Michigan, sight unseen in January of '95 and then ever since, but that.

Tracy Neal:
Congratulations. So you're in Georgia, you're going to school or just after school, right?

Paul Rutherford:
Yes.

Tracy Neal:
Your brother comes down for a vending show machine, vending machine show.

Paul Rutherford:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
Up and says, I like what you're doing. Well, you moved on, but you've never been on me. You never heard of Holland, Michigan?

Paul Rutherford:
No.

Tracy Neal:
Did you think it was the other Holland?

Paul Rutherford:
No.

Tracy Neal:
And why did he pick Holland, Michigan, to establish his business there from New Mexico?

Paul Rutherford:
Working with that? With the Dr Pepper/Seven Up bottler. So at that time, that was our largest customer.

Tracy Neal:
And that was their headquarters?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, that was their headquarters. And they actually they carved out some space in what they called the green room because it was a Seven Up bottler. So they have this green carpet in there and they just kind of set up these temporary walls, you know, like office partitions. And as we grew and kept adding people, they kept expanding those office partitions. Then they kind of built in something more permanent. We all grew that. So then we had to build our own building in '99.

Tracy Neal:
So the software again in like the late 90s would have resided in a laptop or a handheld.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. Primarily it worked on either Unix or DOS servers.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And how did the order entry work?

Paul Rutherford:
So we, oh wow, we've gone through a multitude of different applications. I first started with them. We worked on these little HP 1000 or HP 200X things.

Tracy Neal:
The brick?

Paul Rutherford:
No, it was like a little clamshell kind of personal computer thing. It was tiny and I actually still have one sitting in my office we we store all this old stuff. So I mentioned the TRS-80s. We still have those sitting in the office.

Tracy Neal:
Radford museum?

Paul Rutherford:
It is here in our building is all up front there. But yeah, those those were pretty cool little computers, actually. They were inexpensive, not super durable. And so they were dropping into one of our sales guys. Talked us into switching over then too, I think was like symbol. Those were the bricks.

Tracy Neal:
Symbol.

Paul Rutherford:
To say. Okay. Well.

Tracy Neal:
Symbol was the big brick.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. And it was so hard to work with because the screen real estate was so little. It was like an eight by 20 display. So there's only so much you know, everything was all menu driven. Those those probably the worst were ever did.

Tracy Neal:
So you said the word screen real estate. Right. So in order in terms of what you have to design for the user interface of the user, you didn't have a lot of pixels on that little screen.

Paul Rutherford:
No. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
If you do anything on the back end. But if the user can't understand the flow, it doesn't matter. Right.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, I know. Exactly. It was eight, eight characters down and or eight lines down and eight, 20 characters across. So yeah, you had a prompt and it was kind of yes, no type questions and then they can enter in some quantities and things like that. But yeah it was you had to kind of know the flow to create Twitter right on that little screen. Yeah. That would've been sweet. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Ok. So it sounds like it started out very much in the soda business. At what point did Rutherford Associates get into the beer business and how did that happen?

Paul Rutherford:
So we we grew that to overlay 400 customers by 2001.

Tracy Neal:
In soda.

Paul Rutherford:
And so, well soft drinks vending company. Yeah, we were like seven different markets with that SX software. We called it SX for Single Executable.

Tracy Neal:
Single Executable.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. So there was one program that we maintained and based on whatever switches and things you turn on or off, it can configure itself to work for the different markets or multiple markets. So Mars electronics license that software from us in 2001.

Tracy Neal:
Mars the candy bar people?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. Mars Electronics was they do the coin mechanisms and bill validators and things inside the vending machine. But they were branching women and Mars back then. So they license that software. You know. That'll kind of complete loop. You know, we've got the candy. We've got the coin mechanisms, things in the vending machines. And we'll do the software to0.

Tracy Neal:
So cool that you guys started in vending machines. I mean, vending machines are a big part of my life growing up. You know, they say they're just I don't know. Nowadays, I don't know if people use it as much as they used to, but.

Paul Rutherford:
They do it. It's always a chance a lot.

