J. J. Taylor Companies, Inc. was founded in 1958 by John J. “Joe” Taylor. The Company started as a Knickerbocker Beer distributor, servicing the greater Brockton area of Massachusetts with two trucks and nine employees. Joe Taylor brought his 20 years of experience with the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Co. of New York to Brockton, and his beer distributorship thrived. In 1973, the Company acquired an adjoining Knickerbocker distributorship that also had the Miller Brewing Company franchise. The territory serviced by the Company grew to include all of Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. At about the same time, Miller Brewing Company started an aggressive marketing campaign for Miller High Life. Shortly thereafter, Miller Lite was introduced, becoming the most popular light beer in the country. On the strength of these two brands, the Company grew dramatically and in 1978, the Company built a new warehouse in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. In 1980, with a 45 share of the business, sales were approaching 5 million cases. However, sales declined steadily from that point on and with a very limited portfolio, it was difficult to compete in this highly fragmented and competitive market. This division was sold in 2002.
In 1983, the Company began to build a multi-market radio business. It owned and operated radio stations in Portland (Maine), Hyannis (Massachusetts), Jacksonville, Orlando, and West Palm Beach (Florida). Due to its growing business base in Florida, the Company moved its corporate offices to North Palm Beach, Florida in 1988. In 2006, the Company completed construction of a permanent corporate office and training center in Jupiter, Florida. The Company divested its interests in the radio business in 1994 to concentrate on the development and expansion of its core business: selling beer.
The Company has continued to grow since Joe Taylor began the business. In 1985, the Company acquired J. J. Taylor Distributing Company of Minnesota, Inc. The beer distributorship, originally known as East Side Beverage, was founded by two brothers in 1933. They began selling Grain Belt and other local brands of beer from a Model “A” truck in northeast Minneapolis. In the late ’70s, East Side Beverage had become a Miller distributor, servicing the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. By 1983, sales had peaked at 3 million cases and began a two year decline, which ended when J.J. Taylor took over in 1985. With its experience and systems, the Company was able to more than double sales, and has since become the largest beer distributor in the state of Minnesota. In 2008, J. J. Taylor Companies, Inc. purchased the adjacent Miller distributor, Alcorn Distributing, further increasing the volume and customer base. The Minnesota operation currently employs over 200 people.
In November 1994, the Company acquired Gato Distributors, which was established in 1965 as the Miller distributor for the southern-most Florida counties of Dade and Monroe, from Miami to Key West. J.J. Taylor became the “first choice” beer distributor for many customers and its employees and became a respected competitor in the very complex Miami market. Because of its limited import portfolio, however, it was never able to garner the market share needed to become consistently profitable. This business was sold in 2001.
In July 1997, the Company began operations in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area under the name of J. J. Taylor Distributing/Tampa Bay, Inc. by acquiring the local Miller distributorship. This distributorship was founded in 1940 to sell wine and beer in the historic Ybor City area of Tampa. In November 2000, the Company built a new state-of-the-art 250,000 square foot warehouse in Tampa. At the same time, a neighboring distributorship was acquired, adding the Coors brands and several import suppliers. In 2004, the Company completed a 90,000 square foot addition to the Tampa warehouse. This expansion gave the Company room to install an automated picking and loading system, which has enhanced productivity, order accuracy, and customer service. The Company has prospered in southwest Florida by hiring and training the best people available, and by making superior customer service a core value. Those ideals, in combination with a diverse portfolio of brands, have prepared the Tampa division for dramatic growth moving forward.
In June 2001, the Company acquired two separate Miller and Coors distributorships, which serve the Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Naples territories in Florida. In December 2004, the Company completed a 70,000 square foot state-of-the-art warehouse in Fort Myers, Florida. In June 2003, the operations in Florida were combined into one business division named J. J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc.
Recent acquisitions have further expanded the Florida operations. In 2008, J. J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc. bought the Miller/Coors distributing territory for the counties of Okeechobee, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River. This brings J. J. Taylor’s “first choice” to the east coast of Florida serving customers up and down the Treasure Coast. As a result of the acquisitions in Florida, the Company currently distributes beer brands from over forty domestic and import suppliers. With more than 12,000 retail customers in 17 Florida counties covering over 15,000 square miles, there are always plenty of opportunities to make our customers happy.
The Company has over 900 dedicated employees in all of its facilities who are continuously striving to be the best in the beer business.
Organizationally, each business division operates individually under the direction of a President/General Manager. The Company’s corporate headquarters and training center located in Jupiter, Florida provides leadership, oversight and administrative staff support services.