If you like business stories, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a good profile of the head of the new Blues ownership group.
Tom Stillman is the chairman and CEO of Summit Distributing, the “second largest beer distributor and the largest import/specialty beer distributor in the State of Missouri,” according to its website.
Among the companies Summit distributes beer for is Miller. Which wouldn’t be a big deal in most places. However, St. Louis is the home of Anheuser-Busch.
And as if it wasn’t tough enough hawking Miller products in St. Louis when Stillman started out in the mid-90’s, he also decided to take on the Teamsters, refusing to hire union drivers at one of the distributors he took over.
How’d that work out for him?
From the Post-Dispatch:
Local bars, many already loyal to A-B, banned Miller beers. They replaced Miller advertising paraphernalia, as activists dumped Miller six-packs into a sewer. Billboards soon went up declaring Miller’s managers as “Too Cold,” “Stone Cold” and “Cold-Hearted” — a play on Miller’s “Two Cold” advertising campaign.
Stillman said at the time that he had even received death threats. But he maintained that it would have been unfair to fire his existing employees and replace them with the union drivers.
The National Labor Relations Board eventually ruled against him, and Stillman had to pay a settlement and hire 18 of the Teamsters drivers.
But that’s just business. Stillman is a lifelong hockey fan. He played in college and still hits the ice twice a week. By all accounts, it sounds like Blues fans are lucky to have him.
We hear Donald Fehr can’t wait to meet the guy.