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Conkling History

The History of Conkling Distributing

Conkling Distributing History

In 1939, John A. Conkling saw an opportunity.  Prohibition was ending and Beer was coming Back!  He began a distribution business and started selling Grain Belt products in Yankton, South Dakota area.  John also brought other breweries to Yankton, like Olde Style, Pabst and Blatz.  The first warehouse was connected to the south side of the present day Pure Ice Company.  You can still see it today!

Conkling South Dakota History
Conkling historic distribution building

In 1958, Anheuser-Busch was looking for a new distributor for the Yankton area. Nash-Finch Grocery Company was distributing Anheuser-Busch products, but they wanted to focus on the grocery business. John saw another opportunity. Anheuser-Busch products could add to the company and John had a feeling he could grow the business. He did just that!
In 1962, John moved the business to a new location in Yankton on 4th and Douglas (the old Nash-Rambler Garage). .

In 1968, John fell ill and tragically passed away. John’s wife, Charlotte, and her oldest son Bill, took over the company and running the day to day operations.
After a tour in Vietnam and fulfilling his military service, Charlotte’s other son, Dan, came back to Yankton to help run the company in 1971. Conkling Distributing moved into a new warehouse with rail access in 1972. After several years of market share and sales growth, Conkling Distributing continued to be successful.

Beer distribution truck
Conkling Distribution Family Photo

In 1991, 3.2% beer was eliminated in the state and only full strength beer was sold.
In 1998, Dan purchased a new warehouse further east of Yankton to support the company and its continued growth. In that same year, the Pabst portfolio was sold off and Conkling Distributing became an exclusive Anheuser-Busch Distributor. Also in 1998, Conkling Distributing became the only locally owned beer distributor in Yankton.
In 1999, Charlotte passed away. With a heavy heart, Dan took over the family business.

In 2011, the company started adding additional Breweries and different Brands to our product portfolio. Some notable additions to our company are: United Brands (Joose), The Gambrinus Company (Shiner Beers), Constellation Brands (Corona) and The Alaskan Brewery (Alaskan).
In 2014, we celebrated 75 years in business!
Today, Dan still runs the company with his son-in-law, Heath Larson. Now employing 19 full time people, with a 40,000 square foot facility, Conkling Distributing hopes to continue the great foundation of success that was built before us and we look forward to an even brighter future! If you have any questions for us on some more history, please Contact Us and ask!