Best Damn Cream Soda: Taking You Back to the Summers of Your Childhood

We are one week away from the holiday that kicks off the summer – Memorial Day! We are excited and ready for summertime weather, fun, and (of course) drinks, which is why we are equally excited to tell you about Best Damn Cream Soda.

Remember the summers of your childhood? Remember how much fun they where? Remember how you used to ride your bikes to the closest soda shop and enjoy a cold cream soda?

Well, some of our readers just might remember doing exactly that while others have only heard stories of such summer activities as this. Either way, you know the feeling of enjoying an old fashioned soda in a soda shop – whether from personal experience or through stories that sang through your imagination.

We’re here to take you back to those childhood summers through the taste of Best Damn Cream Soda. Now, the major difference here is that you’ll be drinking the adult version of that soda you enjoyed in your youth!

Best Damn Cream Soda (5.5% ABV) is a hard soda with the same great taste you remember drinking or imagining. Aged on real vanilla beans during the brewing process, Best Damn Cream Soda adds “a touch of sweetness to a timeless recipe,” as the brewers describe it.

Look for this great-tasting, old-timey hard soda Best Damn Cream Sodaon shelves in the following packages:

  • 6 pk. 12 oz. bottle
  • 6 pk. 16 oz. can

For those of you who sampled or saw it at the Decatur Chamber Business Expo & Taste in early May, you know what we’re talking about! It’s “Soda-licious, you’ll love it!” (We had to end with a bit of the brewers’ soda humor).

Head on out and grab a six pack to try and get transported back to the summers of your childhood…and enjoy them like an adult this Memorial Day!

Cheers!

Shock Top Lemon Shandy has a New Look!

Your favorite summer seasonal is back, and it has a brand new look! Check it out, and be sure to look for this refreshed packaging on shelves in your local grocery and liquor stores.

ST Lemon Shandy Refresh 2017

After all, Shock Top Lemon Shandy “is summer in a bottle” as the brewers describe it. Memorial Day Weekend is the kickoff to the summer season, and what better way could there be to get a head start on some summer fun than to stock the fridge with a Shock Top Lemon Shandy (4.2% ABV)?

We couldn’t think of one either.

You can stock the fridge or your cooler with a:

  • 6 pack of 12 oz. bottles or
  • 12 pack of 12 oz. bottles.

Or perhaps you feel like going out for a beer with your friends? Be sure to ask the bartender for a Shock Top Lemon Shandy on tap at your favorite watering hole this summer.

No matter what, though, with its “classic, refreshingly balanced sweet and crisp lemon recipe,” the summer will be off to a good start…with a Shock Top Lemon Shandy in hand, of course. Now, it’s time for you to enjoy that taste of summer for yourself!

Cheers!

Get Your Mom What She Really Wants This Mother’s Day: Pine-Apple-Rita Splash!

Mother’s Day is May 14th, which means you have about a week to figure out how to showPineapple Rita Splash her your appreciation. Lucky for you, we have just what you’ve been looking for….Pine-Apple-Rita Splash!

It’s the newest, full-time addition to the Rita Splash line of products, and it. is. delicious! This easy to drink Rita “combines the deliciously light flavor of pineapple with a refreshing margarita taste,” according to the brewers.

Pine-Apple-Rita Splash (4% ABV) is perfect for your fun-loving mom, who just wants to sit, talk, and spend some time with her adult children. You can let loose with your mom and reminisce about all the times you drove her nuts and made her laugh while you were growing up.

Head to the store today and get yourselves a 12 oz. bottle 6 pack or a 16 oz. can 6 pack to share together (and with your siblings, if you have them)!

After all, the best present you can often give is time spent with those you love and what better way to do that than to gather and talk over a couple Pine-Apple-Rita Splashes?

Cheers to all the moms out there this Mother’s Day!

 

Elysian Space Dust IPA Gives You a Taste of Space on Earth

You’ve always had your eyes on the skies. You wanted to be an astronaut when you grew up. You heard there are 7 Earth-like planets about 40 lightyears away from us here on earth, and you were more than intrigued. Well, Elysian Brewing Company’s Space Dust IPA is just as intriguing.

Elysian Space Dust IPA.jpg

Look at that packaging! If that doesn’t catch your eye in the beer aisle, we don’t know what will. But Elysian isn’t all about great, eye-catching packaging. They also take care to make sure what’s inside is just as captivating. Space Dust IPA is no exception.

If you’re into IPA’s, you’ll want to give this one a try. It has a “truly bright, tropical flavor” that will have you reaching for another, according to the Seattle brewers.

Space Dust IPA (8.2% ABV and 73 IBU’s) is a West Coast IPA that’s “bold, juicy, and deliciously hoppy.” It was “brewed with world-renowned west coast hops – Chinook, Citra and Amarillo” as well as Great Western premium two-row, C-15, and Dextra Pils malts.