Tracy Neal:
But I feel like they were mag. They were magnetic in the old days. You know, when I was a kid, you sort of have any machine away. You just got drawn to it like there is this magical transaction that could happen. And I was completely in charge of it. Yeah.

Paul Rutherford:
So, yeah. That's how we got our star, but we ended up with over 400 customers and we had some pretty big ones. You know, the U.S. Navy was one of our big accounts. And so I had the pleasure of installing a bunch of different Navy bases. And so when I when I started working with with Rutherford, with my brother, you know, I started off just doing support.

Tracy Neal:
Is Mike still active today in the business?

Paul Rutherford:
He is. Yeah. He still does a lot of the coding and development.

Tracy Neal:
Okay, good.

Paul Rutherford:
We have a team around him now. So back then when It was SX was just him. He was the only programmer we had. And now we've got a team of about a dozen or so.

Tracy Neal:
What's it like working with your brother for the last 20 years?

Paul Rutherford:
It's actually been very good. You know, we've he's he's a bit older guy and he's about 14 years older than I am. We get along really well. We think a lot the same way. And.

Tracy Neal:
That's good.

Paul Rutherford:
He kind of knows where I fit in. I obviously know where he fits in. I think that's I've seen other family businesses where that's a challenge.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. It can be.

Paul Rutherford:
But it has worked out well for us.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
What would your parents think of that?

Paul Rutherford:
My dad passed away in '95, so that was and that was right when I started working with them. But my mom still around. She's 88 years old now. But she still comes to visit every now and again.

Tracy Neal:
I'm sure she's proud to look you guys, you know, those are my two sons working. Do you have any other siblings?

Paul Rutherford:
We do. I'm the last of six kids.

Tracy Neal:
Oh, okay.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. So Michael was. He's the third kid and I was the last kid.

Tracy Neal:
So you're used to getting in line to be get the accolades of being proud of.

Paul Rutherford:
Well is it one of those caboose babies? So I grew up almost like an only child.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. Excellent. Good. So, again, what was what happened that made you go into beer? We're all we're we're through all the soda. Yeah. At the Navy, at the Venning Mars, there was something that happened that triggered a big beer moment because am I correct in saying, are you guys. Majority beer today?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, you are. And it wasn't really an explosion, right? It was a Mars electronics. When they license that software, they wanted to kind of carry that that code base forward. And we were saying, hey, you know, it's 2001, SQL Server 2000 available. Now we have to start daughton. That stuff coming up from Microsoft.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. Kind of felt like that was the way to go forward and they weren't ready to invest in that. So we kind of took it as a project on ourselves and wrote a new application with all that new technology. That's what became eoStar. And when we wrote it, it was a lot of it was based on what we knew from soft drink. And the idea was just let's go after some wholesale distributors. And we actually got our first beer customer through Microsoft. So Comer Distributing down to South Carolina.

Tracy Neal:
Which one was it?

Paul Rutherford:
Comer.

Tracy Neal:
Comer?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
C-O-M-E-R?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, they're in Rock Hill, South Carolina. So Sebastian worked there as a smashing. He works with us now. But he at that time was a consultant that Comer brought in to do the selection process. He kind of looked around and was trying to get away from, you know, kind of the typical S-400 based systems that were in the market at that time. And so he reached out through Microsoft and we had a gold partnership with Microsoft. And.

Tracy Neal:
Because you're doing that server stuff, right?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. And, you know, we were doing all the .net everything else. And so he reached out, found us. And, you know, I went down there when I when I first met Sebastian and Chip Komar, you know, we didn't even have anything to do like daily about selling. Everything that we did was around selling the beer. Right. So it was around you know, we had mobile devices. And I think at that point we might have been still on the Palm OS. Like I say, we've gone. We've gone through.

Tracy Neal:
Palm OS.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, it's way back one, right?

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Paul Rutherford:
So if we weren't on the Palm OS, we might have been already switched over to Windows Mobile. So those were it was kind of a transition back then. I can't know exactly when that happened, but everything was around the sales side and everything that we did for eoStar was geared around making sure that people that were out in the field are informed. Right. So it's it's get information down there. So they have vision visibility in the sales history and pricing. And we've always had it. We're pricings on board and the handheld so that when they modify orders, all the pricing and discounting works out properly, because in the end, a lot fewer errors.

