Our History

Heidelberg Distributing is a family owned and operated company that markets and delivers beer, wine, spirits and non-alcohol beverages to retailers in Ohio and Kentucky. Products on Heidelberg trucks come from local suppliers and from suppliers all over the U.S. and the world!

Our roots are humble. Albert W. Vontz, a 22-year-old German immigrant, arrived in Cincinnati in 1907. He was a trained brewer and soon invested his money in two local taverns. After Prohibition ended, he helped open Cincinnati’s Vienna Brewery but eventually sold his shares to his brother-in-law.

When breweries started selling beer beyond their own neighborhoods, Albert drove a truck every day from the Heidelberg Brewery in Covington, Kentucky to deliver the popular Student Prince beer to grocery stores and restaurants in Dayton. The brewery closed in 1946, but Vontz kept the Heidelberg name and found new beer and wine products to distribute.

His only child, Albert Vontz Jr., returned from World War II as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and became active in the business. With a degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati, Al looked for opportunities to expand, and the firm has been growing ever since.

In the 1950’s, wine products represented a large part of the operation’s sales. In 1959, Al traveled to St. Louis to meet with the famous August Busch, and he ended up purchasing the Anheuser-Busch branch in Cincinnati for $25,000. In 1961 he purchased the Dayton Budweiser distributorship from another wholesaler.

Heidelberg continued its growth outside of the Cincinnati and Dayton markets purchasing Walter Berman Wine in Toledo in 1967. In 1976 Heidelberg Dayton sold one million cases of Anheuser-Busch beers for the first time in company history. In 1985, another milestone in the Dayton market was reached when the company topped one million cases sold of one brand – Budweiser.

In 1988 Heidelberg expanded in the Toledo market, purchasing four companies owned by one family and bringing them into the Heidelberg Family of Companies. Also that year the company celebrates 50 years in business with a party at King’s Island. In those 50 years, Heidelberg has gone from “One Man and One Truck” to more than 650 Associates.

In 1989 Heidelberg expands to central Ohio moving into the Columbus market. In 1992 the company purchases Ohio Valley Wine & Beer Company in Evendale, giving the company a second Cincinnati area location. In 1994 Heidelberg enters the Cleveland/Akron market.

Albert Vontz Jr. passed away in 2002, but not before the company had grown substantially through mergers, acquisitions and industry consolidation. In the years since Mr. Vontz Jr.’s passing, Heidelberg continued to expand throughout both Ohio and Kentucky.

With all of the expansion, in 2003, Heidelberg was named among “The Top 25 US Beer Wholesalers” by trade magazine Beverage World (13th largest at 13.2 million cases).

The company expanded its business into Kentucky in 2004 with the purchase of a distributor in Covington. In 2012 Heidelberg tripled the size of its footprint in the Commonwealth with the purchase of Bryant Distributing and moved into a new facility in Hebron.

In 2007 Heidelberg’s Spirits Marketing Group is established for state-wide sales and marketing of liquor products.

During Heidelberg’s 70th anniversary year of 2008, the company once again grew with the purchase of two distributors in Lorain, Ohio as well as with Wine Trends Inc., a state-wide firm that focused on emerging brands, artisan and luxury wines.

More Anheuser-Busch brands came on board in 2009 with the purchase of Eagle Beverage Co. in Springfield, Ohio. In 2012 the company’s most recent expansion took place with the purchase of Hill Distributing in Columbus and Ohio Wine Imports in Youngstown.

Also in 2012, the company announced its most ambitious undertaking with the purchase and renovation of a 779,000 square foot building south of downtown Dayton to expand Heidelberg’s regional reach.

In 2018 Heidelberg celebrated its 80th anniversary and continues its focus to fulfill its vision of “Thriving, adapting and leading the way to be our customers’ #1 choice.

 

WE’VE GROWN FROM “ONE MAN” AND “ONE TRUCK”

Heidelberg family of companies is comprised of nine warehouses and office facilities located in Cincinnati, Ohio Valley (Evendale), Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Lorain, Toledo, Youngstown and Northern Kentucky

1,674

Passionate Associates

2 MILLION

Square Feet of Warehouse

18,068

Beverages

300,000

Square Feet of Cooler Space

717

Suppliers

26,000

Retailers Throughout Ohio and Kentucky