You can find Elysian Space Dust IPA available in two forms: in 12 oz. six-pack bottles at your local liquor and grocery stores and/or on draft in select bars and restaurants. So if you have noticed it on tap but haven’t had a chance to try it yet, now is your chance! Space Dust IPA will give you the taste of space you’ve been craving right here on Earth.

Ask for a Space Dust IPA on draft, test it out. Like it? Tell a friend. Pick up a six-pack the next time you’re at the store and share it with a friend. You can talk about space and Earth-like planets and extraterrestrial life to your heart’s content with a little Space Dust in your hand.

Cheers!

Corks & Forks & Sampling Skeff Distributing Beer Brands!

Corks & Forks 2017.jpg

Corks & Forks is one of Decatur’s best events of the year, no doubt. Did you know that it’s not only about wine and food, though? Oh yes, there is beer to be had as well!

Stop by the Skeff Distributing table to sample the following beers:

    • From Firestone Walker:
      • Pivo
      • Luponic Distortion
      • Easy Jack IPA
      • DBA (Double Barrel Ale)
    • From Goose Island:
      • Goose Summertime Kölsch
      • Sophie
    • From Golden Road:
      • Palisades Pineapple
      • Hollywood Blonde
    • Kona Brewing’s Hanalei IPA
    • Elysian’s Space Dust
    • Shock Top Lemon Shandy
    • Virtue Cider’s The Mitten

They pair just as nicely with food as wine does…just a little something not everyone knows or remembers until we remind them!

If you already planned to or now want to attend Corks & Forks hosted by the Decatur Area Arts Council, here is all the information you need to know about the event.

  • Date: Thursday, April 27
  • Time: 6:30-9:30pm
  • Location: Decatur Conference Center & Hotel
  • Cost:
    • $50/person in advance
    • $55/person at the door

There is also a VIP Event prior to the main event (which includes admission to the main event as well). It consists of an exclusive seated Premium Wine and Food Pairing 5-6:30 p.m. and costs $125/person. Also note, the VIP event only has a limited number of tickets. If you’re interested in this part of the event, you better act fast and hopefully it’s not sold out already and/or note it down for next year, so you are sure to get your ticket!

Of course, there will be art as well. You can’t have an event hosted by the Arts Council without a bit of art! If you haven’t attended in years past, you should also know that there is a silent auction with plenty of items of interest as you enter the event, like these from previous years…

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Pieces by local artists, private dinners from local chefs, tickets to ball games, and more have been up for auction in the past, so there is a bit of something for everyone.

We look forward to seeing you there and seeing your delighted faces as you sample our selection of beers!

Cheers!

New! Skeff Distributing Welcomes SpikedSeltzer to Their Portfolio!

New to Skeff Distributing’s portfolio is Anheuser-Busch’s SpikedSeltzer. No doubt you have started seeing this on shelves and in coolers or even out and about by now. But do you know anything about it? Well, keep reading and we will tell you all about it.

SpikedSeltzer (6% ABV) is a cold-brewed, non-malt beer. It has 5 grams of carbs, is gluten-free, is flavored with natural fruit essences, but it isn’t sweet. It was first launched in 2013 by brew master Nick Shields and Dave Holmes in Connecticut and quickly spread through the Northeast before catching the eye of Anheuser-Busch, who then acquired the brand.

Now Skeff Distributing is delivering it to all your local bars, restaurants, grocery and liquor stores for you to have and share with your friends and family! SpikedSeltzer, according to the brewers, “strives for simplicity with just a few natural ingredients and purified water. Champagne-like bubbles and fruit essence give SpikedSeltzer a fresh, lively taste!”

You can find 12 oz. 6 pack cans in the Indian River Grapefruit and West Indies Lime flavors. Or you can look for the 12 oz. 12 pack variety pack, which includes:

  • Indian River Grapefruit
  • Valencia Orange
  • West Indies Lime
  • Cape Cod Cranberry

They are waiting for you to buy and try now! Cheers!

Spiked Seltzer 2017

Firestone Walker’s Visit with Skeff Distributing!

You may have heard of the California brewers also known as Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Whether you thought, “Yes, I have” or “Nope, sure haven’t” we will give you all the details you need to know here, so keep reading!

Who Are They?

Firestone Walker Brewing Company was started by two brothers-in-law – David Walker and Adam Firestone in Paso Robles, California. (We bet you can guess where the brewery got its name…) Located in an area surrounded by vineyards and winemakers, a brewery was born out of love for beer.

Walker and Firestone wanted to do something different – brew beer in the land of wine – and we’d say they’ve done an exceptional job of it. The two brothers-in-law came together to form a partnership to bring you “the authenticity of Old World Craft with the innovative spirit of California” as they describe it.

As Walker is a British expat and Firestone is a household American name, you can see how this partnership was destined to accomplish exactly what they set out to do.

Why We’re Excited about Them

We are excited to welcome Firestone Walker Brewing Company into the Skeff Distributing fold and distribute their brands. Firestone Walker beer brands will be available in our Decatur, Champaign, and Christian County, so start looking on shelves and on tap at your favorite stores and watering holes in these areas!

