UPDATE: Local beer distributor becomes the hunter — not the hunted — in merger mania

Bonbright Distributors finalizes the largest acquisition in its 8 decades in business


Bonbright Distributors has closed on its largest acquisition in the 84-year history of the company, purchasing a similar beer-distribution company in an adjoining state, and Bonbright's owner says he will soon look to grow his company even further.

"This is a big one for us," Bonbright Chairman and CEO Brock Anderson III told this news outlet late Tuesday, Oct. 1, about the purchase of Glenwood Beer Distributors, which distributes dozens of breweries' beers to retail establishments in a 14-county area in northwest Pennsylvania. The deal — which boosted Bonbright's size by 50 percent —  closed on Friday, Sept. 28.

>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you keeping the Oktoberfest celebrations going this weekend?

“Oftentimes, Dayton companies are the target of these kinds of transactions,” Anderson said. “This is the reverse of that. We’ve survived a lot of consolidation in our industry ... and we won’t be satisfied (with our current size) for much longer.”

Anderson announced the purchase in May.


A Dayton-based beer distributor today announced a bold move its owner says is designed to secure its future and position the business for future growth and expansion.

Bonbright Distributors, with headquarters adjacent to the University of Dayton arena, has reached a tentative agreement to purchase Erie, Pennsylvania-based Glenwood Beer Distributors, which distributes dozens of breweries' beers to retail establishments in a 14-county area in northwest Pennsylvania, according to Bonbright Chairman and CEO Brock Anderson III. The acquisition is subject to approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and Glenwood's current beer suppliers, but if all goes as planned, the transaction will be complete by early summer, Anderson said.

>> Pizza Hut is eyeing a recently closed video store for new Dayton restaurant

It is the largest acquisition in the 84-year history of Bonbright, its CEO said.

“We’re excited about this,” said Anderson, who has been looking to expand Bonbright’s footprint. “This gives us a chance to grow the business, it solidifies our presence in Ohio, and it gives us two states we can grown in.”

>> RESTAURANT CLOSINGS: We said goodbye to a few long-time establishments last month

The pending purchase sends a message to Bonbright’s employees and its suppliers that it’s not looking to sell or merge, Anderson said. “We’re looking to become a large national distributorship through mid-market acquisitions,” the Bonbright CEO said.

Like Bonbright, Glenwood distributes Miller and Coors brands, which make up nearly two-third of its business, Anderson said. It also distributes Boston Beer, best known for its Sam Adams label, as well as Pabst, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Seagram’s and Genesee products.

>> 1900s-themed cocktail bar opening in Oregon District this week

Terms of the pending sale were not disclosed.

Glenwood has nearly 100 employees, and Bonbright has about 150, Anderson said. The purchase “will not cause any layoffs. In fact, rapid growth is anticipated,” according to a Bonbright release.

The previous owner of Glenwood, James Mantyla, died unexpectedly of a heart attack in April 2017. A foundation has operated the beer distributorship since then, Anderson said.

>> FESTIVALS: Turkey legs, chocolate, sauerkraut, beer, pumpkins and more in store in October

Four months after Mantyla's death, the foundation announced charitable donations totaling $1 million to institutions and entities that impacted his life. The donation recipients included St. Peter Cathedral, which received $100,000 for renovations; Gannon University, which received $250,000 to start the James Mantyla Memorial Scholarship fund; Cathedral Prep, which received $250,000 for scholarships; and St. Mary's Home of Erie, which received $400,000 for its Benevolent Care Fund, according to a news story on YourErie.com.

“He cared deeply for his employees and the community,” Anderson said. “I wish I had the opportunity to know him. At Bonbright, we share the same values and pledge to carry on his strong legacy.”

>>  New Outback Steakhouse restaurant's opening will come with a price

The new ownership group formed by Bonbright to oversee its new subsidiary will be led by Bonbright President John DiMario and one of Bonbright’s owners, Phil Ringo.

Many of the Bonbright ownership team either live in or have deep ties to Pennsylvania, Anderson said.

>> The 12 best restaurants in Dayton

Bonbright Distributors was founded in 1934 by Carl Bonbright. It was purchased by Brock Anderson’s father, H. Brockman Anderson, in 1983. The company distributes dozens of beer brands in nine Miami Valley counties: Butler, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren.

“We’ve been around since 1934, and we want to stay in Dayton,” Brock Anderson said. “We could have hit cruise control and been fine for the next 10 years or so. But we did not want to do that. Dayton is all about resilience. This acquisition puts us in a really good position to expand our business over the long term.”

About the Author