Tracy Neal:
It's all about pushing the necessary information sales reps take orders and sell beers.

Paul Rutherford:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Now, at the time you got this one lead done in South Carolina. You're up in Michigan. What's the status of the company? I mean, are you and your brother thinking, hey, we need to hit our sales goal and we're a couple of thousand shorts, let's go sign of this beer distributor and call it a day and do that. Or was it we need to go find a new vertical to work in. Because was everything go ahead as planned.

Paul Rutherford:
I don't know if it was as planned, but it kind of always. And actually, one of our customers, Stone Brewing, had it at a comment one time that I always appreciated when they were talking about growth. They said that it was, gosh, I'm blanking on. His name is Greg. Greg Stone mentioned that, you know, we don't really plan for growth as much as we steward the growth is there. Right. So.

Tracy Neal:
Hold on, let me digest that. We don't plan for growth as much as we steward the growth that's there.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. So the growth is really about setting yourself up so that you can adapt to growth as it comes. Right. So it's not necessarily that saying in two years, this is exactly where I want to be. And that's a lot the same way that we've worked. Right. It's let's kind of work now with our customers. Let's listen to them. Let's find out what they want to do, what they need, what are their requirements. Let's make that work. And you know what? That's going to work for others. So we took that relationship that we built with Comer and we started talking to some local beer distributors around our area up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. So there's some beer distribution things up there. And the cool thing with the beverage industry is very word of mouth. So we've always taken the approach. If we do a good job with our customers, they'll talk about us and, you know, others will find out about us and they'll talk with us. And then we need to do is just prove that, yes, we can do a good job. And that's that's how we've grown. We've not invest a lot in sales and marketing. We've really grown through word of mouth.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. So what's the what's the point of difference with eoStar compared to the other route accounting? And I'm asking this question. Because I'm wondering if it's tangible or not. Is it. Is it culture? Is it data science? Is it coding? Is it ease of use? What's the one thing that you pride yourself on that that Rutherfords such as? What's the one? What's the magic of Rutherford?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. I mean, if I had to pick one of those, I would pick culture on it. It really is that culture.

Tracy Neal:
How many employees are in Holland?

Paul Rutherford:
We're up to 80 employees now.

Tracy Neal:
80 employees and all in one building?

Paul Rutherford:
No, actually we just opened up a second building just two doors down from us.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Paul Rutherford:
Is kind of a warehouse space that really. And we took our whole product team and moved them over there. So we have kind of all of our customer facing group, the customer support and sales and marketing and admin and project teams. Those guys are in one building. That's kind of the original building that we have. And then the new building, we've got our product team, which is the business analysts, the developers. Q A documentation.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Paul Rutherford:
So that gave us more room. So we went from 8500 square feet in the original building where, you know, when we got up to about 70, 75 people, we were pretty constrained for space. And then we leased an additional 2500 square feet, so more than doubled the amount of space that we had.

Tracy Neal:
And what's special about the culture at Rutherford?

Paul Rutherford:
I think it's really you know, we started off as a family business with me, my brother, and we really tried to maintain that kind of family mentality of really working with each other.

Tracy Neal:
That fits in the distributor world, right?

Paul Rutherford:
It does because those are all family businesses, too. And it's important to understand that, you know, there are some of them. I mean, big businesses and very, very professional. But.

Tracy Neal:
And you're known for having a lot of the I don't get too much into market segmentation, but my perception of you is you have a lot of the really big distributors.

Paul Rutherford:
We do. We've been pretty fortunate in that. You know, I think early on, again, when we're talking about word of mouth, the customers, I would say the customers found us more than we found them. And.

Tracy Neal:
Because you were stewarding the growth, it was there.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
I'm not gonna forget that quote, it's a good quote.

