Behind the Bernick's Blue
In 1916, it took sheer horsepower to fulfill the service requirements of our customers. Of course, it was an actual horse and if you count the sleigh and buggy, that concluded our entire delivery fleet. Our grit and work ethic has been cultivated for over a century and today, we proudly continue to honor our legacy while looking forward to the future.
Charles A. Bernick and wife, Elizabeth, bought a tiny soda pop bottling operation called Granite City Bottling Works at 814 2nd St. No., St. Cloud, Minnesota.
With 200 empty soda pop cases to start, each bottle was filled one by one on a one-person, "Crown Cork and Seal" filling machine.
The freshly made carbonated soda pop was first delivered to customers as far as 30 miles away with a horse and wagon or sleigh.
As a new soft drink era begins, Granite City Bottling Works steps up production, with new brands such as NuGrape, Green River, Cherry Blossom, Eskimo Pop and Hires Root Beer.
Growth opportunities result in the acquisition of new territories, building additions, new equipment, delivery trucks and seven additional team members.
Five new delivery trucks are added as well as production of more flavors: Wineberry, Howdy Orange and a new beverage called Bernick's Chocolate.
Distribution of "Near Beer" begins with Schmidt's City Club, Malta, Kato Beer, Rock Springs and Pale Dry Ginger Ale.
With the end of Prohibition, Charles A. Bernick goes to The Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company to become one of the first distributors of legal beer in Central Minnesota.
Chas. A. Bernick incorporates.
The business is passed on to son Francis. This continues the steady growth in the family business.
Francis Bernick wins local distinguished awards for public service to the community.
Dr Pepper and Orange Crush franchises are acquired in local areas.
New machinery and modern bottling equipment is installed, as automation of carbonated beverages begins.
Building expansion and soft drink production continues despite WWII shortages.
Over 1,300 accounts are served.
Bernick’s drops the Dr Pepper franchise for the Pepsi-Cola franchise which was relatively unknown at the time.
Francis’s son Richard becomes manager and, together with brothers Roy and Ray, continues to grow the operation.
The Pepsi-Cola brand name increases in popularity.
Expansion of the original building continues and additional space is rented at other locations for vending machines, fountain equipment and product storage.
Construction of a new office and distribution headquarters in Waite Park, Minnesota, is completed.
New franchises are acquired in Willmar and Duluth, Minnesota.
Bernick’s joins WisPak, a bottling and canning cooperative.
Bernick's assists with development of WisPak's Klarbrunn sparkling and drinking water.
New beer products include Moosehead, Pabst, Special Export, Grain Belt and several imports. Soft drink brands now include A&W, Canada Dry, La Croix water and Motts juice.
A new, local full-line vending division is acquired and named, Bernick's Full-Line Vending.
The company becomes known as THE BERNICK COMPANIES. This includes: Chas. A. Bernick Inc., Bernick's Pepsi-Cola Bottling and Bernick's Full-Line Vending.
Bernick's moves into western Wisconsin with the acquisition of a distributor in Dresser, Wisconsin. Key brands include Pepsi, 7-Up and Dr Pepper.
The Company purchases the Miller beer distributorship in Hinckley, Minnesota, and starts distribution in a newly constructed building.
Bernick's reaches a milestone, servicing over 10,000 accounts that serve 1 million people.
During this decade, Bernick’s acquires its beer facilities in Brainerd, Bemidji and Duluth, Minnesota.
Bernick's expands to the Twin Cities and takes on the distribution of craft beers, Nestle, alternative beverages, and paper products.
The operation includes over 650 team members with a fleet of approximately 400 vehicles.
Bernick's continues as family-owned, operated by third, fourth, and fifth generations supported by the active participation of team members as the key to its success.
The last decade has brought success and evolution.
In 2016, Bernick’s celebrated an enormous milestone - 100 years in business!
Since then, there have been several acquisitions, including our newest location in Superior, Wisconsin.
Bernick’s now operates from 6 locations across greater Minnesota and western Wisconsin and serves more than 10,000 soft drink, beer, hot beverage and vending customers.