The local Coors beer distributorship quietly acquired the local Miller distributorship on Dec. 8 for an undisclosed price.

The buyout of Zulanas Distributors Inc. will allow RMC Distributing (formerly Rocky Mountain Coors Distributing Co.) to add Miller beer to its local circulation of Pete’s Wicked Ale, Corona, Boulder, and Beck’s beers, and Mikes’ Hard Lemonade, said Mike Pfalmer, general manager of the Colorado Springs and Pueblo Coors distributorships.

“Brewers are realizing that consolidation has to happen with market shares,” said Ray Zulanas, one of seven brothers who owned Zulanas Distributors. “The competition has a strong market share here. Miller and Coors have to consolidate. Supplying manpower in the market is really the key.”

Pfalmer agreed. “It’s about becoming a critical mass in the market share in our marketing area,” said Pfalmer, adding that local competition includes Anheuser Busch and Budweiser.

Pfalmer said customers would see little difference. “We entered negotiations with the Zulanas family and purchased distribution rights and assets of the business,” said Pfalmer, adding that beer distribution and sales to Zulanas’ customers will remain intact. The only difference will be one delivery truck in the driveway rather than two, he said.

The Zulanas brothers owned and operated a beer distributorship in Chicago before coming to Colorado Springs three years ago. When the deal was signed with Coors late last year, Coors assumed all Zulanas operations and its building upon signing.

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“It was strictly a vertical consolidation,” said Pfalmer. Of the 53 former Zulanas employees, 46 chose to work for the new owners, bringing RMC Distributing’s employee count to 143. The Pueblo distributor, managed by the Springs’ office, employs 23 people.

The Coors location at 4710 Northpark Drive will expand its 56,000-square-foot facility by adding an additional 23,000 square feet to accommodate the business’ growth. Construction will begin in late summer or early fall. In the interim, RMC Distributing will continue to lease the former Zulanas building at 4110 High Country Road until construction is complete and all departments have been relocated.

Coors’ annual beer sales worldwide exceed 20 million barrels. The company’s net sales in 2000 reached $2.4 billion, an 8-percent increase from 1999’s net sales of $2.06 billion. After-tax income this past year was $114.5 million compared to 1999’s figure of $95.8 million. Net income also rose to $109.6 million, up 18.8 percent from 1999’s $92.3 million. Quarterly results from December 1999 showed net sales at $497.2 million and a net income of $12.2 million while 2000 quarterly results ending December 31, 2000 recorded $582.1 million in net sales and net income at $15.2 million.

Zulanas declined to disclose his business’ sales figures.

Coors Brewing Co. (NYSE: RKY) operates in all 50 states and 30 international markets in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.

RMC Distributing, an arm of the Coors Brewing Co. based in Golden, supplies 1,450 regional businesses, from Colorado Springs to New Mexico and Kansas.