Paul Rutherford:
It is always like that. And again, I'll give credit to Stone for that because I got it from them. But yeah, it really resonated. And, you know, I think what we found, particularly in late 2000s, was that a lot of these distributors with the change that was going on and, you know, everybody talks about SKU proliferation and those things know with that change that was going on. You had a couple of different types of businesses. You had those businesses that were kind of content with, hey, you know, we've got almost a monopoly for this brand in this territory and there's a lot of brand loyalty. Then there's the others that said, we really want to grow our business and we want to bring on these new SKUs and we want to better understand what's going on with sales and demographics and those types of things. And I think we brought a lot of that to the table early on. And so we tended to get the larger, more progressive companies coming to us saying, hey, we'd like to do something here. And so I would say, you know, a lot of us just we've been very blessed with very good customers.

Tracy Neal:
That's great. Congratulations on your. It's not only a beer story here, but there's an entrepreneurial story. Right. And the risks that you and your brother have taken and I'm sure there's probably probably some you don't want to remember. It's like a cross cross our fingers and our toes and our hope this works out. But that's all part of the entrepreneurial journey and the fact that your family business, you know, running it in this family industry is just awesome. A lot of our listeners are sales reps and we'd like to say or drive around all day selling beer. And, you know, a lot of them may be using eoStar as they listen to this. What kind of message would you like to give to the sales reps out there that are using eoStar? I mean, they may you know, I remember one time I met two years ago, I met somebody and they heard of my company and they said, well, surely, there you are owned by IBM or somebody like that. You know, an end user thinks that maybe some big brother in the cloud owns a software company. And what I'm trying to do here is they know there's actually a guy. His name's Paul. His brother's name is Mike. They built this thing from scratch. And you're here today. So what would you say to some of those end users who are using the product?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah, I mean, for me, it's it's all about we want to continue to grow our product. So if you're out there and you're using it, you have ideas. That's that's what we look for as we look for that feedback from the market to find out what is it that you guys are trying to do, what what kind of opportunities are there? I mean, we're not perfect. We don't sell beer. We provide tools and allow other people to sell beer. Much like you do. And so if they've got suggestions on how to make things better for for their lives, and that's gonna improve the lives of other people that are using it. And that's that's really what we're about. You know, any any software product, whether it's mine, whether it's yours, that's an investment in people from, you know, from these companies that buy the software. They're investing in a tool to make their people's lives better and easier.

Tracy Neal:
Absolutely. And a lot of times. Distributor we'll talk about technology and sometimes I'll say let's let's break it down to the notepad. What you mean? I go, what would you do if you had a notepad and a pencil? And that usually makes the answer really clear.

Paul Rutherford:
It does. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
As opposed to getting wrapped around the technology side of it because technology can be our friend in this industry. Let's face it, most of us don't like technology. I don't even like technology.

Paul Rutherford:
I'm not a fan. I was a business major.

Tracy Neal:
So it's a necessary evil, but done right.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
And I think one of the really cool things that Steve Jobs has done in the last 20 years is really introduce UI, UX. And I know you guys are a leader in UI, UX, too, right? I mean user interface and user experience. Well want to talk about that a little bit.

Paul Rutherford:
Well a lot of that's just you know, we we get there again through that feedback from the users. We actually go out, we'll ride the routes with them. Not me personally, not in a long time. I used to but but I mean, you know, that's when we have the business analyst team putting together the designs for how we actually code this together. There's a lot of interaction that goes into working with the people that are actually using the software and saying, you know, what does your workflow look like? Well, I go down the shelf. I can't like this. And I've got these different locations within the store. Yeah. So, you know, if you can set it up so they can do that easily and then now we're building in. You know, when you say technology to your friend, if you can build in things like machine learning and forecasting technology to kind of give them some clues to say, you know, here, here's historically what you've done, here's the recommendation. But, you know, it's not gospel. It's just a recommendation. They can tweak it if they want to.

Tracy Neal:
Power level, right.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. Well, yeah. When you get into forecasting it's to get smart power. Power levels don't necessarily need to be static. Right. Because they can, they can vary throughout the week or throughout the month. And the problem is if you have just static power levels then you're not always building the right level in the store.

Tracy Neal:
Okay, cool. So looking back, I mean once you think back to when you were maybe 10 years old, this is where you thought you'd be.

Paul Rutherford:
No.

Tracy Neal:
What do you want to be when you were growing up?

Paul Rutherford:
Sports, you know. Yeah, it's probably a good call. I didn't do that because everything's breaking down now.

