Ep. 022: Deacon Nauslar, Breakthru Beverage Group Las Vegas, Beer

Deacon Nauslar from Breakthru Beverage Group has been around the industry. Listen as Tracy and Deacon talk about Deacon’s first day selling beer, the things he learned and the relationships he made along the way. Our industry is all about our community, and we couldn’t be more proud to present to you Deacon Nauslar.

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Deacon Nauslar:
The one thing I'd talk about around here is sales meeting with my team is the first thing I ask him at every meeting is are you making more money? Because if they're making more money, they're going to come to work. And if you meet people come to work, that's half the job. The other half is given the tools to do the job. So I ask him all the time in meetings. Are you making more money? And they usually shake their head. Yes. And if they don't ask why? Why do I say that to whether we share them with you? CPG helps our sales consultant make more money.

Tracy Neal:
My guess for episode number twenty two is Deacon Nauslar. Deacon is the vice president of sales for the Beer Division of Breakthru Beverage in Las Vegas, Nevada. As you can tell from the intro snippet. Deacon and his team are customers of the iSellBeer execution platform and his passion for selling more beer and helping his team to make more money come through loud and clear as we discuss his long and winding career in the beer business. We're sitting across from each other in his office in Las Vegas at a boardroom table at eight o'clock in the morning, and I can't hide it very well. So I'll just say it. He's been a mentor of mine for years and I consider him a dear friend. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. iSellBeer presents to you, Deacon Nauslar.

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

Yeah. Tell you what. You can take a good look at what pictures asked by sticking your head up there. But wouldn't you rather take his word for it?

Film it all the freakin 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 pool and a pot of good.

Welcome to the iSellBeer podcast with Tracy 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. Deacon, thank you for joining me today. It's good to have you on the iSellBeer podcast.

Deacon Nauslar:
I love it. Good morning to you.

Tracy Neal:
Thank you. And by the way, if if you're trying to call Deacon in his office right now, that's not going to work. The phone just rang as we started and we couldn't really figure out how to turn the ringer off. So Deacon took the handset and stuck it in his top drawer. So anyone trying to call you on your desk phone right now is not going to get you through.

Deacon Nauslar:
I love it.

Tracy Neal:
I love it, too. I appreciate the priority that you're given me right here to talk to me about your career in selling beer. So, Deacon, take me back to let's go back to like sixth or seventh grade.

Deacon Nauslar:
Ooh boy.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Deacon Nauslar:
Well, it wasn't in the beer business. Believe it or not, I've had a great career in it. I want to be a professional football player.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. I was lucky enough to be a big enough guy to play some football or my brothers were all big enough. And when I was younger, they kept telling me, if you if I work hard, it could be a professional football player. So I want to be that.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. So you played football, obviously, in high school. What about college?

Deacon Nauslar:
I did. I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to University Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, north of Denver, about 50 miles.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
All my buddies went to division two schools and I went to a division to school. But I needed to leave home and broaden my horizon and just live on my own. So I went to Colorado and all my buddies went to North Dakota. Where did you grow up? University Omaha, Nebraska.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. He grew up in Omaha. Spread your wings. And I know exactly what you're talking about. I have a 17 and a half year old right now. So I know you're talking about sometimes you just gotta spread your wings and leave home and grow up, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
I'll never forget it to my mom and dad couldn't drive me. I was the baby of nine kids.

Tracy Neal:
Nine kids.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. So I had four older brothers, four sisters. And when I signed the letter of intent to go to Colorado. My two older sisters drove me. My mom and dad didn't. And.

Tracy Neal:
Did they choose not to or they didn't want to or.

Deacon Nauslar:
They choose chose not to? And they just said it was going be too hard on to see their baby living.

Tracy Neal:
Because they were now done with the 29 years of raising children.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's correct. And so our two sisters drove me in, and it was quite the moment when they drove up to the college and dropped me off the dorm because, you know, you there before.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
Everyone else. Because two days.

Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
And dropped me off, moved always stuff to my room and they drove back to Omaha and that was my family leaving me. And I was like, oh my God. So I'll never forget that.

Tracy Neal:
And back then, there's no Internet, there's no cell phone, there's no texting. Right. I mean, maybe it was in a landline in your in your dorm room or was it done in the lobby?

Deacon Nauslar:
We did. We had a landline. No, in the room. And my dad said that if I ever wanted to call home, there was a trick to it. The trick was because all my other brothers went to college and that was that I call and I called collect from Deacon and he wouldn't accept it. And then he'd call me right back. It was cheaper for him to call me back. So, yes, we had landlines in our room.

Tracy Neal:
Nice. And so what year did you start college?

Deacon Nauslar:
'78.

Tracy Neal:
1978.

Deacon Nauslar:
'78 to '82.

Tracy Neal:
Okay, nice. What position did you play on the football team?

Deacon Nauslar:
Outside linebacker.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And did you finish your career in football there?

Deacon Nauslar:
I did. I started as as a freshman, as a deep snapper, and then made the team the second year as a deep snapper and outside linebacker. So I traveled all four years. I was very fortunate and played four years, finished in four and a half years. And it was just a great career. I wouldn't change a thing.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. Yeah. So then tell me about your first this kind of marque question we ask on this podcast and we're getting to it kind of early, but I'm excited to hear it because you have such a great history in the beer business. I mean, to clarify, have you ever worked anywhere outside of the beer business?

Deacon Nauslar:
Well, I did, but there's there's a little a cup of coffee there. So.

Tracy Neal:
We'll get to that. We'll get we'll get that. Let's start with your very first day on the job in the beer business. Who you working for? What were you doing? And do you remember the stops or the retailers or the successes or failures you had on your first day on the job?

Deacon Nauslar:
I do remember it like it was yesterday. So it was 1985. I got a job when I left college. I had a chance to play professional football, so.

Tracy Neal:
Oh, you did.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. So I went up to Canada for a year and half a year and then I got cut. But I had half a year of playing up the Calgary Stampeders when I got cut. The USFL was playing back then in those days. And so by territorial rights, when I got cut, I was picked up by Boston Breakers. And so until Boston Breakers started the USFL. I had to stay in shape, so I went and work for my brother down in Dallas, Texas, for Willow Distributing, back then it was Willow now they're with Andrews.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. Willow Distributing was back in the 80s in Dallas, Texas.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep. And they were just a Coors distributor. So I went down there and a my first day in the beer business was driving, being a helper on a driver on a road truck. And I I'll never forget it. This guy taught me how to Jerry Gonzalez.

Tracy Neal:
Jerry Gonzalez was the driver?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yes. And he taught me everything that first day. Most people would say, no, you can't learn every day of the day. Well, I kind of dig. I was brought up in the industry with soda pop. My dad ran a 7UP distributorship, so I pulled summer routes and chipped off vending machines back in the summer times when I was a young kid. I learned how to use a two wheeler with a vending machine. Then eventually, the soda pop, you know how to handle bottles versus cans. Back then.

Tracy Neal:
Real glass bottles, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
Real heavy glass bottles, 16 ounce bottles. Just a pain in the butt to handle. You could only have seven on.

Tracy Neal:
Because they're so tall.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Right? They were all tall.

Deacon Nauslar:
So when I get on the beer truck, I pretty much know how to handle two wheeler. And then he just kind of taught me other things. Like back in those days there was not asphalt parking lots. They were gravel. So you had a staff 10 blocks on gravel and then you had a rocket just enough to slip you two wheeler underneath it and get just very little gravel underneath. Because if back in those days, if you had too much gravel and would pop the cans, so you really did. And then you'd have gravel inside the retailer's account so.

Tracy Neal:
You actually you actually wanted a little bit of gravel?

