Howard and Lucille Martin began the Company in 1940. While attending a Washington Senators baseball game in 1940, Howard Martin visited a suite hosted by Tru Blu brewery. Howard's father operated L.I. Martin & Son, a fruit and vegetable business located near what is now the underpass on North Queen Street. Howard inquired about distributing their products. When Howard left the game that day he was a new beer wholesaler for Tru Blu making him the eighth beer distributor selling product in the Eastern Panhandle.When he arrived home with the news, Lucille asked him where he thought he would store this beer. He replied that they would simply store it in his parent's basement. The only access to the basement were the steep steps on the back of the house.
When Howard joined the Marines in 1942, Lucille ran the business for the next four years. At this time in our country it was unique for a woman to be running a business. Howard returned home from the war and Lucille had built the business and had a brand new Buick convertible waiting for him as welcome home gift. By the mid 1960s, there were only four beer wholesalers operating. Pabst Blue Ribbon was the number one beer in thePanhandle with 47% share and Old German Beer from Cumberland, MD was # 2. Schlitz was # 4 giving Martin Distributing nearly 70% share of the market.
Today, the company has grown tremendously. Steady growth is apart of Martin Distributing's genes. Its easy to understand why the whole family would be involved. Craig, Mike, and Dave Martin have all found a career with the company that their parents started over 70 years ago. Martin Distributing Co now employs nearly 40 people (several who have 18 to 25 years of loyalty to the company). They have since added multiple imported and domestic beers - not to mention the hundreds of winevarieties in their product line up!
What We Do:
Martin Distributing is a full service wholesale alcohol distributor for West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. Wholesale distributors are state-regulated sources between the breweries and the retailers.