Ep. 024 NBWA NextGen: Bud Dunn, Atlas Sales Inc.

This is the second of our four part series at NBWA Next Gen. Bud Dunn is establishing a new legacy at Atlas Sales Inc, a Michigan AB distributor. Listen as Tracy and Bud talk about Buds’ 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 Bud Dunn.

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Bud Dunn:
So my first day on the job was landscaping, and I did such a shitty job landscaping that I got demoted to can crushing when I was a 14 year old.

Tracy Neal:
My guest for episode number 24 is Bud Dunn. Bud is the vice president of Atlas Sales, an AB distributor in Battle Creek, Michigan. This is Episode two of the next gen series. And Bud is no stranger to the next gen conference. He's been attending the next gen sales conference since it was first launched in Chicago. And he's a former chairman of the Next Gen Group. Bud and I are sitting in my hotel room on the 38th floor of the Sheraton in New Orleans, and we've known each other for less than 12 hours. However, I've already learned so much from him, and I know you will, too. Bud's a thinker, a positive burst of energy, and he has priorities in life that are not only respectable, but inspiring. He's also a fellow podcaster. So keep listening to learn the name of his podcast, who is super hot co-host is and what they talk about. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. iSellBeer presents to you, Bud Dunn.

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

Yeah, I tell you what, you can take a good look at put 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.

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

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

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, Bud, thanks for being here today.

Bud Dunn:
Thanks for having me, Tracy.

Tracy Neal:
Good to be on the podcast.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. Good to be here.

Tracy Neal:
Nice to meet you over the last 24 hours. Like I said before, we're here at the next gen conference in New Orleans. And.

Bud Dunn:
Couple of beers. A couple of beers to that.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. Let's let's go ahead and open our beers. Hold it up. Close your microphone.

Bud Dunn:
It's too early for me.

Tracy Neal:
It is. Yeah. Confession. It is early. We don't have beers, but I think my editing guy. Kevin, Kevin, please insert a couple of beer opening soundbites. So it looks like we're opening beers. Ready? One, two, three. All right. So I've I've kind of gotten to know you over the last 24 hours. We didn't previously know each other. But tell me a little bit about yourself and who you are and your role at Atlas distributing, right in Michigan.

Bud Dunn:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
So why don't you tell the listeners a little about who you are.

Bud Dunn:
But with Atlas sales, we're here in Battle Creek, Michigan, Cereal Capital of the World. Kellogg's and Post were founded there. Kellogg's cereal is still headquartered there. So a Fortune 500, Dallek's if not 100 companies in in our backyard.

Tracy Neal:
I didn't realize that.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Kellogg's and Post.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. Kellogg's and Post, GM, General Mills or General Foods is what General Mills Foods too? Yes. So then cereal game is tough because it's been kind of consolidated around. So Coast is now owned by Treehouse Foods, which is actually out I think Minnesota. But Kellogg's is still big food conglomerate. They own way more than just cereal in their their headquarters. Two thousand people right downtown Battle Creek.

Tracy Neal:
So getting totally off topic right away. But I'm interested because I did not know you were gonna drop the cereal bomb on me. But what.

Bud Dunn:
Does a lot of people say? Only did I say Battle Creek and say people say Kellogg's.

Tracy Neal:
What's it? What's it like to grow up in the cereal backyard? And is it as competitive as kind of like the Budden and Miller guy back to. Do you have your do you have your you know, you like screw Cheerios, let's go checks Macs or you know, I mean, do you have your favorite.

Bud Dunn:
There's a lot of that for sure. Oh, yeah.

Tracy Neal:
You go over your friend's house when you're in like junior high. You know, you have a friend's house. We're like they're totally anti, you know, post Raisin Bran.

Bud Dunn:
For sure.

Tracy Neal:
Really?

Bud Dunn:
Oh, yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
Same way you got brand loyal houses in our, in our, in our city, for sure. And so Kellogg's, the founder, W.K., was very philanthropic. Right. So it's philanthropic.

Tracy Neal:
Yep.

Bud Dunn:
So he gave most of his wealth through his foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. They are still like the 10th largest foundation in the world, really at all, fluctuating between nine and eleven billion dollars in assets under management at any time. And their downtown Battle Creek, too.

Tracy Neal:
Wow. Okay.

Bud Dunn:
Yes.

Tracy Neal:
It's interesting.

Bud Dunn:
You know, like, you know, I like to people it's like your original Bill Melinda Gates story of it. He really invested in the local community and wanted to give money back and the wealth that was created. And it's still in our community.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. So what were the what were the cereals that you grew up having an allegiance to? I love Frosted Flakes. Frosted Flakes. Because I mean, cereal back in you know, I think you're a little bit younger than I am, but I'm forty seven. So I go straight back into the 80s. I'm, you know, eight to 12 years old. The competition for cereal. And since I think cereal, I think me riding in the bottom of the grocery cart through the aisle, you know, my my that's back when they had kind of like I'll call it the high boy grocery cart. Where was big enough to stick your eight or 10 year old child or two or three of us. You know me, my two brothers. All right. Yeah. My mom would put all three of us underneath. I mean, this is before, like, you even had to have car seats. But on the grocery cart, we'd kind of all get down there. And as soon as you got hit by the cereal aisle, of course, all the sugar stuff was on the bottom row because that's what the kids could reach it. Grab it. Snack honeycomb and sugar smacks and you know, all the good stuff.

Bud Dunn:
So I'm a little bit younger, 33. So by the time I was following my mom around in the grocery store, the carts had shrunk and I had my mom's a fast walker. So I've had to learn how to walk fast and keep up with her in the grocery store is walking around picking cereal up off the floor or up off the shelves as well.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, I think the retailers learned that a bigger basket meant bigger sales. Even if we kick the man, we kicked the 6 year olds out and make them walk. That's right. So that's loss. I mean, look at that. Three seconds in and this thing takes a left turn. I don't know where. To tell you more about it. You're not the governorship. You know your role.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. 1933 found in 1933 by my step grandfather.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
And we're late. Who saw the original license on our wall. And it's a license number 86. Our license cycle in Michigan starts and ends on May 1st, which is also my birthday.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
So that's super weird. So 1933, May 1st is when we got our first license.

Tracy Neal:
Eighty six license in the state or in the country.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah in the state.

Tracy Neal:
In the state.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah, in the state. There's that's the Michigan specific license.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
And then we partner with Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Bud Light and then New Belgium to shoots are some of our largest regional players and then Parent Brewing, Territorial Brewing, Rogue, a ton of Michigan craft breweries that.

Tracy Neal:
Michigan's a bit of a hotbed for some crafts, right?

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. So I always shocked people when you try to kind of figure out how to navigate the Michigan market. So there's 10 million people that live in Michigan.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
And there's 22 million people that live in New York State. And there's like five hundred and fifty federally permitted breweries. Now, not all of them are operating, but there's 550 federal permits out on the market in Michigan right now. Really on them we're operating. There's like five hundred and sixty federal permits in New York for 22 million people. OK. So we have a lot of beer. Anchors, and it's also highly competitive in the craft space as well.

Tracy Neal:
Wow. And you got this big chunk of water between two major pieces of your state. Right.

