Battling Brewer

Heileman takes over Schlitz

After two days of grueling strategy sessions last month, the year's "top gunner" received a violin case containing a Thompson submachine gun. A meeting of Mafia dons? No, it was just the annual sales convention of the G. Heileman Brewing Co. in La Crosse, Wis. The violin case was given to dramatize Chairman Russell G. Cleary's philosophy: "The beer business is a war."

Casualties from that conflict are many. In the past 30 years, the number of U.S. breweries has shrunk from 380 to 42. But Heileman (1980 sales: $722...

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