Deacon Nauslar:
You did not you did not want as little as possible, but you couldn't eliminate all of it.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
And so that was that was a learning experience there. That was my first day as well as. Yes, I had a bad habit called chewing tobacco. And back then, I was chewing Redman. And so I had put a big old bunch of Redman in my mouth. And I wrote on the window and spit it, spit it out as we go along. And the driver of the truck, he. Awful, awful upset with me. Now, he got pissed off.

Tracy Neal:
Because you're pain in the back to back passenger side of the cab. Right.

Deacon Nauslar:
Just spitting is going along the wrong side of it. So he got upset with me and then I got another person upset with me. And that's when you came in. That's when you collected money. Now you don't collect money anymore. You had lockboxes in your truck. So you did. When you put the money in the checks, in the lockboxes, you never had a key to it. You want to present it to the warehouseman. So when you got back to the warehouse, you would go in and count your money, your account, your invoices versus your your product that you sold. You'd come get the money and make sure that it matched up. And when the warehouse manager came and unlocked the box after he reconciled all of his invoices, he saw that on the side of the truck there was a bunch of spit. And so the driver was mad at me and the warehouse manager was mad at me. So I that was my first day on the bill.

Tracy Neal:
Did you ended wa-, did you end up watching the truck?

Deacon Nauslar:
I did not. But it did get washed. They said that if they would see it ever again, that I would wash it. So I stopped right away.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
So you're you're actually working on a truck just to stay in shape. Waiting to find out if you're gonna play in the XFL. Right.

Deacon Nauslar:
Correct.

Tracy Neal:
And then what happened with that?

Deacon Nauslar:
So unfortunately, the fortunate pieces, I was offered to come down to camp the USFL Boston Breakers and made it six weeks and then cut, cut again. And so that was my second time being cut. Reality was I was not going to make it the big leagues dose reality. I realized and I said, okay, I got to find out something else to do. And so he interviewed for a job in Denver from Dallas, in Denver for Gallo. And I was lucky enough to get the job with Gallo. So I moved to Denver and was at Gallo rep for 13 months and learned a whole bunch greatest training industry, I believe.

Tracy Neal:
Oh Yeah. Gallo. For those people that don't know today, I mean, Gallo was known as the best sales training, not not sales alcohol, but sales training...

Deacon Nauslar:
Correct.

Tracy Neal:
In the country if you were a college graduate and you could get a job with Gallo. It was just it was almost like going to graduate school in sales.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep. And it was it was truly the best thing that ever happened to me by not make it a professionally in football, go into the Gallo organization, you know, simple things like if you didn't know you 10 steps to a sales call when you d met you, you didn't know your 10 shelf standards. You went home. You went home for the day. And it was pretty simple back then. I mean, you had to sell about 2,200 cases every week.

Tracy Neal:
You remember the number, huh?

Deacon Nauslar:
Twenty two hundred kegs. Every week. And so it was a great learning. I was humbled by. By the car they gave me, the car they gave me. I was, you know, a young single, aggressive up and coming guy in my own mind. And they put me in a four door wood panel station wagon, drove in Denver, Colorado, for like for 12 months.

Tracy Neal:
The mom mobile, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
The family truckster.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. So.

Tracy Neal:
And you wanted like the Camaro slash Trans-Am.

Deacon Nauslar:
Something nicer.

Tracy Neal:
You go Firebird on the front.

Deacon Nauslar:
Got some chicks, you know.

Tracy Neal:
Some tea tops.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. With all my P.O.S. in the back of it. You know, bought out to date in a wood panel station wagon with all my P.O.S. in the back. It was a very attractive.

Tracy Neal:
By the way, on the side note. Were there any notable players that came out of the Boston Breakers and the XFL?

Deacon Nauslar:
No, but there was up in Canada. I played with Jeff Napel and Steve Gorney. They both came out to see you. Jeff Napel was a great quarterback for CU and Steve Gorney came out, was a wide receiver for CU. So.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
I had them with me up in where I was with them, I should say, up in Canada, Calgary.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And by the way, when you were with Gallo, was that during the wine cooler craze of the 80s?

Deacon Nauslar:
No. As a little bit in front. In front of it.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
You know, the biggest thing that we had was Polo Brand DC

Tracy Neal:
Polo Brand DC, huh?

Deacon Nauslar:
Is a big rollout in my 13 months that I worked for him. E & J went Brandy was a big one for me. I was in the I was in the east side of Denver, tougher area. Brandy was my biggest seller.

Tracy Neal:
Back there with the old airport was, huh?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. Stapleton.

Tracy Neal:
Stapleton. Yes. Stapleton.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah, exactly. A little bit east of that yet.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Nice. So then where did you go from Gallo?

Deacon Nauslar:
So then I had an opportunity to run into this guy actually is picking up one of my good buddies from from New York. His name's Frankie D. He was coming to see me and it was at Stapleton Airport and I was at the bar having a beer waiting for my buddy to fly in. And I ran into a guy named Joe Thompson, Joe Thompson.

Tracy Neal:
The Joe Thompson.

Deacon Nauslar:
The Joe Thompson.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
And Joe Thompson. And I had a meeting at the airport at Stapleton and.

Tracy Neal:
But an unplanned meeting. Right. I mean, you just kind of looked over at each other and said, what's up? How are you doing? Have a beer with.

Deacon Nauslar:
I knew him. I knew his name through my brother.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
And my brother at capital always say, hey, you need to run into Joe, visit with Joe sometime. Now, that was an unplanned meeting. I knew his name. I knew who he was. But it was unplanned to see him at the airport.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
And so we sat, we talked and he goes, how you doing? What you doing? And of course, back in those days, everyone loved Gallo Reps.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
Because Gallo was just a great teaching, like you said, it was teaching grounds.

Tracy Neal:
Nowadays, by the way, a lot of a lot of universities are offering certificates and minors in sales, you know, sales training program.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Who will they actually work on sales.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
And I was just did the university giving a lecture this week, in fact. And they have a dedicated sales program for the undergraduates in addition to the business major.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's great. I mean, I try to support them all the time right now, even when they come out nice wines because because of them, they were the platform for my career. Gallo Wines. And so they because of what they provided me, I got a chance to interview with Jo.

Tracy Neal:
Jo is working for who at the time?

Deacon Nauslar:
Coors Brewing Company.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
Not MillerCoors, it was just Coors Brewing Company and he was running the country. And so he goes, listen, we get some openings up in Seattle. Would you be interested in. And I said, absolutely. So a week or two.

Tracy Neal:
Because you wanted to go to Seattle or, you know, want to get out Denver. You just want to grow your career.

Deacon Nauslar:
I just want to grow my career and get on with Coors. You know, I went to Colorado. So I drink Coors beer for four years in college. Right. And now and mean, I get to work for this massive brewery right over there in Golden.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
And I'm like, great. So one thing led to another and went over and did a physical pass. The physical everything went well. And they put me on a plane to Seattle, Washington, and I go up to Seattle, Washington. So my big the one thing I remember on my first day with Coors Brewing Company was being on an airplane late at night from Denver to Seattle. And I'm on the back of the plane. And I've got all this reading from Coors when they were when I went through the physical, all the stuff that themselves to learn about Coors you know, how it's made and the barley. Some words from it.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
The hops and the rice and all that stuff, all the elementary basic things about course. And I've got it all with me. And I'm in the back of plane. It's like nine o'clock at night and I'm flying out of Seattle and being a rookie. I set my briefcase out near the walkway and aisle in the aisle and sitting there.

Tracy Neal:
And you had a briefcase, by the way, because that's what Joe Thompson taught you how to.