Not only are we excited to distribute their beer, but they also increased that excitement by paying us a visit on Friday, March 31st to tell us a bit more about their beer brands and do a tasting.

Firestone Walker’s Visit to Skeff

John Kellerman, Firestone Walker’s Market Manager for St. Louis, Southern Illinois, & Iowa, paid us a visit to tell us a bit more about the brewery, the brews, and how excited they are to partner with us as their distributor.

He ran through the portfolio for us and did a sampling, so our Sales Team would have firsthand experience with these brands when selling them to our retail customers.

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They have some great-tasting beers to say the least, which is likely a direct result of their commitment to quality products and the focus they give their brands. They’re not trying to do everything well, they’re doing a handful of things exceptionally. That commitment and focus can all but be tasted as an added ingredient to these beers. They are great and definitely worth a try.

Next time you’re out and about or in the grocery or liquor store and see a Firestone Walker beer on tap or on the shelf, give it a try and see for yourself!

Cheers!

Blue Point Toasted Lager: A Taste of the East Coast Available Right Here in the Midwest

Toasted Lager draft

Blue Point Brewing Company was recently welcomed into the Anheuser-Busch family of products as well as Skeff Distributing’s distributed brands. You may have started seeing Blue Point Toasted Lager on shelves or on tap as of late and wondered what it was, where it comes from, and why you should try it. Well, we are here to give you answers to all of those questions!

Toasted Lager 6 pack.pngWhere Does It Come From?

Blue Point Brewing comes from Long Island, New York to give you a little taste of the East Coast right here in the Midwest.

What Is It?

As you can probably guess, Toasted Lager (5.5% ABV) is a lager. It’s copper in color and brewed with a variety of malts (Blended 2-Row Barley, Crystal, Munich Type I, Munich Type II, Pale Wheat, Carared, and Caramalt) and hops (Columbus, Crystal, and Mt. Hood) to give it a balanced flavor.

Why Should I Try It?

“Why,” you ask? Toasted Lager is brewed for easy drinking and has an “exceptional, long-lasting, smooth finish” thanks to their special, proprietary lager yeast, according to the brewers.

They also told us, “Toasted Lager was originally named for the ‘toasted’ characteristic of our original direct-fire brick kettle. Our World Beer Cup gold medal-winning flagship brew is brewed with a blend of six specialty malts for a flavor as rich and unique as the town it’s from.”

And if that doesn’t tempt you enough, it’s also known for this little tidbit of information:

Toasted Lager 60 percent prefer to Sam Adams

Don’t’ believe us? Set up your own blind taste test! Blue Point Toasted Lager is available year round on tap and in 6 pack bottles. Ask for a Toasted Lager on draft or buy a 6 pack to pair with oysters, fish, and other seafood, then let your taste buds do the talking!

Cheers!

Cubs Fans: Support Your Team with MLB Budweiser Team Cans!

Play ball! Baseball is back and so are Budweiser team cans.

Last year the Chicago Cubs (finally) made it to the World Series and (finally) became champions. This year, Budweiser is giving them one more reason to be celebrate. Not only do the Cubs have bragging rights for the year, but they also get their own team can.

It’s not just any old team can, though. This year the Cubs team can will bear their logo and the words “2016 World Series Champions,” which is important to note – some people never thought they’d live to see the words, let alone the words on a can of Budweiser. Oh happy day, they lived to see the day!

Rest assured, these will fly off the shelves in the first weeks of baseball season. Whether you want to keep one as a collectible (because who knows how long it will be until they can call themselves champions again?) or you want to represent your team in every way possible when you’re with your friends watching the game, we’ve got you covered.

You will be able to find Chicago Cubs Budweiser team cans in two packages: 12 oz. 12 pack cans or 16 oz. 24 pack aluminum bottles. So no matter what your Cubs game watching needs entail, we’ve got a package to fit the size of your party.

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With so much to celebrate and so much hope that the Cubbies will do it again, why not show your support with your very own Budweiser Team Can?

Congratulations, Cubs fans, enjoy the season! We’ll see what happens in the 2017 World Series!

Cheers!

Try Something New this Spring – 10 Barrel Brewing’s Joe IPA!

You may or may not have heard of 10 Barrel Brewing. For those of you who have, you’re going to like what you see in this post. For those of you who haven’t, allow us to introduce you.

Skeff Distributing is welcoming 10 Barrel Brewing from Bend, Oregon to the family of beer brands we distribute to your local liquor and grocery stores, bars, and restaurants!

The first one we’d like to tell you to look for when you’re out and about shopping, eating, and/or drinking is Joe IPA (6.9% ABV). For those of you who know about 10 Barrel and Joe IPA, you may remember this beer was formerly known as Sam.

Joe-IPA.png

It is available year round in 12 oz. 6 pack bottles and ½ bbl. kegs, which is great because you can try this beer, fall in love with it, and then go back for more time after time without futilely searching the shelves.

