J.J. Taylor — the state's largest beer distributor — is being acquired by another distributor, and will be laying off 180 employees this spring, according to a WARN letter filed with the State of Minnesota.
Breakthru Beverage Group and J.J. Taylor announced Wednesday an agreement for Breakthru to acquire J.J. Taylor for an undisclosed amount of money.
Breakthru says it will integrate J.J. Taylor's beer business into the company, which will enhance its beer portfolio and strengthen its position in the Midwest, the release says. Breakthru will also consolidate its beer portfolio into J.J. Taylor's 600,000-square-foot warehouse in Minneapolis.
“We are pleased with the sale of our Minnesota business to Breakthru and are confident the newly combined team will continue our legacy of ‘First Choice’ service in the Twin Cities,” John Taylor, J.J. Taylor Companies Chairman, President and CEO, said in a statement.
J.J. Taylor also operates in Florida. That arm of the business is not part of the deal.
After the deal closes later this spring, likely around May 30, Breakthru will have "a well-rounded portfolio" that includes more than 65 beer brands, including domestic, imported, local and national craft beers.
“There’s great synergy between our companies in Minnesota. This combination will dramatically enhance operations in the Twin Cities and reinforces our commitment to this market as we deploy our full suite of best-in-class capabilities and digital resources to help supplier and customer partners better reach their target consumers and drive results,” Tom Bené, Breakthru Beverage Group President and CEO, said in a statement. “This is another strong step in our overall growth agenda, where we remain focused on strengthening our position throughout the United States and Canada.”
Breakthru says it will rely on the "passion and well-established expertise" of J.J. Taylor's team. The WARN letter notes that Breakthru "may be interested in hiring most of the current employees and will be working to provide interviews and discuss job opportunities" for the 180 workers that will be terminated due to this acquisition.
As a result, J.J. Taylor's WARN letter notes that the company expects the number of people who are out of a job due to the acquisition will be "substantially fewer" than 180. Some of J.J. Taylor's employees are union members represented by Teamsters Local 792.
“Because JJ Taylor will be ceasing its Minnesota operations upon the closing of the transaction with Breakthru, it filed required legal WARN documentation with the appropriate state agencies. Breakthru anticipates that it will have job opportunities for a significant number of JJT employees, and both JJ Taylor and Breakthru have communicated that fact to the employees. Breakthru looks forward to welcoming these employees into its organization," Breakthru said in a statement to Bring Me The News.
Breakthru Beverage has been operating in Minnesota since 1956, distributing spirits, wine, beer, and other beverages, according to its website. It has corporate offices in New York, Illinois and Maryland.