Bud Dunn:
Exactly. Yep. Largest freshwater in the whole country, as far as I know. In fact, check me on that later. But yeah, we're basically a giant peninsula sticking out.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. I'm I'm I'm from California. So forgive my my lack of geographic knowledge on the rest of the country other than California. But it's not a short boat ride from one side. I should get right. I mean, I've just looked at the map and I'm thinking myself. What is that? Is there a ferry? Is that a one hour boat ride across the lake?

Bud Dunn:
Have you on Lake Michigan side, there's two ferries, there's a high speed ferry. And then I think it's still original steam coal ferry. So you take either one. And then they go across to Wisconsin. And one of them, I think is like an hour and a half and the other one can take almost three or four hours.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. So it's like a big body of water here.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. Very wide, yep.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. What percentage of the population of Michigan is in the main geographic body versus the the outer one on the other side of the lake?

Bud Dunn:
So south of kind of south of Midland, Michigan, which is right, and then kind of north center state of the state, that is where the that's where the population starts to drop off. OK. So you get farther and farther north and then you get up in the U.P. less and less and less people, more and more trees.

Tracy Neal:
U.P. Upper Peninsula?

Bud Dunn:
Upper Peninsula. All right,.

Tracy Neal:
Great. So the family's had the licenses 1933 and straight out of prohibition. All right. Your step grandfather started it. Are there any good stories about how he is, how he secured in Anheuser-Busch reseller partnerships?

Bud Dunn:
Yes. So started the business in 33. Atlas Beer is the partner that we had. So that's why we're called Atlas Sale.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
And they're out of Chicago. Run by the mob and Adolphus Busch.

Tracy Neal:
You mean when you say Atlas Beer, you mean a can of beer called Atlas Beer?

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. Yep. That was brewery.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. Okay.

Bud Dunn:
Atlas Brewery in somewhere in Chicago.

Tracy Neal:
And specifically run by the mob. Not a secret.

Bud Dunn:
No, not a secret at all. At least in my family wasn't a secret. And that Pick would purchase beer. You would get told where to send certain free cases to. And then the rest was his left to sell.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
So Adolphus Busch came in 1933, late in the year and asked Pick to take on Budweiser. And Pick said, no, why do I need another beer to ride around on my truck?

Tracy Neal:
Adolphus Busch is kind of a, with all due respect. Kind of a nobody in 1933, right?

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. Oh yeah. He's for sure.

Tracy Neal:
He doesn't have any clout? He doesn't have any national presence.

Bud Dunn:
No.

Tracy Neal:
Probably just a middle craft from St. Louis, Missouri.

Bud Dunn:
He's riding on a train car across country, talking to distributors.

Tracy Neal:
Wow.

Bud Dunn:
Trying to get them to take their brand.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
That's for sure. So picked on him? No. He said, you know, I'm not going to. I'm not going to have that beer right around him wheel well, all day long and just go out and come right back in.

Tracy Neal:
You know, we don't need two brands for.

Bud Dunn:
Exactly. Thankfully, Adolphus was persistent and he came back in 1934 and Pick said yes. And then the rest is kind of history.

Tracy Neal:
Wow. It's awesome. So you are, are your parent is involved in the business.

Bud Dunn:
My dad and my grandma.

Tracy Neal:
Your dad, your grandmother are involved on it.

Bud Dunn:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And you said you were 31?

Bud Dunn:
Thirty three.

Tracy Neal:
Thirty three? So at what point I mean you probably grew up most most distributor, sons and daughters. I hear you do a little repack when you were eight or nine years old or tell me your earliest exposure to the business.

Bud Dunn:
Yes. So you always ask you about their first day on the job?

Tracy Neal:
Yep.

Bud Dunn:
So when I became working age like twelve, you're twelve or thirteen years old. We built a brand new warehouse.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
So my first day on the job was landscaping and I did such a shitty job landscaping that I got demoted to can crushing when I was a 14 year old.

Tracy Neal:
So how. What's it take to do a bad job on landscaping? Did you not plant the daisies.

Bud Dunn:
I didn't plant stuff right. I didn't mulch stuff. Right. I was screwing around. Who knows? And it was. And it's all been redone since then. I think we did. We redid the final piece of bad job that I did last year. So slowly, like little by little.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
Do not have a green thumb.

Tracy Neal:
Good job on redoing the landscaping twenty three years later.

Bud Dunn:
I know I'm cheap, but we have better money to spend it on.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
Landscaping the warehouse.

Tracy Neal:
So you got demoted to can crusher?

Bud Dunn:
I did. So we started in the can deposit in Michigan where return state. So.

Tracy Neal:
Oh, you know what. That reminds me, you guys. I remember growing up as a kid. Michigan was an early five cent per can state.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
I mean, back in the 80s, I remember. And even the 90s.

Bud Dunn:
Early 80s is when it started.

Tracy Neal:
Early 80s, every canning California would have an MI5 on it. So you have an early recycling state. And that meant that you guys were overly concerned with the breakage and you crushed them and you were getting that right.

Bud Dunn:
Yes. So we we don't crush our glass locally at our distributorship. Some people do. We choose not to. But I mean the canned machine or can crusher. So we bring back big bags that can get 240 cans. And then I think. Yeah. And stand there. Rip them open from the bottom. Flip them over and dump them out. Rip them out from the bottom and flip them over and dump them out. And just hours and hours and hours so dirty. I would put one of the bags. It was a clean bag obviously and put it over my head and put my head through it and shoot my arms up. The sides is like this on my own little trash can. Poncho and try to stay somewhat clean.

Tracy Neal:
You're like one of the cheap guys in an NFL game. Right?

Bud Dunn:
Exactly. Yep.

Tracy Neal:
That was to keep the beer off you because you're a 13 years old. You smell like old beer.

Bud Dunn:
Oh it's just dirty. You know, you got beer. You got chew, cigarette butts in the bottom of these beer cans. You get everything that comes back. I mean, for lack of a better term, it's trash.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
In one way, shape or form. Now it's aluminum. So it's valuable, but it's it's in it's in a trash bag. It's trash for sure. So and then that summer I learned how to drive. I was driving a forklift before I was driving a car and the rest is history.

Tracy Neal:
Nice, any good forklift episodes.

Bud Dunn:
I had never dumped anything over. Fortunately, knock on wood, I still will get out every now and then and drive the forklift around.

Tracy Neal:
Good.

Bud Dunn:
Just for fun and everybody is terrified of me, purely terrified as they should be, because I'm not particularly good at it either. But our team leader are now team leader Mike was our was working with me in the warehouse at the time. So he taught me how to drive a forklift.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. Excellent. So at what point this is something I have asked a couple other folks who are the sons and daughters of distributor owners. At what point did you go from a little bit aside cash or maybe even hourly wage to congratulations, but you're an efficient employee. Here's a salary. And tell me what that felt like to have been recognized and valued as a real employee of the family business.

Bud Dunn:
Yes. So I I would get paid one time a year by mom and dad for all my work in the summertime. And it was always this flat was a flat number and the accountant figured something out. It's like this is the max you can pay him and be a tax efficient and it's just spending money. So like, yeah, I don't I'm sure I work for less than minimum wage with over. Over the years in a high school student setting his beer money for me when I got to college and first paycheck was when I came back to work after I got my master's degree and worked at another distributorship in Ohio was my very first paycheck. And it was weird because I was so used to getting one paycheck a year and making it last. So to get it every every week was really different for me. That was really the biggest change.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
More than anything.

