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  • Tuesday, January 24, 2023 10:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – Employees at Traverse City-based H. Cox & Son celebrate 90 years in business this year – a true testament to the Michigan beer distributor’s deep roots in the communities it serves.

    “My brother Mark and I are proud to be fifth-generation owners after growing up in the business from our early teenage years,” said Ryan Ribel, vice president of H. Cox & Son. “Our great-great-grandfather, Herman Cox, launched this company on Eighth Street in Traverse City after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, distributing beer to seven counties in Northern Michigan out of a small garage. We take great pride in our modest beginnings and time-honored values of having a superior company culture and investing back into our community.”

    As a local, family-owned business, H. Cox & Son is uniquely positioned to respond to the needs of its community with both owners living and working in Traverse City. They actively prioritize partnering with local non-profits and events and helping other small businesses, like craft brewers and retailers, compete, grow, and thrive on a level playing field.

    “We are more than just a beer distributorship,” said Mark Ribel, president of H. Cox & Son. “It’s rewarding to be a part of helping to promote growth, choices, and competition by working with small craft brewers to help them succeed today and in the future. It makes us better, too, as we work with and serve the people of Traverse City. Their authenticity fosters a drive within our business to stay connected and make our community a better place.”

    H. Cox & Son has worked hard over the years to diversify their inventory in a dynamic tourist area market, with 35% of business done in the summer months. If you buy an Anheuser-Busch product within a 60-mile radius of Traverse City, it comes through H. Cox & Son’s warehouse, along with several non-alcoholic beverages. H. Cox & Son employs 65 people and services seven counties in northwest Michigan.


    From left to right, top row: Joe Koss, George Valleau, Jim Harvey, George Kleinbeck, Frank Morman. From left to right, bottom row: George Harvey, Jack Merchant.


    From left to right: Ryan Ribel (vice president), Mark Ribel (president)

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  • Tuesday, December 27, 2022 8:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DOWAGIAC, Michigan – Employees at Southwest Michigan-based Bud Distributing are putting in extra hours to help ensure local retailers are well-stocked ahead of the holiday season – the busiest stretch of the year for beer and wine sales.

    “We’re proud to partner with suppliers across Michigan and beyond to help ensure consumers have an unmatched selection of beer and wine to enjoy this holiday season,” said Jenna Podjan, Sales Manager at Bud Distributing. “No matter what you choose to celebrate during the holidays, beer and wine have a way of bringing people together. From stouts, IPAs, and classic domestics to reds, whites, and everything in between, Bud Distributing is working hard to ensure shelves are well-stocked and tap handles are flowing.”

    Michigan’s independent, family-owned beer distributors employ nearly 5,000 people and have deep roots in their communities across the state. Bud Distributing is no exception. Operating as a local, family-owned business for 50 years, Bud Distributing is passionate about promoting continued growth in the area as an employer and member of the community.

    “At Bud Distributing, we place a premium on relationships with our suppliers, customers, and employees, focusing on ways to grow together for the future,” Podjan said. “As a family-owned local business, we have dedicated our efforts to the continued growth of Michigan’s Great Southwest. I’m grateful to every member of our team for their commitment to helping us carry out that mission and helping ensure a successful holiday season for consumers, our retailers, and suppliers.”

    Founded by John Nate Jr. in 1970, Bud Distributing is proud to represent a strong portfolio of alcoholic and non-alcoholic brands, including several brands that are produced in the local communities it serves. The distributor employs 41 people while serving Southwest Michigan.

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  • Thursday, December 22, 2022 1:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NEGAUNEE, Michigan – Employees at Upper Peninsula-based Pike Distributors, Inc. celebrated 85 years in business this year – a true testament to Michigan’s beer and wine distributors’ deep roots in their communities. 

    “My brother Jack and I are proud to be third-generation owners after growing up in the business, working side by side with our father, Joe Ketvirtis,” said Sarah Ketvirtis, owner of Pike Distributors, Inc. “Our grandfather, Stan, was running beer out of a pick-up truck back in 1937 when Pike first got started. As a family business, we have a hands-on, open-door approach that emphasizes employee development and teamwork.” 

    Michigan’s independent, family-owned beer distributors are leaders in charitable giving in their communities and actively partner with local organizations. Pike Distributors is no exception, with the company’s long-term involvement and sponsorship of numerous groups and local events throughout the Upper Peninsula. 

