Navigating New Territory

At just 28 years old, after a great deal of intentional deliberation and prayer, I felt called to step out on a leap of faith to leave my career in finance to pursue a vision for what craft beer may become in Texas. So there I was, unemployed and equipped only with my personal savings and an idea. I incorporated Bluebonnet Distributing in 2013 and began to build the pieces of a business that existed in my mind.

A key factor that fueled Bluebonnet was a fundamental imbalance in the current market, as the distribution channel had gone through consolidation driven by macro-brewery mergers over the years. We understood there was a generational shift underway by the consumer to local and premium beers. This gave us the conviction we needed to take charge and make our first move.

There was an opportunity to support the growth of the craft beer industry by allocating it greater share-of-mind aided by sophisticated technology systems with first-class operating assets. We executed on that conviction by investing with the goal of creating long-term value. Our relationship-driven approach to doing business allows us to closely partner with retailers while focusing on the unique needs of regional craft brewers and microbrewers. Our growth since opening shows the market has proven our investment thesis.

Not only has there been a shift, but Constellation Brands recently commented that over 100 million cases will migrate from the low-end domestic beer category to craft/imports over the next few years. We are always on the lookout for innovative products, and as such our scope as a business has broadened to include nonalcoholic products, including Topo Chico, Original New York Seltzer and Spindrift Beverage Co.

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Starting a new business at a young age is daunting. Creativity, weaving in and out of my life and career and helping me tackle the unknown from very early on, started from something simple yet timeless — playing with Legos. The foundation of my entrepreneurial personality first manifested itself when I was a kid. My parents would often buy me Lego sets as presents for Christmas. When building with my Legos, I always discarded the instructions and instead built what I envisioned. This pattern would ultimately propel me to leave my finance career — it seemed like it came with instructions, and while I enjoyed banking and private equity, it was largely transactional in nature. I felt drawn to the creativity associated with the challenge of building a business from scratch.

As a native Houstonian, seeing our products around town is amazing and brings me so much joy. This business has provided some incredible opportunities for us to give back daily to foster a positive and constructive community.

One of my favorite moments as President was the first time an employee brought his family up to the warehouse because he was proud of where he worked. Another one of my favorite moments was being able to host a fundraiser for Young Life Houston, a community that I was very involved in as a teenager and that really enriched my life.

My daily role is to help Bluebonnet Distributing execute our mission statement, “To be a light in the darkness by serving others with love, joy, patience, peace, humility and self-control.” I plan to always uphold this mission as we continue to grow, serve and give back to Houstonians.

 

About the author: Timothy Zawinsky is the founder and president of Bluebonnet Distributing, an independent beverage distribution company based in Houston, Texas, servicing all nine counties in the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bluebonnet’s relationship-driven approach to business allows them to closely partner with retailers while focusing on the unique needs of regional craft beer brewers and microbrewers. Bluebonnet was founded with a simple goal in mind – to help bring the craft beers people love to Houston. For more information: Call 832-968-4095 or visit bluebonnetdistributing.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Photos courtesy of bluebonnet distributing