Deacon Nauslar:
Oh, yeah. I have a backpack. Yeah, a briefcase.

Tracy Neal:
Joe Thompson is notorious for his famous. Briefcase that he still carries to this day. Right?

Deacon Nauslar:
That's right. That's right. And I left it open in the aisle and Gal walked through the aisle. Wait, there's a stewardess.

Tracy Neal:
Stewardess, yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
Walks through and she trips and spills all the drinks all over. Thank God for the plane. Was it for when I was in the back of the plane? But I was never so embarrassed in my entire life. So that was the first day that I was going up to Seattle late at night on the job working for Coors Brewing Company. Get ready to start my career now.

Tracy Neal:
Did you work with Meyer's up there?

Deacon Nauslar:
No. My boss was Mike Chaffin,.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
Mike Chaffin and.

Tracy Neal:
I met Meyer's Distributing was Meyer's Distributing...

Deacon Nauslar:
Yes. Meyer's Distributing.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yes. Yes.

Tracy Neal:
Because Seattle was my second stop on my Coors career.

Deacon Nauslar:
Oh wow. That's great.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
Is it John Meyers, right?

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. John Meyers

Deacon Nauslar:
Sure.

Tracy Neal:
Great man.

Deacon Nauslar:
Great man. Sorry. He passed away. He did. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. Great. Great guy. Great family.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
I still keep in touch with his daughter and son in law.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's great.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
So. Yeah. So I did that and worked the market up there through Mike McGee.

Tracy Neal:
And so was Mike. Yes. And Mike McGee, who was my boss for close to 20 years. And that's how I met you is through Mike go into these various means. So you're up working in Seattle. Is Mike also working in Seattle?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. Mike, back in those days, we had three managers and we had associate area managers. So I was an associate area manager. What I did is it's like a junior. Yeah, just like a junior. And I go around work with all the the other district, the other managers that Mike McGee's The World, the Mike Beer Keys of the world. So I'd work with them. And I did that for about six months. And then an opening came up in Montana and they said, would you like take the job of every manager in Montana? And I said, absolutely. So get shipped over to Montana.

Tracy Neal:
Nice. Yeah. Excellent. Do you remember any any notable product releases during this era of Seattle, Montana?

Deacon Nauslar:
Oh, boy. Coors Light. Red Light, I think it was one of them.

Tracy Neal:
Coors Red Light?

Deacon Nauslar:
Coors Red Light?

Tracy Neal:
Coors Red Light was also was a big man's beer or something like that.

Deacon Nauslar:
Something like that. They had stick on there. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. So this is like '94, '95, '92?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. Coors Golden. Golden Edge. What was that. Oh yeah. There was a big brand down in they sold most of it is out in New Mexico back in those days. Coors Goal? Coors Goal was all we had that we rolled out with that one.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
Aspen, I think it was.

Tracy Neal:
Aspen Edge was now. That was in 2000.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep. And I remember that one with Coors. So, you know.

Tracy Neal:
So after I know you weren't Montana too long. Right. Because a majority of your career was down in San Diego. So how did you make the leap from Montana to San Diego?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. You know, the one thing that I realized now is I was quite the gypsy. I moved around a lot because in order for me to get to where I wanted to, I felt like I had to move a lot. And that was career bumps all the time. I move basically at one stretch. I moved nine times in 14 years. It was really tough on my family, but they all knew that I was I was doing the right thing for my career. So I was that much.

Tracy Neal:
By the way because we have a lot of younger listeners and, you know, the millennials that listen.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's true.

Tracy Neal:
That was part of the game, right? I mean, part of the game was if you want to get promoted, you could do a good job and wait it out in one place or you could be willing to relocate. Yeah. Right. And the game was kind of like if you relocate because there was no work from home. We didn't have the digital laptops or iPads or phones or anything like that. It was a it's a relationship business and it still is. And therefore, if you wanted to get promoted in not just the alcohol industry but anywhere, you moved a lot.

Deacon Nauslar:
You've moved a lot. And you had to give up a lot by not, you know, owning a property. You know, I'll never forget Frank Spinoza was running me. He was the president Coors back then and and Joe Thompson was his V.P. sales. And they both pulled me in at a meeting that we had in Denver. And they said, listen, if you want to move with this company, we're going to suggest you never buy and you'll get promoted a lot. So I never purchased. I rented all the time. I rented in Montana. I rented in San Francisco, I rented in Denver. And then I got married in eighty. Then we moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. That was our first purchase of a home.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
And then we moved from Scottsdale to Sacramento, Sacramento back to Denver, Denver back then to San Diego. So a lot of move.

Tracy Neal:
So all over the place.

Deacon Nauslar:
Always in the west, though. I was blessed by that to be in the West. But yeah, nine times in 14 years.

Tracy Neal:
Wow.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
What a career.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
And then you ended up settling a little bit in San Diego. Right.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep. I got I got a chance to go through the Coors Brewing Company's Key Man program.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
And that program is I think, you know, it's a program that you you picked. Should you do well in it then? Coors we'll help you get appointed to work at some kind of distributorship at some point time. So back then, Greg Hopkins, Kevin Reese, Bob Lindsay over Tamron, they all were the Key Man program went through Tamron. And so for eight months I was paid by Coors Brewing Company, but worked at Tamron and basically took a bunch of test to figure out where my deficiencies were. And then wherever I was got strong, they would send me to classes to get a little bit more astute and stronger in those areas. For example, H.R. wasn't very strong, so I went to a bunch of H.R. classes. Accounting and finance was very strong. So they OK, a bunch of those. So I did that for eight months. And then.

Tracy Neal:
Now I know why you have no deficiencies that I don't know.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's a pretty bold comment there. And then the final test is you sit down with Pete Coors in his direct reports. And for three hours they drilled me on different questions on how I'd run a distributorship or how I'd work with the supplier. Such as them. And then after the three hours of interviewing with them and his five direct reports or six of them, then I sat outside the room for about another 45 minutes or an hour. They all discussed if I was worthy enough to to move on, to run a distributorship for them. And they came out and they said, yes, you are. And so I started interviewing and so interviewed with a German name, Frank Clark in Los Angeles. Jim Meredith.

Tracy Neal:
Yep.

Deacon Nauslar:
Over in Phoenix.

Tracy Neal:
Jim, Yep.

Deacon Nauslar:
Steve and Steven Siropas in San Diego and they three places that I interviewed, I also interviewed with actually a Kansas City's tribute ship. And Joe Montana owned it.

Tracy Neal:
That's right, Joe Montana. After he retired from the Niners and bought the distributorship and gave the city probably late 90s, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
That's right. And he and I interviewed for this story that.

Tracy Neal:
As said I had to be a good interview. Right.

Deacon Nauslar:
It was great.

Tracy Neal:
Hey, Joe Montana with your five Super Bowl rings. It was so to ask me.

