Triangle Distributing

Our Organization

About Us

Gary Ziegelbauer is the current President here at Triangle Distributing Company and his daughter, a fourth generation owner, is the current Marketing Director.

Over the past sixty years, Triangle Distributing has maintained itself as a leader in the market as it has responded to the changes in product innovation and consumer demands. It is this commitment to these four keys that has enabled us to remain one of the best and most respected in our state.

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Employees

  • Our most important asset is our people so hire the best
  • Our employees are a part of our profit sharing program
  • We are committed to growth and development of our people
  • We work hard and play harder
  • Our culture is open and honest
  • We have caring hard working people that make a difference in our community

Community

  • We live and love our community and understand our importance
  • We have always been involved with our community and encourage our employees and friends to do the same
  • Our company is better when we get involved with the community

Customers

  • Partnering with our customers to bring them relevant products and information to help grow their business
  • Market adviser they can trust to grow their business
  • Strive to earn our customer partners' trust
  • Find the right product mix

 

Supplier Partners

  • Open honest communication
  • Trust from our suppliers that we know our market and delivery and sell the products that make sense in each account
  • We execute thru planning, goals driven down to the sales force and continuous tracking of the plan
  • Constant employee education - Educate our sales force on products
  • We are innovative
  • We act with integrity

 
 

Our Sales force

 
 

Triangle Distributing is a diversified distributor of high quality beverages, we are focused on providing customer satisfaction, serviced with well-trained personnel. We drive the market thru teamwork, goals and strong relationships with our customers and supplier partners.  We are truly dedicated and committed to the growth and development of each employee. Our entire Sales Team has completed the Server portion of the Beer Cicerone Class.We also have a few Account Managers working to complete the Certified Cicerone portion now. We use our bi-weekly sales meeting to educate of Sales Team on brand styles, food paring and samplings. To win in our market, we must have the best people with the right knowledge to best serve our customers.

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Triangle Distributing has developed a 100% pre-sell and delivery system that meets our customer partner’s needs and allows them the most up-to-date information in our industry.

Our selling system starts with a General Sales Manager that works with all suppliers to develop distribution and sales objectives that fit the marketplace and their brand goals. These goals are then passed to our Sales Managers who are responsible for street execution. Our Sales Manager Team is responsible for a channel selling system that includes Area Sales Managers, Convenience Store Manager, Space Planning Team, On-Premise Team and the Marketing Department.

Our Area Sales Managers have the resources to react to changing market conditions to make sure that all of our brands are able to be competitive at retail. Our Account Managers are exactly that, not Salespersons, but Account Managers. They are responsible for all aspects of service in their assigned accounts.

Triangle Distributing also believes that our delivery department is as important to our customers as Sales. We have three different types of delivery. First, we have a cart delivery system that has reduced our time of delivery in half. This way we are not interfering with our customers business. Next would be our dedicated Tel-Sell delivery route. Each one of our Tel-Sell accounts sees the same delivery person. This person can be the eyes that are missing in most Tel-Sell systems. Last would be our normal truck delivery that services most of our On-Premise partners.

Our training does not stop with just our Sales Department. We have also used our Delivery Meeting to educate our Drivers in the following areas: Space Management, Draught Beer knowledge and troubleshooting, Trade Math skills and Display Building.

Our warehouse staff works continuously with our sales staff to make sure proper care is given to our products. Warehouse temperature control and inventory maintenance of our over 2 million cases that sell thru our warehouse is important to make sure our product is delivered to market in the freshest state possible.

We believe that brewers, the wholesaler and it's employees and retail customers must all win for continued growth in our industry.

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Community Involvement

At Triangle Distributing, we encourage our employees to become involved in the community. We are very proud of all that they accomplish. Triangle sponsors a variety of annual events to raise funds to help the Northeast Wisconsin area.

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HISTORY

Triangle Distributing...a history rich in family and beer tradition.

1932

George Ziegelbauer, Sr. was an established butcher, operating a meat market & grocery store in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. During these grocery store days he had established a strong relationship with Pabst.

During prohibition he made it a practice of purchasing hops, yeast and malts from these breweries. His customers would purchase these supplies from him to make their illegal home brews.

December 5th, 1933

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After the repeal of prohibition the breweries found themselves in a unique position; they could brew and package beer, but they could not distribute it to retailers. A scramble ensued to set up beer distributors and for the current "three-tier" system of delivery.

“Red Cap" Gettlemen & Schlitz became the first breweries George Ziegelbauer Sr. began to distribute. Other Milwaukee breweries soon followed. These opportunities changed George from a grocery store owner to a beer distributor literally over night.