And let’s face it, if you like IPA’s, you just might fall in love with Joe IPA. It has a “Bright, citrusy flavor” and an “intense hoppy aroma,” according to the brewers. And that great flavor is thanks to the 3 varieties of hops used in the brewing process: Amarillo, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops.

Joe IPA doesn’t just taste good, though. It has award-winning good taste – the 2016 Best of Oregon gold medal award to be exact.

So head to stores or out today, order a pint. Grab a six-pack. Have a beer with a friend, and make it a Joe IPA. You just might find your new favorite IPA.

Bud Light and Your March Madness Menu!

Yesterday was Selection Sunday a.k.a. the kickoff of March Madness. Today, we have a breather to consider our brackets and get all our ideas lined up for the next few weeks. Now, I don’t know about you, but one thing I like to get squared away is the menu for my watch parties!

Bud-BL March Madness 2017.JPGFood and beer go hand in hand with watching any sporting event, but March Madness takes it to a whole ‘nother level. With this in mind, we thought (in the words of Joey Tribiani), Why don’t we “put those hands together?”

We don’t just want to pair your food and beer. We want to put your beer in your food! Two of the best things about beer are that it pairs well with food and it is a tasty ingredient for any number of recipes. We picked out a couple for you to add to your March Madness Menu. They’re easy, simple, and they don’t take forever to throw together.

They both call for Budweiser (which you can absolutely use), but if you’re wanting to use all that Bud Light you just stocked up on over the weekend for March Madness, go right ahead and use it!

First up, we have a Bud (Light) Cheese Dip. If you follow the link, you will be taken to our Pin.

INGREDIENTS

Yield 10 oz. of dipbud-cheese-dip

  • 1 can Budweiser
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 8 oz. gruyere, shredded
  • 1 tbsp. A.P. Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp. Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 0.5 onion, medium diced
  • 0.5 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 0.5 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 0.5 tbsp. salt
  • 0.5 tbsp. pepper

METHOD

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the two cheeses together with the flour making sure that all three ingredients are fully incorporated.
  2. In a medium sauce pot, heat on high and add olive oil until it starts to smoke.
  3. Immediately add onions and sauté until light golden brown.
  4. Season sautéed onions with garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper and stir until mixed.
  5. Deglaze by adding beer, Worchester, and sriracha.
  6. Bring to a boil and then add cheese/flour mix ¼ at a time.
  7. Be sure to constantly stir and ensure that most if not all of the cheese is melted before adding the next batch.
  8. Serve very warm with crackers, pretzels, or bread.

Then for a little more sustenance, we have Beer Battered Wings. Again, the recipe calls for Budweiser, but Bud or Bud Light will do!

beer-battered-wingsINGREDIENTS

Yield 1.5 dozen wings

  • 18 pieces jumbo chicken wings
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ cup AP flour
  • 2 cans Budweiser
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tbsp. paprika, garlic powder, onion powder
  • ½ tbsp. salt, ground pepper
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil, heated to 350F in a pot that leaves 4 inches between the top of the oil and the top of the pot

METHOD

SET UP: Deep fry or blanche chicken wings in oil for 5 minutes and let cool prior to starting recipe

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix until all are fully incorporated.
  2. Slowly add beer while whisking together with dry ingredient mixture.
  3. Once all beer is used, add water until mixture is viscous but not too aqueous.
  4. Whisk until all lumps are gone and mixture is smooth and one consistent texture.
  5. Dip each wing individually and gently place into oil.
  6. Be careful to cook wings only 3 pieces at a time to ensure against overflowing of the oil and in order to reduce the drop in temperature of the oil.

For more ideas for your March Madness Menu, visit our Pinterest board “Cooking with Beer!”

Cheers!

P.S. Watch for the post on our Bud Illini blog about our March Madness Bracket on Wednesday!

Channel Your Inner Irishman with Erik the Red this St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and this year, we thought you would like to know about a beer that will get you in the Irish spirit for the holiday.

Peoria Brewing Company brews an Irish Red Ale called Erik the Red (6.6% ABV), and it is just the beer to have you feeling Irish (whether you are or you aren’t).

erik-the-red-2

As history tells us, the monasteries in Ireland (as in many other countries) brewed their own beer. Well, the Vikings decided Ireland was a land prime for the picking and made their way over to find and take whatever treasures they could – land, bronze, beer recipes… What they found were the Irish monasteries brewed some fine ales. However, as Peoria Brewing put it, they “were a little heavy for marathon battles and got busy brewing battle-friendly ales.”

The Vikings brewed what you would now find to be a traditional, flavorful red ales with a smooth finish just like Erik the Red. While these ales may be the product of a marrying of two cultures Irish and Norse, we all know who the real hero of this beer tale is – St. Pat.

Without him, Ireland may not have converted from their pagan ways. The monasteries that brewed their own beer may not have come to the island for centuries. The Vikings may not have seen the appeal of Ireland. We may have gone without a great addition to the beer world that is rich with centuries of history and tradition. And that, my friends, would have been a crying shame.

So raise an Erik the Red to St. Patrick today, and thank your lucky shamrocks for a good Irish Red Ale! Cheers!

