Columbia Distributing to Acquire Another Oregon Wholesaler

Portland, Oregon-headquartered Columbia Distributing will acquire a majority of the assets from Graybeal Distributing in Eastern Oregon.

A purchase price was not disclosed.

The transaction, which is expected to close by February 28, will add nearly 1.2 million cases of product to Columbia’s business, according to director of corporate communications Lidsi Taylor.

“This will allow us to expand numerous brands where we see strong potential for growth while delivering on our brand promise,” Columbia president and CEO Chris Steffanci said via a press release. “And that’s to provide ongoing, sustainable opportunities for all of our key stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and the communities where we operate.”

“I have no doubt the business we’ve built is in good hands,” Graybeal CEO Maryl Featherstone added in the release.

Columbia, one of the largest wholesalers in the U.S., distributes more than 70 million cases of product across its operations in Oregon, Washington and California. Last year, the company added more than 11 million cases of product to its business through the separate acquisitions of Marine View Beverage in western Washington and General Distributors in Oregon City, Oregon.

Columbia said it would make “very little change” to Graybeal’s operations. The company is expected to operate under the Columbia Distributing name upon the closing of the acquisition.

Graybeal, which is based in Pendleton, sells more than 500 brands from 190 beer and non-alcoholic beverage suppliers throughout Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Baker and Wallowa counties in Eastern Oregon.

Graybeal distributes a number of the same beer brands as Columbia, including offerings from MillerCoors, Constellation Brands, Heineken, Pabst, Founders, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada and Mark Anthony Brands.

The 64-year-old Graybeal also sells well-known craft labels from Deschutes, Stone Brewing, Lagunitas, New Belgium and Boston Beer Company, among others. The company also distributes several hard cider, FMB, tea and soda brands, as well as non-alcoholic offerings from Rockstar, Snapple, Fiji Water and others.

A press release with additional details is below.

Columbia Distributing to Acquire Graybeal Distributing

Employees, brands and warehouses of Eastern Oregon’s largest beverage distribution company will continue normal operations under new ownership

PORTLAND, Oregon (January 4, 2019) – Columbia Distributing today announced it will purchase the majority of the assets of Graybeal Distributing based in Pendleton, Oregon. Graybeal represents a portfolio of more than 190 international, national and local beer, energy and water suppliers that account for over 500 brands. With very little change to its day-to-day operation, the company’s warehouses and employees will begin functioning as Columbia Distributing when the transaction closes on or about February 28, 2019.

Founded in 1955 by the father and son team of Finley and Jay Graybeal, the Graybeal family has grown the business to over 2,400 beverage sku’s distributed to the eastern counties of Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Baker and Wallowa.

This acquisition builds onto the eastward territory Columbia gained through last year’s acquisition of General Distributors, Inc. (GDI). Columbia’s President and CEO Chris Steffanci says the Graybeal deal mirrors the strategy of others in recent years. “This will allow us to expand numerous brands where we see strong potential for growth while delivering on our brand promise. And that’s to provide ongoing, sustainable opportunities for all of our key stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and the communities where we operate. We are excited to start a great partnership with our new Eastern Oregon family.”

“Graybeal Distributing has been incredibly fortunate to build a distributorship that’s made such a significant impact on so many lives,” said CEO Maryl Featherstone. “A very sincere thank-you to everyone who’s touched the company over the last 64 years. This includes our tremendous employees, incredible customers and suppliers, and of course our Eastern Oregon community. I have no doubt the business we’ve built is in good hands; it will continue to grow, and most importantly, give back to our community.”

About Columbia Distributing

Since 1935, Columbia Distributing has helped build some of the best known brands in the beverage business. Today Columbia Distributing and its 3,000+ employees service over 22,000 retail customers covering more than 171,000 square miles in Oregon, Washington and California. Columbia’s success is based on the deep-rooted tradition of delivering quality products, timely service and a genuine concern for customers’ needs. This is achieved by providing ongoing, sustainable opportunities and growth for its employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and communities. For more information on Columbia Distributing, please visit www.coldist.com.

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