    “The communities we live and work in are so important to us,” Ketvirtis said. “We wouldn’t be here without them. Our team goes above and beyond to help ensure local groups have successful events and can carry out their missions. Whether we are helping with set up, making monetary donations, or putting in volunteer hours, we do as much as we can to support the local organizations, projects, and events that improve the places we live.” 

    As a local, family-owned business, Pike Distributors is uniquely positioned to respond to the needs of its local communities they serve and stay actively involved in the places they live, work, and service. The company’s community service runs deep, with decades-long involvement in many local non-profits and events that benefit the outdoors, health and wellness, sports, music, culture, and more. “Many of the organizations we support are the same ones our grandfather, Stan, began supporting years ago,” said Jack Ketvirtis, owner of Pike Distributors, Inc. “We are proud to carry on those time-honored traditions, and we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Cheers to a great 2023!” 

    Pike employs about 90 people and services seven counties in the Upper Peninsula, with three distribution centers in Newberry, Gladstone, and Marquette, Michigan. Additionally, they have 30 semis running throughout the country. 

    From left to right: Joe Ketvirtis and Patti Ketvirtis (owners), Jack Ketvirtis (owner) with Stella Ketvirtis (daughter), Sarah Ketvirtis (owner) with Truman George (son) and Ada George (daughter). 

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  • Wednesday, November 16, 2022 11:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BATTLE CREEK, Michigan – Employees at Atlas Sales Inc. are putting in extra hours to help ensure retailers are well-stocked ahead of the holiday season – the busiest stretch of the year for beer sales.

    “We’re proud to partner with suppliers across Michigan and beyond to help ensure consumers have an unmatched selection of beer to enjoy this holiday season,” said Bud Dunn, vice president of Atlas Sales Inc. “No matter what you choose to celebrate during the holidays, beer has a way of bringing people together. From stouts and IPAs to classic domestics and everything in between, Atlas Sales is working hard to make sure shelves are well-stocked and tap handles are flowing.”

    Michigan’s independent, family-owned beer distributors employ nearly 5,000 people and have a community impact of nearly $5 million. Atlas Sales Inc. is no exception with their involvement and sponsorship of numerous organizations and local events.

    “At Atlas Sales, we are passionate about what we do for our community and gladly embrace any opportunity to share the wide range of many fine products available in the beer industry,” Dunn said. “Since day one, our mission has always been to be the best vendor for each of our customers. I’m grateful to every member of our team for their commitment to helping us carry out that mission and helping ensure a successful holiday season for our retailers and suppliers.”

    Based in Battle Creek, Atlas Sales Inc. has been a family-owned beer distributor since Theron “Pick” Fagan founded it after the repeal of prohibition in 1933. They service retailers throughout Calhoun County.

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  • Friday, November 11, 2022 11:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Family owned beer and wine distributor committed to supporting, employing local veterans

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Rave Associates today announced it is donating 110 Detroit Red Wings tickets to Michigan military troops in recognition of Michigan Military Appreciation Week. The Ann Arbor-based, family owned beer and wine distributor donated the tickets to honor their military service and that of our veterans on Veterans Day.


    “Our active military and veterans put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day as Michiganders and Americans, and our donation of Red Wings tickets is one small way we can show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice,” said Jim Warbritton, Rave Associates president, who served in the Michigan National Guard for 17 years. “It is our sincere hope this opportunity gives members of our military a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy all the action on the ice. We are proud to partner with the amazing Detroit Red Wings organization to honor our military this Veterans Day.”

    As part of its continuing commitment to local veterans, Rave Associates also contributes to Blue Star Service Dogs. The program provides service dogs to military veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries as a method of healing.

    Rave Associates employs military veterans in all aspects of its operations, including management, sales, warehouse and semi drivers. Military veterans play a central role in the company’s continued success in supporting local businesses and offering an ever-evolving list of choices for consumers.

    “The skills our military veteran employees have developed through years of service help us continue to serve our community, local retailers and beyond,” Warbritton said. “They bring self-discipline and a commitment to teamwork to the job, are willing to take on any task, and help keep our front office, warehouse and deliveries run seamlessly to best position local retailers for success.”

