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Our History

Bernick's History Timeline

1916 1925  |  1930  |  1933  |  1935  |  1940's1950's1960's1970's1980's1990's2000 |  2010

1916: Getting Started

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, USA.

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.

1925: First Big Break

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 gives opportunity to acquire new territories, building additions, new equipment, delivery trucks, and seven additional team members.

1930: New Brands & "Near Beer"

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.

1933: The Beer Business

With the end of Prohibition, Charles A. Bernick went to The Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company to become one of the first distributors of legal beer in Central Minnesota.

1935: Family Participation

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.

1940's: Big Business

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.

1950's: Continued Growth

Bernick's drops the Dr Pepper franchise for the Pepsi-Cola franchise (a relative unknown at the time).

Francis' son Richard becomes manager, and together with brothers Roy and Ray continues to grow the operation.

The Pepsi-Cola brand name increases in popularity.

1960's: Welcome to the New World

Expansion of the original building continues and additional space is rented at other locations for vending machines, fountain equipment, and product storage.

1970's: New Distribution Efficiencies

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 'Wis Pak', a bottling and canning cooperative.

1980's: Decade of Innovation

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.

1990's: Making a Name for Ourselves

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 Dresser WI. Key brands include Pepsi, 7-Up, and Dr Pepper.

The Company purchases the Miller Beer distributorship in Hinckley, MN and starts distribution in a newly constructed building.

2000: One Million Customers and Counting

Since our modest beginnings, we have experienced outstanding growth. Bernick's reaches a milestone, servicing over 10,000 accounts that serve 1 million people.

During this decade, we acquired our beer facilities in Brainerd, Bemidji, and Duluth, Minnesota.

2010: Our Business Today 

Bernick's expands to the Twin Cities and takes on the distribution of wine, Nestle, alternative beverages, and paper products.

Bernick's has grown from a one-person operation to over 550 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 for our success.