Deacon Nauslar:
It was so cool. The first time I met him, we went to a restaurant. He goes, Do you mind if I had my back to the restaurant? I said, no. I said, can I ask you why? I don't want to be interrupted. I'm going to interview you and I want to know who you are. So if I'm facing the crowd of the restaurant, people would come over and ask for my autograph. And I don't want. See me, sir, do you mind if I have my back to the restaurant, they said. Absolutely. We sat there for two hours and just had a great growl. Great interview in quality time with Joe Montana. How many people are going to have that? And I was actually applying for a job. Yeah. And so the interview was over. And we leave. We go to a bar. And the other guy that was going for the job, his name was Bob Weingarten. And Bobby comes and I knew Bob and Bob met me at the bar. And so Joe Montana myself, Bob Weingarten, all at the bar, and I'm done, OK? So I'm going to fly out the next morning. And Bobby just flew in and he's going to interview the next morning with Joe Montana. And so we all jump in a taxi. It was a number back then. And jump in a taxi and go to the hotel and Bob checks in. They have no room for him. Oh, really? So I already have a room. I checked in that afternoon. Had the interview and dinner. And so I looked at Bob. And Bob and I were friends and I said, Bob wanted you to stay in my room because the hotel was sold out. And so he goes, Do you mind? I said, no. So we had a roll away bed come in my room. The guy that's going for the job that I'm going for stays in my room. We get up the next morning, I fly out, he goes in interviews and he gets the job. And I don't. And that taught me a good lesson, too. I mean, you know, what goes around comes around. I was more than happy to offer up my room and have him sleep with me. I knew of sleeping in the room with me, but I've known him for a lot of years. Good for him that he got the job. And the best thing that ever happened to me is I got the job in San Diego working for Crest Beverage.

Tracy Neal:
Nice.

Deacon Nauslar:
And that was in 1998.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. So Crest Beverage, you were there for 13 years.

Deacon Nauslar:
I left there in 2012.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
I was there for 13 years.

Tracy Neal:
13 years at Crest Beverages. That's. So I knew of you and met you at a couple of meetings as we bumped around as my boss, Mike McGee. Every time we would have regional meetings or national meetings, of course. His good friend Deacon would come over. And as one of his employees slash team members, you know, we were always told, you know, utmost respect, professionalism and whatever Deacon wants. Oh, that's gooey. I love him. Yeah. Maggie's the best. So you're all going into a bit of a transition here. Oh, and by the way. So some people may also not know that the reason Montana got the Kansas City distributorship is because he actually played in Kansas City. Was his final year or final two years. Final two years? Yeah, final two years. He actually played as the quarterback of Kansas City Chiefs. Yep. So it's a bit of a natural fit and a natural place for him to retire at that point in time. Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
And back in those days, remember all the beer distributorships wanted celebrities or football players. To have some kind of ownership in the distributorships, does it help their business in the marketplace?

Tracy Neal:
Help their business in the marketplace. And it also made for a good face to give away charity checks.

Deacon Nauslar:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Sure.

Tracy Neal:
So now we're in a bit of a different role. Right. Because you've been on the supplier side and now you're going into a distributor side. What's interesting about that is if most people today that know you probably know you as the distributor guy, but you've got that all that whole background of supplier career that we just talked about. So now how is that different that you're a distributor? You said you were hired to run the distributor. What was your role? And, you know, Donny had been if you if you don't mind. What were some of the failures? What were some of the mistakes? You know, we're not all perfect. And and sometimes, you know, 10, 20 years after the fact, it's really easy to look back and go, you know what? I really made mistake on this strategy or this person or the way I handled this thing. And I think there's great learnings there for ourselves as we, you know, introspectively look at ourselves, but also for other people here.

Deacon Nauslar:
You know, that's great. Try to come up a couple of those. I'm sure I have more than a handful I can share with you. But just point a clarification. I was I worked for the supplier side for 14 years. I've been in the business 35. So you're right. I've been more of a distributor than I have on the supplier side. But I started at Gallo, then 14 years with Coors and then a distributor since 1998.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
So then I transitioned over to being a distributor from going through the class, the training curriculum with Tamron in 98. Got the job moved to San Diego as the vice president of sales. Steven Siropas officers look for someone to run the business and cause wanted someone in there that was a little bit stronger than the current person that was in there and wanted some more time and attention on their brand. So they helped endorse me to go to Chris Chris Beverage in San Diego. So but I had to get the job. I had to earn the job. I had to interview with Steven, had the interview with his dad, Steve, who's been in the business for well over 50 years. And it worked out. So I started the job. One of the one of the first things we had to do is, believe it or not. Simple as it sounds, was we had to do a rewrite. We were not going to retail very well. They were not hitting their accounts consistently. They had no measurements. They had no disciplines in place. So once.

Tracy Neal:
What's a reroute like in 1998 with older computers? Is it done on a. You put a bunch of Post-its on the wall or is it on a table or.

Deacon Nauslar:
It's on a table, just like you say there were there. You didn't use the computer at all back then.

Tracy Neal:
So you use all reroute of San Diego County is not a small county, by the way. Most people may or may not know this, but if you go into like San Francisco, you touch about seven counties, no matter where you drop a pin in San Diego. It's almost all San Diego County. It's our large, large county, large county.

Deacon Nauslar:
And it goes touches right up to Orange County, to the north, to Mexico to the south and to Arizona to the east and the ocean on the west.

Tracy Neal:
Yes, that's pretty much all of that last last 40 miles of Southern California.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. Yeah. So the reroute was was done just on a bid old conference table. When you just lay out all the account names, you just lay them all out and you try to do it by zip code first and then after zip code, then you you do it by major streets and then you figure out how many stops you could operationally would look at how many stops they could really do in a day based off the number of trucks you had based off the volume where you push it. So it is probably back then a guesstimate, but I bet it was a solid week to 10 days to do a reroute to really, you know, these guys that you get a driver supervisor is doing it. You got DMs on the sales side, doing it in conjunction with the driver supervisors. So this is their night job. They're still doing their day job. So they have to do this at night to figure out the reroute. So it took a long time. And back then, I shot a lot of holes in it. So I probably prolonged it because it needed to be done correctly the first time. Because if not, you're going to lose credibility. You're gonna lose people. They're discipline structures of how they go to retail. So we had to do it right. And that was the first one of the first things that I did. I retract that. The first thing I did is I looked at my competition. I looked at the current sales people. We had looked at the current management we had. And then I looked at our competition and I went over and I started talking to the competition, who was good talk to retailers in the street, who they liked to assess.

Tracy Neal:
Assessing the team.

Deacon Nauslar:
Assessing the team, and I can get the truly great guys. It was my first two hires in San Diego was a guy named Mike Mathias. Mike Mathias is with Mike's Hard Lemonade right now. He does a really nice job.

Tracy Neal:
He's still in the business then, huh?

Deacon Nauslar:
The guy still in the business. He calls on all the C stores in the West.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
For Mike's and Paul Nunez, Paul Nunez was my second hire, ironically, from Mesa, which was the Miller distributor in San Diego.

Tracy Neal:
And because the Miller Coors were split where we were, Crest is Coors and May's is Miller, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
Is correct.

Tracy Neal:
And the name of the Bud distributor in San Diego?

Deacon Nauslar:
It was an AB branch.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
So it was an AB branch. So hired Paul and Mike and those two guys were my rocks on him quite often. And I'm happy to hear say that they're still in the industry. Mike's with excuse me, Mike Mathias is with Mike's Hard Lemonade. And Paul Nunez is with the Reyes Organization in the West and runs all of their merchandising for them. So have a big job for.

Tracy Neal:
Good for him.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome.

Deacon Nauslar:
And he's he's a stud. So that was that's kind of the first things that I did. And then obviously had we had to rebuild the credibility with all of our suppliers. The suppliers were not happy with the execution in San Diego. So I spent a lot of time with suppliers, a lot of business meetings.

Tracy Neal:
All five of them?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah, there wasn't too many.

Tracy Neal:
Maybe ten or 15 in late 90s?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
With number one being Coors taking up, what, 70 percent of the house, 80 percent.

