Major Brands buys A-B distributorship

Major Brands buys A-B distributorship

Major Brands buys A-B distributorship

It's rare for Anheuser-Busch to sell one of its company-owned beer distributorships. It's rarer still for the company to sell to an outsider, someone who is not already involved in carrying A-B's beer.

But sell it will. The St. Louis-based unit of Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev will sell its Western Beverage Co., a huge wholesale operation based in Eugene, Ore., to Todd Epsten.

Epsten is the CEO of Major Brands Inc., a massive Missouri wine and liquor operation based near the Maplewood exit off Interstate 44.

Now, Epsten is forming a new company called Major Eagle Inc. to buy Western Beverage, which churns out an estimated 6 million to 7 million case equivalents per year and reportedly ranks among A-B's top 25 distributorships.

Major Eagle will purchase A-B's 56 percent stake in Western Beverage as well as the 44 percent stake held by other shareholders. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Epsten said he was excited about the prospect of being "in the beer business in an even larger way, and being part of the A-B network."

Anheuser-Busch has traditionally liked to own a few distributorships to give the company a better sense of how things are going in the market.

In a statement, Tony Short, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of business and wholesaler development, stressed that the transaction "was under consideration for several months prior to the close of the A-B InBev merger."

Boutique executive search services with best in class global network, contacts and market mastery.

Deeply connected and engaged personal service approach, long-term investment in client community and 25 year history of strong relations with both Multi-National leaders and Private Equity partners.