Sea Breeze and Bosco

Multigenerational family businesses celebrate 90 sweet years
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Sean Barr

Since 1925, one New Jersey-based company has kept beverage service flowing at fast food establishments, bars and clubs, as well as fine dining restaurants, schools, corporate offices and more. Sea Breeze, the makers of classic, all-natural Bosco Chocolate Syrup, is one of the largest fourth-generation, family-owned manufacturers and distributors of premium beverages in the greater New York metropolitan New Jersey area.

Sea Breeze’s beverages range from sodas to ice teas and lemonade, real fruit juices, flavored waters, energy drinks, cocktail mixers, coffee concentrates and even smoothies. Sea Breeze is also widely-known for its rich milkshake bases and dessert syrups.

With national, international and regional brand products, Sea Breeze backs everything with custom installation dispensing equipment designed to meet each facility’s needs. And the company doesn’t stop there. Sea Breeze is on call, offering emergency repair service 365 days a year; quenching thirst year-round.

Bottling up a dream business

Today, Sea Breeze is a major beverage industry player, but the company is the result of humble beginnings. Sea Breeze’s story originates in 1916, when founder Barnet Sanders reached Ellis Island.

Sanders left Poland and came to the U.S. with wife Mille and young sons Jack and Murray. He was a seltzer maker by trade and he intended to continue making the bubbly beverage in America.

The family followed relatives to the New York Catskills where Sanders tried to set up his seltzer shop in a barn. He soon realized there was not enough business in the area and he moved to Paterson, New Jersey, to continue his dream.

In 1925, Sanders created the Service Fruit Flavor Manufacturing Company, bottling seltzer, as well as creating flavored syrups for seltzer and water. After bottling the beverages, Sanders would carry them on his shoulders, up and down flights of stairs, to area businesses.

Father to son, the tradition carries on

Eventually his hard work paid off and business started booming. Sanders hired some employees and Jack began to take over. He then renamed the company to Sea Breeze in order to sound more refreshing. Over time, the business outgrew three factories, ending up in Towaco, New Jersey, in 1983.

Jack’s son, Steve Sanders, now president and CEO of Sea Breeze and Bosco, joined the business in the 1960s. “My grandfather started the company and now my son, Josh, has joined the business as the fourth generation vice president,” shares Steve.

Although Sea Breeze has long outgrown the barn in rural New York where the operation began, Steve says the family has held fast to its roots. “We base our business on quality, service and integrity,” he says. “To us, those are the hallmarks of success.”

Sea Breeze expanded its offerings in 1985 when Steve saw the opportunity to incorporate Bosco. “Bosco originated in 1928 by a Camden, New Jersey, doctor who was looking for a weight-gain formula for his underweight patients,” recounts Steve. “At the time, Sea Breeze, which still does custom label manufacturing, was producing the syrup for Bosco, so we decided to take over the brand outright in 1985.”

Furthermore, continuing the family tradition, Steve’s son, Scott, manages marketing and sales of Bosco’s expanding line.

Building on a classic

Today, Bosco is a favorite among consumers across the board and as far away as Europe and Korea. The thick, rich chocolate syrup is great in milk, on ice cream and better yet, Bosco is free of preservatives and artificial additives, flavors or colors.

“Bosco’s syrup is 100-percent free of artificial preservatives, colors and flavors,” assures Steve. “And the Bosco product range is growing with soon to be Bosco’s chocolate milk in the dairy case, already for sale Bosco’s milk chocolate bars and Keurig K-Cups featuring Bosco hot chocolate.”

Steve notes that Scott is always looking for the next innovative way to incorporate Bosco’s nostalgic flavor in new products.

Steve also points to the green-friendly innovation of Sea Breeze. “We were green before being green was so popular,” he says. “Our beverage dispensing systems eliminate the waste of excess packaging, handling, freight and the carbon footprint of other packaged beverages. There are many ecological benefits to using our system.”

After 90 years, Sea Breeze has kept its nostalgic brands going strong, as well as multigenerational family businesses. “We truly have the best team and our customers are like an extended family,” shares Steve.

Since 1925, Sea Breeze has been bringing beverage service to life, with a vast range of beverage concentrates now including established and beloved Bosco.