Deacon Nauslar:
Oh probably 80 percent, 80 percent of the business. And that was all secondary brands until we were lucky enough to throw a pitch to Bill Hackett.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
We. We threw a pitch to him in and we were lucky enough to take it from Mesa, which was the Miller distributor. We took Corona from them and we got it. And what year was this? It started in 98 and we got in two thousand and one, two days later after I was there. Three years later. And then right behind that, which Corona was just starting to grow. We then scored getting Red Bull. So all of a sudden we became a Coors, Corona, Red Bull distributor and we grew from about 4.3 million case, 4.5 million case when I first started to a little over 6 million cases in three years.Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
I won't retell my whole Red Bull story because I think it's on another episode. But I actually had the first Red Bull in North America.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's awesome.

Tracy Neal:
I was interviewing for the job with Red Bull and we went to mailboxes etc and got a package from Austria.

Deacon Nauslar:
Nice. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. The sad part of that story is I didn't take the job and therefore I'm still working.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's Okay. You're doing Okay. You're doing.

Tracy Neal:
I'm loving it. I'm loving what I.

Deacon Nauslar:
We're all very lucky to be in this industry.

Tracy Neal:
We are.

Deacon Nauslar:
A great, great industry. I wouldn't change a thing in my career. Not a thing.

Tracy Neal:
Who are some of the people that that you look back and we're gonna get to your current state of your career here in a minute. But as you look back over your career, who are some of the people that you would want to know if they were in this room? Just give me a big virtual high five and say thanks for helping me. Thanks for teaching me. Thanks for mentoring me. Thanks for being hard on me, for making me who I am today.

Deacon Nauslar:
There's so many of them. First and foremost, as my two brothers, two brothers were my mentors in my life.

Tracy Neal:
And what are their names?

Deacon Nauslar:
Terry Nauslar. Unfortunately, Terry has passed cancer about seven years ago. But he was a mentor of mine and hard as hell.

Tracy Neal:
And he was in the business, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
He was in the business. I was in the business before him. He was with Reynolds Aluminum back in the day. And then he came on with with Coors after I started with Coors and my other brother, Dennis Nauslar. He he had the will. He was the general manager of Willow down in Dallas when I down there drove the truck back in the in the early 80s. But both of them were smarter than I was and they helped me. And when there is times of what I thought was the correct thing, I'd pick up the phone and call them and ask him what they thought. You'd always say those the dumbest thing they were heard so correctly and so that it wasn't hard.

Tracy Neal:
How much older with it because you were you were the baby of nine. So where where where was there? The ranking in the nine.

Deacon Nauslar:
My brother Dennis is ten years older and I am.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
And Terry was 14 years older and I was.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. Dennis is still in the industry today too, correct?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yes. He's with Glazers, Southern Glazers in Dallas. He does a lot of the mergers and acquisitions. So he's doing really well down there for them. And so, yeah, those those two guys are my number one. Number two. There's so many of them. Tracy, Jim Merideth, who's passed away. Fortunately, Jim Merideth, I could tell you a story about him. Take quick story.

Tracy Neal:
He was a great, great. But Jim Meredith, for those who don't know, is Greg Meredith's father.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
Greg Meredith is the recently retired I think was V.P. of sales or executive V.P. of sales for Lagunitas.

Deacon Nauslar:
Exactly.

Tracy Neal:
Helped to build Lagunitas over about the last eight or nine, maybe ten years. And prior to that, he was a distributor guy through and through in San Diego. With you?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
And came started in Arizona with his dad.

Deacon Nauslar:
Absolutely. I talked to Greg. I tried to reach out to him since he's retired. Once a quarter. Love that guy.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. One of my favorite guys in the business by far. Funny. And he's got a story.

Deacon Nauslar:
He's got a story for everything.

Tracy Neal:
He's got a story over everything. And I'm going to get him on the podcast one of these days and hear his story about running track in high school.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's great. You know, you do as a podcast with he and I together because I got the stories on him and he's got some stories.

Tracy Neal:
We can do that.

Deacon Nauslar:
We'll have a lot of fun.

Tracy Neal:
Kim, running track in high school is hilarious because let's just say Greg's not a track running body.

Deacon Nauslar:
No, no visual at it. Everyone listen to that. Try to visualize that.

Tracy Neal:
He is not it's not it is not a track running body.

Deacon Nauslar:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Go ahead with Jim Meredith story.

Deacon Nauslar:
So I would say I would say.

Tracy Neal:
Give us a good story on Jim Meredith.

Deacon Nauslar:
Oh, Jim Meredith. Yeah. Yeah. I was his national account manager down in Arizona back when I first got married in 88. And I went to a special event and started taking pictures. And they had Coors Extra gold. Still on trucks. And it was no longer in the marketplace. So I took these pictures sent to my boss. My boss called Jim and said, you got to get these truck paints. This is wrong. So, Jim, first thing he does is he calls me up, says wants me to come in the office, and I do. And I come in and he proceeds to close the door and just my ass and just tells me that, listen, if I'm going to work with wholesalers, I'm going to be a supplier rep. I get it kind of worked things through through them. And then we'll together make things better. And I reminded them that my paycheck didn't come from him. And so the voices got escalated even more so. And we were shouting in his office in a couple of people walked in to see if we're OK and we're not hitting each other and we weren't. And then I said, I told you, I said, I understand where he's coming from. I'll take it under consideration. But I got a job to do. So I stood my ground with a gentleman that's an icon in this business. Jim, it was. And I stood my ground felt good about it, but I did hear him. And and then I said, thank you, Jim. But our relationship will will continue to get better. And as I'm walking out the door, he says, hey, by the way, he says you a national accounts. I said, yes. You know, he was your shoes don't look like it. Don't ever come in here. Lister's shined. So there's a couple a couple of things that I learned from from Jim is you can you can you have two right now? You've got it all.

Tracy Neal:
We're looking at our shoes right now and comparing our shoes. We're both wearing shine shoes.

Deacon Nauslar:
The basics of the business people. I think that's very important. And, of course, you know, times have changed, but people do look at what you're wearing. And if your shoes are shined and it says something about you.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
And so Jim taught me something. Not only respect how to deal with a wholesaler, which I later became down the road, but he also taught me to respect myself and and dress the part. So Jim Meredith another great one. Mike McGee is a big part of my career.

Tracy Neal:
Yep, Mr. McGee.

Deacon Nauslar:
Pete Coors Pete Coors a big, big part of my my.

Tracy Neal:
Pete's great. Pete is so good. I saw him. You know, I've been out of my job at MillerCoors now for almost nine years. And I saw him in Las Vegas just last month. And we had the convention here. And I mean, not only did he stop and say hi and remember my name, but he actually gave me two or three minutes to ask me what I was doing in my career. And that means a lot, you know, because he doesn't have to. I don't I don't impact, you know, his business to the degree I used to. But it just means a lot, you know, and he's he's sincere like that. He's a really great guy. And I remember one time I remember his daughter, Christy. I was working with Christy. She was my counterpart in the West one time. And I had to call called Christie about something. And she was at her dad's house. So Pete answered that Christy was busy or something like that. So Pete answered the phone. And that was kind of a shock because he's like, hey, Tracy, it's Pete. Christie is busy. What can I do for you? How's your day gone? What are you doing out there? I also used to every time I would see you know, I'm sure this has happened to you too before, but when you're out working the trade and you're stacking cases in a cold box and you're touching the course product. Nelson, some are some older guys come up to you and tell you a story about Coors banquet.

Deacon Nauslar:
Sure.

