For over 60 years, family-owned Federal Distributors has provided a variety of beer and wine choices for Maine retailers, restaurants and bars.
Located in Lewiston, Maine, Federal Distributors was founded by Eugene J. Cronin Jr. in April of 1947. He courageously started the family-owned business with a small 3,200 sq. ft warehouse, only one salesman and just one truck driver. Today, Federal Distributors has more than 70 employees, a fleet of 22 trucks and operates out of a state of the art 59,752 sq. ft. warehouse.
Like many Maine beer and wine distributors, the size and growth of the company came with the support from family. It was just two months after the doors opened at the original warehouse when Joseph Cronin joined his brother Eugene and established the family tradition of working at Federal Distributors. At age 88, Joseph remains active in the business as President and John Cronin, nephew to Joseph Cronin, runs the day to day business as Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Equity Agreement Manager.
Federal Distributors started by selling Stanton Ale, Frank Jones Ale, and Croft Ale. Just a year later, Genesee ale was added to their product list and a second truck was purchased. Gradually, the company continued to grow with yearly combined sales of 26,000 cases and 1,500 barrels of beer.
Late in 1948, Eugene Cronin Jr. left the business and was later recalled to the Army for Korean War duty, where retired as a Colonel in 1969. Despite his departure, Federal Distributors continued to build their business and reputation built on family values.
In the mid 1950s as a Cott Beverage wholesaler for 20 years, they sold close to 100,000 cases per year. During the same time period, Federal Distributors was appointed wholesaler for Budweiser in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties with annual sales of 32,000 cases. It wasn’t long before Federal Distributors outgrew their original warehouse and built a new facility in Lewiston in 1952.
At the same time, Federal Distributors created a sister corporation, Federal Distributors of Brunswick, Inc. consisting of a warehouse in Brunswick and in Rumford until 1960. In the same year, Paul Cronin, Joseph’s brother, joined the business and served in the capacity of Vice President for 39 years growing the company to an annual sales of 1,200,000 cases until his retirement in 1999.
During 1978, the “deposit and returnable bottle bill” became a Maine law and required Federal Distributors to double the size of the Brunswick warehouse to 14,400 feet and enlarge the Lewiston warehouse to 32,000 feet. These additions included the first controlled refrigeration space in the industry for packaged beer.
In 1986, John Cronin, after serving 4 years in the U.S. Army as a Calvary officer, joined the family business and currently serves as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
In the 1988 both Brunswick and Lewiston locations were consolidated and Federal Distributors moved to the current state-of-the-art warehouse which was constructed in Lewiston.
With over 20 years of experience, John is just one of the many hard-working and loyal people that have always been at the roots of Federal Distributors success. In 2010, Warehouse Operation Manager, Peter Gosselin and Director of Marketing Mike Klemenski will celebrate their 20th anniversary with the distributor. Truck drivers, Tom Ecker and Rod Lessard celebrated their 25th year along with Sales Representative Paul Morin and Distribution Manager Jeff Lothrop. Office Manager Clio Draper, Draft technician Bob Morin, and Areas Sales Supervisor, Rick St. Laurent celebrated over 30 years. Adelbert Richardson, Draft technician holds the current record for longevity at Federal Distributors with over 40 years of service.
The future for Federal Distributors continues to be about their commitment to providing the best quality and choice for Maine retailers, restaurants and bars. Their current portfolio includes over 225 Beer and 200 non alcoholic SKU’s. In addition to all Anheuser-Busch-Inbev Products, they also sell Shipyard Export Ale, Sea Dog, Long Trail and RedHook Brewery products. Since 2004, Federal Distributors has also added Rolling Rock, Stella Artois, Boddingtons, and Frosty Knuckle Ale to further grow their Domestic and Import portfolio.
The company also provides non-alcoholic beverages including, Arizona Iced teas, Snapple, Nantucket Nectars, Monster Energy Drinks, Nesquick, waters and various juices. The company also distributes local products including Maine ROOT beer, Carrabasset Private Label water and Captain Eli’s Sodas.
Through the years, a strong commitment to the local community has always been important to Federal Distributors. The company recently donated to the expansion and upgrading of St. Mary’s Hospital Emergency Room and to the Sand Castle Clinical Development program for children with developmental handicaps. Federal Distributors also supports the Annual Dempsey Challenge (Cancer), local Boy Scout programs and the local Lewiston-Auburn Kiwanis Club, American Lung Association of Maine on an annual basis.
Federal Distributors is a major sponsor of the Lewiston Mainiacs, a Junior Hockey team based in Lewiston. The company also sponsors Windjammer Days, Parrot Head and Reggae events at Sunday River and Sugarloaf ski areas.
In 2010, Federal Distributors, Inc. will also sponsor speakers Linda Dutil and Sarah Panzau in local Lewiston schools. Linda Dutil is a former Emergency Room Nurse from Maine who will speak to high school students on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. Sarah is a former two-time member of the women’s volleyball All-American and motivational speaker who will speak to high school students about the importance of making the right life choices about alcohol, friends, and dealing with peer pressure.
Today, Federal Distributor’s territory has a population of approximately 311,000 (25% of State) and is comprised of Androscoggin, Oxford, Franklin, Lincoln, Knox and Sagadahoc counties and the towns of Brunswick and Harpswell in Cumberland county.
In over 60 years of service, Federal Distributors has been recognized by Anheuser-Busch as a Gold Eagle wholesaler, the highest award a wholesaler may attain. While over time the size of the company has grown, the commitment and dedication of the Cronin family to their business and local community has always remained the same.