Many of the best stories in the beer industry have humble roots, often times beginning with just one or two brave entrepreneurs and their love of grain, water, hops, and yeast. And that’s just about how the story began back in 1948 for Wyoming’s Teton Distributors.
Headquartered in the small town of Worland, WY, the Teton Distributors of today has come a very long way since its inception in 1948 to become the leading (and only state-wide) beer distributor in The Equality State.
Founded in the heady years following World War II by Newell B. Sargent, Teton’s original product line centered around beers brewed by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company. Making its first humble delivering in 1948, Sargent’s company was off and running, with its initial distribution footprint in Park, Washakie, Big Horn, and Hot Springs counties.
Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, Teton continued to grow, via a combination of outstanding customer service and strategic acquisition of distribution rights for popular, growing beer and other malt beverage brands. Teton’s growth would not be limited to just its portfolio of brands, however; by the end of the 20th century, Teton had grown its sales territory enormously, with sales centers located throughout the state in cities like Cheyenne, Laramie, Riverton, Lander, Rock Springs, Green River, Evanston, Casper, Gillette, Jackson Hole, and more. Most recently, in the first quarter of 2016, Teton has been able to dramatically increase its size and service capabilities in Casper with the acquisition of Stoval Beverage, previously the area’s Miller brands distributor.
By 2008, Teton Distributors had become the largest single MillerCoors distributor in the state, but not at the expense of its relationship with national, regional, and local craft breweries or its extensive book of import brands. In fact, quite the opposite continued to happen: As Teton’s MillerCoors growth continued to increase, so did it’s ever-broadening selection of craft and import offerings.
In the 1990’s, as craft beer (then commonly known as ‘micro-brewed beer’) began to come into its own and build a true national following, Teton’s support of brands like Samuel Adams and Pete’s Brewing helped keep Wyoming beer drinkers up to speed with emerging trends in the beer world. Even through the “craft beer bubble” that burst in the late 1990’s, Teton’s support of local, regional, and national craft brands did not wane. In fact, quite the opposite would happen as the 2000’s passed, as Teton would continue to add a whole host of growing, popular craft brands ranging from national powerhouses like Lagunitas and Deschutes Brewery, alongside local/regional legends like Jackson, WY’s Snake River Brewing, and Boulder, CO’s Avery Brewing Company.
Today, Teton’s growing portfolio represents a who’s-who of brewing companies. Along with the bulk of MillerCoors’ dynamic and wide-ranging offerings, Teton also represents in-demand powerhouse brand families like Pabst Brewing Company, Diageo-Guinness, and Constellation Brands. Adding to that already impressive list are marquee craft beer names like Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium Brewing, Odell Brewing, Avery Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Upslope Brewing, Green Flash Brewing, and the newly-introduced Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. Teton is also committed to helping grow and distribute local and regional craft brands, such as the aforementioned Snake River Brewing (WY), Ten Sleep Brewing (WY), Coal Creek Tap (WY), Lander Brewing (WY), Grand Teton Brewing (ID), and Big Sky Brewing (MT).
Teton even works with renowned beer importer Merchant Du Vin to bring Wyoming drinkers exotic imported beers and brands, like the UK’s Samuel Smith Brewery and iconic Belgian Trappist breweries such as Trappistes Rochefort, Orval, and Westmalle. With a spread of brands and breweries this wide, deep, and diverse, it’s no real surprise that Teton Distributors has become the state-wide leader in malt beverage distribution.
One of the keys to Teton’s success, apart from a passionate sales force, quality brands, and the drive to succeed, is its attention to efficient, intelligent business operations. In a number of Wyoming markets, Teton shares warehouse space and equipment with sister company Wyoming Beverages, the region’s largest independent Pepsi-cola bottler and distributor. Teton also wholly owns an entire fleet of delivery and service vehicles in each sales center, many of which are tailored specifically to deal with Wyoming’s often-challenging weather and road conditions. Teton also works closely with sister company Admiral Transport Corporation (ATC), to facilitate timely and efficient shipping of product throughout the state between sales centers and supplies. These in-house synergies give Teton the edge when it comes to keeping operational tempos up while keeping overhead costs down.
If one spends much time talking to a Teton employee, from the highest offices of power to the guys on the street wheeling kegs and cases, you’ll find that there is a common thread of pride that runs through the company and its people, a pride that centers around being an independent, family-owned and operated company that has being doing business for nearly seven decades. Teton Distributors believes in investing in its people, its equipment, and its facilities and will continue to grow within the state by offering customers the best selection and service possible. Teton Distributors has proven that the strength of a large company combined with a small-town, family-driven mindset is the key to success in a state like Wyoming.