J.A. Bellavance & Co. was born in 1902 as a saloon and beer/liquor/wine wholesaler located at 2-4 Canal Street in Nashua, NH. The company delivered cased goods and wooden kegs throughout the city with a horse and wagon and served patrons these same brands on the saloon portion of the premises. Early brands included Pickwick Ale and Old Eye Opener whiskey. Prohibition began in 1920 and during this time, the business moved to 21 High Street and stayed afloat by selling soda and hand rolled cigars. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the company resumed its wholesale beer business and relocated to 47 Elm Street.
In 1935 the business was formally incorporated as Bellavance Beverage Co. (BBC) by Joseph Bellavance Jr. and his brother Samuel J. Bellavance. While on Elm Street, much of the beer arrived by rail car. The unloading yard, however, was located several blocks away and it was a day long process to unload, transport and re-stack by hand each rail car full of product. The Company’s big break came in 1954 when it secured distribution rights for Anheuser-Busch products. At the time, Schlitz beer was the market leader and BBC’s largest supplier, but Anheuser-Busch was an innovator and closing in on Schlitz’s market position. A fateful meeting over business practices caused BBC and Schlitz to end their agreement and paved the way for a successful relationship with Anheuser-Busch that continues today. Several years later, after seasonal and part-time jobs with the Company, Joseph III and his brother Samuel P. joined BBC full-time. In 1962, the Company built a new warehouse at 31 Quincy Street, the site where rail cars used to be unloaded, which now allowed for the unloading of those same rail cars directly into the warehouse.
BBC’s growth continued which led to the construction of new facility at One Bud Way, across from the Nashua airport, in 1976. The building was expanded further several years later as southern NH became a destination for out-of-state shoppers and demand for beer surged. Joe IV and Sam J., the fourth generation of family, joined the business in the late 80’s, learning the business as their fathers had by working a variety of positions.
By 2004, BBC was again in need of a larger and more efficient space as the growth of craft beer accelerated and the size and complexity of the portfolio grew. The Company acquired a 12-acre parcel of property on Northwest Boulevard for the construction of a 76,000 s.f. warehouse, and several years later BBC acquired the distribution rights for Heineken. With room and a plan for future expansion, this location was expected to meet the Company’s needs for many, many years.
That changed in 2016 and 2017 with the acquisition of additional sales territory that grew the BBC service area west through Keene to the Vermont border and north into the Upper Valley and Sunapee region, and doubled the size of BBC’s employee family. Due to this growth, a significant expansion of our non-alcoholic portfolio and an influx of new brands, the Company leased a second warehouse location in Hooksett, NH and made the emotional decision to move the sales, operations and administrative teams out of Nashua for the first time in its history. BBC maintained warehousing in Nashua and a cross-dock in Keene, but as the business and industry continued to evolve, the search for a single facility began and in January 2021, the Company moved into its new, 142,000 s.f. home in Londonderry, NH.
The new facility incorporates designs and technologies to maximize energy and operational efficiencies and provides the flexibility to meet future demands. It is also the proud home of a 3,088 panel, 1 MW solar array – the largest rooftop array in the State of NH – powering 100% of the Company’s operating needs and sending ~15% to our community energy grid. With a fifth generation of family now working in the business, we look forward to building relationships with our community and partners for years to come.
NHCA represents the finest and most well-known craft beer brands in the State, and shares a uniform mission of bringing the best craft beer education, service, promotion and brand building to the NH marketplace. Anchored by operations and dedicated employees in key communities around the state, the Alliance provides grass-roots level access to markets that its competitors cannot. Their knowledge, commitment and service ability allows their craft brewer partners to make an immediate impact in the market as well as focus on long term sustainable growth.
We live and love NH! We live and love BEER!
Our 1.15 megawatt solar system produces electricity that is either used in real time in our facilities, or fed back to the grid where it benefits our community and earns us a credit. In addition to offsetting our own carbon footprint, we’re helping out our neighbors and also contributing to a resilient, sustainable grid for the future.
Each year, our system will generate roughly 1,321.61 megawatt hours (Mwh) of electricity, offsetting the equivalent of over 2.3 million miles driven in a gas-powered car (That’s more than 330 times around the perimeter of the US!). This is the equivalent of 100+ homes’ total energy use for an entire year, and offsets the same amount of carbon sequestered every year by 1,220 acres of forest. Check out our live Solar Dashboard here!
We also partner with Parallel Products for all of our beverage destruction and recycling needs. Parallel Products deploys the best available technology to ensure maximum recovery of all recyclable and reclaimable materials from our liquid, glass, aluminum and plastic waste, keeping unwanted beverage products out of our landfills and creating alternative fuel sources for the nation.
Another part of our responsibility efforts in the community includes keeping retailers educated on responsible sales and service. For more information about what Bellavance Beverage Co. can provide to retailers to aid in educating staff on responsible sales, contact us today!
VP of Sales
NH Craft Manager
Non-Alcohol Brand Manager
Sunapee & Upper Valley
Greater Keene Area
Windham / Salem / Plaistow
Derry / South Nashua / Pelham
Londonderry / Bedford / Hillsborough
North Nashua / Milford / Peterborough