Tracy Neal:
As well as looking at the tax withholdings.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah, that too.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, that was my big. Aha. My first paycheck out of college. I had diligently calculated just how rich I was going to be on my on my job right out of college. With a, with a beer with a beer company. And I got my first paycheck and I was like, wait a minute.

Bud Dunn:
Where all the money go?

Tracy Neal:
I think there's like a third of it missing. What it did, it was like a mean.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Let's, let's. What are all these things mean? You know. This isn't fair.

Bud Dunn:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
You know. So what is your role now at Atlas?

Bud Dunn:
I'm vice president. I oversee the day to day operations of the company.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And somewhere in between where we just were and getting the vice president. Did you run routes? Were you a supervisor? Did you get in the trade at all?

Bud Dunn:
I did. I did some of that. I never got my CDL. I do ride was with the drivers on a regular basis and did well. I was working in the warehouse and coming up. I did. I actually never ran or out day to day. When I came back, we were still an exclusive Anheuser-Busch wholesaler. So the bay.

Tracy Neal:
You came back from working in another distributorship?

Bud Dunn:
From college. When I came to work full time at Atlas. Really, the big herd, a big challenge was that we were an exclusive Anheuser-Busch distributor with we had missed the huge craft boom for the most part. What year are we in? We are in 2009.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. You missed two craft booms.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah, pretty well, you're right. We did miss two factories while we missed one.

Tracy Neal:
The one and the one in the 90s. And the one in the five.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. Yep. So we we had missed both of those and we're really behind the eight ball from a portfolio structure. So I went out and put on basically a business development hat from a supplier relationship side and we broke exclusivity and signed a bunch has signed a bunch of suppliers up and we did that in about four months. We went from exclusive to like six or seven partners right away.

Tracy Neal:
And how many suppliers you have today?

Bud Dunn:
We have actively have 15 right now.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
So we're still on a smaller book aside.

Tracy Neal:
Do you guys dabble in the not out or the canned wine or anything like.

Bud Dunn:
We used to do monster? We got burned by that. So there was a little heartburn over that when we got terminated out of that agreement.

Tracy Neal:
When they went to Coke.

Bud Dunn:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
And I've heard I've seen some rumors in some of the trade trade articles that it might be coming back.

Bud Dunn:
Exactly.

Tracy Neal:
Does it say come back to AB but it might be coming back to beer.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. Yep. Yeah, I would I would welcome a relationship back.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
For me, personally.

Tracy Neal:
Good product, good margins.

Bud Dunn:
Product, good margin, good velocity.

Tracy Neal:
Expanded SKU line now compared to five or six years ago.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. So you know that was like what did so well was every single incremental sku they added really added business to them.

Tracy Neal:
You know there was less cannibalization as they would say.

Bud Dunn:
There was. So we still every year from the year we picked it up in 2000 and I think we picked it up in 2009 or 2007 was when we started actually. And we start with Monster and we get terminated sometime around 14 or 50 that the 14 to 15. So in that incremental time we grew what we call blue and green. Those are the original and the. Those are their core big velocity items. We grew them incrementally every single year. So every new SKU and every new item that we layered on top was true incremental growth.

Tracy Neal:
Okay, great. Tell me a little bit about your your grandmother and her involvement in. History with the business. Yeah. Still working there?

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. Yeah, she is.

Tracy Neal:
What's grandma's name?

Bud Dunn:
Frankie.

Tracy Neal:
Frankie. All right.

Bud Dunn:
She's gonna be 90 in April.

Tracy Neal:
Hello, Frankie.

Bud Dunn:
Yes. So grandma married Pick after she. The story there that I'm until that I'm proud to.

Tracy Neal:
Pick is grandpa's at P-I.

Bud Dunn:
P-I-C-K.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. So Pick is. Grandma Frankie started working for Pick and he had asked her out once and she said no. Ask her out again. She said no. Ask her out one more time. You know, you're gonna tell me no. And if you tell me no are the only last and only time I ask you again. And she said yes. They went on a date. Fell in love. Got married. His his wife had passed. And then when Pick passed, Grandma retained the company. My dad came back to work with her in the business, but she would have been mean. Again, this is you have to go deep into the bowels of beer history. In the 70s and 80s and 90s, she would have been one of the original female owner operators of a beer distributorship. For sure she would go into bars and our market. She'd be the only one. I mean, we're talking about like the 70s and 80s now where we still have men only bars. Yeah. And gentlemen's clubs. And that's it's like she's the only woman allowed in there.

Tracy Neal:
And she'd go in there, huh?

Bud Dunn:
And make her sales calls.

Tracy Neal:
I may have been going up to Michigan and sit down with Grandma Frankie for a podcast.

Bud Dunn:
She still has all the faculties she still drives.

Tracy Neal:
I need to do that because those are the kinds of legacy people that we need this podcast for because then that interview will be her legacy lasts forever. Stories that won't be able to be told.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. That's true. Yep. She came. She comes in the office usually once or twice a week, checks her mail and talks to Sandy or our bookkeeper and accountant. She'll get we'll still cash checks for her. She didn't wanna go ago the bank. So we give her we will take a check and cash for our petty cash box and.

Tracy Neal:
As opposed to using her her app on her smart digital mobile deposit.

Bud Dunn:
Exactly.

Tracy Neal:
She doesn't Venmo?

Bud Dunn:
No, she does have an iPhone. She can text. She's good on that. She is good on technology. And she uses her email really well. So.

Tracy Neal:
Good.

Bud Dunn:
I got her on G-mail this year and she comes at the office and she's like, so at Comcast. I'm like, yeah, she's like, so my AT&T email won't work and is like, no, grab me. My AT&T email still work. And she's like, well, I don't have an AT&T Co. Well, that's just a free thing. So yeah. So I get online. I connected her account to G-mail, so I'm at the office and I get online. I fix it. It's all good. And then she's like, OK, thank you. That's her some. You know that. So she visits and then state.

Tracy Neal:
You're not alone in helping your parents and your grandparents with email addresses. It's something we all are. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Like dad, you don't need to use, you know, blah, blah, blah. At compiz serve 6 4 7 2 1 8 dot net.

Bud Dunn:
Exactly.

Tracy Neal:
You know. Cool. So tell me little about Atlas and your philosophy for going to market and execution and selling more beer. What's what's important? Atlas was kind of some of your core values. And how do you what's the culture there? Give me a little piece of it without visiting there. Largely what's what's important, you guys? It comes to execution and selling more beer.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. So we like to we like to have a lot of fun doing what we're doing. And really for us, I think about our execution is to, you know, go in the account and try to incrementally make small improvements every single time. Know what can you do to make the account look a little bit better today than it did yesterday. And, you know, for us right now, it's a lot of. Because we don't have a huge draft portfolio. It's about finding for that craft space. It's about incrementally improving our our high end and higher or core plus GP offerings. So think Michelob Ultra.

Tracy Neal:
You guys are big on GP, right? We are at GP a lot. Huge on gross profit.

Bud Dunn:
Yep on gross profit. So we have an incentive structure that's gross profit volume and finished product loss driven.

Tracy Neal:
Finished product loss being breakage?

Bud Dunn:
Breakage, out a day close to code items. So so when a rep has a rep has a out of date or a close to code item and they send it back through our technology solution that's tracked and measured and then they're held accountable for hitting a benchmark. So they're keeping that number on a case costs low.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. What about from a trade channel perspective? Are you a high chain market, highly independent,.

Bud Dunn:
50/50 man.

Tracy Neal:
50/50?