Tracy Neal:
Right.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
And I used to say, you know what? Let me take this. You know, when the cell phone started getting cameras into things and let me take a picture of you holding the case of a banquet or 12 pack, whatever the guy I happen to be buying. And I'll email it to Pete, cause for you and that man. People used to love that. And they would have no connection. You know, they wouldn't even know if Pete got the email. But Pete would always respond back to me and say, thanks for the picture, Tracy. Keep up the good work out there in the trade.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. Oh, he is just a genuine person. That whole family is.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
I've been blessed to know all of them. And from Pete Junior to David. It's just unbelievable, that whole family. So Pete Pete's a big influence in my life. And Leo Kiely. Leo Kiely was a big influence in my life. He he ran Coors back in the days and and he was awesome as well. Carl Barnhill. Yes, he was an influence. He actually moved to digress here. Just a minute. But in 1998 in the beginning of 1998, my office at the North Office Brewery in Golden was right next to Carl's office. And Carlos, senior V.P. of the country for four course. And I came off the road as Colin and convenience stores for the brewery back in those days and came off the road for about two weeks. I was on the road. I was in the office doing expense reports. And Carl pulls me in and he said. What are you doing in the office? I said, well, Carl, I've been out of the office for two weeks, traveling, putting all these programs together. Things are coming together nicely. You know, I don't think I think you need to change jobs. What? I think you're a distributor guy. You're not a brewery guy. And that was hard for me to to hear you say.

Tracy Neal:
That's not exactly the best compliment from your boss in the office when you're working your butt off, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
No, it wasn't. And it was it was really it was it was very hurt. I was very upset. And I said, why? He goes, yeah, we're going to change your career. And I walked away and I just shook my head and left the office, got my car, went home and told my wife that I just I was really perplexed.

Tracy Neal:
And in college say those things kind of not with malice, but, you know, a little matter of factly, just the way you explained it. Right.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. You just it just came out. I mean, we didn't get four minutes into the conversation. And he's already starting to change my career. And so he says, listen, we're having some problems down at our company owned branch in Denver. And I'd like for you to go down there, be our sales manager. He says, I'll make it all up to take place in the next two weeks. Three weeks. I'm just shaking my head. What do you do? This my career. I've been with tours for 14 years. Yeah. And so I went down there and became a sales manager. And then at that time, I was during the sales manager who was identified for me to be a key man program and to go run an operation for cause. So that four minutes changed my life.

Tracy Neal:
So you're probably not happy at all.

Deacon Nauslar:
Right.

Tracy Neal:
In hindsight, you look back at it and it changed your whole career.

Deacon Nauslar:
Whole career, best thing that's ever happened to me. And, you know, working on the supplier side is one thing working on the distribution sides. Another, you work a lot of hours on the distributor side. Not that you don't on the supplier side, but as a distributor. You work right up to all the holidays. You work right up to Thanksgiving, the night of effect. We do that around here. Here to break through that on Wednesday night, everyone work till about four o'clock and then I'll try to get the whole sales team to meet somewhere just for a beer. Responsible beer for a couple beers and then go into Thanksgiving. So we work all week. Most people are off that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday going into Thanksgiving. So I'm going I'm going to become a distributor. And I was a supplier. I was with cause for 14 years. And it just happened like this just overnight. And it's the best Tracy is the best thing that ever happened to me. So Carl Barnhill was a big influence on my life. So as much as there's good and bad to be said about him, he was more good than bad for for Deacon Nausler. So I was really fortunate. Gosh, I could just go on. There's so many distributors back in the days, all the wholesalers in Northern California.

Tracy Neal:
Yep.

Deacon Nauslar:
The Lauterbach. Tom Lauterbach's.

Tracy Neal:
Valley wide. Amendola right?

Deacon Nauslar:
Amendola's. Who am I thinking of? The one that ran Napa. It was football player for the Raiders back in the day.

Tracy Neal:
Shirt Reicher and Matt Miller.

Deacon Nauslar:
Matt Miller. Yes. Yeah. So those guys. And just so many wholesalers that really embraced me when I was around.

Tracy Neal:
Mark Kirkleson. Right?

Deacon Nauslar:
Kirkleson was a great, Herc was the best man.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
He especially when I went up to Northern California, we were having our meetings as distributors. He would always, you know, either help me or correct me or lead me or something. So. Yeah, he was the best. So I have so many wholesalers. I couldn't even. I never worked on the East Coast. But when I go to all these meetings and see all these wholesalers in these East Coast, you would always embrace me. How you doing? What's going on with could we help you? So I've been blessed.

Tracy Neal:
And you've been part of a great keg group too right? For the longtime.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
How many years you've been in your keg group?

Deacon Nauslar:
We started that in 2001.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Deacon Nauslar:
Same year we got Corona.

Tracy Neal:
So, 18 years with the same what eight or nine guys.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. We had Greg Brown runs Admiral. Don Guiuan who runs Glaziers, Southern Glazier. Sean Murphy, who's with Andrew's run in their brand new warehouse. That if you've seen that lately. But it's a beautiful facility down there and they actually haven't.

Tracy Neal:
We actually had I haven't seen it yet, but we actually have an office in Dallas now, too.

Deacon Nauslar:
Oh, really? You haven't seen it yet.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, I haven't seen it yet.

Deacon Nauslar:
It's highly unusual. You being the owner and seeing your own office down there.

Tracy Neal:
I trust my team. They said they said they wanted to expand and get a physical office. So I said go make the right decisions. Let's talk about the costs and let's do it. So we've had we've been down there for about a year and a half. That's kind of our central U.S. office that we're expanding. We're actually looking to hire right now and expand into that office and make that our launch point for the whole country.

Deacon Nauslar:
And then we get Kim too our distributor.

Tracy Neal:
Yep, yep, yep.

Deacon Nauslar:
He's on the keg group and we lost Mike Lawrence to cancer. Lost him? Dan Pask. Yeah. Used to be in Oklahoma. Used on it. So we it. We have a great K Group. Wonderful. Awesome. So. Been together for a lot of years. You bet.

Tracy Neal:
That's great. So now let's fast forward your career here. Now you're at Breakthu Beverage in Las Vegas. Right. Vice president of sales for the beer division.

Deacon Nauslar:
Correct.

Tracy Neal:
Tell me about that transition. Because I know that I've been through some career transitions. Obviously, you have as well. You've been through so many that it's almost a surprise that we're going to talk about one of the last major transitions that you've had. Right. Which was trying to figure out where your next home was going to be. How did you end up in Las Vegas? And then the moment you got here, everything was flipped upside down with a whole another merger. So describe that now. It's been it's been a I'm not. I'm not. You can use your own words. I would say it's not a rocky road, but it's been a bit of an unpredictable road, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. If you think about it for for many, many years, I had two jobs ahead. Coors Brewing Company job. First, I'll start Gallo, but Gallo is for about 13 months. Then I with cause. Yeah, and it went from straight from Coors Brewing Company to Crest Beverage in San Diego. So between those two, you figure I was there from call it 84 when it first started with Coors and I ended in 2013 with Crest. So that whole time period I had two jobs. And then right after that, I resigned from Crest in San Diego. And once I resigned, I had no job. And so then all of a sudden, I had three jobs. But I had three great jobs. I was blessed to get on with Glazier's in Dallas. And I work for.

Tracy Neal:
Oh yeah, it feels great.

Deacon Nauslar:
It feels unbelievable. He was it was a good mentor. Me down there. And I was with him for about a year and a half. And and as much as Phil was disappointed, I was disappointed, too. But I had an opportunity to come back to California because my wife didn't want to move to Dallas at the time. At the time, she would've moved, but not at the time. So I thought the best thing for my personal life was to get back to California. I went to work for T.J. Lauterbach up in Oakland. Richmond.

Tracy Neal:
T.J. is great guy.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yep. I love T.J. He I did some really good things together for about three years. And then I was had the opportunity to come over here with with Breakthru were back then it was Wirtz.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. Wirtz.

