Total Beverage Solution Acquires Vanberg & DeWulf Portfolio

Total Beverage Solution (TBS) yesterday announced that it has acquired the exclusive rights to Vanberg & DeWulf, a portfolio of various imported Belgian beers, for an undisclosed amount.

TBS — which serves as a master distributor for a number of import brands as well as Shipyard Brewing — will begin shipping product to distributors as early as this Thursday, said Dave Pardus, the CEO of TBS.

Sixty percent of V&D’s distributor partners already work with TBS, which creates a “footprint overlap” that signals business as usual for V&D clients, Pardus said.

The remaining 40 percent of V&D’s wholesalers, however, will be new clients for TBS. Pardus said the company will continue working with those distributors and will not immediately look to consolidate the distribution rights with an existing wholesaler.

”Due to state laws in most markets, the franchise protection will enable the existing distributors of the product to continue with us,” said Pardus.

However, Pardus said TBS may decide to relinquish the distribution rights for some the lower volume brands in the V&D book.

Pardus described the V&D offerings — which include popular beers from Brasserie Dupont, and Brasserie Dubuisson (Scaldis), among others — as “discovery brands,” and hopes to increase portfolio-wide availability in a “thoughtful fashion.”

“We may be able to access markets they hadn’t gotten into,” said Pardus.

He added that V&D currently works with about 50 distributors, nationwide, while TBS enlists the help of nearly 150 wholesalers.

David Kahle, manager of the craft beer division for Wirtz Beverage Illinois, which distributes V&D’s portfolio, added that more feet on the ground would be a good thing.

“It will probably be beneficial having this happen just to have more feet on the street, which is what TBS provides,” he said. “We will have more help out on the street.”

Nevertheless, maintaining the “discovery” aspect of the beers in the portfolio remains important.

“I don’t want these brands to be mass-marketed,” Pardus added.

Courtney Gibson, social media manager at TBS said that in order to grow the brands without taking away their niche qualities, they’ll need to study up a bit.

“Obviously it’s a very extensive portfolio, so our first goal is going to be to learn more about the brands,” she said. “Their brands are in very niche beer accounts that cater to people that care about good beer, quality beer.”

Kahle added, “the book kind of drives itself, its reputation. We do a lot of sales with Saison Dupont, which has always been their biggest mover.”

Pairing V&D’s Saison Dupont with TBS’ Weihenstephan was another element that piqued the interest of the Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based importer.

“Just having the iconic brand of Dupont going side by side with Weihenstephan in our portfolio seemed like a pretty neat tandem to go to market with,” added Pardus.

TBS revenues totaled $45 million last year, and the company is forecasting sales of more than $50 million in 2014.

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