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 to the four retail sites in Malta, Queensbury, Saratoga Springs and Wilton, but it plans to keep all four Minogue’s locations open.
Michael Minogue began the business in 1921 and was joined by his son John Sr. after World War II.
John “Jack” Minogue Jr. carried the business through its hundredth anniversary this year. His children have built separate careers of their own and there were no other Minogues to take over, he said, so he’s making retirement plans instead of succession plans.
He deferred further comment to Jeff Vukelic, CEO of Saratoga Eagle.
Vukelic said he’s known Jack Minogue since coming into the region 16 years ago and knew the strength of the business.
Growing from wholesale into retail interested him because it expands the business model but also because it gives him a place to bring new people into the trade.
Learning customers’ preferences and buying patterns firsthand in a retail setting is an excellent preparation for the wholesale side of the business, Vukelic said.
“And it’s just more learning for me in this business,” he added.
Stephen Vukelic formed Try-It Distributing in 1927 in Lackawanna, trading first in soda during Prohibition, then beer.
Multiple Vukelics still work for the business today. Jeff is CEO of Saratoga Eagle and his brother Paul is CEO of Try-It, the Lancaster-based corporate parent of Saratoga-based Saratoga Eagle. The two formed a new subsidiary of Saratoga Eagle — Pivo Partners — to acquire Minogue’s Beverage Center.
(“Pivo” is “beer” in Croatian, the language of the Vukelics’ ancestral homeland.)
The brothers need to strike a balance, Jeff Vukelic explained, because Saratoga Eagle will continue to supply competitors to the Minogue Beverage Centers and the Minogue Beverages Centers will continue to buy some of their inventory from DeCrescente Distributing in Mechanicville, which is Saratoga Eagle’s biggest competitor.
Operating the four retail sites under a different corporate entity is a way of creating a bit of separation that helps strike the balance, Vukelic added. Rather than narrow down the inventory on the shelves at Minogue’s to maximize Saratoga Eagle’s business, Pivo Partners hopes to expand the inventory even further, particularly with local brewers.
The proliferation of craft brewery tap rooms has boosted the retail market for the beers they produce, he explained, giving consumers a place to develop their tastes.