Bud Dunn:
So Michigan in general is Michigan in general. So we don't have a big Walmart footprint. We don't have a big Kroger footprint either. We have a huge Meyer footprint out there headquartered out of Grand Rapids.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
So we're still highly independent, driven from a store location wise and then a volume wise that's been centralized around us, around the big stores in a big way. But we're still got a big independent market.

Tracy Neal:
And I remember hearing one time that you guys had a kind of like the bowling the bowling hall capital.

Bud Dunn:
Probably, I mean. I think it's a nature of our way.

Tracy Neal:
It's a weather, really.

Bud Dunn:
I think we were a huge golfing community to a golf courses in the summer and then, you know, bowlers kind of move migrate from the golf course Memorial Day earlier day to the bowling alley from Thanksgiving to, you know, really kind of spring break, April time.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. Did you grow up playing hockey?

Bud Dunn:
I did.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. We were halfway to Canada. So, yeah, we were more than halfway there.

Tracy Neal:
94, 98 percent the way to get out, right? Tennessee is halfway to Canada.

Bud Dunn:
If you stand in Detroit and you you think. I think this is the fact is that there's a point in which you can stand in Detroit and look south to Canada.

Tracy Neal:
Wait a minute. Wait. Hold on. You stand in Detroit. You can look south and you could see part of Canada.

Bud Dunn:
It's like the old.

Tracy Neal:
I'm gonna trust you, I'm not.

Bud Dunn:
One of the very few places in the country. You can fact check on that that stuff.

Tracy Neal:
Question. Was that just because my mind can't wrap itself around that? That's not trust you because I don't believe I'm choosing because you bent my mind. Yeah. It's already hurting to think so. Yeah. OK. That sounds like it makes sense. Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
Huge hockey player grew up playing hockey. Dad drove me all over the world in the country playing hockey and flew me all over the place. And I thought as a robbery, a professional hockey player.

Tracy Neal:
So did Chris.

Bud Dunn:
So did Chris.

Tracy Neal:
Yes.

Bud Dunn:
Yes.

Tracy Neal:
From Chris. From L Knife.

Bud Dunn:
L Knife.

Tracy Neal:
L Knife of New York. Yes. Nice.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. So. Yeah. So we we grew up I thought it was going to be a pro hockey player and all that good stuff. So and I was on the I was at one point was on the draft list for the O HL on the count in Canada. That's their professional league for like seventeen to 19 year old.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. Nice. Tell me a little bit about the. We're here at the NBWA next gen, right. And the next gen conference is for the next generation of younger people who are involved in the beer distribution network. You know, regardless of whether they are Anheuser-Busch distributors, MillerCoors Distributors or in the Gold Network or whatever. It's to bring all beer distributors together that are of the younger generation where you guys can collaborate and share ideas and learn from each other. I know that you're really involved in this. In fact, you you were just downstairs saying that you were at the very first next gen conference in Chicago.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
So tell me, how did that get started? And then I think you also said you're a former chairman of that group. Right?

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So the next generation group next generation leadership group got started out of a out of board meeting at NBWA way saying that, you know, we're having we're getting to the point where we're having a younger group and younger leaders that are coming to our conventions, conferences and getting involved with the trade association.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
And that we want to provide an opportunity for a gathering specifically for this demographic of younger leaders or incoming leaders. And this is the board room really formed what's become the next generation group. Adam Vitale was the first chairman of the Next Generation Group.

Tracy Neal:
Adam? Yep. And where is he from?

Bud Dunn:
He's out of Illinois.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
And he's Anheuser-Busch distributor out on Illinois. And he shepherd the group for the first three years. And then I shepherd the group for the next two years. For the second two years to go to five years.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
And then we've had Rebecca Mizell, who's just rolling off, and now.

Tracy Neal:
She's from North Dakota?

Bud Dunn:
No, she is from Louisiana.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. Mix. Distributing. So they have corporations everywhere. And then Robbie Maletis is just taken over.

Tracy Neal:
Robbie from Portland.

Bud Dunn:
From Portland, Oregon. From Maletic Beverage. So, so well, the objective of the group really, really simply is to foster relationships and create connections and provide an educational opportunity for the next generation leaders to learn from each other, learn best practices, learn from people like yourself who are partners in the end and who we're partners within the industry so that we can do a better job of servicing our retailers, servicing our companies, servicing our community communities, and really just running more sustainable, more profitable company.

Tracy Neal:
That's great. In fact, we just watched a presentation. Craig Purser and Kim McKinnish, we're talking about the beers to that hashtag. And in fact, I was just talking with Craig in the elevator about the beers to that hashtag. So I'll give it a little plug here for our listeners. The NBWA spent a considerable amount of time and money and joint resources with distributors and suppliers across the country come up with this hashtag called Beers to that. And you know, one thing that Craig and I were just talking about is, you know, without any effort, this thing is certain to fail. But if everybody gets behind it and we look at it as a marathon, you know, it's not going to be a top 10 hashtag by the end of the week. But over time, the whole idea is to highlight. And glorify how many different occasions there are where beer is the right beverage to celebrate.

Bud Dunn:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
So I know I made a commitment to him that I would start using the hashtag and I'm just one of the most superpower's of social media of all time. So my seven friends and I well, we'll start doing it as soon as I figure out how to work Instagram.

Bud Dunn:
It's awesome.

Tracy Neal:
But I would also ask our.

Bud Dunn:
All social media. All social media.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. But I'll also ask our listeners to out there for the sales reps. You know, it was a. This is for sales reps who are driving around all day selling beer. Yeah. Do the best you can use that. Use the beers to that out. There is a hashtag. Because right now it's a it's a baby hashtag. If you go look it up and see how many times it's been used. It is is a newborn hashtag out there. We want to get the momentum behind it. And again, the the idea is it's kind of the opposite. They explained it downstairs by saying it's the opposite. And by the way, I keep saying downstairs, because Bud and I are sitting here and we're on that thirty eighth floor of the Sheraton and looking out over the river in New Orleans. And the conference is downstairs. But the way they explain is it's the opposite of champagne, right. So champagne has this this vision, this ideology of like when there's a very elite special occasion, it's time for champagne and beers, the opposite of that. We don't want to have those elite special, unique far and few between occasions. It's the opposite end of the pyramid. It's down at the bottom where every occasion is a great occasion for beer.

Bud Dunn:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
So beers do that.

Bud Dunn:
The other thing I make it ask to is too, for your listeners to talk to their sales managers and their team leaders about getting a hold of the NBWA's beer sell sheets.

Tracy Neal:
That's right.

Bud Dunn:
So we've, that the associations created these really good beer guide called beer centric sell sheets. So when you're into an account, it's more about what are the positive negatives or. Just what are the positives for this on premise account? Why does a beer shopper matter? Why does a beer how does a beer shopper increase your register ring? How is a beer shopper increase your foot traffic? And what are the positives of having beer as a focus item in your store, in your C store and your on premise account and your in your back big box mass merch store and they're all we've made. I think there's like four or five of them. Yes. Where there's all four different channels. So when you're going to make a call like the best practices, when you're on a new call and you might spend fifteen or twenty minutes with a buyer where you're making like a genuine presentation, spend a little bit of time with this, talking about the category in general. Because they'll beer initiative as a whole. The whole general concept is, is that a rising tide lifts all boats. Yep. And then if we can turn the tide of the image or the of the industry trends from declining volume and turn them back to growing everybody, no matter what brand you sell or what supplier you represent or whose beer you love the most, if there's a bigger pie out there, that means your piece can get big.

