History & Timeline - Lipman Brothers

Delivering Distinctive Taste Since 1939.

Lipman History

1934

The Lipman Brothers

Lipman Brothers founders harry meyer

Harry Lipman founded the Franklin Distributing Co. in Franklin, KY. This liquor and wine distribution company was established at the repeal of national prohibition prior to the repeal of prohibition in other Southern states. His younger brother, Meyer, joined him in the operation.

1939

Tennessee Beginnings

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The state of Tennessee repeals prohibition. Harry and Meyer relocate their business to Nashville. Lipman Brothers – now the official name of the company – received its wholesale liquor license, Tennessee State Permit No. 1, which it still operates under today.

1940

Nashville Roots

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The original location was at 208 2nd Avenue South, the area now known as “SoBro” in the heart of downtown Nashville, across from Ascend Amphitheater. At the time, that area was called Merchants Row, home to many warehouses and distributors. Harry, a tough but fair businessman, and his younger brother Meyer, who called on accounts and oversaw sales, managed about a dozen employees.

1942

Building Brands

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Lipman Brothers was the first distributor of Jack Daniel’s after the repeal of prohibition. Some of the other first suppliers include Glenmore Distilling Co., Bacardi, and Fleischmann’s.

1951

Nashville’s Floods Lead to Relocation

The Cumberland River near Nashville’s 2nd Avenue would frequently flood, so the Lipman Brothers decided to relocate the business. They purchased the property on the highest ground within Nashville city limits at 29 Hermitage Avenue – less than ½ mile away – for their new company headquarters.

1961

Next Generation

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Harry’s son, Norman, enters the family business. A hard-working, kind man, Norman was a generous humanitarian and a nationally recognized leader in the wine and spirits industry.

1967

Third Generation

Norman’s son, Robert, enters the family business. Robert started part-time in 1973 while still in college at the University of Kentucky. After graduating, he went to work for Seagram’s in NYC then participated in an Enology program at University of California, Fresno, before joining Lipman Brothers full-time.

Breaking Barriers

Breaking Barriers

States approve the sale of liquor by the drink. Lipman Brothers expands to a new facility at 299 Hermitage Avenue. Harry Lipman retires and his son, Norman, acquires his father’s interest.

1977

California Wines Emerge in Tennessee

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Lipman Brothers establishes a separate wine division. Spurred by Robert’s observations in California wine country, along with the imminent growth of the boutique wine business, Lipman Brothers begins distributing brands including: Beaulieu Vineyards, Grgich, Beringer, Chapellet, Sutter Home, Clos du Val, David Bruce, and Kendall Jackson.

1982

Leaving a Legacy

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Norman Lipman, who served as Lipman Brothers’ Executive Vice President from 1961-1982, passes at age 54. He was a founder of l’Eté du Vin and a vigorous supporter of this international event which has, since its inception in 1980, raised more than $20 million for organizations whose purpose is directly related to treatment, patient care and the eradication of cancer. In his honor, the Norman M. Lipman Award was established as tribute to Lipman and the humanitarian qualities of wisdom, courage, optimism, commitment, and integrity that he embodied.

1988

Third Generation Takes the Reigns

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Carrying on the legacy of his grandfather, Harry, and his father, Norman, Robert S. Lipman purchases the family business and becomes the sole owner.

1994

Beer And Other Business

Beer And Other Business

A separate entity – R.S. Lipman – was founded for the company to expand into the non-alcoholic and beer sectors of distribution. Lipman Brothers was limited to distributing only wine and spirits. Lipman pursued an opportunity to get into the “new age beverage” category (as it was called at the time) to distribute products such as Snapple and Arizona Iced Tea. Under the new company, R.S. Lipman could now also distribute beer and other beverages including Mountain Valley Water.

1995

On the Move

On the Move

Lipman Brothers relocates to its current location, 411 Great Circle Road, in an area known as Metro Center on a 15-acre tract of land. 

1997

Expanding Product Lines

The R.S. Lipman product line is further expanded to include premium cigars and Riedel Crystal. A large walk-in humidor is built within the warehouse to house Lipman’s cigar inventory. A cigar enthusiast, Robert initiated the cigar business through a pairing program with Chateau St. Michelle, sister company to US Tobacco, which incentivized distributors across the country to enter the cigar business.

2009

New Territory

New Territory

Lipman’s distribution area expands into the Chattanooga Region to include 50 of the state’s 96 counties.

2010

Mother Nature Nearly Destroys Expansion

Construction is completed on the expansion of Lipman’s office and warehouse facilities at their Nashville Headquarters. The expansion results in a building footprint of over 185,000 square feet. In July, the infamous “Nashville Flood” damages and destroys many Metro Center buildings. Lipman Brothers was spared damage by a mere 1-1/2 feet.

2011

Acquisition of Tennessee Wine & Spirits

Acquisition of Tennessee Wine & Spirits

Lipman Brothers acquires one of the state’s early distributors, Tennessee Wine & Spirits Company, after entering into an agreement whereby Tennessee Wine, though maintaining its separate identity, became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lipman Brothers.

Continued Expansion in East Tennessee

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Lipman’s distribution area expands into the Knoxville Region to include 74 of the state’s 96 counties.

2012

Technology & Modernization

Launch of a 5-year strategic modernization plan to implement state-of-the-art technologies designed to anticipate, plan and respond to market needs, including HighJump Warehouse Management System (WMS), Microsoft Dynamics GP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and other supply chain technology integrations.

2016

Wine in Tennessee Grocery Stores

Wine in Tennessee Grocery Stores

On July 1, 2016, law changes in Tennessee enables liquor/wine wholesalers to broaden their product distribution portfolio, most notably to include beer. In addition, grocery stores gained the right to sell wine.

New Corporate Headquarters

Lipman Brothers wine beer alcohol distribution center

The Lipman Companies restructures and prepares for a move to a 375,000 square foot building at 2815 Brick Church Pike in the Skyline Park district. This new headquarters is built with state of the art material and includes advanced temperature-controlled spaces for wine and beer – not to mention, comes with a spectacular view of the growing Nashville skyline.