Greensburg Beverage Inc.

Quality beverage distribution in western Pennsylvania
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
James Logan

Greensburg Beverage Inc. is a midsized distributor of quality beverages, serving 12 counties in western Pennsylvania. Founded in 1949 by James and Josephine Iannuzzo, the company has grown significantly over the years. Greensburg Beverage has established longstanding relationships with some of the largest domestic brewers in the United States.

After 65 years in business, Greensburg Beverage is still a family-owned and –operated company. James and Josephine’s son, G. Lewis “Sonny” Iannuzzo operated the business for several decades before his passing in 2013. His wife, Bette Iannuzzo currently serves as company president. His son, Jim Iannuzzo, serves as operations and order planning manager with 35 years of experience. The management team also includes Thomas Long Jr., vice president and general manager, who has worked in the industry for 28 years. Previous work includes positions with Molson Breweries USA, Miller Brewing Company and an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler. He has worked with the Iannuzzo family for more than 20 years.

Continuing a legacy

Thomas has been working with the Iannuzzo family for many years and credits much of the company’s success to Sonny’s work over the course of 60 years. “Sonny worked really hard to build a strong business and the culture we have as a company,” he explains. “We still operate as a small family business, although we have grown in size to a much larger organization. His wife, Bette, continues that philosophy and runs the business as a tribute to him. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for Sonny.”

What sets the business apart, beyond strong partnerships with suppliers and a large and growing footprint, is Greensburg Beverage’s dedication to customers. The team applies a service-first approach to beverage distribution. “Our goal is to become the best business partner of each of our accounts,” notes Thomas. “We engage with our customers through email and newsletters in addition to our day-to-day communications.”

As Greensburg Beverage grows, Thomas and his colleagues have turned to technology to help foster relationships with customers. The business has grown increasingly active on social media and uses Facebook to promote products and customers. The page advertises events at a number of area bars and restaurants, driving traffic to these customers’ businesses and bolstering demand for new product lines.

Strong resources

In order to properly serve the needs of customers, the business works with a variety of domestic, import and craft suppliers that represent a strong portfolio of brands that fit the needs of its customers. We have close relationships with all of the partners we distribute for,” says Thomas. “In many cases these are older, long-lasting relationships with a common understanding of unified success.”

Greensburg Beverage works closely with these suppliers to include new line extensions of products they currently sell. The team orders directly from beverage producers, including larger names such as MillerCoors and a handful of smaller craft brewers. Tight management of inventory ensures product moves in and out of the company’s warehouse efficiently.

The company’s reputation in the region combines with experienced management to create continuing success. Throughout the economic downturn, Thomas says Greensburg Beverage faced challenges in a tighter market. “We continued to provide customer service and made our operation much more efficient,” he recounts. “Now there are new challenges. Consumption is down in the industry by 2.5 percent due to increases in wine and spirits. To combat this, we have increased our craft beer selection and put more emphasis on premium brands.”

The craft sector of the beer market continues to grow. Greensburg Beverage is keeping up by adding new brands to that portfolio. The company has been working with Shipyard Brewing to carry more products. Over the last few years, the business has increased Shipyard sales from 1,000 cases to 5,000 cases a year.

Meanwhile the team has seen growth with larger brands as well. “Miller Lite continues to grow in our market,” Thomas adds. “That has done well for us the last six years. We are currently introducing the Redd’s Green Apple and Redd’s Wicked Mango drinks through the MillerCoors portfolio. With the same supplier, we will soon be introducing Leinenkugel’s Grapefruit Shandy.”

Still a community fixture

The Greensburg Beverage team is well-known throughout the area. After providing quality beverages to local bars and eateries for more than 65 years, the business has become a community fixture. The company is known as an excellent workplace, employing more than 45 people. While locals have supported Greensburg Beverage over the years, the team strives to give back, too.

“Right now we are actively working with Pennsylvania State Police to utilize our delivery trucks as billboards to display messages of responsible living practices,” Thomas elaborates. “Our trucks will feature messaging such as ‘Don’t Text and Drive,’ ‘Click-it or Ticket,’ ‘Drink Responsibly’ and others. We want to stand out as responsible to our community and to send a clear message that we care.”

As the company holds a place as a community-oriented operation, Thomas and his colleagues are looking ahead to more growth. In 2015, Greensburg Beverage Inc. will continue to expand, reaching new communities within the counties it serves.

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