Tracy Neal:
Everybody wins and you just actually brought something else. I don't know if we were clear about it, but these beers that are brand neutral.

Bud Dunn:
Yes.

Tracy Neal:
So it doesn't matter whether you're in the gold network or AB network or the MC network. They're brand neutral show. They're celebrating beer. And I know Lester Jones, the chief economist for NBWA, has contributed to these sell sheets. And so they're not just fluffy with pretty pictures.

Bud Dunn:
There's great data.

Tracy Neal:
There's great economic data and reasoning there for some fact they sell it. So what I'll do is I'll actually put links in the show notes to this podcast. If you're listening and you want it, you're driving around it and you look at it, just go down to the show notes, hit the link and you'll be able to download any of those, sell sheets right now.

Bud Dunn:
It's awesome the various. So you use them before we actually got high end on premise account in our hometown to take an advocate for more beer space and use their beer spacing because they were really focused on wine and spirits and had a really small beer selection and we were able to use the sell sheet to talk with them and move the needle for us and then industry as a whole.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. You know what else I want to do for every listener out there that uses the beers to that hashtag in the month of November? 2019, because early November we're going to send him some shots. You see, I'm a little hat. I'm a dapper here. You know, I beers to that hat. I've got either beers to that hat we've got. I'm sorry. Not beers to that but iSellBeer hat. Right. I've got my iSellBeer hat. We've got iSellBeer T-shirts. We've got iSellBeer koozies, we've got iSellBeer, backpack, patches, pins, pins, all kinds of shots. So what we'll do is we'll put on our social media, we'll put all of our shot offerings and anyone that uses the beers to that. And and iSellBeer Hashtag give me a little bit self-serving here. You know, use that hashtag in the month of November. Send us a DM and we will let you have your choice of some free shots to promote this. So get this off the ground as much as we can. I believe in it.

Bud Dunn:
I think so. I think I know. And it already has moved the needle. For us, I mean, we've seen it in real time.

Tracy Neal:
That's great.

Bud Dunn:
I think it will move the needle for others that they you know, you put the effort into it. You get involved with it, university behind it. And it is a good joint effort between NBWA, the BA, the Brewers Association and the BI, the Brewers Institute, and that they're the really driving kind of trade association force group around it.

Tracy Neal:
And they're all alike, too, which I know is it's hard, rare, rare, because they all have different interests and different incentives, different ways that they're supporting the industry. But on this, they're all aligned. Yep, that's great. So what else has the the next gen organs, the next gen group done for you in your career and helped you grow into the executive are today?

Bud Dunn:
I think the best thing has done is it's made connections for me across the country. So I've got a group of people that I can dial text, pick up the phone, email and call and say, hey, like like question like, have you been through this before? Yes. No, I haven't. But this guy has or this woman has. You go talk to them and some of the callers and I can provide value back. So, you know, when the suppliers may be coming to a market. Yeah. And we were successfully partner. We were able to successfully partner went to Belgium. So a new as New Belgium was expanding, they've now completed that. But as New Belgium was expanding, I get phone goes like, hey, how do you present a New Belgium when you talk to them about. So I was able to share my my presentation deck and talk to them about why I think we're successful and what they really care about and what to expect when they're meeting with with New Belgium as a as an example. So those connections that the the connections and the human nature of what the industry is is amazing. That's one of the reasons why you do this podcast as well, because it is unlike many, it's unlike anything else out there.

Tracy Neal:
It is such a joy and a pleasure. And I'm not just, you know, trying to make you feel good, but guys like you, I know, you know, on one hand, you're really unique. But on the other hand, there are thousands of you in this industry. I get to meet all of them. Yeah. And, you know, I've had so many people just come up to me here at the next gen conference saying, hey, you're the podcast guy. I listen to your podcasts. You know? And I said, yeah. Don't forget, we sell software. We don't make any money on the podcast. We sell software. But I love doing the podcast. So the podcast is great. And I've had some really good conversations. And, you know, typically I've interviewed senior executives who are at the tail end of their career and looked backward, you know, and now I've been interviewing a lot of NexGen that are, you know, under-40.

Bud Dunn:
Looking forward.

Tracy Neal:
And looking forward. And the interesting thing here is you're going young. You have plans to stay in this industry forever. I take it or at least.

Bud Dunn:
The objective and I would love to.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
Things change, industry changes. The economic change.

Tracy Neal:
That would be the goal. So what would you. First of all, think about listening to this interview 20 years from now, right. When you're 53 years old and you could think back. Well, I remember sitting in that hotel room.

Bud Dunn:
And how stupid I was with trade and how much I didn't know.

Tracy Neal:
How much I had to learn that. Right. How much I had to learn. What would you say to your future self?

Bud Dunn:
Just stay committed to your gut feeling.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. Stay committed. Your gut and your gut guy. Yeah. Yeah. Not everybody's a gut guy. I know I'm a gut guy. I'm completely content being 80 percent accurate and moving fast. Being wrong all the time, you know. Right. That's a gut.

Bud Dunn:
Often wrong. Never in doubt.

Tracy Neal:
Yes, exactly.

Bud Dunn:
So here is a good example of a of a me and a gut and how we how we operate in kind of the culture of our companies. So when we were looking to move some operational stuff around on our admen team and one of the things that we were able to get some more efficiencies and we had a couple of people leave and it was do we really need as many people on the admin team as we once did? And I knew the answer was no. So we now have a young woman that works with us, Terrence, and she's a brand new employee. But one of things that we offer to everybody is that she's a she's a working mom. She's working three days, nine to three, one week, four days the other week. And she's got carte blanche at any point in time. And so does anybody else on the team. That snow day, sick day, kids can't go to work, can't go to school. You need to come to the office. She just brings them. Okay. So anybody can come. And that's just for me. It was just like.

Tracy Neal:
Even even sick kids.

Bud Dunn:
I just try the experiment.

Tracy Neal:
I have four kids, so. And I'm slightly allergic to runny nose, runny noses.

Bud Dunn:
So we've got we've got a conference room where the ping pong table and.

Tracy Neal:
Oh, nice.

Bud Dunn:
And a couch. So we can the kids can hang out in there. They can be they can have fun. They can hang out, they can recover. But for us, it's more about that. It's I don't believe in work life balance. I think it's work life integration. How can you do work and life together?

Tracy Neal:
Work life integration. I like that.

Bud Dunn:
So you know when cause you can get where can you get work done when life happens and where can life happen. And you can get work done. That's not too confusing.

Tracy Neal:
No.

Bud Dunn:
Because we don't we don't like to balance means it's a teeter totter that we actually.

Tracy Neal:
It also means they are equal.

Bud Dunn:
Yes. So that had to be equal when really it's not about being. For me and for I think for our team, it's not about being equal, it's about integrating them together. So people need to leave early. People need to do things during the day. They have they have the ability and the trust to go do them like bringing bringing kids to work.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
If I can integrate with that life event for the day and have Terrence still be at the office, accomplish your tasks. Even if I only get 50 or 60 percent of her productivity output.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
That's 50 or 60 percent more than her not being there.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
And she doesn't have to burn a sick day or vacation day on something that is really a non-event. That's not a big deal like something Michigan is so much just a snow day. You know, and then when snow days happen, it's tough being a parent.

