This week, Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, one of South Florida's largest beverage wholesalers, is being purchased by Reyes Beverage Group, making it one of the largest beer distributors in the country.
Reyes, which wholesales more than 115 million cases of beer annually, has purchased the South Florida company for an undisclosed sum. Industry sources claim the deal could be worth upward of $1 billion. [An industry source on Saturday confirms a $1.1 billion deal.] Gold Coast had sales of more than $640 million in 2013.
"Reyes Beverage Group is an outstanding organization," Stephen Levin, Gold Coast's chairman, said in a statement, "and I am confident that the Reyes family will continue the strong traditions and high level of service for which Gold Coast is known."
Gold Coast began in 1946 as a beer and water wholesaler and last switched owners in 1996, when it was purchased by the current-as-of-last-week owners. The portfolio includes breweries such as Samuel Adams, SweetWater, Harpoon, and Sierra Nevada.
Reyes Beverage Group is a division of Reyes Holdings, a massive food-service conglomerate from Illinois that, in 2013, ranked as the 11th largest privately held company in the United States and boasts annual revenue of $22 billion. The company also owns Martin-Brower, the main supplier for McDonald's restaurants around the world.
Inside Gold Coast's facility, meanwhile, sit rows upon rows of bottles and cans of macrobrews, stacked like two-ton stones waiting to be installed in a massive aluminum monolith. More than 375,000 square feet of space in Pompano alone is dedicated to getting beer shipped in and subsequently shipped out to local accounts in a veritable 24-hour cycle. That's more than 8.5 acres of beer. What lies inside is something that would make a logistics nerd go wild. Fierce activity. Unfathomable spaces. Digital tracking databases. It's a veritable Amazon warehouse of beer.
"We have a well-organized and well-stocked facility," said Gold Coast President Eric Levin. He previously showed us around the incredible facility, amid the buzz of active forklifts and diligent warehouse staff. "We sell the equivalent of 26.7 million cases of beer," he said of their 2013 sales.
"We have a craft department that is responsible for smaller domestic suppliers and specialty imports. They provide a level of support and added attention to detail to get their products out to market."
Within the warehouse is a massive 20,000-square-foot cooler kept at 36 degrees Fahrenheit for draft beer. The stacked kegs reach up two stories at least, all awaiting delivery to their respective restaurants and bars. The logistics of it all are impressive.
Now, this South Florida supplier will be a part of a larger beast, slinging beer to the same places but under new ownership.
It will be seen if there will be any significant changes to leadership, employees, or accounts. For those matters thus far, they have been coy, not giving a specific comment as of publication.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.