Tracy Neal:
What's your favorite sport growing up?

Paul Rutherford:
Growing up, it was football. Yeah, but.

Tracy Neal:
High school football?

Paul Rutherford:
No, not really. It's just more more backyard stuff. And just playing with groups of friends and things like that. But I've played almost every sport. And, you know, now at this point in my life, I'm just I'm relegated to tennis. So I played soccer for over 20 years. I was a goalie and I took its toll.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. Okay. And you live in Holland, Michigan? Right?

Paul Rutherford:
Yep. Yeah. So indoor soccer.

Tracy Neal:
Indoor. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Yeah. How many kids I do.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. I've got twins. So.

Tracy Neal:
Twins.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. Boy and a girl. And they turn 16 next month so that we driving so much

Tracy Neal:
I have a 16 year old. Yes.

Paul Rutherford:
The horrifying ain't it when you think about it. Just give them the keys to something.

Tracy Neal:
No comment because I think my son listens to my podcast.

Paul Rutherford:
Oh, yeah. Okay.

Tracy Neal:
I have no comment. I love you, Tyler. Okay, so what's exciting. Coming up in the industry for you. What's the coolest thing that you think is being worked on out there? What's exciting? Maybe you don't know if it's in Rutherford or outside of Rutherford. But what I know you're obviously see your passion for this industry and I see your passion, but your love for your customers. What's the thing that's really got you excited moving forward?

Paul Rutherford:
Well, I think, you know, for us, we always embrace change. And as you have new technologies that are coming to the table around A.I. and machine learning and augmented reality and those types of things, trying to figure out how to use those to better our product, to better the lives of the people that use the product. So that's that's the cool stuff for us is, you know, can we get people to go home earlier and spend time with their families? That's that's really what it's about.

Tracy Neal:
Exactly. Can. Can we make the workday shorter? Yeah, right. You make the workday shorter. Work life balance is becoming a big, big issue.

Paul Rutherford:
Was huge.

Tracy Neal:
For, you know, not just gen z, but millennials and some of the younger generation that's coming out, they want to know how do I do my job?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
So good. That's really cool. Well, awesome, Paul. Any I usually ask people. Any closing thoughts in terms of anyone you'd like to recognize and give a shout out to who helped you build your career over the years as a particular distributor or industry member? Maybe was a supplier kind of taking you under your wing and been been your mentor to help you grow your career to where it's at today?

Paul Rutherford:
We have so many great customers that are like that. I mean, if I had to give a shout out to a couple, I would say Coomer Distributing just for taking that leap early.

Tracy Neal:
Comer in South Carolina?

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Thank you Comer.

Paul Rutherford:
I think J.J. Taylor was probably one of our first really large distributors. Andrews Distributing has always been very helpful in terms of just kind of spread the news about what we do.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome! Thank you, J.J. Taylor and Andrews Distributing.

Paul Rutherford:
And Manhattan Beer and then, you know.

Tracy Neal:
You got, by the way, Ed and Billy. I did a podcast interviews with them. Have you listen to those yet? I.

Paul Rutherford:
Have not. I will though.

Tracy Neal:
Ed McBrien Billy Deluca both. I think Ed's. It's episode number one. Billy's episode number two.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah. So those guys have pushed us over the years. But in a good way,.

Tracy Neal:
They they've pushed us as well. Just you don't feel alone.

Paul Rutherford:
But that's that's a lot of what makes it great, though. Right. They're pushing you, but they're pushing you for a reason. And it makes you stronger. It makes your product better and builds the relationship and doesn't tear things down.

Tracy Neal:
So that's awesome.

Paul Rutherford:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Good. Well, thank you for sharing your. You're not only your beer career and but your entrepreneurial journey. And I just think it's so cool. The Rutherford came from vending machine software. And I also think it's cool you and your brother have this long relationship of working together and this happy family organization, all the great things you're doing in the beer industry. So thanks a lot.

Tracy Neal:
Enjoyed talking to you, Paul.

Paul Rutherford:
All right. Cool, man. Thank you.

Tracy Neal:
Thank you. 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 the distributor's 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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