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Sun, Jan. 26

Hensley moving to Dewey

Hensley & Co. plans to move its Prescott operations to Dewey by the end of this year.

Bob Delgado, president and CEO of the Phoenix-based beer distributor, said that the company hopes to break ground on a new, 43,000-square-foot building near the intersection of highways 69 and 169 by April 1.

Hensley took control of the Anheuser-Busch distribution rights in Yavapai County this past June, when it bought Prescott's Mile-Hi Distributors from the Fornara family.

Currently, Hensley still rents the Fornara's 16,000-square-foot building between the Spring Hill Suites hotel and Albertson's grocery store on Sheldon Street.

"We knew we needed a larger facility," Delgado explained. "The existing building in Prescott is just too small to meet our needs."

Since all of its beer comes from Phoenix, he said, it also makes sense for Hensley's local distribution site to be in Dewey, which is closer to Interstate 17.

And that, Delgado explained, will allow the company's truck drivers to avoid Prescott's downtown traffic. It also will make it easier for the company to serve its customers in the county's rapidly growing areas of Prescott Valley, Camp Verde and Cottonwood, he said.

"Logistically, it's simply much easier to serve our distribution area from this facility, given the fact that our anticipated future growth will come from outside of the downtown Prescott area," Delgado said.

Hensley plans to develop about half of its 12-acre site, which is across from the entrance to Young's Farm. The company will devote about 7,000 square feet of the new building to office space, Delgado said, and it will use the remaining square footage for storage and maintenance.

Currently, Hensley's local site employs 33 full-time workers, but, Delgado said, "we certainly anticipate adding to our employee base, given our projected growth."

Hensley is a privately held company which employs nearly 600 workers and sells more than 20 million cases of beer each year. It is the fifth largest beer distributor and largest contiguous-territory Anheuser-Busch distributor in the nation.

Anheuser-Busch makes a variety of well-known beer brands, including Budweiser, Michelob, Busch, Natural Light and O'Doul's.

Jim Hensley, the company's founder, died the day after it announced that it had bought Mile-Hi. His daughter, Cindy McCain – who also is the wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain – has taken over her father's role as chairman of the company's board of directors.

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