Intrastate Distributors

During its 30-year history, Intrastate Distributors Inc. (IDI) has grown from a fleet of only one truck to a major carrier and developer of a wide variety of beverages. The Detroit-based company is a beverage wholesale corporation selling water, juice, soda, snacks and beer to retail accounts in southeastern Michigan and northwest Ohio.

The company also manufactures its own brands and performs contract packaging work for companies including Boylan’s Soda and BAWLS energy drink.

IDI operates two facilities: a 172,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and its main 300,000-square-foot office and distribution center. The distribution center opened earlier this year, President Tim Dabish says.

The majority of IDI’s retailers are independent, non-chain retailers. “What we do is we bring in more variety more frequently to retailers than the larger companies,” he adds.

New Developments

Last year, IDI added a new piece to its portfolio when it assumed ownership of the Frostie Root Beer and Kist soda brands from Texas-based Leading Edge Brands Inc.

The company is working with food brokers Crossmark Inc. to expand Frostie – a brand first bottled in 1939 – nationally, Dabish says.

On the bottling side, IDI recently entered into an agreement to bottle and re-launch the Clearly Canadian bottled water brand nationwide, he adds.

In addition to acquiring brands, IDI continues to add brands for distribution throughout Michigan. Earlier this year, IDI entered into distribution agreements with National Beverage Corp., which owns the Faygo, Everfresh, LaCroix, Ripit and Clearfruit brands.

IDI also added DNA energy drink. “These acquisitions have been great for our company,” Dabish says.

History of Growth

The Dabish family established the company in 1980 after they purchased a small beer distributor in Livonia, Mich. At its start, IDI had only 25 accounts, one truck, and one forklift, the company says.

Within the first year of business, the family grew the business and doubled its space from 600 to 1,200 square feet, the company says. Between 1982 and 1985, IDI moved to a 5,000 square-foot leased warehouse in Farmington Hills, Mich., and adjusted the business to adapt to market trends that showed an increase in sales of natural beverages.

“As things evolved, we realized we couldn’t expand with just beer, because of franchises already being taken and no new opportunities at the time,” Dabish says. “So we got involved with non-alcoholic beverages in 1989, and that’s when things started to change.”

IDI purchased its first 50,000-square-foot warehouse in 1985, a move it attributes to the addition of imported beers to its portfolio and aggressive sales, marketing and distribution.

During 1993 the company also purchased its 172,000-square-foot manufacturing facility from Pepsi-Cola Bottling. “With sales going over the roof and an ever-increasing growing demand for natural beverages such as Crush, Snapple, Sobe, and Nantucket Nectars, we became a major distributor,” the company says.

Other major brands once carried by the company include Fuse and Vitamin Water, both of which are now owned by Coca-Cola Bottling. In 1997, IDI established Towne Club Bottling as both a contract packaging facility as well as a bottler for their own products. The facility bottles the Towne Club soda brand, which IDI owns, Dabish says.

The company also has performed contract work through Dr. Pepper Snapple Group for Stewarts root beer and some specialty packages for 7UP Bottling of Michigan.