    Michigan is home to nearly 570,000 veterans, according to 2020 data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are roughly 19 million veterans across the United States.

    Michigan’s independent and family-owned beer and wine distributors employ thousands of Michiganders and pump millions of dollars back into local communities we call home every year.

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  • Tuesday, October 18, 2022 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Enforcement by Attorney General Dana Nessel, Michigan Liquor Control Commission continues to yield decrease in illegal shipments

    Lansing, MI – According to data compiled by the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA), 106,653 bottles of alcohol were shipped illegally into Michigan from out-of-state retailers during the first quarter of 2022. 

    From January through March of 2022, 524,283 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan. Of that amount, 417,630 were from licensed shippers, meaning 106,653 bottles were shipped illegally into the state. By comparison, nearly 160,000 bottles of wine were shipped unlawfully into Michigan during the first quarter of 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, illegal alcohol shipments into Michigan were down to 71,529 bottles — a nearly 45% decrease in just one year. The data was compiled using reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan.

    The sharply dropping number of illegal shipments highlights the ongoing, nation-leading work by Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to crack down on violators and ramp-up enforcement of out-of-state bad actors. 

    “The illegal practices of these bad actors who knowingly bypass state law put Michigan consumers and mom-and-pop retailers at risk and create a massive loss of tax revenue for schools, communities, emergency services, and more,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “We commend Attorney General Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for their continued commitment to holding these unscrupulous retailers accountable, protecting small, independent retailers and preserving precious tax revenue for our state.” 

    Attorney General Nessel’s aggressive approach is leading across the nation, resulting in 19 lawsuits, multiple injunctions, and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Her efforts have clearly conveyed that illegal wine shipping will not be tolerated in Michigan. The MLCC has also made it crystal clear to out-of-state retailers that wineries must be licensed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission before they can legally ship their products into the state. 

    “While there is still work to be done, we’re making significant progress for Michigan consumers, businesses, and taxpayers,” Nevins said. “We urge Attorney General Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to maintain this momentum and continue going after bad actors until illegal alcohol shipments into our state cease altogether.” 

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  • Friday, October 14, 2022 3:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New laws will bring about consistency, clarity for beer and wine distributors

    Lansing, MI – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for signing bills into law to advance and clarify multiple facets of Michigan’s beer and wine distributors’ operations. House Bills 6105-6107 had widespread, bipartisan support in the Legislature before landing on the governor’s desk last week.

    “I would like to thank the governor for signing these bills into law and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the Michigan Senate and House for passing this important legislation that will help us continue to support small businesses, create jobs, and promote competition and choice in the beer and wine industry,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “These laws will provide much-needed advancement and clarity for Michigan’s beer and wine distributors, helping ensure their continued success in delivering a wide and growing range of alcohol beverages throughout our state.”

    All three bills passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

    This package of bills addresses several issues, including the following:

    • Increases the ability for suppliers and distributors to share marketing, logistics, education, and reporting technology to better serve their customers
    • Clarifies regulations for distribution of non-alcoholic beverages
    • Legalizes the use of private labels and emerging categories of alcohol beverages
    • Ensures that allocated products are made reasonably available to all retailers
    • Allows suppliers to offer electronic coupons to consumers

    “Michigan’s vibrant beer and wine industries have grown by leaps and bounds over the years thanks to a system that promotes fairness, choice, competition, and a level playing field, and these new laws will help ensure their continued growth and success,” Nevins said.

    The MB&WWA represents beer and wine distributors throughout Michigan. The Association is recognized as one of the strongest business trade associations in the state and one of the alcohol beverage industry’s most progressive state trade associations.

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  • Thursday, September 22, 2022 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Women continue to play greater leadership roles, from CEOs to the warehouse, in Michigan’s beer and wine industry

    Flint, MI – Thursday, Sept. 22, marks American Business Women’s Day and John P. O’Sullivan Distributing, an independent, family owned local distributor, is proud to celebrate its women leaders who play a central role in supporting the state’s thriving beer and wine industry and providing a wide range of choices to consumers.

    “From day one, women have been integral to our success, and it’s exciting to see more women, from CEOS to the warehouse, help create jobs, support small businesses like local wineries, craft brewers and corner retailers, and provide choices to Michigan’s beer and wine lovers,” said Joan O’Sullivan-Butler, President & CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing. “We continue to see women take on greater roles in Michigan’s flourishing beer and wine industry, and we celebrate their courage, leadership and innovation on American Business Women’s Day.”

