About Atlas Distributing
A beverage distributor makes room for an influx of craft beers without adding a single inch of new floor space. How did the distributor do it? SpanTrack from UNEX helped roll out the “amber” carpet for New England’s growing cast of flavorful brews.
At Atlas Distributing, Inc., Director of Operations Shaun O’Halloran faced a conundrum: His inventory of craft beers had steadily increased in the past year, and more were on the way.
“We had anticipated growth in the craft beer industry,” recalls Shaun. “Inventory was growing in the cooler, and it seemed like we were getting new SKUs every day.”
In late 2013, Atlas Distributing was awarded the distributorship for Yuengling, a popular lager from a brewery in Pennsylvania. “Yuengling had not been distributed in Massachusetts since the early 1990s, so this was a big deal — and a big line, which meant we needed to plan accordingly for the most efficient and effective use of our warehouse space,” says Shaun.
Inside the World of Atlas
Founded in 1933, Atlas Distributing, Inc. distributes more than 1,500 types of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including kegs and cases to customers in central Massachusetts. Beer makes up approximately 1,100 of those SKUs, including a growing list of craft beers that creative breweries churn out at a rapid clip.
“Long gone are the days when you walk into a bar and see four handles for beers on tap. Now, some bars have as many as 25 handles,” says Shaun. “Once consumers try craft beer, they appreciate the flavor profile and want to try others.”
The variety is great for beer lovers but creates challenges for distributors who have to make room for full and partial kegs, like the 1/2 and 1/6 kegs warehoused at Atlas Distributing, Inc. In the beer distribution industry, space isn’t the only challenge in the cooler. Picking the 165-pound 1/2 kegs and 60-pound 1/6 kegs (sixtel) is also a heavy burden for workers. Between space constraints, inefficiencies for pickers, and safety issues, the problem in a beer distributor’s cooler area is anything but pint-sized.