1924 marked the beginning of Benjamin Kramer’s legacy, now spanning four generations.
In 1924, with the country in the midst of Prohibition, Kramer Beverage Company made its humble beginning as a soft drink bottler and distributor in Southern New Jersey, making and selling Olympic brand soft drinks and mixers in Atlantic and Cape May Counties. The majority of the business took place during the summer months—every wooden case stacked by hand in the warehouse by less than a dozen employees—and in 1927, the hard work and dedication of the company’s owner, Ben Kramer, paid off when he bought the rights to Cliquot Club soda, a national brand with a large following. Two years later, Kramer Beverage moved to 419 N. Tennessee Avenue, thus adding 4,000 square feet of additional space so as to accommodate the continued growth of the company. Moreover, Mr. Kramer hired five new employees, including his brothers, Harry and Paul.
On December 5th, 1933, after the repeal of Prohibition, Kramer Beverage Co. expanded its product line to include beer, becoming the local distributor of Ballantine and Piel’s, which were both leading beverages at the time. As the addition of beer fueled the continued growth of Kramer Beverage Co., the company acquired a new, larger location: a warehouse and former parking garage with over 30,000 square feet of space located at 110 N. Virginia Avenue. This new location would serve as the headquarters of Kramer Beverage Co. for the next 46 years.
Eventually, Ben Kramer’s sons, Arnold and Daniel, joined the company. In 1964, when he graduated from Rutgers University, Charles Kramer became the first member of the 3rd generation to join the company, working in both the beer and soft drink sides of the business. His brother Stephen entered the business in the early 1970′s. Meanwhile, Lynn Kramer began her career at Kramer Beverage. Ultimately, Ben Kramer witnessed three generations of the Kramer Family enter the business before he passed away in 1971. After more than 50 years in the soft drink business, Kramer Beverage Co. made the strategic decision to narrow its focus on beer distribution. In 1981, Kramer Beverage Co. moved out of Atlantic City and into Egg Harbor Township. As a result of the improved location, the company was afforded the opportunity to expand its territory and product line by way of introducing California Cooler to the market in six counties in Southern NJ, including but not limited to the following counties: Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, Camden, and Gloucester. Soon after that, in 1986, Coors selected the Kramer Beverage Co. to distribute their brand in all six of the aforementioned counties. During the 1990’s, new product line expansions continued as the company acquired distribution rights for many outstanding brands, including Corona, Yuengling, Guinness, and Samuel Adams. In 1992, Kramer Beverage Co. earned the Coors Founder’s Award, the brewery’s highest honor.
Charles Kramer’s son, Mark, 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 Co., eventually serving as Vice-President for Finance and Operations. Eventually, Charles Kramer assumed the role of Chairman, and Mark became the 4th generation Kramer to assume the Presidency of Kramer Beverage Co.
In 2002, the Company moved into their new state-of-the-art facility in Hammonton, NJ, the center of the company’s eight-county territory, where more than 150 employees currently operate. Recently, Kramer Beverage Co. acquired both Hub City Distributing and Warren South’s malt beverage business. These acquisitions more than doubled the company’s volume and employee base. The company now represents over a hundred craft and domestic brands from several highly regarded suppliers, such as MillerCoors, Yuengling, Constellation Beer Division, Boston Beer, Diageo, New Belgium, Heineken USA, Pabst, NAB and Sierra Nevada.