Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012 - (Page 78)

Beverage Merchandiser O&W BEER INC. Dedicated to Michigan Beer distributor O&W Inc. is a company with close family ties, and it continues to be a vital part of its communities after more than 70 years in business. W Kit Morgeson Ypsilanti, Mich. 78 March/April 2012 ithin the southeast Michigan communities it serves, O&W Inc. is more than just a beer distributor – it’s a central part of the community. For more than 70 years, the now Ypsilanti, Mich.based company has built a solid base of brands and retail customers by making them feel they’re part of one big family. A close-knit atmosphere comes naturally for O&W Inc., now in its fourth generation of ownership within the same family. “We treat all of our employees as if they’re a part of our family, and everyone knows each other,” says Vice President of Marketing Kit Morgeson, who along with her sister, Jamie Brooks, represents the fifth, and youngest, generation at the company. Morgeson’s great-great-grandfather William Seagart founded the company in the mid-1920s as a means to supply non-alcoholic beer and soft drinks to his family tavern in Ann Arbor and other establishments in the region during Prohibition. After Prohibition was repealed, Seagart retained ownership of the tavern and passed the distribution company to his son-in-law James O’Kane. O&W Inc. was formally incorporated in 1956 by O’Kane and his son-in-law, Hugh Wanty, who joined in 1948. Seagart’s tavern, the Union Bar, remains open today as Old Town Tavern. During the 1960s, Wanty sought to expand the company’s reach by acquiring other regional distributors. A major benchmark came in 1967, when an area Miller Brewing Company distributor was purchased. Hugh Wanty’s sons Jim and Doug joined in 1972 and 1983, respectively, and ultimately took over

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012

Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012
Creating Value
Design Strategies
Toy Fair 2012 Wrap-Up
Expo West 2012 Wrap-Up
Fashion Week
Category Insight
China Sourcing Fair 2012 Preview
Cover Story: Jessica Simpson
charming CHARLIE
Fantastic Sams
The Bargain! Shop
Sportsman’s Warehouse
Fruth Pharmacy
Apricot Lane Boutique
Hi-School Pharmacy
Hallmark Cards Canada
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Rubie’s Costume Co.
Fashion Angels
K’NEX Brands
Total Wine & More
Sigel’s Beverages
O&W Inc.
New Hampshire State Liquor Commission
Kohler Distributing Co.
New & Notable

Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012