Horizon Beverage's
Wholesale Distribution History

Since our company’s inception, we’ve fostered an environment of ingenuity, innovation, and expertise to help suppliers and retail & restaurant entrepreneurs reach their goals while enhancing the careers of our employees.

Pre-Prohibition

1858-1919

Pre-Prohibition
  • 1858 - 1919

    Upon emigrating from Russia, Morris Sims (formerly Simlovich) settled in Brockton, Massachusetts. He was a garbage collector via horse and buggy and sold domestic alcohol and other products on the side.

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A Dispirited Time

1920 - 1933

Prohibition Era
  • 1920

    Approaching midnight on January 16, 1920, bar patrons enjoyed one last legal alcoholic beverage

    Following the 18th Amendment that prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol and the Volstead Act that enforced it, America faced more than a decade of difficulty. Alcohol hit the black market, looking completely different than anyone could have imagined: Prices soared from 15 cents to a dollar, quality deteriorated and organized crime flourished.

  • 1920's - early 1930's

    Ever the entrepreneur, Morris Sims partnered with various Canadian suppliers of alcohol and began a bootlegging business in Southern Massachusetts.

  • 1920's - early 1930's

    Morris Sims imported Canadian Whiskey via the Detroit River’s fabled liquor pipeline to New Bedford Harbor and Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts. Morris Sims then sold the whiskey to underground clubs in Southeastern Massachusetts.

  • 1929-1931

    Mere days before the repeal of prohibition, government agents raided a shipment in the harbor in New Bedford. This was the first and only time a Sims’s boat was seized by the government. The account of this story has been passed down from generation to generation in the Epstein and Rubenstein families.

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The Repeal of Prohibition

1933

The Repeal of Prohibition
  • 1933
    Only 10 days following the repeal of Prohibition on December 5, 1933, Brockton Wholesale Beverage incorporated (the original name of Horizon Beverage Company).
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Nurturing a Business & the Community

1934-1965

Nurturing a Business & the Community
  • 1934

    Founder Morris Sims hired six salesmen, including son-in-law Arthur Epstein. This newly-minted beverage alcohol wholesale distribution company worked out of a garage in downtown Brockton. The team distributed Budweiser, Pabst Ale, Canadian Club Whiskey, Bacardi Rum, and Remy Martin Brandy among others throughout Southeastern Massachusetts & Cape Cod.

  • 1930's

    Morris Sims established a rich legacy of values at Brockton Wholesale Beverage, stressing the importance of supporting the local community and the passion to conduct business with honor and integrity. These values are the foundation of our company.

  • 1939-1945

    During World War II, distilleries stopped producing alcohol for general consumption and started producing alcohol for the war (medicinal purposes). At Brockton Wholesale Beverage and elsewhere this resulted in a greater focus on acquisitions as distributors found it difficult to count on a regular supply.

  • 1946

    The leaders of our family-run company: Arthur (far left), Morris (center w/cigar) and Harold (far right) attending a Hiram Walker Event

    Morris Sims’ son-in-law Harold Rubenstein joined the company after serving in the Navy during World War II and graduating Harvard Business School. The leaders were now in place to take the wholesale distribution company into the future. Morris, Arthur & Harold would meet daily for lunch at Brockton’s YMHA to discuss growth plans and local civic matters.
  • 1952

    Brockton Wholesale Beverage expanded its footing in Massachusetts, opening a Worcester operation to better server Central Mass retailers and restaurateurs.

  • 1955-1965

    Shown here with their wives at an awards dinner, Arthur (far left) and Harold (far right) cultivated a great relationship with the team at Pabst.

    During this time, no statewide distributors existed, allowing for a fractured industry. On the South Shore alone there were over 30 competing distributors. The marketplace couldn’t support this saturation, and distributors started going out of business. Arthur Epstein and Harold Rubenstein recognized that delivery service and sales relationships were of utmost importance, so they moved their operation to a bigger warehouse in Brockton and expanded the sales team anticipating their customers’ needs.
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Unprecedented Divisions & Expansion

1966-1981

Unprecedented Divisions & Expansion
  • Late 1960's - Late 1970's

    As their fathers did almost 20 years earlier at Disneyland, Jim (left) and Bob (right) celebrated sales success on an incentive trip at Walt Disney World

    Morris’s grandsons Robert “Bob” Epstein and James “Jim” Rubenstein joined the company. With the third generation in place, Brockton Wholesale Beverage continued to grow by focusing on building brands and gaining market share within its territory.