Deacon Nauslar:
So to your point, I was with T.J. for about three years. Just a little shy of three years. Came over here. I've been with Breakthru now six years, believe it or not. It came out. It's been six years. And when it came over here we were Wirtz, owned by Rocky Wirtz and Danny Wirtz, and we had six locations. And then a year and a half into my coming over here, we merged with Charmer, and between Wirtz and Charmer we created a new company called Breakthru and we went from, you know, a sizable company to a bigger company. I shouldn't throw out numbers, but when I first started with words, we're about a two billion dollar company. And when we merged with Charmer, we'd now about six billion dollar company and about five thousand associates. So very big transition worked out really well for for all of us in terms of just being becoming a bigger company. But we became bigger, more so on the wine and spirits side than we did on the beer side. We did pick up a few beers, but not much. So we do whether we're the largest operation for Breakthru right now of all 17 locations, including Canada, we're the largest. Right behind us is Colorado. We do about 6 million cases right now. Colorado does a little less than that. And then right behind them is in Minnesota and they're right behind Minnesota, Wisconsin.

Tracy Neal:
What's the one thing that your team has done here in the six years as Breakthru that you're most proud of for them? What's that? What's the biggest accomplishment that you guys have done, whether it's organizationally a major accomplishment for a brand or a supplier or a retail success or whether it's just in the community?

Deacon Nauslar:
You know, that's a really good question. That could probably go off in a couple of different areas. But the first thing when you asked that question, the first thing that popped out was the work ethic. I'm so proud of the work ethic of everybody in this organization. In Nevada, we we do a lot of things. We've achieved a lot of goals. We've won some awards and we do it with a very thin group of people. The workload is pretty tough. I mean, on a see saw side, convenience stores are sales consultants, probably call them between seventeen and nineteen, maybe twenty one stops in a day. That's a lot to do.

Tracy Neal:
A lot of stops.

Deacon Nauslar:
In our grocery side they call on between six and eight. But the callbacks, they keep going back. So they they they they do what we call sweat equity. So they do everything. They not only order the product but they also do all the. Merchandising. So they have fewer accounts, but they have to do everything in a while. Forty three percent of our total business is in the grocery segment. So for a rep to just have six to eight stops and they get to call them back and do all the sweat equity in terms of merchandising and it does 43 percent of our business in the off premise, it's pretty strong. And then in the on premise, it's it's roughly about, call it 41, 42 percent of our total business, which is really unheard of to have that big a business in your on premise segment. But we are Vegas.

Tracy Neal:
So Vegas is an on premise beast.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yes. And we only have eight reps that handle all of our on premise, which is about eight hundred accounts. So they work ethic in this organization. And the people that work here in the in the ratio that we have for DMs to our sales consultants and our DMs worked so hard. You know, I'd like to see them have five reps per DM. We have seven. So they're there. They're pulled many directions. And then, of course, my two direct reports, Kevin Wilkerson and Scott Reichard to two studs. And Reichard runs the sales department and Wilkerson runs the marketing side. We have trade development. He also handles all of our business planning with our suppliers. He also hands handles all of our finance for the beer side. So I would say the biggest accomplishment is continued positive, strong culture through good work ethic. And I'm proud of everybody for that.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. You should be. And you know what? It's a result of your leadership. Right. I mean, you can't have you can't have work ethic for the entire pyramid if the person at the top doesn't work their butt off. And I know that everyone that knows you would say that you've got the work ethic that your whole team does. You've got the leadership. You've got the positivity. You know, Deacon's always smiling, always eager to shake your hand, you know, always make an eye contact. You've got a lot of those things. So you should be proud of that and know that it's not just the team, but it's through your leadership. Based on my experience and exposure to it now.

Deacon Nauslar:
Thank you. And I'm remiss in not talking about my mother and father, and they taught me everything. So my mom taught me how to treat women correctly and my dad taught me how to work. So my dad told me one thing. It's it's always. His son, he says, treat everybody as if you're looking in a mirror, because that's the way you want to be treated. So that's a good saying. Anyway, my dad taught me a whole lot from she remember, brought up in Omaha, Nebraska. Getting up on Saturday mornings and and not want to go to the farm. And he'd make me go either haul a horse or get shavings for the for the stalls or clean out the stalls and or bale hay. So yeah, he he he he taught me work ethic. That's awesome. So anyway, that's awesome speak.

Tracy Neal:
Speaking of women, tell me about the role that your wife and kids played in your career growth. And I ask this question because I've had other people talk about how important that good partner is. And I happen to know that you've got one of the good ones. I do. Right. You've got a great wife. And I know she's been extremely supportive. And so in your kids, as well as you know, when our kids are in diapers, they don't really realize what we're doing as we're trying to grow the career and have this 20 year vision on, you know, making money and buying a house and providing for our families. But as they get older, they get a little more exposed to it. I'm sure that happened with you as well, too. So tell me a little about your wife and kids and the role they played in your career. I think you continue to play, right?

Deacon Nauslar:
You always continue. We've been married 34 years. So to the same gal. And she's absolutely awesome. Her name's Marie. She's great. I think between Marie, Melissa and Sydney, they paid the ultimate sacrifice. Like I said earlier, they we moved a lot. We moved a lot to build the careers I could provide them, the things that my mom and dad provided me and maybe more so. So they're they're great. Marie, I say this jokingly, but, you know, in a way, it really did happen. But when I proposed to her back in 86 and we got married 98, I told her, I said, listen, I'd like to marry you. And I'm down on one knee. And I did a very traditional and I did it in Billings, Montana. And I said, if you if you choose to accept this, I do want you to know that I'm married to the beer business first. You second. And if you buy off on that, you're going to you're going to have a good life. She she bought off on it. And but that's you know, that's some a joking. But she she definitely lets me do what I need to do and always have from day one being in the business. For example, this year, you and I joke about it, but probably finished the year on about 50 flights this year. And so that's 50 flights and that's well over 60 nights in Marriotts. This year or so, that's a lot of away time, and she understands that I'm doing the best thing for the family. Yeah, my daughters are great. We're all healthy. That's the most important thing. So they're good girl. Daughters are grown now grown. And my youngest is going to nursing school right now.

Tracy Neal:
Any grandkids yet?

Deacon Nauslar:
No grandkids. No grandkids. I think they wanted to just. They want to further their degree. And my my oldest daughter's get ready to go follow her career in psychology. So, I think they want to go get their careers. And I'm very proud of them. And I'm always told them that if they ever look on the pine and we all know what pine is, pine is a piece of wood. And that's where the people sit ready to come help. And I said, you can always look in the pine. I'm there and look over your shoulder and I'll always support them. So nice. The girls are good. Rory's great. She's been a great, wonderful, unbelievable beer wife, a matter of fact. I'm almost jealous now, Tracy, that we go to events, we go to we go to conventions and most people will go over and hug her before they shake my hand. I get a little irritated with that. But she she is she is awesome. And she loves the business, too. And she remembers all the names. And we've been on some great trips. And she's actually she's back in my latter part of my career. I think she is took my career level to another level because other wives like her so much. They say some of their husbands and those husbands are influential and they support me and other.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
So it's pretty cool.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. Pretty cool. Really good. Well, my my last question is a bit self-serving. But as you know, you guys are big customers of iSellBeer. Right. And by the way, we call it as you know, we call it CPG Data in the wine and spirits world. But about a year and a half ago, we switched everything to the iSellBeer. And first, I have to give you a big shout out and thank you, because you've always been a big supporter of my career. Before I even had this company and everything that I did when I worked under Mike McGee. But then when I started this company, even without kind of knowing the direction I was going or what the vision was, you were always very supportive in helping me to get distributor meanings in being a customer. And you were extremely instrumental in helping to make the decision to have Breakthru become one of my largest customers that we've had. And we've been doing business not only with breakthrough for, whatever, four and a half, five and a half years, but before that with.

