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‘Think about beer differently’

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During his presentation at the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) Convention in September, Jim Koch, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Boston Beer Company, told the audience: ?We can make beer grow again,? and to do that, he urged the 3,000 brewers, wholesalers and suppliers in attendance ?to think about beer differently.?

Mickey’s Todd Holm (right) chats with a customer at the Mickey Booth at NBWA.

He said that the definition of beer ?doesn?t stop at traditional suds, but includes anything made at a brewery, sold to a beer wholesaler and passed through beer retailers.? He referred to those products, including FMBs, canned cocktails, single-serve wine, spritzers, hard kombucha and ?beverages that have not yet been created,? as ?the fourth category? of alcoholic beverages, which amounts to about 500 million-case equivalents in 2019, with the potential to grow to 750 million CEs by 2024. There are about 20 million barrels in the fourth category, and it?s growing at a rate of 10%. ?That?s the growth area in all of alcoholic beverages,? he said. ?And we not only can and should play there, but we should win there.?

?As beer wholesalers branch out beyond their traditional offerings and into this so-called ?fourth category? of beverages, they are looking for more efficient delivery solutions to meet specific product and route demands,? says Steve Mason, Midwest Regional Manager for Mickey Truck Bodies. ?Our customers that are growing the ?fourth category? within their portfolios are increasingly turning to our non CDL [less than 4,000lbs.] sideloaders for dedicated routes as well as for fill-ins at a much lower investment cost versus 12- and 16-bay units or a dry van trailer. Their customers get a better service and support, and their drivers have a unit that is easier to unload and deliver than a van body or van trailer. Whatever the case may be, our variety of delivery vehicles, features and options make Mickey uniquely positioned to meet the changing and diverse requirements of beverage wholesalers and distributors.?

?My customers have seen significant growth in the fourth category beverages, including brands like Mike?s Hard Lemonade and White Claw Hard Seltzer,? which offer high profit margins, says Gary Remley, Mickey?s Northeast Regional Manager. He points out that White Claw has experienced 280% growth in its first 4 years and has been a bellwether in the 4th category for beer wholesalers. At the same time, Mike?s ?has done a great job? of setting up its distribution through the Coors network. ?Many of the attendees I spoke with at the recent NBWA convention feel ?cocktails in a can? will continue to drive sales growth for distributors. Our non CDL units were a hot topic of discussion at the convention, as well as our 21st Century trailers. These trailers are ideal for full-pallet delivery at the loading dock or street level.? (Click HERE for more info on Mickey?s 21st Century trailer.)

In his convention-closing remarks, NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser said, ?The beer industry ? has a bright future thanks to the dedicated people committed to growing America?s favorite beverage.? Mickey Truck Bodies has made that commitment by offering innovative delivery vehicles with features and options designed to improve the customer?s productivity and profitability.

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Tom Arland, President


Joe Rudolph, VP Sales


Steve Mason, Midwest Sales


Gary Remley, Northeast Sales


Dane Meyer, Southwest, West Sales


Todd Holm, Southeast Sales


Forrest Howard, Vans/Vending Sales


Josh Campbell, Parts


Kyle McLaughlin, Mid-Atlantic Fleet Services


Rob Piotrowski, Northeast Fleet Services


Robert Badely, Southeast Fleet Services


Mike Parker, Midwest Fleet Services


Larry Jacobs, High Point Customer Support


Tim Davis, High Point Media Relations


Kevin Turpin, Berwick, PA Plant Manager