  • 1979

    Bob (far left) & Jim (far right) launch Premium and Coastal Divisions

    Brockton Wholesale Beverage acquired Colonial Liquors and the Seagram portfolio. The Company became the first distributor in the country to represent both the Seagram and Hiram Walker portfolios.

    Family dynamic allowed for this unprecedented move providing each portfolio with direct family management. Jim oversaw the Seagram business in the Coastal Division while Bob managed Hiram Walker, Bacardi, & Brown Forman businesses in the Premium Division.
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A Decade of Steady Success

1982-1992

A Decade of Steady Success
  • 1982

    Recognizing the importance of having a presence in the Boston market, Brockton Wholesale Beverage assembled a full-fledged sales force in downtown Boston and expanded territories north of Boston.

  • 1984
    The Company expanded again and began servicing Western Massachusetts, achieving full state coverage.
  • 1986

    Brockton Wholesale Beverage constructed & moved to a modern new facility in Avon, MA.

  • 1989
    The Company purchased Boston Beverage, a Seagram wholesaler in downtown Boston. A number of other acquisitions followed, and the company continued to expand within Massachusetts.
  • 1991
    A freestanding warehouse was built in Ludlow.
  • 1992
    With the goal of developing a regional footprint, the Company established a brokerage operation named Ultra Beverage Company in the liquor control states of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.
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Horizon Makes Moves for Growth

1993-2003

Horizon Makes Moves for Growth
  • 1994

    Identifying the need for dedicated channel expertise, the Company was one of the first distributors in the country to develop a division dedicated to sales primarily in bars and restaurants. The Stealth Division was created to meet the unique needs of the on-premise channel in Boston Proper.

  • 1994 - 1998

    1994: The Company continued to expand and purchased Girardi Wholesalers in Western Massachusetts, another Seagram House.

    1998: The Company acquired Copley Fradin Distributors, Inc. and Central Beverage in Rhode Island.

  • 1998

    The Company unified all companies and divisions across the region under the name Horizon Beverage Group. Horizon was now a regional beverage and alcohol wholesale distribution company.

  • 1999
    Identifying the importance of point-of-purchase marketing, Horizon revolutionized the merchandising department. The Company developed new programs and IT functions to ensure that state-of-the-art support was available for all customers.
  • 2000-2002

    2000: Horizon purchased Capital Distributing, a Seagram house, completing the Seagram consolidation across Massachusetts.

    2002: To develop creative, local point-of-purchase materials while meeting the time-sensitive needs of the customer, a full-time Graphic Arts department was formally established.

  • 2002

    Coinciding with the acquisition of Robert Mondavi Wines, Horizon renamed its wine division in Massachusetts to Wine Marketing and began rapid expansion of the wine portfolio and sales support staff.

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Horizon Diversifies and Specializes

2004 – Present

Horizon Diversifies and Specializes
  • 2004
    Horizon’s fourth generation of family leadership officially joined the company in 2004 providing ownership continuity and positioning the company for its next growth surge.  Horizon Beverage Group was delivering top-quality customer service and an expansive portfolio of products in five New England states, but the marketplace was changing.

    National accounts were entering the region.  Independent wineries, craft brewers and local distillers were rapidly expanding. Horizon created several new divisions and constructed a state-of-the-art facility to adapt to this changing marketplace.
  • 2005

    Recognizing the success of channel dedicated resources, the Company began aggressively expanding the Stealth Division in Massachusetts.  In five years, the division tripled in size and now covers almost half of the state’s restaurant and bar business.

  • 2007

    The Company acquired Wayne Beer Company in Rhode Island, fulfilling the Company’s strategic goal of having a dedicated beer division.

    Horizon purchased the outstanding shares of Copley Fradin Distributors (purchased in 1998) and began providing a fully-owned regional solution for its supplier partners in Rhode Island.

  • 2010

    Origin Beverage was created to provide dedicated sales and marketing support for some of the finest craft beers, spirits and mixers as they entered the New England marketplace.

  • 2012

    Horizon completed construction of a state-of–the-art facility in Norton, MA, with over 600,000 square feet of warehouse space and 70,000 square feet of office space. This became the corporate headquarters.

  • 2015

    Trellis Fine Wines was created to provide dedicated sales and marketing support to independent wineries from around the world. 

  • 2016

    Signature Brands Division was created, transforming the 28-year-old Wine Marketing sales support division into a fully-commissioned selling unit providing enhanced focus to top-tier wine and spirits programs.

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