Tracy Neal:
Because the kids don't go to school.

Bud Dunn:
Beucase they don't go to school. So it's tough. And, you know, most of the country probably doesn't deal with that. But it's tough for a parent that's like you wake up and there's a foot of snow on the ground and it's like now I have to figure out what to do with child care. Yeah. At 7 o'clock and have you work at 8, 7:30, 8, 8, 9, like, that's really hard.

Tracy Neal:
That's great that you offer that.

Bud Dunn:
We've chosen to kind of battle through that in a unique way.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. And this is a good this is a good seque to into talking about your podcast because I. My perception is that you're extremely intelligent from a self-reflective philosophical area. Right. I mean, I don't know.

Bud Dunn:
You probably being too kind to me.

Tracy Neal:
I don't. I just tried to specify. I don't know if you can do algebra or not, but I know that you're extreme, that you're very self-reflective, you're very philosophical. You're thinking you're a thinker. Right. You're a thinker kind of guy. And we were talking about your podcast. In fact, I just downloaded the episodes from my flight back today, and it is called Confident Couples. Is that right?

Bud Dunn:
Yes, sir.

Tracy Neal:
Confident couples and it's you and your wife. So so if anyone out there is newly married or been married for a number of years and you want to make your marriage better and look into that, go get Budd's podcast called Confident Couples, won't you tell us all about what you and your wife do on this podcast? Why it's important you and and then last. I think some of it's also really unique. Just when I hear about is you're the joint commitment that you two have to making your marriage awesome.

Bud Dunn:
Yes. So crazy idea for me was that I had just become, for lack of a better term, obsessed with the concept of talking about how we lead our life together in our in our marriage with Sarah and I. And.

Tracy Neal:
The wife's name is Sarah.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. And there was not it was not a better platform to do it on than a podcast. So Epiphanny probably drinking beers because that's when I get some of my good thinking ideas. Yeah. Was hey we should start a podcast Sarah, and Sarah's like no, never gonna do that. So now what I've learned about Sarah and if you listen to the episode, I don't remember what number it is, but it's insight's discovery. It's a personality assessment.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. And the name of the personality.

Bud Dunn:
Insights, Insights Discovery.

Tracy Neal:
Insights Discovery has a personality assessment.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. And we both we we love taking personality assessments and then applying them. We've applied them in our business worlds first, but then a really re-engineer them in our personal relationship as a couple and have made huge strides. So with this assessment, I know that Sarah is a she needs a marinade and an idea. She needs it. Think about it. She needs to conceive.

Tracy Neal:
She's the opposite of the often wrong, always in doubt.

Bud Dunn:
no, no. She's always right. Never wrong. Definitely not in doubt about being right either. So she has to know. I'm more than happy to put my foot in my mouth. And she has to. She has to know that that's never going to happen or she'll say anything. So it took me about a year, year and a half. They kind of threw that marinating noodling process.

Tracy Neal:
How long have you been married?

Bud Dunn:
Eight, we just had our eighth anniversary.

Tracy Neal:
Congratulation.

Bud Dunn:
Thank you. Thank you. So we we're about a year and a half in and she kind of void of a reason than this particular day. She's like, OK, if we get 50 topics to talk about, man. And she threw like.

Tracy Neal:
50 topics.

Bud Dunn:
Yep and she threw like 17 of them out in the first 24 hours.

Tracy Neal:
Really.

Bud Dunn:
So it's like we're off and running and now I've got her hooked and she's like, actually engaged in this. What what may become something? So we get to 50 topics and we start with we start with our core principle, which is the three legged stool and was one of our early episodes. And this is one of the things that like I kind of, you know, you're hanging out with friends and, you know, we're young and we've got young couples around. And when people get married and, you know, you're talking about like, how do you guys think or what makes you successful or how do you guys really kind of try to lead day in and day out? And for me, it's come back to I learned this is not my principles and I take credit for it, but I learned it from a close friend of mine. It was and I've turned I've dubbed it into the three legged stool. And so if you're communicating with each other and you're having good and you and your managing your finances and you're being intimate with each other, no matter what happens, you can work through almost everything on those pillars.

Tracy Neal:
So it's intimacy, communication and finance.

Bud Dunn:
And finance. So you think about it like if you.

Tracy Neal:
I'm really glad you put intimacy in one in there. That's.

Bud Dunn:
For sure.

Tracy Neal:
That's a good one.

Bud Dunn:
Sure. Well, you know, we're in we're in a relationship. And part of that is, you know, intimate sex, but also intimacy in other ways as well.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. And then the finance is one to I mean, there's almost nothing that can go right in a marriage when the finances are upside down or sideways.

Bud Dunn:
Exactly. Yep. So if you live in a world where you know the really easy a beer talk for this, if you live in a way where you can talk to your wife about anything, where you got money in the bank and you know what money's coming in and what money is coming out and that you're going to have money in the bank and you're having sex, you can survive a lot of challenges.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
That would be the beer. That would be the bar.

Tracy Neal:
The three legged stool there, huh?

Bud Dunn:
Yep.

Tracy Neal:
So a little a little marriage advice here on the iSellBeer. But you know what? I think it's appropriate because we've got let's face it, we've got a lot of guys out there driving around all day selling beer. Right. And some of them are, you know, some some or over 40. But a lot of 'em are under 40. Right. A lot of men in their 20s is a good job to getting in the beer business, a good job to get in your 20s and 30s, riding a route and using your your personality to leverage some income and hit some incentives and stuff like that. I can imagine a large group of that population is either newly married or soon to be married. And let's face it, no matter what your intentions are on being successful, your marriage, it's always hard for the first three, four or five years. Right. If not...

Bud Dunn:
Still learning.

Tracy Neal:
If not the first 20. You know, I've been married now.

Bud Dunn:
How long?

Tracy Neal:
I knew you're going to ask me that I'm bad at math. 1998. So what is that. 22 years? 21.

Bud Dunn:
Twenty one. Twenty one.

Tracy Neal:
Twenty one years. Yes.

Bud Dunn:
I'm not good at mental math but.

Tracy Neal:
I got a good one. My wife Shelly is outstanding. I'm really excited to dive in your podcasts and take some of those principles home and to guide and increase increase the communication and work on the finances. You know, it's yeah. I feel like there's.

Bud Dunn:
You're always working on that stuff.

Tracy Neal:
Always working on finances. I mean, if there's one thing that I am a freaking genius at, it's managing the finances when I didn't have them. You know, I'd love to. I'm not a genius because I have so much. I'm a genius because I'm still standing despite being sideways or negative for most of my life.

Bud Dunn:
So I put the three legged stool in the context of like a like a salesmen's or a beer beer relationship to of that. You're always working on each pillar. Yeah. It's not, you know, just like how you're always working on improving your space and adding a new display or incrementally increasing the profitability out of a store. You know, it's never works, never really done. It's just those are just like how you think about principles at a beer distributorship for the three legged stool for us. Those are our principles that we keep coming back to that we're always working on and molding and always keeping top of minds. So we stay fresh.

Tracy Neal:
And I think the Japanese word for that is Kaizen.

Bud Dunn:
Kaizen. Yep, the supply chain management guy.

Tracy Neal:
Not to be confused with Keyser Söze.

Bud Dunn:
No, we have a Kaizen, which is a commitment to consistently improve.

Tracy Neal:
That was a that was a Toyota.

Bud Dunn:
It's a Toyota that came out of.