Deacon Nauslar:
Right.

Tracy Neal:
So again, a bit of a self-serving question, but can you tell me how the iSellBeer platform helps your team sell more beer.

Deacon Nauslar:
With with with pride? First of all, let me say this. You have you have done a great job with this and this company. And I like to call it CPG and I know iSellBeer. We evolved into that. But it was it was a no brainer for me to support you and remove what goes around comes around. Karma is a beautiful thing. Yeah. So everyone out there treat everybody as if the way you want to be treated and good things will come back around. And that's what's happened with you. You are always good to me. And when I knew the software program, you put together CPG. And now iSellBeer. That was a no brainer. And if I could help you get the doors open, you're going to close. You're going to. You're going to sell your pro software. And you did all that. All they did was open the doors with Brian. And you've done a great job. So I am a firm believer in CPG. iSellBeer. But what I like about it the most is it helps. The one thing I talk about around here at a sales meeting with my team is the first thing I ask him in every meeting is, are you making more money? Because if they're making more money, they're going to come to work. And if you believe people come to work, that's half the job. The other half is giving them the tools to do the job. So I ask him all the time in meetings. Are you making more money? And they usually shake their head. Yes. And if they don't ask why? Why do I say that to why do we share that with you? CPG helps our sales consultant make more money. We apply it to all the incentive programs. We rely on it. One of our standards is 100 percent distribution to ads and so.

Tracy Neal:
DSOF.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yes, thank you. Sorry.

Tracy Neal:
Ad coverage in the national chains or elsewhere. Got a lot of chains too. Right?

Deacon Nauslar:
We had a lot of chains. You got the Albertsons. Well Smith's is our largest.

Tracy Neal:
How many walmarts do you have?

Deacon Nauslar:
Twenty nine.

Tracy Neal:
Twenty nine walmarts.

Deacon Nauslar:
Twenty nine with with the neighborhoods, too.

Tracy Neal:
That's a lot of walmarts.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. So I think it's 18 of the big ones and nine of the others. But the neighborhood walmarts. But so when we get it downloaded, as soon as we know the ads coming out this week, on Monday, Tanya will download it and we will be able to see how each DM, how each sales consultants, where they are to the ad features of if it's a 20 pack, that's a 30 pack, 36 pack of it's Blue Moon or if it's Tecate or whatever brand. We're going to see it like last night. I looked at it before you and I were meeting this morning. I looked at it and we're about 30 percent across the board for all the ads that are breaking today. Today's Wednesday, we should be at 100 percent. So when I pull it up on my my phone, I'm going to look at it and say, are we at a hundred percent? If we're not a McGlory to DM say, what's going on? Why don't we have this done? So your app, your application, your software as helped our people become more accountable and has helped us make them more money. So I am a big fan. I can't wait for the next new versions that are coming up. I wish you all the best. I wish you continued success and whatever tools we can give or sales consultants for them to make more money and do their job in us as a manager. Hold them accountable. This is the perfect tool to do it.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. Thank you so much. That not only only makes me smile, but it. You know, I know this sounds weird, but makes my heart feel good.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. Sure.

Tracy Neal:
You know, because I'm I'm trying to build a revenue stream so I can have a job, but I'm also trying to build something beautiful. And I didn't know that until about two years ago. And I was meeting with somebody who was an entrepreneurial leader. And he looked at me and, you know, all entrepreneurs just want to build something beautiful. Is that what you want to do? And I merely react, is it not? I don't think so. And then the more and more we talked at the end, he goes, you absolutely want to build something beautiful, don't you? That's your motive. That's my underlying motivation is I want to build something beautiful that helps people sell more beer.

Deacon Nauslar:
So you have and you're successful. And I'm really proud of you. But I just want to add one thing to our business. For whatever reason, our business has become complicated and I wish it wouldn't be so complicated.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
And what you're doing with your program is you're simplifying it. You're making it so it's a little easier. Take a picture, scroll through, find the brand, scroll through, find the number of cases, scroll through. It's going to identify the location already. Pop it, send it to the cloud. Boom. Hold them accountable. Good job. Oh, by the way, you're getting more money and you're making more money. I love the simple simplex simplicity of what you're poor of providing to us to make our jobs. Just that little bit easier. So thank you.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. Thank you. Appreciate the endorsement. I have a good story last Friday. I won't say the distributors name, but last Friday I was looking through the reports and there's a distributor that we both know and I looked at his chain execution display, supportive features, execution across the chains. And this is a big distributor with a lot of chains. And I mean, the top ten chains were all between ninety five and ninety nine percent on a Friday. That's awesome. That's awesome. And they're obviously a customer of ours. So I picked up the phone and I was going to call him and I got that European dialtone. And then I got voicemail so that I must be near it. Next thing I know, he texted me back. He says, golfing in Europe. I said, look at what can I do for you? And I said, nothing. I was just checking in to tell you how great your display support feature was on ad tracker for all the ads. And he goes he goes, awesome. Let me look at it real quick. And he wrote back. It was just a bunch of thumbs up. And I hit it back and I said, isn't it awesome to know that you're screwing around golf in in Europe on an instead of trip and your team's executing it between 95 and 98 percent display support a feature across all your national chains in the big market you run. And he hit me back with a big, long thing about. Yeah, we love it. It's awesome. Thank you for support. So it's awesome. That's great.

Deacon Nauslar:
You know, I want to say one couple more things real quick for me. Not only is we have standards, we have standards for off premise grocery, which is a hundred percent ad feature to displace. Right.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Deacon Nauslar:
You help us with that. You try you help us track that. Number two is we want to have 25 percent of the share in all C stores because that's a big part of our business.

Tracy Neal:
Yep, 25 percent share of the displays?

Deacon Nauslar:
No, Of the cold box.

Tracy Neal:
Of the shelf.

Deacon Nauslar:
On the shelf. And the third one was we have to have 40 percent of the draft handles and 40 percent of the package in all on previous accounts. And your software is gonna help us track that to make sure that we're achieving that as well.

Tracy Neal:
That's a monster goal for Las Vegas. Do you know how to top your head? How many top handles are in this town?

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. You know, it's a it's right around 9000 and 9000 tap handles. And we're sitting at about 4,200. It's the last survey that we had. So we're we're very strong in that area.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome.

Deacon Nauslar:
That we need to we need to hone in a little closer. I think you're you're iSellBeer is going to help us get there in the next six months. So if it's not already there now, but we need to dominate with no less than 40 percent and no less for draft, 40 percent in package. And we're getting there, but we're not there where we're always right around thirty six. Thirty seven percent.

Tracy Neal:
We'll help you get there.

Deacon Nauslar:
Yeah. So hopefully this will help us get there and we can hold people accountable. That's what it's all about.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome. Well, Deacon, I really enjoyed this. Even though I've known you for 20 some odd years. I've enjoyed sitting down. I've learned a lot about you. I appreciate the kind words towards me and the company of iSellBeer and the team will certainly appreciate that. And you've got a lot to be proud of in your career and in your team. And you just carry yourself with such professionalism and integrity and character. It's just awesome to know you. I just wanna thank you and thanks for your time. And I hope everyone enjoyed this.

Deacon Nauslar:
Continued success my man, I love you to death and rock n roll.

Tracy Neal:
Thank you, Deacon.

Deacon Nauslar:
See you buddy.

Tracy Neal:
All right. Take care. 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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