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Ace Distributing building new HQ

York-based wholesale beer distributor expected to open new facility in spring

As retail beer distributors adjust to state laws allowing them to sell their products in a range of quantities, a York-based wholesaler is making a few changes of its own.

Ace Distributing is building a new distribution headquarters off Route 30 in Hellam Township, York County, in a bid to improve service and handle anticipated growth.

The 126,000-square-foot facility at 100 Mifflin Drive will include a 15,300-square-foot cold storage area for beer and 10 delivery bays to improve the company’s distribution to retailers. It is on track for a late March or early April completion.

“Our organization has been on a growth trajectory over the past several years,” said Adam Reeder, vice president of strategic initiatives for Ace Distributing. “Through bringing on a growing portfolio of manufacturers’ brands and expanding our distribution geography, it became clear that investing in a modernized facility would prepare us for continued growth.”

Ace Distributing represents more than 70 breweries, including many craft breweries, and more than 1,500 brands of beer. The company distributes products to retailers across six counties, including Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Lancaster and York.

The Wrightsville area was the optimal place for the company’s new headquarters, said Nate Fochtman, vice president of business development, because it is within equal distance of the company’s two biggest markets, Lancaster and York.

“This is great first step into a more successful future,” he said.

The new facility will allow Ace Distributing to bring all 110 employees working in York County under one roof. Operations had been spread between local facilities. 

The company will retain a separate facility in Chambersburg to serve the western part of its territory.

Fochtman said recent changes to state law, including one taking effect in mid-January that will allow retailers to sell beer in any amount they want, should be a long-term win for the industry. 

The new law will improve consumer access to growing varieties of beer because people will be able to buy products in smaller amounts. Currently, the smallest amount of beer a person can buy in a retail distributor is a 12-pack.

The change may not mean wholesalers are shipping more beer to retailers, just greater variety, Fochtman said. And it could mean that more out-of-state breweries, especially smaller craft breweries, look to begin distributing in Pennsylvania, which helps wholesalers.

Instead of wholesalers shipping many cases from five breweries, for example, pallets of beer might start containing just a few cases from 20 breweries.

“The way the business was run before is changing rapidly,” Fochtman said.

Ace Distributing hired York Township-based Kinsley Construction Inc. to erect the new building. Cost of the construction was not disclosed.

Other partners on the building project include York Township-based Precision Distribution Consulting Inc., an engineering consulting firm that specializing in logistics strategy and warehouse design, and York-based architect LSC Design Inc.

“This is not what you picture when you think about a typical warehouse,” said Mike Poster, LSC’s project manager. “It’s upbeat and current, showcasing beverage brands with custom wall graphics and a lot of glass and metal throughout. It will be an exciting environment to work in every day.”

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