1924 marked the beginning of Benjamin
Kramer’s legacy, now spanning four generations.
With the country still in the midst of Prohibition, Kramer Beverage Company had its humble beginnings as a soft drink bottler and distributor. It began making and selling Olympic brand soft drinks and mixers in Atlantic and Cape May Counties. Most of the business took place in the summer in an era when every wooden case was stacked by hand in the warehouse.
In 1927 Ben Kramer bought the rights to Cliquot Club soda, a national brand with a large following. Ben worked tirelessly to grow his company and in 1929, Kramer Beverage moved to 419 N. Tennessee Avenue with 4,000 square feet of additional space. With the benefit of 4000 square feet of additional space, the business grew substantially. Five more employees were added to the staff, along with Ben’s brothers, Harry and Paul.
The 13 year long “Great Experiment” comes to an end.
The future of Kramer Beverage was forever altered with the events of December 5th, 1933. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st amendment, bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America.
Soon after the repeal of Prohibition, Kramer Beverage added beer to its product line, becoming the local distributor for Ballantine and Piel’s, both leading products at the time. The newly expanded combination of beer and soda proved popular in the seaside resort and continued to fuel the continued growth of Kramer Beverage.
In 1935, Kramer Beverage expanded to a new and larger location – a warehouse and former parking garage with over 30,000 square feet of space located at 110 N. Virginia Avenue. The new location was home to Kramer Beverage for the next 46 years. During that same year, Ben’s son, Arnold Kramer, joined the company as the 2nd generation Kramer to enter the business. Arnold’s brother, Daniel, joined the company in 1948.
In 1964, Charles Kramer became the first member of the 3rd generation to join the company after graduating from Rutgers University. He worked in the beer and soft drink sides of the business. His brother Stephen entered the business in the early 1970′s. In 1975, Lynn Kramer began her career at Kramer Beverage. After more than 50 years in the soft drink business Kramer beverage made the strategic decision to narrow its focus on beer.
In 1981, Kramer Beverage moved out of Atlantic City to Egg Harbor Township. The improved location gave the company the opportunity to expand its territory and product line. In 1983, California Cooler was introduced to the market by Kramer Beverage in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, Camden, and Gloucester Counties. Through hard work and good selling, the brand caught fire, and it became a big hit. While California Cooler was not a long-term success, it gave the company access to a much larger territory. The entry of Coors into New Jersey in 1986 dramatically changed Kramer Beverage when the brewery selected the company to distribute the brand in all six counties. Coors was officially introduced in February 1987. New product line expansions continued as the company aquired distribution rights for many outstanding brands, including Corona, Yuengling, Guinness and Samuel Adams.
During the 1990′s, Coors Light became the company’s largest selling brand and as Coors market share grew, Kramer Beverage became one of the brewery’s top wholesalers. In 1992, Kramer Beverage earned the brewery’s highest honor when it received the Coors Founder’s Award.
Charles son, Mark Kramer, joined the company after earning his MBA at Drexel University and a BA in Business from Rutgers University. Mark worked his way up through sales and marketing at Kramer Beverage, eventually serving as Vice-President for Finance and Operations. In 2008, Charles Kramer assumed the role of Chairman and Mark became the 4th generation Kramer to assume the Presidency of Kramer Beverage.
In 2002, the Company moved into their new state-of-the-art facility in Hammonton, the center of the company’s six-county territory. 2014 marked the 90th anniversary of Kramer Beverage Company.