217 SHARRON AVE. PLATTSBURGH, NY TEL. (518) 561-3800
ABOUT PLATTSBURGH DISTRIBUTING
An Idea Becomes Reality
Plattsburgh Distributing was founded on July 1, 1945, when Ralph Fisher purchased the business from Roy Filion. At the time, the company offered just one brand of beer -- Genesee. Prior to the purchase, Mr. Fisher had worked for a number of years for Sears Roebuck & Co. in the Boston, MA area. He began as a clerk for Sears, and advanced to district sales manager for the company.
Before World War II, Ralph married Carmen Abbruzzesse. When World War II broke out Ralph joined the Army, where he was assigned to the Army Air Corps. With his background in merchandising, Mr. Fisher was assigned to manage a supply base in Dakar, western Africa. He was later transferred to Casablanca, Morocco. During his time in the service, Ralph rose to the rank of Captain.
At the end of the war, Mr. Fisher decided that he wanted to own his own business. While he and wife Carmen were visiting friends in Watertown, NY, they were informed that a beer distributorship was for sale in Plattsburgh. Mr. Fisher cashed in his Sears stock and bought the beer distributorship. Since Ralph was not scheduled to leave the Army for some time, he asked an Army friend, Joseph Howley of Scranton, PA to become a partner, and travel to Plattsburgh to learn about the beer distribution business. Mr. Howley agreed.
Plattsburgh Distributing President, John (Jack) Fisher
Hard Work And Dedication Bring Great Success
Ralph Fisher arrived in Plattsburgh in late June 1945, and started to work with his friend and partner, Joe Howley. Ralph and Joe would start loading their one truck at 6 a.m. with the orders of Genesee to be delivered that day. One of them would throw the cases of heavy bottles packed in wooden cases up to the other standing in the delivery truck. Joe then left with the truck and delivered the beer. Ralph would go home to shower and put on a suit and tie -- to go out on sales calls for the day. Ralph wrote the orders by hand and dropped them off at the warehouse. His wife Carmen did all the paperwork in the office. On Saturdays, Ralph ordered beer from the breweries after his sales calls. He worked on accounting tasks on Sundays, when the distributorship was closed.
In order to expand the company's product line, Plattsburgh Distributing agreed to carry Carling Red Cap Ale and their popular beer, Black Label. The Genesee Brewing owners were not pleased, and told Ralph that they would withdraw the Genesee product line from Plattsburgh Distributing. After Mr. Fisher announced he would leave the Genesee product he had in storage out on the street for the company to retrieve, the Genesee owners relented, and agreed to continue supplying Plattsburgh Distributing with their product.
In the early 1950's, the company acquired the Pabst brand, which sold at a "premium" or higher price than Genesee or Black Label. At that time there were four premium or national brands -- Budweiser, Schlitz, Pabst and Miller.
Ralph Fisher won the right to distribute Budweiser beer in 1954, after the Peru Bottling Works went out of business. In order to secure the Budweiser brand, Plattsburgh Distributing agreed to give up the Pabst brand.
In 1954 Mr. Fisher relocated the business to the former Alpine Tavern building on Route 22. But the Air Force announced it was purchasing the land for the Plattsburgh Air Base. The building was moved off of what is now the flight line to its current location on Sharron Avenue.
Inventory Manager, Tina Olsen and Sales Manager, Jim Cring
(Left to right) Brian & Mike Criss, Warehouse Foremen
Dick Turnbull - Accounting
Sarah Davis - Sales Administrator
Terry Lozier - Accounts Receivable
Expansion; A New Generation; A Bright Future
John (Jack) Fisher became president and owner of Plattsburgh Distributing following the death of his father, Ralph in 1976. At that time, John Fisher had completed his four-year college degree, and was working for his MBA, but came home to Plattsburgh to take over the reins of the company.
John purchased a local distributor, Lapan Brothers, which expanded Plattsburgh Distributing's offerings to include Labatts, Colt 45, Pabst and Canada Dry. Pabst had become a popular priced beer in the 1960's, and did not compete with Budweiser as a so-called premium beer.
In 1986 John Fisher applied for the Coors brands when the brewing company indicated it was looking to expand to the eastern states. Plattsburgh Distributing was one of only three Budweiser distributors offered the Coors brands in the Northeast.
Today, Plattsburgh Distributing looks forward to further expansion, with a view toward a bright future. The company now represents Magic Hat Brewery, a microbrewery based in Burlington, Vermont, and Otter Creek Brewery, also based in Vermont. Plattsburgh Distributing recently began to distribute the Yuengling brands. Yuengling is the oldest brewery in America, established in 1829 as Eagle Brewery.
In 2002, a new office building was constructed and more warehouse space was added to allow Plattsburgh Distributing to more efficiently provide its high-quality products and services to its many client-customers well into the future.