Spring is in the Air or is it in the Shock Top Spring Citrus Variety Pack?

Forget what that groundhog said, spring is here! Or at least Shock Top thinks it is. We’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and enjoy Shock Top’s Spring Citrus Variety Pack until spring actually makes its grand appearance.

This variety pack by Shock Top is going to put a spring in your step and bright, shiny, warmer days on your mind. With the combination of four great-tasting citrus beers, how could you go wrong?

Included in the Spring Citrus Variety Pack, you will find:

  • Belgian White – This is the classic, unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale with real orange, lemon, and lime peel, and coriander that you love and trust from Shock Top.
  • Ruby Fresh – You may not recognize. It’s the new spring a 4.2% ABV beer that “puts the flavor in refreshment by balancing the delicious sweetness and tartness of the perfect grapefruit.”
  • Lemon Shandy – The same Lemon Shandy taste and flavor you’ve come to know, love, and expect in the spring and summertime.
  • Holy Citrus (a.k.a. Buddha’s Hand) – This new beer from Shock Top brings a lemony twist to the pack that you will just have to try for yourself!

If that doesn’t tempt you, this bright packaging, jumping out at you from the shelf sure will!

st-spring-citrus-variety-2017

You can start looking for the Spring Citrus Variety Pack on shelves this week. It comes in 12 pack and 24 pack 12 oz. bottles, so no matter how big or small your party is Skeff Distributing has you covered.

Cheers to living life unfiltered!

Skeff 50th Anniversary Video Part 4: Community Impact

This week Buds & Brews brings you Part 4, the last installment of the Skeff Distributing 50th Anniversary video blog series. You might say we saved the best for last as we look at the impact Skeff Distributing has had the communities it serves.

The idea of giving back, of community service, of helping bring more opportunity for work and for fun to the communities in which we live, work, and serve has been a huge part of Skeff Distributing company culture from the very beginning.

In fact, John told us about this in Part 2 of our 50th Anniversary Interview with him, “My Dad always said, ‘This community has been great to us. You can’t just take from it, you have to give back to it.’…We want the communities we serve to be great place to live, work, and play!”

As you will or have already seen in this video, members and leaders of the community, business owners and partners, as well as friends speak to the fact that Skeff Distributing has become an integral part of the community. It humbles us to hear those we know, respect, and work with describe what Skeff Distributing means to them as members of the community.

From growing the business to include even more towns and cities in East Central Illinois to using local contractors to expand its buildings to being involved in community events, food drives, and more, and acting on local companies’ boards, Skeff Distributing plays its part. This activity in the community is important to not only the Skeffington family but also to its employees, who are just as active individually in the communities in which they live as the company is as a whole.

Skeff Distributing has worked to build good, long-term relationships with the people and the businesses in Decatur, Springfield, Champaign, Danville, and now Taylorville. It is the belief of the company and its employees that these relationships are the lifeblood of Skeff Distributing. While fostering those relationships takes effort on both sides, one way we love to show our support is through our work at special events, giving to local charities, and our annual community clean up days.

We want to give back and support the communities that have given and supported us for the past 50 years, and we look forward to the opportunities that will present themselves to us in the years to come!

Here is to all the communities we live, work, and play in and the support we give each other may we continue to show it in every way we can. To the next 50!

Skeff 50th Anniversary Video Part 3: Decades – A Look Back

Skeff Distributing has seen a lot of change in its 50 years in business. From growth in the number of brands, the climate of the industry, consolidation, and the expansion of our business, Skeff has been through it all.

We have resided in three buildings:

  • The Anroco Lumber Company building on 22nd Street
  • It’s second home at 1175 N. 20th
  • And finally its current location at 3585 E. L&A Industrial Drive.

The business grew out of the first two locations and has experienced growth and change throughout 5 decades that no one could have expected in its first year of business.

Part 3 of the Skeff Distributing 50th Anniversary video blog series will show you a look through each decade and how much has changed from the start to today.

The 60’s

With very few employees in the early years (8, including the three founding brothers) and only 3 brands (Budweiser, Michelob, and Busch), it is hard to believe that 50 years later Skeff Distributing employs over 110 employees and carries over 68 brand families.

Not to mention, some of Budweiser’s biggest competition in the 60s was Schlitz and Falstaff are two brands that don’t even exist in the beer business today.

The 70’s

The 70s brought change to the world not just from social, political, and economic standpoints but also the beer industry. This decade introduced us to a new type of beer – light beer. People were becoming more health-conscious and with that in mind, Natural Light was added to the Anheuser-Busch list of brands.

That wasn’t the only introduction this decade made, though. Our owner, President, CEO, & GM (a jack of all trades by any means), started his career in the business upon his return from the Army. He has now been with the company for over 40 years.

The 80’s

In the 80’s, Skeff Distributing expanded the warehouse to include a Controlled Environmental Warehouse or CEW, which kept the beer cold and fresher for a longer period of time.

