Beer Distributor J.J. Taylor Grows with MN Acquisition

Beer Distributor J.J. Taylor Grows with MN Acquisition

J.J. Taylor, which employs about 230 in Minnesota, is acquiring Chisago Lakes Distributing, a 35-employee distribution company located north of the Twin Cities.

J.J. Taylor Minnesota, which bills itself as the state’s largest beer distributor, said Tuesday that it will acquire Chisago Lakes Distributing in a deal that increases the number of brands in its distribution portfolio.

The acquisition, the terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to close in the next few days, the company said.

J.J. Taylor Minnesota is a subsidiary of Florida-based J.J. Taylor Companies, Inc. The company entered Minnesota in 1985 when it acquired Minneapolis-based East Side Beverage, and in early 2008, it moved into a 600,000-square-foot warehouse in Northeast Minneapolis.

J.J. Taylor Companies employs about 1,000, including roughly 230 in Minnesota, according to Mike Bamonti, president and general manager of J.J. Taylor Minnesota. The company distributes approximately 26 million cases annually, including more than 7 million in Minnesota, he said.

It distributes for national brewing companies—including MillerCoors, Heineken USA, and New Belgium Brewing Company—as well as local businesses such as Summit Brewing Company and August Schell Brewing Company.

Chisago Lakes Distributing, meanwhile, distributes beers from Pabst Brewing Company, Shmaltz Brewing Company, Avery Brewing Company, and Summit, among others. It distributes to Minnesota counties that include Anoka, Chisago, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, and Washington.

Formerly known as Lundquist Distributing, the company was founded in 1924 and has been led by four generations of the Lundquist family. It has 35 employees, seven distribution trucks, and 30,000 square feet of warehouse space.

Bamonti told Twin Cities Business that J.J. Taylor is conducting interviews to determine which of the Chisago Lakes employees will join the merged company. He declined to disclose how much J.J. Taylor expects to boost distribution volume as a result of the acquisition.

Bamonti described J.J. Taylor as “an acquiring company,” saying it’s on the lookout for additional deals. Some Minnesota distributors lack the infrastructure to support the fast-growing beer industry in Minnesota, making them potential acquisition targets, he said.

Chisago Lakes Distributing President and General Manager Dale Colberg said in a statement that his company was looking to join forces with a business “with the same family business values and the same commitment to great customer service, and we found that company in J.J. Taylor.”

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