    John P. O’Sullivan Distributing currently has 23 women on staff, including four in leadership positions. These women hold positions in merchandising, sales, warehouse staff, drivers, office staff and leadership roles.

    “I have seen firsthand the enormous strides women have made at our company and across Michigan’s beer and wine industry, and I can tell you many more women are eager to join our ranks,” O’Sullivan-Butler said. “While our industry still has work to do to encourage the next generation of women  leaders, I hope  more women are inspired to consider careers in this constantly evolving and rewarding industry.”

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  • Monday, August 08, 2022 1:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chair, vice-chair and finance chair hail from distributors in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Flint

    Lansing, MI — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today announced the reelection of its existing executive officers to guide the association over the next year. The election was held during the association’s recent annual convention.

    Jim Warbritton, president of Rave Associates in Ann Arbor, was reelected chair of the MB&WWA Board of Directors. A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer in Grand Rapids, was reelected vice-chair. Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing in Flint, was reelected finance chair.

    “I am thrilled to be reelected chair of our board for the next year as we continue our mission to spur new innovation, choice and competition while supporting Michigan’s small businesses,” Warbritton said. “Working together, we will maintain our commitment to ensuring Michigan has vibrant and successful beer and wine industries.”  

    Rave Associates is a family-owned beer and wine distributor in Ann Arbor. The distributor services retailers throughout eight counties in Southeast Michigan. Rave Associates, the first and largest distributor of Bell’s Brewery beer and the largest distributor of Michigan craft beer in the state, distributes both beer and wine from suppliers across Michigan and around the world.

    West Side Beer serves more than 3,300 retailers in 15 counties out of its warehouses in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Romulus.

    “Our association is nearly 50 distributors strong, and the MB&WWA board is proud to represent our members and guide the association in the next year and beyond,” Mathews said.

    O’Sullivan-Butler also serves on the association’s Women’s Advocacy Committee, which was created to highlight and amplify the important work women do for Michigan’s beer and wine distributors and to advocate for distributor interests in Lansing. She is the second woman to hold an executive leadership position within the association.

    “I am honored to be reelected finance chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors and will work to continue expanding the critical role women play  in the success and growth of Michigan’s beer and wine industry,” O’Sullivan-Butler said.

    The MB&WWA represents nearly 50 beer and wine distributors throughout Michigan. The association is recognized as one of the strongest business trade associations in the state and one of the alcohol beverage industry’s most progressive state trade associations.

    # # #


    Jim Warbritton, president of Rave Associates


    A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer


    Joanie O’Sullivan-Butler, president and CEO of John P. O’Sullivan Distributing

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Craft beer lovers can toast continued growth of state’s craft beer industry during Michigan Craft Beer Month

    Kalamazoo, MI — July is Craft Beer Month in Michigan and Imperial Beverage, a family owned beer, wine and spirits distributor, is proud to work with craft brewers in their communities and across the state to support the state’s flourishing craft beer industry and provide a wide range of choices to consumers.

    “We’re proud to partner with craft breweries big and small across Michigan and help them succeed,” said Joe Cekola, president of Imperial Beverage. “As Michigan continues its economic recovery, it’s never been more important to support local businesses — and that includes your local craft brewery.”

    With more than 330 breweries dotted across the state, Michigan’s beer distributors play a vital role in helping craft brewers compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field. Distributors help breweries access retailers, expand to new markets and grow their brands — all while ensuring the freshest beer possible is on tap at bars and restaurants and on store shelves.

    “This month is the perfect opportunity to raise a glass at your local brewery and toast the past and future success of Michigan’s craft beer industry,” Cekola said.

    Michigan’s independent, family owned beer distributors employ thousands of people and pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the local economy.

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    Imperial Beverage is a long-standing member of the Michigan beverage distribution community. Established in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition and purchased by Kalamazoo’s Cekola family in 1984, Imperial has grown from a one county beer distributor to a top 10 statewide beer, wine, and spirits wholesaler. With 325 employees and 4 locations in Kalamazoo, Livonia, Ishpeming, and Traverse City, Imperial provides statewide coverage that serves every Michigan County, every week, all year long.

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