Michelob Light and Bud Light (two brands still produced today) were introduced as well. As you know now, Bud Light would grow to become one of the biggest brands in the business.

Another opportunity presented to wholesalers in the 80’s was beer sponsorships for local events. They picked up and became quite a thing in this decade. This led to Skeff Distributing’s involvement in local softball teams, The Decatur Celebration, and much more. These sponsorships continue to this day.

The 90’s

This decade was centered on quality. A-B put their own stamp on ensuring quality through their Commitment to Excellence program (aspects of which are still practiced today). It was based on 3 principles:

  • Customer Satisfaction.
  • Continuous Improvement.
  • Employee Involvement.

Skeff Distributing executed this program so well that it won the Gold Dimensions of Excellence 3 years running and became an Anheuser-Busch Ambassador for Sales and Operations Excellence as well as a Wholesaler Support Center.

This meant Skeff Distributing was often on the front-end of new trends, systems, and brands as we acted as a kind of guinea pig for the brewery’s wholesalers.

The 2000’s

The 2000’s were a decade of consolidation. Skeff Distributing moved into its new and current home while consolidating with House of Brews out of Springfield. Later, the company would purchase the assets of the Champaign A-B wholesaler, tripling the size of the company.

Consolidation wasn’t just at the local level, though. The top of the three-tier system was making its own waves in consolidation. The biggest came in 2008 when InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch and changed the international beer business as we knew it.

John Skeffington took part in and served on a couple of boards and teams for Anheuser-Busch that helped improve wholesaler relationships and execution, including one that created the Mobility system which is still used today by our Sales department.

The 2010’s

In the 2010 decade, Skeff expanded its warehouse once again and also purchased two more wholesalers – one in Danville, one in Taylorville. InBev once again followed suit and consolidated the international beer market by purchasing SABMiller.

It is the decade of our future and brings all of us at Skeff Distributing a lot of excitement as we celebrate a milestone year in our business and look forward to the future of our company.

The past five decades have been an honor and a privilege and one we do not take lightly. We look forward to many more years to come, knowing the principles the Founders of Skeff Distributing built the company on are still very much a part of our company culture today.

Cheers to the decades that brought us so much change and fortune and to the decades to come and all the opportunities they will bring!

Skeff 50th Anniversary Video Series Part 2: Being a Skeffington

Part 2 of the 50th Anniversary series is all about “Being a Skeffington.” While Part 1 was an overview of company history, this second segment discusses family history (including grandparents, great-uncles, parents, and children) and what it means to grow up in the family business.

Skeff Distributing is not just a family business, though. It’s a family business that has been around for 50 years and has its 3rd generation working there. It’s a family business that believes in relationships as a way of business, one which has led to a Cheers-like feeling when walking into long-time accounts.

This video speaks to the growth and evolution of not only these “kids” in the business, but also the business itself and its long-time employees. The way the business operates from industry changes to our own acquisitions and the adjustments that go along with them have changed over the years. On a much more local level, some long-time employees have started as merchandisers and worked their way up through the Skeff ranks to positions in delivery, sales, and management.

It has become a home away from home for the Skeffington family, but that doesn’t mean it’s exclusive to the family only. That home has been open to all of its past, present, and future employees. They have welcomed their employees into their lives, their home, their business, and their family. It’s an all-encompassing welcome when you say yes to a job offer at Skeff.

That doesn’t mean things are always sunshine and roses, though – especially when you grow up in the family business and everyone knows your parents like the Skeffingtons did. It may have meant they had a lot of eyes watching them as they grew up or that they had to experience events like the Decatur Celebration in a much different way than their peers.

However, as they grew up, the appreciation for what those extra responsibilities or varied experiences they had simply because of their family name became a badge of honor worn every day. They appreciate the legacy that has been built for them over the past 50 years, have come to find the humor in it, and work to continue the traditions of quality, customer service, community involvement, humility, kindness, and respect for others.

“Being a Skeffington” and the ideals and traditions behind that name and what it means to the family, to its customers, and to its communities are embodied by more than the people who share the family name. These are values that extend to its employees. They are embodied in the people who work for Skeff Distributing. They take care in how they represent the company while out in the communities we serve every day as well as during special events, food drives, community clean up days, and so many other ways.

That’s what it means to be a Skeffington and a member of Team Skeff.

Cheers to family, tradition, and the next 50!

Skeff 50th Anniversary Video Series Part 1: History and the Secret to Success

As you watch the first part of our 50th Anniversary video, you will discover a couple of themes. Company history and the secret to success. Now, it’s important to know that none of our Sales Team members were prompted to say what they did. We merely asked a couple questions and let their answers come out as candidly as they may.

Naturally, there were some shared responses among the Sales Team’s when asked, “What is Skeff Distributing’s secret for success over the past 50 years?”

You will hear answers like:

  • Always making sure our customers are happy.
  • Service.
  • Relationships.
  • Teamwork.
  • The People – past and present.

What’s interesting about these answers is that they are all pieces of a little thing we like to call Customer 1st.

