By Susan Elise Campbell
Saratoga Eagle Sales & Service is in the process of acquiring two companies that will expand its reach distributing beer, wine, soft drinks and water to an additional eight counties upstate, according to president and chief operating officer Jeff Vukelic.
With roots stretching back to Buffalo in 1928 with parent company Try-It Distributing, what started as a beverage bottling business by the late Stephen Vukelic is now a multi-generational family company. With the most recent acquisitions the company will hold exclusive distribution rights to such brands as Budweiser, Rolling Rock and Michelob in a total of 21 counties in upstate New York.
According to Vukelic, the new acquisitions are Northern Eagle Beverages Inc. out of Oneonta and Seneca Beverage Corp. of Elmira, both Anheuser-Busch distributors. Both will operate under the Saratoga Eagle name.
Saratoga Eagle has been in a growth-through-acquisition model since 2004-2005. This is the time frame when Try-It expanded into the Saratoga and Glens Falls areas with a new distribution hub subsidiary out of Saratoga Springs and grandson Jeff Vukelic took on the role of COO.
“Typically we are purchasing the rights to distribute beverages in the territories of the companies we acquire,” said Vukelic. “Occasionally we acquire a brick and mortar facility, but it is more typical to lease the space where the trucks are loaded for delivery to customers.”
The company will take on 60 stakeholders, which is what the company calls their employees, who have jobs in warehousing, delivery, sales and administration. Total staff will be around 260 once the transactions are finalized and the new companies absorbed.