Moving Billboards Keep on Trucking
By Tony Forder
We hear a lot about farm to table, grain to glass, and when you’re sipping that refreshing IPA or silky stout, you may give a thought to the brewer that lovingly brewed that beer, or to the brewery that is one of your favorites… but do you ever think about how it arrived in your glass, the journey it took from brewery to distributor to retailer?
While some nanobreweries sell everything they brew out of their tasting rooms, and others still prefer to self deliver, when a brewery reaches a certain size, it’s pretty certain they’re going to need the help of a beer distributor.
Delivering beer to slake the thirst of the masses is big business. Take Oak Beverage in Rockland County, NY. They deliver 15-20,000 cases a day. They have 60 drivers and 40 trucks, and in this age of electronic mechanics and vehicle compliance laws it’s just simply too complicated to operate and maintain a fleet of trucks in house for most large distributors.
So they outsource. Since the fall of 2014, Oak has used Ryder to operate and maintain its fleet of trucks. There is in-house maintenance with two mechanics on site. If a truck goes down, there is a loaner. If a truck gets old – the average life of a beer truck is about nine years – it is replaced. There is no downtime. “They have more services, they offer more value, “ said Oak’s General Manager Manny Busto of Ryder.
“They have the most up to date equipment and skills.”
These days beer trucks don’t just deliver beer; they are moving billboards. Moving Billboards Keep on Trucking Each of Oak Beverages 44 trucks are wrapped with beer labels and logos. All of Oak’s trucks are wrapped with the logos and labels of a particular brewery. Said Debra Boening, Oak’s CEO and owner, “When people who are not in the industry see a logoed truck, they think it belongs the brewery.” No, it belongs to the distributor and performs a valuable service to their supplier.
“One really important aspect of the trucks is advertising,” Busto said. “They are in traffic all day.” With a regular billboard costing $3,000 a week Busto estimates the worth of their truck advertising at about $2.4 million per year. They also put logos on the top of their trucks, so that in the city they are visible to the thousands of people who live and work in high rises.
Next time you’re quaffing a brew, say a cheers to the distributors, drivers and trucks who keep your glass full.