If you happened to come to our Open House or have attended any event or meeting held at Skeff Distributing headquarters, you may have noticed a series of banners in our large conference room. Each banner displays the name of each department and how that department is held accountable for servicing the customer, plus one for overall Skeff service.

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They act as reminders every time we walk through that conference room or sit in a meeting that what we are here to do is help our customers. The customer always comes first, hence the name Customer 1st.

We work hard every day to make sure we remember a number of things, but here are just a few.

Making friends is our business and the relationships we build with our customers – internal and external are what keep us in business.

We should always do strive to provide excellent service. If there’s a problem, we charge ourselves with the duty to find a solution.

Dedication and passion for what we do makes all the difference in the world because we care. We want our customers to succeed and so we act as their consultants when at all possible. We know if they succeed, we succeed and, ultimately, our consumers get the best products and packages that they want and deserve.

The people who work here are just as much our customer as our retail customers. Appreciating the value of teamwork helps all of us be more efficient and provide better service.

Customer 1st is a mindset and it is one that the Skeff Team has worked 50 years to instill in its employees past and present. It is also part of the reason you find people willing to say the things these Sales Team members did – “it’s personal,” “it’s a privilege,” “it’s an honor,” “it’s special” to be associated with a company like Skeff and Anheuser-Busch.

The bottom line of the history of Skeff Distributing and its secret to success is this: Our people are proud to be your Bud Men and Women. We love being a part of the fun and good times with your friends and family, your special occasions, and those random Friday nights. We’ve been a part of them for 50 years and it’s an honor and a privilege to continue doing so for many years to come.

Cheers to the next 50!

After the 50th Anniversary: Celebrations and Thanks

This past weekend was a big one for Skeff Distributing. We celebrated our 50th Anniversary with an Open House and a party. Of course, we wanted to celebrate this occasion to the fullest as these milestones don’t happen every day. Today we are taking a look back on a great weekend spent with coworkers, business partners, friends, family, and our communities as well as all those years building up to this one.

On Friday, January 20th from noon to 4 p.m. Skeff Distributing opened its doors to its employees, retirees, family, friends, community leaders, and brewery partners for an Open House.

Byers & Co. even came out to do their show on location at Skeff Distributing headquarters. They interviewed John and Susie Skeffington as well as 3 of 4 of their kids – Katy, Brendan, and Peter – about the 50th Anniversary, Skeff Distributing company history, what this milestone anniversary means to them and what they look forward to most in the years to come.

People from The Company’s past and present came to tour the facility, enjoy a Budweiser, some heavy hors d’oeuvres, and, of course, some cake and cookies. It was a momentous occasion to be able to see so many people who have played a part in the success and growth of Skeff Distributing.

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Then on Saturday, January 21st, our employees and retirees headed to the Decatur Conference Center & Hotel for our 50th Anniversary Celebration. Read: this was one big party for Team Skeff to enjoy themselves and celebrate the accomplishment of all the hard work put in to getting us here to 50 years and beyond.

From a red carpet-style entry, where our employees, retirees, and their guests got their photos taken (which was then printed into a keepsake for them to remember the night) to an awards ceremony, to dinner, dessert, and dancing, there was plenty of fun to go around.

This group can always be counted on to bring the life to a party and this year’s milestone celebration did not disappoint.

We enjoyed getting all of our people in one place to celebrate together this momentous occasion. However, we did also take the time to celebrate those individuals who have put in considerable time and effort over the years.

For those who also hit milestone anniversaries, we called them up for a certificate, a card, a handshake, and a round of applause. This year we saw anniversaries for 10, 15, 25, 30, and 40 years in the beer business! That, in today’s world, is quite the accomplishment and one we thought due for some acknowledgement.

We also took this time to announce our 2016 Employee of the Year – T.R. Fisher, our VP of Sales Operations & SEC. He was voted by his peers among the 12 previously nominated and selected 2016 Employees of the Month as someone in the company who has gone above and beyond not just one month but all year long.

And last but not least, new this year to our end of the year awards ceremony was The Founders’ Award. This award was created to acknowledge, celebrate, and award a member of our Team who exemplifies the principles which the Skeff Distributing Founding Fathers and Mother built the company, such as:

  • Honesty, Loyalty, and Integrity.
  • Passion for the Job and Industry.
  • Strong Work Ethic.
  • Commitment to Excellence.
  • Customer 1st Attitude… Always.
  • Great Teamwork.
  • Community Involvement.
  • Dedication to their Family.

Our Sales Manager for the Danville-Champaign market Tony Baszis took this home as the first winner of The Founders’ Award.

With so much to celebrate, it was only fitting we hit the music and the dance floor with 90’s Daughter, Budweiser in hand, and celebrated to the very last minute.

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We would like to thank all the people who made this possible: our founders, our employees (past and present), our suppliers, our community leaders, our friends and family, and all those we mentioned here and all those we may have missed. Thank you for the past 50 years of support and for all the years we have ahead of us.

Cheers to the next 50!

