Perseverance Pays Off for Brewer’s Printing Ink of Georgia
By David Savastano
For a company to reach its 25th anniversary,it usually has had to navigate some difficult times in order to reach that milestone.
For Brewer’s Printing Ink of Georgia, an Atlanta, GA-based specialist in solvent-based flexo and gravure inks, water-based packaging inks, specialty high-end silk screen inks and specialty coatings, its history is a tale of perseverance against great odds in an industry that has changed much since its inception 25 years ago.
After working at General Printing Ink, Sinclair & Valentine, CP&W Printing Inks and Production Color,Louie Brewer set out to form his own company, focusing on solvent-based flexo and gravure inks, and he did particularly well with it in the company’s first decade of operations.
“My father had the opportunity to venture out into solvent-based packaging inks for food products,” said Dean Brewer, president of R&L Inks, which was spun-off of Brewer’s Printing Ink in 2002. “He did his homework and found there was room for him in that business. At the same time, he wanted to be independent.”
The new company did well, particularly in the southeast, and Mr. Brewer expanded into some water-based products. However, in the mid-1990s, the bigger companies took notice, and aggressively went after Mr. Brewer’s customers.
“He took a really big hit that nearly put him under,” Dean Brewer recalled. “The amount of money that we lost made it very difficult.”
However, instead of giving up, Mr. Brewer was determinedto keep going through the five tough years that followed.
“My Dad was steadfast about not closing his doors and letting his people go,” Dean Brewer said. “He basically did most of the bullet-biting himself. First and foremost, he always looked out for his employees, and he was determined to make sure his vendors got paid.”
During those tough years, Mr. Brewer concentrated on broadening his range of products.
“My Dad had to get creative very quickly,” Dean Brewer said. “He found other markets to grow in, such as vinyl color concentrates and specialty high-end silk screen inks. By branching out his product line, he managed to stay afloat for the next five years.
“After five years, things let up,” Dean Brewer added. “He started to grow the business again, and we picked up bigger accounts. In the last eight years, his business continues to grow, but now diversity is his main focus, and they have developed an excellent group of products. Things are looking good for the company.”
While the big companies continue to offer extremely low prices, they typically can’t provide the individualized service most customers need. As always, Louie Brewer and the staff at Brewer’s Printing Ink are providing the highest quality products and services that first made their reputation and also got them through those tough times.
“Service and quick response have always been the high points for my Dad,” Dean Brewer said. “His credibility has come from that. He’ll take care of all of his customers, regardless of size.”
For Dean Brewer, his Dad has been an incredible role model.
“I admire my Dad,” Dean Brewer said. “He stuck to his guns. Here he was, a smaller guy competing against the big boys, overcoming adversity and maintaining his integrity. That’s what he showed me.”