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US. Schenck beer distributor sold

A landmark, homegrown Central Florida beer distributorship with 500 employees across the region and a half-century presence in Brevard County will be purchased by the 25th largest privately held company in America, the companies announced on Thursday.
Chicago-based Reyes Holdings, LLC., a $12 billion a year food and beer distribution conglomerate, said its subsidiary, Florida Distributing Company, LLC., will acquire Schenck Company. The price was not disclosed. Reyes already has food distribution operations in Florida.
"Reyes Holdings has had great success with its food distribution operations in Florida over the years and we are excited to add beer distribution operations and the strong Schenck team to our ranks," James Reyes, director of Reyes Beverage Group, said in a statement. "We look forward to combining our abilities to grow both our own and our retailers' businesses in Florida."
Reyes spokeswoman Molly Reilly added, "We bought the business because it's a great operation."
Founded in Orlando in 1954 by L. Virgil Schenck and the late Jay Schenck, the company expanded into Brevard in 1958. The distributorship today is run by cousins Jay G.M. Schenck and Jeffrey Schenck. Shareholders include 27 members of the family, a majority of whom voted to sell the company.
"Some of the family members thought it would be the best time to get out of the business," Jay G. M. Schenck, the chief executive officer, said in an interview. "It became a question of deciding what the best strategy to exit would be."
Schenck said he doesn't believe Reyes Holdings plans major changes for the company. "They are not bringing down a management team, so I'm under the impression they will run the operation as it's running currently," said Schenck, 56, who has worked for the family business all his life, starting at a youngster washing the delivery trucks and sweeping the warehouses with his cousins.
"Being in the business that many years it's going to be difficult to walk away from," he added.
Reilly said her company plans no immediate changes to either operations or employment levels. Schenck distributes products from MillerCoors, Crown Imports, Heineken USA, Diageo-Guinness, Boston Beer Company and Yuengling, among others.
"We'll work together to share our best practices," Reilly said. "They have a lot of great knowledge that I'm sure we'll learn from."
Schenck serves Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk and Seminole counties. It's the 20th largest beer distributor in the U.S., selling 13 million cases of beer each year to 6,000 retail outlets. The company has a deep involvement with the region, supporting Junior Achievement, the American Heart Association and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, among other charities.
Reyes employs more than 10,300 nationwide. It delivers more than 10 million cases of beer annually, and in 1998, according to Forbes, bought McDonald's largest U.S. supplier, Martin-Brower. Reyes now delivers burgers and fries to all Canadian McDonald's and thousands of the restaurants in the U.S., Forbes said.

13 Feb. 2011

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