To be a successful distributor, Triple Crown Beverage Group knows it must not only carry the brands its retail customers want, but it must also provide the service convenience stores and gas stations need. “Being that reliable partner for the retailer is critical to long-term success with that retailer,” General Manager Nick Williams says.
Customers can be confident that Triple Crown always has their best interests in mind because Triple Crown is narrowly focused on the beer category. The company will never try to sell its retailers on another product or shoehorn in something its clients don’t want. “I have one singular focus for that retailer: their beer category,” Williams says. “If their category grows, I grow.”
Triple Crown Beverage is comprised of three distributing businesses with a common ownership that came together in 2009 to form one overarching organization. Each of the three companies – Eagle Distributing of Huntington, W. Va., Spriggs Distributing Co. of Ironton, Ohio, and Eagle Distributing of Ashland, Ky. – still maintains their own building and market, but share sales and management services.
The company traces its roots back to 1934 when Spriggs Distributing began operating in Ohio and Kentucky. Spriggs’ territory in Kentucky eventually voted to go dry and founder Guy Spriggs sold the business to his son, Sonny Spriggs. “Sonny was an influential figure in our organization,” Williams says. “He really helped mold the business into a very professional organization for its time.”

It used to be that a kitchen fryer consisted of just a thermostat, gas valve and on/off switch. But as technology continues to progress, manufacturers have found new places to stick circuit boards and microchips, even in advanced foodservice machines.
Today’s fryers, for example, can cycle on and off automatically, filter oil without human input and use less oil. The irony of such automation is that even as it makes the machines simpler and more efficient, they become impossible for the layperson to repair. “The more sophisticated the equipment becomes the more need you have for companies like mine,” says Bruce Hodge, president and COO of General Parts, a distributor and servicer of foodservice equipment and parts.
Large chains such as McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A often won’t even let technicians open up their equipment unless they’ve received the proper certifications. Equipment is expensive, complicated and extremely sensitive. Franchisers thrive because of consistency in their food and each piece of technology in their kitchens must be calibrated in precisely the same way across every location to ensure a chicken sandwich in Buffalo, N.Y., taste the same as one in Lafayette, Ind.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing you can really screw up their product,” Hodge warns.

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