SARATOGA SPRINGS – A fourth-generation family-run beverage wholesaler has purchased a third-generation family-run beverage retailer.
The owners of Saratoga Eagle completed the acquisition of Minogue’s Beverage Center on Monday. There will be some cosmetic updates at the four retail locations in Malta, Queensbury, Saratoga Springs and Wilton, but he plans to keep all four Minogue locations open.
Michael Minogue started the business in 1921 and was joined by his son John Sr. after World War II.
John “Jack” Minogue Jr. led the company to its 100th anniversary this year. His children built their own distinct careers and there were no other Minogues to take care of, he said, so he makes retirement plans instead of succession plans.
He passed any further comments to Jeff Vukelic, CEO of Saratoga Eagle.
Vukelic said he has known Jack Minogue since arriving in the region 16 years ago and that he knows the strength of the company.
He was interested in moving from wholesale to retail because it broadened the business model but also because it gave it a place to bring new people into the business.
Learning firsthand the preferences and buying habits of customers in a retail environment is great preparation for wholesale business, Vukelic said.
“And it’s just more learning for me in this job,” he added.
Stephen Vukelic formed Try-It Distributing in 1927 in Lackawanna, first marketing soda during Prohibition, then beer.
Several Vukelics still work for the company today. Jeff is CEO of Saratoga Eagle and his brother Paul is CEO of Try-It, the Lancaster-based parent company of Saratoga Eagle based in Saratoga. The two formed a new subsidiary of Saratoga Eagle – Pivo Partners – to acquire the Beverage Center from Minogue.
(“Pivo” is “beer” in Croatian, the language of the ancestral homeland of the Vukelics.)
The brothers must strike a balance, explained Jeff Vukelic, as Saratoga Eagle will continue to supply competitors to Minogue Beverage Centers and Minogue Beverage Centers will continue to purchase some of their inventory from DeCrescente Distributing in Mechanicville, which is the most big competitor of Saratoga Eagle. .
Operating the four retail locations under a different corporate entity is one way of creating a bit of separation that helps strike a balance, Vukelic added. Rather than reducing inventory on Minogue shelves to maximize Saratoga Eagle’s business, Pivo Partners hopes to further expand inventory, especially with local brewers.
The proliferation of craft brewery tap rooms has boosted the retail market for the beers they produce, he explained, providing consumers with a place to develop their tastes.
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