The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 28, 2013

Beer distributor in process of being sold

BY JENNIFER BAILEY jbailey@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — TILTON — A lot of questions remain about what will happen with the beer distributor Earl Gaudio & Son.

The business, which has filed bankruptcy, is in the process of being sold to Skeff Distributing Co., Inc., another Anheuser-Busch distributor out of Decatur.

John Skeffington, president and CEO, of Skeff Distributing Co., Inc., said discussions are ongoing and there was no purchase contract agreed upon yet.

There were no answers what might happen with the employees and the building at 1803 Georgetown Road.

Skeffington said he couldn’t yet discuss anything else.

Skeff’s annual volume is about 3.6 million cases of beer sold, and Skeff has expanded to include about 100 full-time employees.

It distributes Anheuser-Busch products to the Champaign, Decatur and Springfield areas. Its territory consists of: Macon, Menard, Piatt, Champaign, and portions of Logan, DeWitt, Sangamon, Moultrie, Douglas, Ford and Iroquois counties, according to the distributor’s website.

Phone calls to Earl Gaudio & Son officials for comment were not returned.

The sale of the business recently was approved through Vermilion County Circuit Court.

Questions concerning the business also remain with officials in the village of Tilton.

Tilton Mayor David Phillips said tax rebates have continued to go back to the business. The village entered into a five-year agreement for a portion of property taxes to go back to the business for constructing its new building on Georgetown Road.

The village also initially bought the property for the development.

The business had looked at a location off Lynch Road, but Danville officials didn’t want another curb cut directly off of Lynch and had offered frontage road access instead.

Gaudio, which has distributed to stores in Vermilion, Edgar, Clark and Iroquois counties, had been at another location on Georgetown Road in Tilton since 1980.

It previously occupied various locations in Danville. In 1990, the warehouse expanded when the Gaudio family acquired a beer wholesaler in Paris.

In April 2008, Earl Gaudio & Son, Inc. moved into its current location at 1803 Georgetown Road in Tilton. The facility totals 69,000 square feet. About 9,000 square feet consists of office space, which includes a meeting room that can hold up to 60 people.

The business’ warehouse comprises the remainder of the structure. The storage center can accommodate up to 150,000 cases of product. It is equipped with four loading docks and room for loading route delivery trucks.

Situated on seven acres, the warehouse can be expanded to a total size of 100,000 square feet.

According to the company’s history, Earl Gaudio & Son, Inc. had its beginnings in 1904, in a Southern Illinois town called Benld. There Jack and Charles Gaudio, along with Jack’s partner Joe Turigliatto, started an association with Anheuser-Busch as distributors of their beverages. Charles eventually bought out his two partners and owned the business until his death in 1968.

All four of his sons eventually ended up in the beer distribution business. The youngest of these sons, Earl moved to Danville, with his wife, Bruna. Together they established this business in 1956. Earl Gaudio & Son, Inc. is Vermilion County’s only remaining beer wholesaler out of seven when Earl arrived more than 50 years ago.

Earl and Bruna’s son Dennis entered the business in 1972, and now sons Eric and Gary and daughter Kasey are part of the company, making them the fourth generation in the family’s more than 100-year association with Anheuser-Busch.

In 2007, Gaudio & Son branched out into other beverage segments including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic products.