Tracy Neal:
Always, always improving. Even if it's a fraction of a percent. Always move forward. Always, always be moving.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. For sure.

Tracy Neal:
Excellent. As we start to wrap it up here, any mentors or bosses, maybe even a competitor or a retailer, somebody out there that you can look back now on? You know, the early part of your career and say, you know what? Thanks for. Thanks for molding me. Thanks for growing me. Thanks for teaching me a hard lesson. Thanks for being patient with me. Thanks for what you've done to make me the executive I am today.

Bud Dunn:
I think there's too many to just name in general. I've been so blessed to run across so many amazing people. And I really you know, one of the guys is Jim Houlton down. Ah, no, not Jim. Cut that out.

Tracy Neal:
So. So I'll ask the question again. Get to know Kevin. We'll cut that. So as we start to wrap it up here, are there any folks out there that you worked with in the first third of your career here that have been either, you know, mentors or coaches, maybe anybody that's been patient with you or taught you a hard lesson or helped you in your leadership? You know, when you want to give a shout out to and say thanks for being patient with me, helping me grow, teaching me the ropes to be the executive you are today.

Bud Dunn:
Yeah. So first opportunity I got outside of the family was with a company called BeerCo down in Tiffin, down in Ohio and.

Tracy Neal:
BeerCo, huh?

Bud Dunn:
BeerCo. Yep. And it's owned by the Clever brothers Chris and Mike. And.

Tracy Neal:
The distributor?

Bud Dunn:
Yep, they're distributor and they had brought in a Anheuser-Busch had a program, I think they still do, where they kind of promote I would say substance abuse speakers and they will come in like a distributor can partner with and as a bush or with some of these licensed substance abuse speakers and bring into a high school or college. So. The Kalpoe brothers had brought in one of these speakers to my freshman year on the manner to the university and one of them was out, remember which one? I think it was Mike was there and I scurried down this down the steps and I introduced myself and he said and said, Hey, I'm Bud, my mom and dad and my family owns a beer insurers ship. I'm in Michigan. It's nice to meet you. I've seen this guy was the same guy that came to our high school when we brought him. Yeah, well, my family brought him into Battle Creek, so I went and introduced myself and he said, you need a job where you need a place to do laundry. I said, no, I'm good, but I can take a job. He's like, well, here's my card. You call me and we'll get you a job. And I got a job as a CMT contemporary marketing team. Now they're called bands in the Anheuser-Busch space. But as a college kid, they got a bigger budget that went around the bars and ran on premise promotions for three years. Nice. So and we were in a bar. We were in a bar. So what year are we in? This is this is probably two thousand seven two days. And we're in a bar and it's an Irish pub in Tiffin, Ohio. And Mike and Chris and their wives walk into the bar and they're kind of kicking off Landshark. Okay. And that's the first time we've had it in the march.

Tracy Neal:
Jimmy Buffet brand?

Bud Dunn:
Jimmy Buffet brand? Yep. And I'm there running the promotion and I'm the only other guy from their team. That's their work in the promotion. And I see them out of the corner of the eye and I get a bucket of beers and I come over and I sat him down and table and say, Hey, guys, how's it going? Nice to meet you to meet the wives. And it's the first time we got to meet them. And one of the brothers pulls out his wallet. He says, hey, you know, these are for the beers. And they said, you're already paying for a man. And he got a laugh. He looked out as long as that. I guess I am, aren't I? Yeah. I'm already expensive. These back to. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
I had a very similar stories like that. Except there wasn't beer as it was golf balls.

Bud Dunn:
There you go okay.

Tracy Neal:
I used to live in Hawaii when I worked for MillerCoors I was the GM out there and I was golfing with my distributor guy named Mike Shibly. We were at copperplate.

Bud Dunn:
It's a great market over there

Tracy Neal:
It's a great market. Yeah. We were at the couple a golf course for a golf tournament.

Bud Dunn:
Cool.

Tracy Neal:
And I'm a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde golfer. You know, I can I can look semi-pro on one hole and I could lose five balls on the next wall. So I'm on this island. It's a I think it's like one hundred ninety yard par three with a with a lake, obviously, between the tee and the green. Right. And this is probably like 2007. Probably same. Same time because I remember the pro V one had just come out. Right. And it had kind of raised the bar in terms of the cost of golf ball.

Bud Dunn:
Oh yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Right. probe one was not just a dollar more, it was like $4 more than any other golf ball that ever been made. Right. And so of course I have this whole bag of probe one with Coors Light logos on them because you know, that's.

Bud Dunn:
You got to get the good stuf.

Tracy Neal:
That's what I do. Yeah. And we're sitting there golfing and I pulled a little bit of a tin cup. You know, my first one went the water. Give me another ball. A second one with the water giving out the ball. The third one with the water to give it. I did about five. The fifth one, you know, makes it Blair, who's the president of my distributorship there, who's in my foursome, big brother, about 10 bucks a ball. You're up to $50. And I go, actually, no, I'm only at twenty five because you paid for half of these guys. You son of a gun a couple other choice words. He was yelling at me, stop eating those damn balls in the water because I reminded him that they were co-op balls. I didn't pay for them all myself.

Bud Dunn:
Awesome. Yeah. So good.

Tracy Neal:
Good story.

Bud Dunn:
Is it. Well we're we live in.

Tracy Neal:
Yep. Good. Well any closing remarks you want to have for our sales reps are out there driving around selling beer all day. If you were if you were the vice president of sales for the whole country for every sales rep out there. What's your what's your what's your advice or what's your motivational comment to those that are driving around all day selling beer, whether they're on their first day on the job or maybe they've been doing it for a year or two and they're not sure about their job. They're not sure about this industry. They're not sure about their next account stop. What would you say to them about this industry?

Bud Dunn:
I think for me, I'd thank them first, because the work that they do right now to manage the amount of SKUs that we have and maintain focus is something that I don't think I could do particularly well. So, you know, to thank them first, because they do a job that is extremely difficult, is a lot of complexity. And many of them do it extremely proficiently and very, very well. And then the saying things just continue to just seek out small incremental opportunities. You know, the market's tough right now. Kraft has challenged Seltzer's on the rise. You know, you've got dynamics with, you know, wine and spirits are cannibalizing share of stomach. So but there are there are many incremental opportunities that you can do that aren't maybe you can't take a picture of them and say like this is a 50 cases, players is a huge win, but you can make small little moves that at scale over thousands and thousands of cases sold make a big difference to the business. And that's what I would love to leave them with.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. Any any technology. Hacks that make your life easier every day, any special apps that you use or anything that you could pass on to our listeners out there that used to maybe make your life easier and do less work, figure out ways to connect things. An app hacker, a technology hack.

Bud Dunn:
So the thing I do that's probably weird. It does it. It's maybe a nature of my position, too. So a little warning of that as a as a. I was in the operations side and the vice president role. I use a service called Boomerang and pauses. My inbox.

Tracy Neal:
Boomerang pauses your inbox.

Bud Dunn:
It's called inbox pause. Now they do a lot of other things, but I only receive emails at 11:00 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

Tracy Neal:
Wow, that's awesome.

Bud Dunn:
So I have a whole and I can. I actually wrote a blog post about it. OK. So I can share with you the blog post about it for any of your listeners who want to look at it and show notes.

Tracy Neal:
So when you go to the office at 8 a.m., the first thing you're not doing is e-mail.

