From Humble Beginnings
Federal Distributors was founded in April 1947 by Paulette Cronin, Eugene Cronin Jr. and Joseph Cronin shortly after Eugene and Joe graduated from Bowdoin College.
In the early days, Paulette took customer phone orders from the kitchen table in their family home while Gene and Joe were on the road selling and delivering beer. A few years later, a Salesman and Truck Driver were hired and operations moved to a 40 X 80 foot warehouse at 779 Main Street in Lewiston.
During the first year, Federal Distributors sold Stanton Ale, Frank Jones Ale and Croft Ale. The following year, Genesee Ale was added to the product list and a second truck was needed. At the end of 1948, Gene left the business for a career in the U.S. Army and retired as Colonel in 1969. He then entered the public sector and was responsible for taking Documation Inc. public on the New York stock exchange and organizing its Puerto Rican and European subsidiaries.
In 1949, Federal Distributors became a wholesaler of Cott beverages, while a year later, Federal was appointed wholesaler of Anheuser-Busch products in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties. At that time the Anheuser-Busch product line consisted exclusively of Budweiser and was offered in half-barrels, 6-pack cans, 6-pack bottles and quart bottles only.
Business was booming, and within three years Federal had outgrown the Main Street warehouse. A 4500 square foot building was purchased at 99 Spring Street in Lewiston in order to make room for Kruger Ale, the latest addition to the product line.
After being appointed Budweiser distributor for the central Maine coast, from Brunswick through Camden in 1956, a sister corporation, Federal Distributors of Brunswick was formed and served Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties. Also during that year, a third warehouse was added in Rumford to keep up with increasing sales.
Paul Cronin, Joe’s brother, joined the business in 1960 after graduating the University of Maine and retired in 1999. The company also became wholesalers of Knickerbocker beer and expanded the Spring Street warehouse in Lewiston that year.
The sixties and seventies were a period of rapid growth for the company. To keep up with sales increases and new ventures, such as entering the wine distribution business and other beer additions such as Colt-45, the Brunswick warehouse was replaced with a new, larger facility.
In 1986, John Cronin, President joined the business and continue to maintain the high standards and traditions of Federal Distributors.
After nearly three decades of exponential sales growth of Anheuser-Busch products, Federal was again outgrowing its office and warehouse space. In 1988 Federal combined its Lewiston and Brunswick warehouses, merged the two companies, and built a state-of-the-art warehouse on Lisbon Road in Lewiston where we operate today.
With the increase in warehouse space, Federal Distributors was able to begin offering micro-brewed beers such as Redhook and Shipyard, as well as non-alcoholic beverages such as Snapple, Nantucket Nectars, and AriZona to compliment the other beverage lines.
Today, Federal Distributors employs over 70 full time employees, with an annual sales volume of 2 million cases of product. We offer over 200 SKU’s of beer and over 200 SKU’s of non-alcoholic beverages. We are recognized as the premier beer wholesaler in our territory with a market share of over 60%.