Quality Beverages Since 1954
The Beginning of Bill's
Bill's Distributing began business in Menomonie in 1954 by Bill and his father, Henry Giertz. The two started out selling 25 cases of beer on this very beer truck. The truck, a 1938 Ford with canvas top, was purchased from Bob Young, Ellsworth Bottling Works. The driver is Bill Giertz, then 29 years-old and his father, Henry Giertz, the man waiting to unload. Bill still claims he drank 12 out of the first 15 cases of Schmidt Beer to promote his new business. The first warehouse was a 1,000 square foot garage.
Bill's First Beer
Schmidt Beer, known as the "Official Beer of the American Sportsman" and was located in St. Paul, Minnesota at the time Bill's Distributing was open for business in 1954. Bill's hauled Schmidt Beer to bars and liquor stores in large Schmidt trucks.
Bill's & Pfeiffer
Bill picked up his second beer, Pfeiffer Premium Beer, in 1956. Bill enjoyed parading around in a Pfeiffer's parade vehicle with sons, Terry and Randy.
This Bud's For You
Budweiser, The King of Beers, is an iconic legend that Bill's Distributing is built around. Budweiser, along with Bud Light, Michelob Golden Draft Light and many more, are brewed by Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, MO. Bill's has been hauling around Anheuser-Busch products around NW WI since 1958 and will continue to do so for generations to come.
With Bill still operating Bill's Distributing after 16 years, it was without a question they were outgrowing their warehouse. Bill's moved into a large commercial shed at 1302 9th Street in Menomonie, WI. This facility was approximately 3,000 square feet and is currently the home of Creative Ideas.
Bill's Expands… Again
Bill Giertz with his sons, Terry, Randy and Bob Giertz, broke soil to expand Bill's Distributing. The building of the new distribution center started in August 1981 at 4602 Domain Drive in Menomonie, WI.
Budweiser Light was introduced as the coming of light beers into the national market. It was advertised as an extension of "Budweiser" to keep the namesake's quality and heritage. The first advertising theme was "Bring Out Your Best." It later was shortened to Bud Light and by 1994, it became the number one favorite beer in the U.S.
Adolph Coors tapped his first barrel in 1873 and opened the Golden Brewery (later Coors Brewing Company) in Colorado. Coors Light, The Silver Bullet, pierced its way into Bill's Distributing 110 years later (1983) and has been one of the top 2 brands in our territory.
The Ellsworth Acquisition
Bill's acquisition of Ellsworth Bottling Works in 1986 and the addition of many new lines of beer, wine and juices has allowed Bill's to grow and play an ever increasing part in Menomonie. Terry Giertz was president during this acquisition during which he stated, "My brother and partner Randy Giertz and I sincerely thank you for your continued support. Remember the first 125 years are always the hardest."
After 32 years of hard work, Bill decides to hang up his hat and sells his pride and joy to his boys, Terry and Randy Giertz. In the 1970's, before Randy and Terry had come to team up and lead Bill's, Randy had enlisted in the military and Terry had spent 10 years in sales with an upstart lumber company called Menard's.
Domain Drive Expansion Part One
The distribution center on Domain Drive needed a lot more room to keep up with supply and demand. The drinking economy was ever booming and the expansion took place under Terry and Randy's reign. "The single most important reason is to increase my capacity," Randy Giertz said of his $350,000 expansion project.
Snapple Comes to Bill's
Snapple…ahh…so refreshing with world facts beneath the bottle caps. Bill's picked up Snapple in 1994 and sold them for 59¢!
Domain Drive Expansion Part Two
Just 5 years earlier in 1990, a 23,000-square-foot addition went up to accommodate steady growth in business. But, when you have business, more business with an extra side of business, Bill's needed more room to grow and expand. Thus, they expanded the warehouse facility to 50,000 square feet. It was also during this time that Terry and Randy were voted "Business People of the Year" by the Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce.
We've Created A Monster
A leader in the Energy Drink industry, Monster Energy was added to Bill's portfolio in 2006. The brand grew to over 100,000 cases and paved the way to building our soda portfolio.
Unleash the Beast.
In With The New Glarus
Wisconsin is the most beautiful place we can proudly call home. It is also the ONLY place you can get New Glarus Brewing Company beer. Bill's Distributing has been bringing Northwest WI Spotted Cow, Moon Man & all of the other New Glarus Brewing Co. products since 2007. Only In Wisconsin.
Bill's Has a New Home
It's time to move again! This time, Bill's heads to 5900 Packer Drive, just off of Hwy. B in Menomonie, to build a 153,000 square foot facility that can hold up to 8 million cases. The new distribution center sits on 22 acres and is just North of Exit 45.
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Joins Bill's
Bill's Distributing brings on a big player in the soda industry: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. With the addition of this beverage company to our non-alcholic portfolio, Bill's now delivers 7UP, A&W, Snapple, Sunkist, Neuro & A LOT more DPSG products across WI! Make 7UP Yours.
A New Venture
An opportunity to strengthen our relationships and relevance to the marketplace gave way to providing another great beverage service, Vending. Offering Better Selection, Better Service, and Better Equipment than any other vending company in Northwest Wisconsin. B4U also provides adjacencies to Bill's Soda side and allows us to compete in venues where we
couldn't previously. B4U is full service including snacks, cold entrees and even office coffee supply to our vending partners.
First added to our Soda portfolio in March of 2018 with 6 SKUs as a “healthier” alternative energy drink. That first year we sold just over 22,500 units and continued to add new SKUs. With unique, innovative flavors, as well as a large presence on social media platforms, we easily surpassed 100,000 units in 2019 and increased our portfolio to 37 SKUs.
In just a couple short years, Bang has surpassed all other energy drink brands nationally other than Red Bull and Monster – ranking #3.
Wine & Spirits
After carrying a few wine and spirits over the past few years, Bill's saw the opportunity to create a new and separate division, one which allowed us to truly embrace becoming a full beverage distributor. Blue Ox Spirits rapidly lead the way to market and heavy emphasis was placed on their vodka for both the on and off premise. Getting the attention of our retailers, Blue Ox approached the market as a premium liquid at a disruptive price.
Northern Ice Water
An idea born of in house collaboration that started in early fall of 2018, and came to fruition in the fall of 2019 when we received our first 3 truckloads of Northern Ice Spring Water. Sourced just down the road in Chippewa Falls, WI., Northern Ice Spring water was a group collaboration that changed the way Bill's Distributing went to market in the water
category. Following our core value of “Quality in Everything We do”, Northern Ice was launched in the market with high quality packaging at a fair price in October of 2019.
Here we Grow Again
Bill's adds a 63,000 sq ft expansion to accommodate steady growth in legacy areas of the business such as Beer as well as new segments like Soda, Wine & Spirits and Vending. Expansion allows us to improve our work flow and efficiencies internally for many departments. True to our vision “to be a great place to work” Bill's also adds a fitness center for employees and family members during the expansion.