During the Great Depression, O.A. Bakhaus moved his family from Oklahoma to Kentucky, seeking a better life. He purchased the family business on March 1, 1948. In the years that followed, the company has been able to give back to our community, supporting countless local organizations and providing jobs to many Kentuckians. Kentucky Eagle, Inc. celebrates 70 years as a family-owned business, and they look forward to a future of family leadership for generations to come.
Many of us have heard the names Bud Light, Budweiser, Stella, Yuengling, etc., but how those products get from the breweries into the consumers’ hands is by local distributors like Kentucky Eagle. While Eagle is known for being the local distributor of Anheuser-Busch products (LEED Certified), their portfolio also includes many wines, spirits, local craft beers, food (Kentucky Proud’s MooShine Beer Cheese) and non-alcoholic beverages. This business rarely gets days off.
“When everyone else is out having fun, we are working to deliver your favorite beers,” says Kentucky Eagle Vice President, Tate Sherman.
And as a result, “over the past several years, I have enjoyed working with local suppliers to bring their products to retailers thus, helping grow local breweries, wineries, and distilleries while providing consumers what they want.”
Tate is the first of the 3rd generation of family ownership at Kentucky Eagle. After graduating from college and working at Anheuser-Busch, she decided to return to Kentucky to pursue the family legacy. “Being an active member of a family-owned business presents its own unique set of circumstances, such as how to keep business and family life separate, how does the next generation of family members get the opportunity to learn the skills they need to run the business successfully, and how does the family weave the new family members into the business alongside the current management team while keeping everything in balance,” she explained.
To face this unique challenge, Tate built a foundation of knowledge of their industry. She began in the sign department, worked on delivery trucks, in the warehouse, ran a sales route, served as a Key Account Manager, then as an On-Premise Sales Manager. Then moving her way up the ladder, serving as the Sales Manager of the Wine & Spirits Department, landing her role as the Equity Manager for the Anheuser Busch Portfolio and now Vice President of Kentucky Eagle, Inc. Currently Tate’s brother, Michael Russell, has begun the same process to build his foundation and learn the dynamics of being involved in a family business.
Tate is driven and competitive by nature, and she’s proud to carry on the legacy that her grandfather started 70 years ago. “Our mom gently reminds my brother and I that the success rate for 3rd generation businesses is very low,” she said. “Challenge accepted!”