Columbia Distributing, one of the largest beverage wholesalers in the U.S., will acquire Oregon City’s General Distributors for an undisclosed sum, according to the companies.
The transaction, which is set to close on March 31, will add upwards of 3 million cases to a multi-state Columbia business that surpassed 62 million cases in 2016.
“Our family has enjoyed many years of success in the beverage distribution business and developed strong and lasting relationships with many of our retail and supplier partners,” General Distributors president Charles Fick III said in a release. “We are pleased to have found such a great partner in Columbia to continue providing quality beverages to Portland and surrounding communities.”
General Distributors sells products from Constellation Brands, Mark Anthony Brands, MillerCoors, and dozens of craft beer companies between Salem, Oregon, and Hood River, Oregon, according to Lindsi Taylor, Columbia’s director of corporate communications.
As a result of the acquisition, Columbia – which has operations in Oregon, Washington, and California — will be able to “align its distribution operations in contiguous service areas around the Portland Metro area,” a press release issued by Columbia noted. It will also be able to sell MillerCoors products to about 2,300 retailers that already purchased other beer offerings from the company.
“The move also allows us to expand numerous brands where we see strong growth potential,” Chris Steffanci, Columbia’s president and CEO, said via the release.
As of press time, the company was unsure how the acquisition would impact General Distributors’ 120 employees, including key executives.
“Our goal is to maintain as many as possible,” Taylor told Brewbound. “We are going to do our best to find out what additional personnel we will need, but we are still assessing that based on the accounts and the territory.”
According to its website, General Distributors sells a variety of craft brands, including offerings from Founders Brewing, Melvin Brewing, Left Hand Brewing, and Modern Times, among others. A majority of those companies are expected to approve the transfer of their distribution rights, Taylor told Brewbound.
PINTS LLC, a consulting firm formed by two former distributors, acted as an advisor to General Distributors.
Columbia grabbed a pair of headlines this month when Steffanci was officially named CEO, and when an arbitrator determined that the distributor owed a combined $21.2 million to The Odom Corporation, Craig Stein Beverage, and Marine View Beverage after being awarded the distribution rights to several Pabst brands.
Additional details about the General Distributors purchase are included in the press releases, below.
Columbia Distributing Acquires GDI
PORTLAND, Oregon (January 30, 2018) – Columbia Distributing today announced it will purchase all stock of General Distributors, Inc. (GDI), based in Oregon City, Oregon. The nearly 100-year-old GDI represents a portfolio of more than 100 international, national and local beer, energy and water suppliers. The transaction is expected to close on March 31, 2018.
The acquisition will allow Columbia to align its distribution operations in contiguous service areas around the Portland Metro Area – from the state’s capital of Salem to Hood River, Oregon – where GDI has been distributing many of the same products. “The move also allows us to expand numerous brands where we see strong growth potential,” said Chris Steffanci, Columbia’s president, and CEO.
“GDI’s long history of service in this region doesn’t go unnoticed,” added Steffanci. “They’ve been a fierce competitor and have done a lot over the years to demonstrate the value of the three-tier system.”
“I will always take great pride in what GDI stood for – superior service executed with the utmost pride, integrity, and professionalism,” said Charles Fick III, GDI president. “I’d like to thank all GDI employees, past and present, for their contribution to our century-long success, and I wish Columbia well in its future endeavors.”
About Columbia Distributing
Columbia Distributing is one of the nation’s finest beer, cider, and non-alcoholic beverage distributors. Since 1935, the company has distributed some of the best-known brands in the beverage business. Today Columbia Distributing and its 3,000+ employees service over 20,000 retail customers covering more than 135,000 square miles in Oregon, Washington, and California. Columbia’s success is based on the deep-rooted tradition of delivering quality products, timely service and a genuine concern for customers’ needs. This is achieved by providing ongoing, sustainable opportunities and growth for its employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and communities. For more information on Columbia Distributing, please visit www.coldist.com.
General Distributors to sell to Columbia Distributing
Oregon City, Oregon, January 29, 2018 — General Distributors, a fourth-generation, family-owned Oregon beverage distributor has signed a letter of intent to sell all of the company’s stock to Columbia Distributing, a well-known distributor business based in Portland, Oregon.
General Distributors was established in 1921 by the late Charles A. Fick, Sr. and his brother George Fick, Sr.who started the company by selling candy, cigarettes, and cigars. Following the repeal of Prohibition, General began selling the Olympia beer brand and has since moved its headquarters from Portland to Oregon City, expanded its portfolio and currently employs 170 full- and part-time staff. General’s major suppliers include MillerCoors, Constellation, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and General maintains an extensive portfolio including craft breweries, ciders, as well as wine and non-alcoholic beverages.
Columbia Distributing merged with Mt. Hood Beverage and Gold River Distributing in 2008 to form ColumbiaDistributing as it is known today. Following the acquisition of California’s Mesa Beverage Co. in 2015, Columbia is now one of the country’s largest malt beverage distributors with major suppliers that include MillerCoors, Constellation Brands, Pabst, Mike’s Hard Lemonade as well as an extensive selection of specialty craft and imported beers, non-alcoholic beverages and ciders.
“Our family has enjoyed many years of success in the beverage distribution business and developed strong and lasting relationships with many of our retail and supplier partners. We would like to thank all of our employees for their hard work and commitment to the Fick Family,” said Charles Fick III, President General Distributors. “We are pleased to have found such a great partner in Columbia to continue providing quality beverages to Portland and surrounding communities,” Charles added.
PINTS LLC, a beverage industry consulting firm, acted as an advisor to the General Distributors’ ownership group in its agreement with Columbia. The companies expect the transaction to close at the end of March of 2018.
General Distributors Inc. (GDI) is an Oregon based company that provides wholesale distribution, sales, and marketing of beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. General Distributors has been in business for over 96 years with headquarters in Oregon City, OR. For additional information about General Distributors, please visit www.gdipdx.com or call 503-656-9470. Columbia Distributing (CoHo) is a Portland, Oregon based company that provides wholesale distribution, sales, and marketing of beer, non-alcoholic beverages in Washington, Oregon, and California. For additional information about Columbia, visit www.coldist.com or please call 503-289-9600