News and Trends from International Quilt Market

Mike Perich is the Chief Executive Officer of Brewer Quilting and Sewing Supplies




Brewer is the U.S. distributor for fine cotton and linen fabrics from Denmark, as well as Cantik Batiks. For 100 years, Brewer Quilting and Sewing Supplies of Aurora, Illinois has been distributing quality products to independent shop owners. The company’s tagline, “You love to create. We have your tools,” explains its mission to serve the quilting and sewing community.


“What motivates me daily is thinking about all the talented store owners, their staff, and customers that use our products to create quilts, home decorating projects, and garment upcycling,” says Brewer’s current CEO, Mike Perich.  “To be surrounded by all this talent and creativity is truly inspiring. The independent sewing retailer offers classroom instruction, know-how and an inviting atmosphere to help consumers convert their vision into reality. What other industry offers that?”


Brewer Marketing Manager April Ludwikowski tells eInsider about the company’s history, its evolution, and its current role in the industry as it celebrates its centennial anniversary.



eINSIDER: How did the company get its start back in 1914?


LUDWIKOWSKI: The company began in Kansas City, Missouri by A.G. Brewer, a songwriter who had gotten into the jewelry business. This eventually evolved into a sewing machine business located at 1313 Grand Street. Mr. Brewer was a genuine traveling salesman who loved being on the road.


The business was sold to family member O.K. Smith, who moved the company to Chicago in 1920. The first location in Chicago was on West Madison, and then was moved to the location that is now the site of the Sears Tower. The last location in Chicago was 847 West Jackson Boulevard, and many current customers are still familiar with that location.


eINSIDER: And the company stayed in the family 100 years?


LUDWIKOWSKI: Yes, Mr. Smith’s son, Keith, a past president of the company, began working at Brewer at an early age, contributing drawings to the company catalogue when he was 14 years old. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, and was very adept at drawing and photography, contributing artwork to the company’s catalog for 44 years. His wife, Ingeborg, also lent her business sense to the company.


Then their son, Jerry, began working in the family business immediately after graduating from Wesleyan University in 1977. Jerry is the great-grandson of the founder, A.G. Brewer, and as past-president also, he was also very dedicated to the business until he departed in 2008.



Brewer’s current location is in Aurora, Illinois.eINSIDER: How has the company evolved in recent years?


LUDWIKOWSKI: In January 2008, Brewer was brought into the Bernina International family and merged with Quilter’s Resource. The Chicago office then moved to the suburb of Aurora, Illinois where we offer same-day shipping all over the world from our on-site warehouse. There are employees that have worked for Brewer for more than 30 years, and there are also many original long-standing Quilter’s Resource employees as well.


Brewer has three sister companies that all work closely together: Benartex Fabrics, OESD (Oklahoma Embroidery Supply and Design), and Bernina of America.



Inside Brewer’s warehouse facilities, thousands of notions, machines, parts and fabric are waiting to be distributed to retailers. eINSIDER: So, even though the company started out with just sewing machines, your wholesale product line has greatly expanded?


LUDWIKOWSKI: From inception, Brewer has been a wholesale provider of sewing parts and notions. The company has always stayed closely connected to its customers and to sewing industry trends.


We have a long-standing history of looking for exclusive products and product lines by keeping an ear to the ground for both new and upcoming trends, and we continue to listen to our customers for industry market updates.

Brewer offers exclusive embroidery designs by leading designers like Amanda Murphy in the Every Stitch Counts library, as well as exclusive Sarah Vedeler fabric cutting dies and silk fabric kits. Brewer is also the exclusive distributor of the Panasonic 360 Free Style Cordless Iron, and of Isacord thread.


We’re also the U.S. distributor of STOF fabrics, which include a selection of high-quality cotton and linen fabrics from Denmark. We also carry Cantik Batiks, a line of gorgeous rayon batiks from a Canadian fabric company. Our exclusive brand, Nifty Notions, provides an outstanding variety of notions and sewing machine parts for 20 years.



eINSIDER: How does your company continue to maintain a good working relationship and communication with independent shop owners today?


LUDWIKOWSKI:  Brewer maintains a strong social media presence through active Facebook and Pinterest communities, as well as BrewerInspires.com, an interactive blog highlighting crafting trends, techniques and DIY inspiration.


However, Brewer aspires to be more than just a distributor, a warehouse, or a corporate office.  We’re a company that’s brimming with the passion to create and to give you something more than the ordinary.  We strive to be innovative, to inspire, and to learn and share with all quilters and fabric artists.











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Brewer is the U.S. distributor for fine cotton and linen fabrics from Denmark, as well as Cantik Batiks.


Brewer’s current location is in Aurora, Illinois.


Inside Brewer’s warehouse facilities, thousands of notions, machines, parts and fabric are waiting to be distributed to retailers.

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News and Trends from International Quilt Market