Bigfoot Beverages takes its name from the legend of Bigfoot rumored to live in the forests of Oregon and Washington.
The name also signifies a big “footprint,” which the long-time Oregon Pepsi distributor has built after diversifying into carrying more brands and changing its name to Bigfoot Beverages in 2012.
“We wanted to have fun with Bigfoot. Everyone in the Northwest knows the legend. We felt Bigfoot Beverages captures the variety and spirit of the brands we distribute,” said Andy Moore, co-president of Bigfoot Beverages. “When we diversified and added local craft beers in 2012, it began our move toward being a total beverage provider. It increased our footprint – our ‘bigfoot’ – substantially in the marketplace, and gave us products to grow.”
The company’s footprint includes central Oregon and two-thirds of the Oregon coast.
“With the challenges of the soda market, we knew we needed to diversify. Over the past few years, in addition to craft beers, we’ve added tea, CBD infused drinks, protein drinks, Naked Juice, even Starbucks coffee,” said Moore. “If there is a category out there, we will look to get into the market.” The company still distributes Pepsi products, which accounts for about 60% of its business.
Bigfoot Beverages relies on Kenworth T370s purchased through Papé Kenworth – Eugene in its fleet of medium- and heavy-duty tractors. The company has moved from side-load trailers to 90% rear-load trailers.
According to Bruce Inman, Bigfoot’s fleet and facility manager, that allows for more bulk distribution and easier loading and unloading. “One of our Kenworth T370s might make 30 stops in a day and travel only 30 miles during the shift with 600 to 800 different SKUs (stock keeping units),” he said. “With more than 2,000 customers – ranging from supermarkets to convenience stores to restaurants and corporate locations – we stay busy.”
The company purchased its first Kenworth T370 five years ago. According to Inman, the impact with Bigfoot drivers was felt immediately. “Everyone was very impressed. Everything is nicer in a Kenworth and they’re extremely easy to drive with an impressive wheel cut. That’s important since we have a lot of in-city deliveries,” he said.
In addition, Inman said that drivers appreciate the ease of getting in and out of the Kenworth T370. “On some segments, our driver might work a 10-hour shift, but only one or two hours might be actual driving,” he said. “The rest of the time they’re unloading and delivering product, so if they’re having a hard time of getting in and out of a truck, we’ll hear about it.”
The T370s are specified with the PACCAR PX-9 300-hp engine and Allison automatic transmissions. “Standardizing our fleet with Kenworths is the direction we’re going. The quality of the T370, coupled with the support from Papé Kenworth – Eugene, is making a difference,” said Moore.
Also making a difference is the way Bigfoot Beverages promotes the brands it distributes. “We used to just have a graphics package promoting Pepsi products. In 2012, we began to support the other, relatively unknown brands that we distribute. We have some great craft beers here in Oregon. We distribute 90 different labels including Ninkasi, Good Life, Sun River, and Pelican Brewing. The beer segment, along with the other new beverage products we offer, has helped us grow our revenue, which is at a 4% to 5% growth rate per year,” said Moore.
There is some regional-haul involved – about 200 miles – and that’s where some Kenworth Class 8 trucks come in. They often are used to shuttle beverage products from Bigfoot’s two main distribution centers – Eugene and Bend – to satellite locations based in Roseburg, Coos Bay, and Newport, Ore. From there, the Kenworth T370 medium-duty trucks take over.
Since all loads are pre-built and placed on carts, loading and unloading has turned into an art form of productivity. “It has to be, since we make so many deliveries with so many different SKUs,” explained Moore. “That means we need to also have reliable equipment. We know we’re getting that with our Kenworths, and the service provided by Papé Kenworth – Eugene. One thing we appreciate very much is that Papé Kenworth is a family business and based out of Oregon like us. We understand each other a little better, and as a result, we receive great service.”
Since mileage is relatively low on the company’s Kenworth T370s, Inman said the plan is to hold on to the trucks for a long time. “We don’t have a determined trade cycle,” he said. “But what we do want is to have trucks that hold up over the test of time, and look good doing so. We feel we have the best of both worlds with Kenworth.”