Company founders Dave and Helen Esber
What began in 1937 as the vision of Dave and Helen Esber has become a family affair with three active generations. Esber Beverage Company is proud to be recognized as one of the nation's oldest family-owned beverage distributors.
Immigrating to the United States during World War I, Dave had to learn English and was quickly double-promoted in school where he excelled. His time in school was short-lived, however, as he was made to work at the family grocery to allow his siblings to attend school. A natural salesman who carried an aura of charisma wherever he went, he began selling dry goods with his cousin throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
After Prohibition ended, he opened a tavern hotel called the High Life in Canton, Ohio. It was ironic and prophetic that he would soon enter the beer business–after all, Esber scrambled spells “beers.”
His love for his wife, Helen, was so strong that at the strong urging of his future mother-in-law, he gave the tavern to his brother and started Esber Beverage Company. The portfolio included Pfeiffer’s Beer and Sahara Dry Ginger Ale. As his family grew, so too did the business; he added Miller Brewing Company in 1939 and became personal friends with the owner, Frederick Miller. Each of the five children helped at the business, performing numerous tedious and laborious tasks, giving them an appreciation of the family business.
He was such a good salesman, in fact, that each child spent their vacations working.
Philip Morris bought Miller, Lite Beer took center stage, and the children returned in the 1970s. Dave was in his glory, starting each day at 3:30 a.m. and working until after sundown. He loved people and new experiences – Dave always made an impact. He lived by the mottos: “never put off until tomorrow what you can do today” and “when you work, work hard – when you play, play hard. Don’t worry.”
Today, Esber Beverage operates statewide and runs an imports division, bringing top-quality products from around the world to the United States. While we've grown since our early days, our commitment has always been to personal service and the ability to reach an Esber. Siblings Corinne, Gary, and Dave, as well as their children, continue this tradition today.
It is–and has always been–Miller Time for the Esbers.
Serving the state of Ohio, we take pride in offering an innovative product portfolio, providing exceptional service to our customers, and serving as a dedicated member of the community.