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Skeff Distributing’s 50th Anniversary: An Interview with the President, Part II

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As promised in last week’s post with Part I of the interview with Skeff Distributing’s own President John Skeffington, we are here to deliver you the much awaited Part II.

In these last questions, you will find the answer to what it’s like to be part of a family business, growing up in the beer business, the impact that business has had on a number of factors, favorite memories, and a look toward the future.

We hope you have enjoyed getting a little behind the scenes history and perspective on Skeff Distributing as we celebrate our 50th year in business. Now, let’s finish this ride down memory lane…at least for now!

  1. What has it been like to a part of a family business, grow up in the beer industry, and watch it/be part of it all growing and changing?

It has been a huge challenge as the industry has changed dramatically in some respects over the last 50 years. I am very proud of what has been built through hard work and sacrifice by family members and employees over my career, but through all the changes, we have stayed true to the vision and beliefs of my Dad, Mom, and uncles when they started this business.

2. What impact has that had on you, your family, your employees, and your community?

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Brendan, Misty, Maggie, Susie, John, and Peter Skeffington, and Katy and Joe Doolin.

Skeff Distributing Company has given my family and me security and the ability to send my kids through college and follow in my footsteps. I believe that our employees can say the same thing as it has given them the opportunity to raise their families and live a nice lifestyle. My Dad always said, “This community has been great to us. You can’t just take from it, you have to give back to it.” That has been a core value of the company since the beginning. We want the communities we serve to be great place to live, work, and play!

3. As someone who worked their way up through nearly every position in the company, what was your favorite job role and why?

Salesman. I loved being with customers, trying to exceed their expectations, and meeting great people! I still love to get out there today and make retail calls and be with our customers and consumers!

4. What is your favorite memory from the past 50 years of Skeff Distributing?

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John Skeffington and his father Jerry.

Too many to count really, but if I had to name one, I would say working with my Dad and uncles, who gave me the opportunity to learn and thrive in this business. I would also say working with my kids will give me the opportunity to do the same for them. If I was younger, I could have written a book about all the great people I have met and worked with in this industry, but the memory isn’t as good as it was!

 

5. What are you most looking forward to in the years to come?

Watching my children take on more responsibility and seeing this great company continue to grow and represent our great brands!

6. Is there anything else about the company, life the beer business, or the 50th anniversary that you would like to comment on?

This has always been a fun business (maybe not as fun as it used to be) but still a lot of fun! It’s great to be known as a “Bud Man!”

Thank you to our employees (current and former), retirees, retail customers, consumers, and communities for 50 great years! Here’s to many more! Cheers!

Skeff Distributing’s 50th Anniversary: An Interview with the President, Part I

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Friday, January 6th, 2017 Skeff Distributing celebrated its 50th Anniversary. So what did I do? I sat down with John Skeffington, President, CEO, & GM of Skeff Distributing to ask him some questions about the company and what it means to him to celebrate 50 years in business.

As the only person in the company who has witnessed to all 50 years, his perspective is unique. He has worked in a number of positions throughout his 42 years at Skeff Distributing and is well-versed in its history and goings-on.

So sit back, relax, and take a little trip down memory lane with John and me:

  1. What is it like for you to be the one person who has seen all 50 years of Skeff Distributing’s company history?

Well, it is truly an honor and a privilege to have been around this business since the start in 1967 and full-time since 1975. I’ve seen it grow from distributing to just Decatur, selling 3 brands and employing 8 people to what it has become today. Our territory now includes Decatur, Springfield, Champaign/Urbana, Danville and Taylorville, selling over 100 brands and employing 112 people. Quite a change, for sure!

2. What does it mean to you to be a second generation family business owner?

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Bonnie and Jerry Skeffington – John’s Parents.

Definitely, pretty daunting at times. There is an old saying, “The first generation builds the business, the second generation makes it a success, and the third wrecks it,” and my father always told me to not screw it up! I think we are well ahead of that curve and the future looks very bright! It has been a huge responsibility to carry since the founders’ passed the torch, but it has also been fun, and I’m very proud of where Skeff is today!

3. What is the biggest change you have seen occur over the past 50 years?

There have been so many over that period of time, but I would say that technology and huge growth changed us from small family businesses to medium to large businesses that function like large corporations with sophisticated systems and processes.

4. What is your favorite product (for whatever reason) of the past that you have seen
introduced and discontinued over the past 50 years? Why was it your favorite?

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Michelob Honey Lager. It had the great Michelob taste with a touch of sweetness from the honey. I am still a Budweiser lover as there is no better beer made than the King!
It’s got it all, its great taste and drinkability can’t be beat!

 

5. What are you most nostalgic about in Skeff Distributing
history? What makes you think “Oh, those were the good old days?”

When I see pictures of the early days of Skeff, my Dad, and my uncles. Those were the
“good old days.”

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Bob Skeffington, Jim Skeffington, and Jerry Skeffington – John’s Uncles and Father.

Stay tuned for Part II of this interview for more information on Skeff Distributing’s company history, John’s favorite memory of the past 50 years, his outlook on the future, and more!