Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics Jan-Feb 2016

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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Page 41 of 71

All in the Family BUSTER'S IS A MEMPHIS INSTITUTION. By Maura Keller 42 Beverage Dynamics • January/February 2016 B R E A K I N G G R O U N D O N G R O W L E R S One way Ed allowed Peco's to stand out — while continuing the family tradition of innovation — was by leading the charge in Delaware to legalize in-store growler fi lls. Growlers are nearly ubiquitous today. But not that long ago — as the craft beer craze grew faster than politicians could pass legislation — growlers were less common. As recently as 2013, alcohol retail stores in Delaware could not fi ll growlers. Ed rec- ognized the need — and the opportunity. When he joined Peco's four years ago after graduating college, he "saw that business was good. But it could be better." In order to lure customers away from Big Box stores, he ramped up Pe- co's craft beer selection. This included an 18-door cold box fi lled with microbrews. He got ahead of the Big Boxes in this rapidly expanding category. During this period, Ed visited a New Jersey store that featured a growler section. The appeal was apparent. He called the Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner. "I asked him whether I could do it in my store," Mulvihill recalls. "He said no. There was no law saying that we could or could not." So Ed sought to amend state law. As luck would have it, the local state representative was a regular customer at Peco's. Ed explained to her what a growler was, and she got on board with the idea. The change took two years. When state legislation to legalize growler-fi lls fi nally passed, it did so with much support. "The breweries like it, the distributors like it, and the retailers like it," Mulvihill explains. "It's good for all of our businesses. It's a win- win-win." And the growler law was a big victory for Peco's. He installed a fi ll station with 16 taps. Being at the forefront of this movement, Ed added growler business to his store three months before any other retailer. "We had the market cornered," he remembers. "Now there are 25 locations in Delaware doing growlers. Though it's still a rela- tively small number." I N T O T H E F U T U R E What's next for a business so steeped in history? "I always tell myself that I'm not going to do anything new this year, and then I go out and add something like food trucks," Mulvihill says. It sounds like more of the same of what has sustained Peco's for 80 years: innovation, and embracing both the industry and the community. "The people in this business — the sales reps and customers — and being a part of the community are what attracted my great grandfather to this business," he explains. "I love this industry. I look forward to maintaining our traditions here for a long, long time." The family business has long been a staple in the Ameri- can economy. According to the Small Business Administra- tion, about 90 percent of all U.S. businesses are family owned or controlled. Buster's Liquors & Wines in Memphis, Tennessee is one such family-owned entity. For more than six decades, multiple genera- tions of the Hammond family have been working hard at founding and growing a successful liquor retail business that serves the local community. Josh Hammond is the president of Buster's Liquors & Wines and grandson of the founder, Buster Hammond. "Good timing, the willingness to say 'yes,' a key understanding of customers' needs and an eagerness to meet those needs have made Buster's a concrete establishment within Memphis," he says. But founder Buster Hammond had not always sold liquor. He was originally in the grocery business with his friend, Tom Kirk. Together, they built three successful HamKirk grocery stores across Memphis and were recognized as the fi rst grocery to open on Sundays in the city. "Over time, the partnership waned and they agreed to set a price and fl ip a coin for the business. Buster loss," Hammond

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