In 1936, the Schlitz salesmen suggested that it might be better to be located in the largest city in the county. So George Sr. rented a building at the northeast corner of South 18th and Franklin Street in Manitowoc, WI.

In 1937, George Sr. had the opportunity to acquire from the Chicago and Northwestern Rail Road Co. a former stockyard piece of land between South 18th Street and South 19th Street on the North side of Franklin Street and North of a Rail Road siding track. He then erected a Butler steel building facing 19th Street.

In 1940, George Sr. had the chance to purchase some refrigerated boxcars from Anheuser Busch. The first one received was full of Budweiser. After removing the beer and wheels, which were sold back to the Rail Road, it was placed behind the steel building and used as a cooler for the keg beer. After two more boxcars were received and placed parallel to the first one, the warehouse was then complete.

1943

There was some shortage of beer during World War II because the Federal Government had put restrictions on the use of certain supplies.

After World War II ended in 1945, the servicemen started coming home. This included George Sr.’s two sons, George Jr. and James. Prohibition has been repealed and the economy was picking up.

As the beer business grew, George Sr. established three locations for his warehouses. These operating facilities were in Fond du Lac, Green Bay and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. By the time George Ziegelbauer, Jr. entered the business in 1948, George Sr. had separated the businesses. George Sr. gave two of the three brothers a branch. Jim was given Manitowoc, George Jr. was given Green Bay and Fond du Lac was sold. At the time of the split the boys were Budweiser distributors.

Breweries were demanding the distributors be more exclusive with their products. When Budweiser pressed the boys to be exclusive they ended their relationship.

George Ziegelbauer Jr.

George Ziegelbauer Jr.

Breweries and distributors were involved in intense deal-making. Beer distributorships and beer brands were very plentiful. Relationships lacked loyalty. Breweries were only concerned with controlling brands and volume from their partner distributors. Beer was sold on relationships, personality and charisma…and George was blessed with all those characteristics. It wasn't the brands tap knob; it was George's tap knob!

The work was hard and the days were long. Triangle's personnel consisted of the owner, the bookkeeper and the drivers. They would begin their day at 5:00 A.M unloading the train carloads that had been delivered. If they got done early, the drivers would deliver the beer.

After the work was done, the selling began. It was all social! George Jr. picked up tap knobs at night. Some nights until 8 or 9 P.M. Success as a distributor was dependent on belonging to social clubs that built successful relationships.

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Unfortunately, in 1965 George was involved in a serious car accident, which left him in need of constant care. Leona, his wife took over the business. With seven children at home she did not have the luxury of working the market the way George and she had done. Her family obligations and her gender presented its own struggles.

Leona Ziegelbauer

Leona Ziegelbauer

By the time George Jr and Leona's son, Gary Ziegelbauer, had come into the industry there was great change occurring and the age of media was coming into its own. Beer selling had moved away from relationship-building being the sole means of selling the product. Relationship selling is still an important part of the beer business and it works in conjunction with marketing. Moving the local marketing to the national level was a huge step in brand recognition.

Gary Ziegelbauer

Gary Ziegelbauer

1970 - Tobacco giant, Phillip Morris acquired full ownership of Miller Brewing

Beer had been advertising for a long time, but the impact of the age of media really began to hit. When Phillip Morris purchased Miller Brewing, the company had big plans for Miller, hoping to apply some of the same advertising strategies to the beer industry that had been applied to propel Marlboro cigarettes to the top position within the tobacco industry.

When beer distributors from around the country converged on Boca Raton, FL for Miller Brewing's national sales meeting in January of 1971, they unveiled their advertising strategy. The focal point of the gathering was Miller's launch of a nationwide advertising campaign centered on the slogan:

 
If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the beer
 

A new genre of beer commercial was about to be born, and television was the focus. The focus wasn't just about the flavor of the beer, but that you worked hard all day and now it was Miller Time.

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By 1983, 92% of beer was sold by          the top 6 brewers

Big brewers began to dominate the industry. Regional breweries began to falter. The switch from returnable bottle to throw-away bottles made the local brewers no longer the economical choice for the consumer. Near the end of the 1970s there were only 44 breweries in the United States. In comparison, there had been 2,000 independent brewing companies making beer in America.

Today, the small brewery is different. It is no longer the more economical consumer choice. They have positioned themselves as craft brewers with the premium product. They have created the call for consumers to demand a more unique experience with their beer. Beer drinkers are starting to drink less, but better beer. Pairing beer and food is becoming a growing trend as consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about beer styles.

How things have changed in a short amount of time:

  • 1995 - there were 500 breweries

  • 1996 - there were 1,102 breweries

  • 2001 - there were 1,458 breweries

  • 2010 - there are over 1,600 breweries