Bud Dunn:
No. I have my email open, but I use a I I have a process that's called action and hold. So I have a series of action items that are in need that are a email. But they are the they are my active digital to do list.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
So as I work through those action items, I am not inundated and distracted with new incoming emails. And by pausing it until 11:00 a.m., that gives me from when I start till 11:00 to work on my action list. Then I can process my inbox, go back to my action list of anything that's new from the new email that just came in. Know work until 4:00 and then do the same process, maybe finish my day processing my inbox, getting a couple acivil to do items on my action list done and then I can end my day.

Tracy Neal:
Nice. I love it.

Bud Dunn:
Or an oven or the work life integration. I can end my office time. I can go back home, have dinner, maybe do one of our own confident couples podcasts recordings and then go back to work in my home office.

Tracy Neal:
I like that.

Bud Dunn:
It has been super beneficial for me.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome. I'm taking notes here. That's that's something that I definitely take a mental notes that's I want to look into. And the other thing I did great that in my life.

Bud Dunn:
The other thing you've had you got to do, too, is you got to be transparent with people about how you do this so that they have they know the hierarchy of communication to you. So and when I mean hierarchy, it's like tech. I need you now. Call me if you want me in the next hour. Text me if you are if I can get to this later. Email me. So that's you know, so people people on my team and people are really close to me. They communicate regularly. They know that hierarchy. That if I email, buddy, you will not email me right back.

Tracy Neal:
Have you ever considered dabbling in slack? You familiar with Slack?

Bud Dunn:
I have. I have not.

Tracy Neal:
I'm kind of surprised that I haven't yet met a distributor who's using slack.

Bud Dunn:
We have on our our business. We were so we're all Apple users. So we use everything in Iowa or just texting ourselves, just son tax, just normal text stuff.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
We have an investment in this slack. It doesn't mean that it's not good deal

Tracy Neal:
I feel like Slack would be very valuable it. I mean it's an app on all the iOS. They'll be very valuable because you could have a hashtag channel like for example, chain pricing. Yeah, right. Like we all know that Bud Light. Eighteen packs are on sale at Meyer. And you're right. But sometimes you don't find out the price until the day before. Right. There will be sudden bam Meyer pricing. You know,.

Bud Dunn:
I never thought about that.

Tracy Neal:
Using it like that. Right. So you you create the different hashtag in-boxes, if you will, around certain things, right? Yeah. There's one an incentive announcements. Maybe there's one called out-of-stock at the warehouse. Right. And so that every comment on those slack channels is very specific.

Bud Dunn:
So so here's a good question for your listeners. This might be something that you can talk about. Maybe you or get some feedback from people in general is that, you know, I'm I always am challenged with how to best communicate information, complex information with our reps and like our sales meetings in general. And maybe everybody can laugh about this in the podcast. But your classic beer distributor salesman. Meaning it sucks. It's not it's not particularly engaging. It's not particularly fun. And it's an information dump. It is an information dump. So what we've tried to do, too, is that we've tried to we've tried to and this is the question that I love is that we've tried to do the information dump through consistent technology. So email is our primary channel that we will consistently email reps daily information or regular weekly information that they need to know about. And then what we've chosen to do is we have a roll up sales, meaning at the end of every month, that is a noon sales meeting at a retail establishment where it's beers and in food. And we talk about how the business has performed. What we're looking for in the future. We try to sell something while we're there, get a new placement and create a better relationship with retail account. And we do it to two and a half hour like it's engaging, entertaining, like connection with our reps instead of the third. Like we were doing hour and a half to our meetings.

Tracy Neal:
Sitting in a classroom style.

Bud Dunn:
And Friday morning at 7:00 in the morning. And what that. To me, that was always like our guys are just they're just itching to get out of there. They're just itching to get out of there, gone their day. And so then we moved in the.

Tracy Neal:
No matter what you talked to a group of humans about on Friday morning, they're 40 percent of it drops off of the weekend, even if it's their most favorite subject of all time. The weekend takes over a different part of the brain.

Bud Dunn:
Exactly.

Tracy Neal:
It goes on the archive found. And then you're expecting them to intuitively and intentionally bring that archive fall out on Monday morning and apply it to the business. And the reality is that when it sits in the archive in the back of the brain, it just dissolves.

Bud Dunn:
Yep. So one so that's that is one side. Then we moved into Monday mornings at 7:30 in the morning to 8 where we just rush through stock and a half an hour.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bud Dunn:
So that that cut the time down. I was very pleased about the time and the pace, but everybody was still we were still in that rush to get out of there. And we still weren't having that human connection and they just say sucks. So we moved to this. We moved to this format for this year and I think it's been real positive for us. We're still getting the information out, at least my opinion. We're still getting the information out or creating better connection with our team. But I would love to hear people's feedback. I'd like what is their preferred method from a rap standpoint for leadership to cascade information down. All right. Where they can be can.

Tracy Neal:
Do you have an Instagram or Twitter or what's your what's your preferred method on that? Or just want to put it on the iSellBeer Nation.

Bud Dunn:
I think it's iSellBeer Nation.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
I think it could be a podcast for you and itself.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bud Dunn:
I don't know if you've ever heard of. So Freakonomics will do this every now and then. So yeah, users will or listeners will call and leave a voicemail. And share. And then they'll take those voicemails and we'll play them on the podcast.

Tracy Neal:
All right. Right. I should do that. I need to get another voicemail account.

Bud Dunn:
Just do Google voice. Just do a Google Voice number and you can do that. That's free.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. So reps out there, if you've got your preferred way to be contacted. We're gonna set up a Google Voice phone number and you can call in, leave your voicemail and then we'll run through all those. Yeah. Awesome.

Bud Dunn:
Love to hear how people like to connect with leadership around information.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. This is Tracy with a quick service message. The phone number to use that Bud just referenced is 8-1-3-5-7-5-3-3-9-5. Again, that's 8-1-3-5-7-5-3-3-9-5. Bud suggestion was to leave a voicemail there. So please leave your first name. And what state you're calling from. Or you can just say anonymous. That's fine, too. And leave us a voicemail and let us know the best way that you'd like to be communicated with as a distributor sales rep. Is it email? Is it text? Is it social media? Other apps or in-person meetings? Or from one of my favorite lines in the movie Old School? Maybe it's something that I've never even heard of before. Again, that number is 8-1-3-5-7-5-3-3-9-5. Thank you. We'll put those voicemails together and play them in a future episode. So you two can learn what other people around the country would prefer to use in communications. Back to the program. Awesome well Bud, I've really enjoyed talking to you. I'm so glad we got this time to get to know each other. I mean, you're one of the good guys. Not that there aren't all good guys, but, you know, it's just really impressed with just how you get your priorities and your focus on life, you know, and it's just things very I know we said not to use the word balanced earlier, but I could tell you've got priorities that aren't all about just being great at business, but yet you also want to be great in your business. And I just really admire Bill. And I know you've impacted a lot of the younger lives down in the next gen conference and you will continue to do so even even when you when you hear in a few years when you age out of the next gen age bracket.

Bud Dunn:
This isn't like Cub Scouts. You don't get too cool for the group.

Tracy Neal:
All right. Well, don't forget, listeners use the beers to that hashtag and iSellBeer and. Bud again, it's been a true pleasure.

Bud Dunn:
Thank you.

Tracy Neal:
Thank you so much. And have a great week. Yep. 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 distributors 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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