Over the past 30 years, whenever Charlotte, DeSoto or Glades County hands raised a can of Bud Light, a bottle of Corona, a glass of Stella Artois, or a pint of Fat Point Big Boca, it likely came from the warehouse and traveled on one of the vehicles belonging to Punta Gorda’s Peace River Distributing.
Founded in 1991, the independent business, most recently owned and operated by the Wenzel family of Punta Gorda, first opened its doors as an Anheuser-Busch distributor. It expanded to carry over 300 brands, distributing to more than 400 retail accounts.
“Suncoast Beverage Sales from Fort Myers is also a longtime family-owned beer distributor and a friend of ours in the industry,” said Chris Wenzel, now-previous owner of Peace River Distributing. “While we have greatly enjoyed serving as the local beer distributor for the last 30 years, our family has made the decision to exit the business. We’re confident that Suncoast can do a great job for our customers and employees, continuing the business in largely the same form, just with new ownership and a different name on the trucks. We wish them the very best.”
Peace River Distributing was Charlotte County’s No. 1 beverage distributor, gave back regularly to over 60 local nonprofits, and sponsored countless Punta Gorda events, according to the company.
On June 4, Peace River Distributing was absorbed by Fort Myers-based Suncoast Beverage Sales, which itself boasts over 1,100 accounts and more than 150 employees.
Suncoast Beverage Sales is now among the largest authorized distributors of Anheuser-Busch and a wide variety of other beverages to wholesalers, restaurants, sports bars, the hospitality industry and other commercially licensed institutions throughout Southwest Florida.
Suncoast Beverages, too, gives back to its communities’ nonprofits, sponsors local festivals and brought the world-famous, beerwagon-towing Budweiser Clydesdales to town.
Neither new owner Tim Mitchell could be reached for comment on whether Peace River’s Piper Road headquarters will remain open and its 75 employees offered jobs with their new parent company.