A TributeTo Fred Tiencken
by Tomas Carey
It all started one day on the
Zonian related mailing lists. Someone speculated that it would be VERY nice to drink
Panama Beer at the Panama Canal Society of Florida annual reunion. How could we make it
happen? Some people threw out the addresses of the distributors of Panama Beer in
different locales. But no one did anything about it. That is ... until Fred got involved.
He called a local distributor in Orlando (ABC Liquors), and was quoted a price to stock
the beer, (which he agreed on). Shortly afterwards the distributor turned around, jacked
up the price, and wanted the money up front. Sounds familiar don't it?? The old bait and
Well Fred wasn't about to play into their hands. Instead he contacted Cerveceria del Baru in Panama directly. Their International Sales Manager referred him to a Miami distributor who would deliver 100+ cases of Panama Beer free of charge since they wanted to make inroads into the US market and especially the reunion. Fred's only problem now, was the transport from Miami to Orlando. Simple enough drive to Miami and rent a U-Haul truck, bypass the distributor, take delivery of the 100+ cases and drive it to the Marriot World Center in Orlando. So -- Fred drove down to Miami in his little light truck and rented the U-Haul, picked up the beer, and headed back to Orlando with what he thought was enough money to cover the gas. He would make up the costs by selling a few cases of beer to cover the cost of the rental truck and the gas.
Unfortunately, the U-Haul truck turned out to be a super gas hog and Fred was operating on limited funds due to having to pay a deposit for the truck. About halfway back to Orlando, the gas gauge was near empty and Fred was out of money. He was up a creek without a paddle so to speak. So here is Fred driving along with the needle pegging on empty with a truckload of Panama Beer, driving along on the Florida Turnpike half way to the reunion from Miami. What to do?
About the time when things were really looking serious, another little green truck with a Panama Canal Society license plate passes him on the way to Orlando. So Fred guns the gas hog U-Haul and tries to catch the truck with the PCS of FL license plate. Well, the driver of this truck thinks that some nut is trying to run him off the road, so he guns it to get away from this crazy guy in the U-Haul. Fred started giving chase and eventually caught up with the truck and pulled him over. It turned out to be Tommy (Fat Al) Frensley who saved the day. He grubsteaked Fred the rest of the way to the reunion.
Fred donated the beer to the Panama Canal Museum Foundation (they had the proper tax status). The Museum Foundation sold the beer and paid him enough money to cover his expenses and the rest went to the Museum fund.
Fred ensconced himsef in the lobby, passing out free cold Panama Beer to anyone who walked up. Everyone who wanted a case of Panama Beer was able to pass by the museum table, pay for it and take delivery of it on Sunday.
There was one other minor glitch: On Saturday when Fred left a few cases of beer and the ice chest in the lobby, while he returned the U-Haul, someone snagged the cases of beer and the ice chest. Now I don't know who you are ... but the beer was being handed out free. So really there was no need to take it. Regardless, there were a bunch of really happy people, drinking nice cold Panama Beers at the reunion, thanks to all of Fred's efforts.
So on behalf of all the people that enjoyed the cold Panama Beers at the reunion, I say: Thanks a lot Fred, you made our day!!!!
July 8, 1998