Inside Anheuser Busch's Tulsa Expansion Three Months into New Liquor Laws
TULSA, Oklahoma - It’s been three months since Oklahoma’s new liquor laws went into effect, and the world’s biggest beer maker is feeling the impact in Tulsa, with 1,000 new retail customers in Tulsa since October 1st.
Anheuser Busch’s distribution facility on North Florence Avenue doubled in size in anticipation of higher demand after voters approved the State Question 792, which allows grocery and convenience stores to sell strong beer.
With modernized laws, the company wanted to modernize its facility.
“This facility was built in the 80s, and with this expansion, we’re confident we will grow into the future,” said Jason Hall, Anheuser Busch’s Senior Director of Sales and Marketing for Oklahoma. “
The older portion of the warehouse is home to new technology, including an updated wrap machine. Employees also have more modern ways to pull orders off the racking system to efficiently load the trucks. That racking system includes 30 new brands, with 250 varieties.
"It's a very robust SKU list from what it was back in, you know, September,” said Hall. “We have a lot of regional brands, like Anthem, which is brewed in Oklahoma City, and Karbach Love Street, it’s made in Houston.”
The core brands, like Budweiser and Bud Light, fill up the new 33,000 square foot space.
"When you grow by retail accounts, you're ultimately going to grow volume-wise,” said Hall.
But even with 1,000 new retail accounts overnight on October 1st, Hall said the new era for the beer industry is hard to predict.
"I think competition. the new breweries, definitely the craft penetration within this market is exciting,” said Hall. “2018 was fun, but we were definitely happy that 2019 is here.”
Anheuser Busch averages about 4-point-2 million cases of beer at its Tulsa facility every year. 135 people are currently employed at the facility.