The most quoted statistic in the world of family business is this one: 30% of family businesses make it to the second generation, 10-15% make it to the third and 3-5% make it to the fourth generation. We should consider fourth-generation family businesses extraordinary. Kramer Beverage in Hammonton, NJ is a fourth-generation company that will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 24 months. Ben Kramer started it all when he came to Atlantic City in 1924.
Ben Kramer was born in 1889 in Germany. In 1905, Ben who was 16, got sponsored by his sister, Sheindel Cantor, to travel from Germany to New York via Ellis Island and he ended up in Passaic, NJ. There he lived with his uncle who owned a small bottling plant. He learned English at night and during the day worked in a grocery store in New York. Ben Married Molly Kramer in 1912 and worked with his brother-in-law from 1913-1919 in a small bottling and distribution business. In 1914, the eldest son Arnold was born followed by a daughter, Dorothy, and another son, Daniel.
Ben moved his family to Kansas City, MO in 1919 and opened a grocery store. He was a successful grocer and ended up amassing enough money to return to New Jersey, because his wife hated being away from her family. The family ended up in Atlantic City in 1924 and established Olympic Bottling Co. and Kramer Beverage on Congress Ave. Ben had four trucks and ten employees and sold Kramer Beverages, Olympic Beverages and Clicquot Club soda. The flavors consisted of orange, grape, ginger ale, strawberry, cream soda, raspberry, and root beer. Ben also sold from a retail location on the Boardwalk. He settled his family on Maine Ave. and the ocean. It was a Family business with Molly helping to sort the return bottles, and his son Arnold, who had recently graduated from Pierce Business School in Philadelphia, to work in Finance. It was a seasonal business, but what a successful business, especially during prohibition.
“On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, as announced in this proclamation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment of January 16, 1919, ending the increasingly unpopular nationwide prohibition of alcohol.”
After the repeal of Prohibition, Ben had enough money to purchase trailer loads of beer. So, in 1934 Ben purchased Ballantine beer from Newark and Piels from Brooklyn which were popular brands at the time. Ben also bought a large warehouse at 100 N. Virginia Ave with 35,000 square feet to help with the expansion. Atlantic and Cape May counties were the start of distribution but after beer came Camden, Salem, Gloucester, and Cumberland counties. The start of Kramer Beverage and beer distribution began…
About Kramer Beverage
Kramer Beverage is South Jersey’s largest beer wholesaler, owned and operated by four generations of the Kramer family since 1924. Kramer Beverage is based out of Hammonton, Atlantic County, and services eight counties in southern New Jersey with top brands from MolsonCoors, Constellation, Yuengling, Boston Beer, Heineken USA, Pabst, Diageo, FIFCO, and more. Kramer Beverage also distributes a wide variety of craft beers, from suppliers such as New Belgium and Sierra Nevada, to local favorites including Flying Fish, Double Nickel, Evil Genius, Glasstown, and 2SP. For more information on Kramer Beverage, please visit www.kramerbev.com.