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Andrews Distributing co-owner Barry Andrews dies

He was only 29 when he bought the Corpus Christi Miller beer distributorship in 1976 and built it into a empire.
Credit: Courtesy: Andrews Distributing
Barry Andrews

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Andrews Distributing co-founder Barry Andrews died Tuesday. He was 77.

Along with his wife Lana, Andrews founded what began as a humble 5,000 sq. ft. operation with a handful of employees on Agnes Street in 1976, growing it into a prototype for what is now the industry standard -- the “multi-branded beer distributor” -- one company with the rights to numerous beer brands at its disposal.

“Barry Andrews was a true lion of the beer industry with the spirit of a lamb,” said National Beer Wholesalers Association CEO Craig Purser said in a news release.

The 29-year-old Carroll High School graduate got his start with a business loan, buying the local Miller distributing company in 1976.

From there he began acquiring rights to brands such as Corona and Modelo.

He eventually expanded the business into Dallas, moving the company’s headquarters there in 1994, and picking up the rights to brands such as Heineken, Guinness, Shiner, Coors, Pabst and Tecate throughout Corpus Christi and Dallas.

After 47 years in business, what started off as a small outfit now employs almost 2,000 people with five warehouses -- one located on Junior Beck Drive in Corpus Christi. 

In a D Magazine interview in 2012, he explained the secret to his success, both personally and professionally.

“Treat people the way you want to be treated,” he said. “It’s amazing how it works. There’s no reason to try to make rocket science out of it.”

From that philosophy came the phrase he is credited with coining, “People make it happen.” It’s a sentiment that he lived, according to Purser’s release, as he was known to stroll the halls of his company’s headquarters several times a day.

“During these walks, he never failed to remember team members’ names, ask and recall stories about their families, and always showed genuine commitment and care,” Purser said.

He was a well-known supporter of the Cattle Baron’s Ball, having hosted the event at his Papalote ranch. 

He also sponsored the annual M.D. Anderson Living Legend Luncheons in Dallas, and served as member of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board, the M.D. Anderson Board of Visitors and Highland Park United Methodist Church Pastor Parish Council. 

He survived by his wife of 56 years, Lana, his daughter Natalie McGuire (Mike), his son Blake (Tricia), grandchildren Madison, Sophie, Curran, Bain; his brother Trey (Karen) and his sister Judy (Ron). He was preceded in death by his parents Homer and Jewell.

A memorial service in his honor will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas.

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