1. 109 Years Strong
AlaBev was founded 1907 as a manufacturer of alcohol-free beverages called Birmingham Beverage Company. In 2014 its name incorporated its home state into a succinct moniker, AlaBev.
2. Post-Prohibition Flow
The company started distributing alcohol as Prohibition ended in 1937. Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company was the primary supplier for the next few decades.
3. Four Generations Deep
The Kampakis family purchased the company in 1957, and today the fourth generation of the family is on staff. World War II veteran and Naval officer Sergei Kampakis was the first Kampakis to lead the company, and his son Harry Kampakis now serves as president.
4. Alabama All the Time
As Alabama’s largest distributor of domestic, import, craft, and specialty beer, AlaBev serves its entire home state: Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Anniston, Gadsden, Decatur, Florence, Scottsboro, and cities in between.
5. Monastic Inspiration
Harry Kampakis frequently travels internationally to cultivate beer and other beverages it distributes, striving to keep brewing traditions alive. He has even studied under monks to learn the Trappist brewing style, which is only practiced in 11 monastic breweries worldwide.
6. Local Legacy
The current home to Good People Brewing Company once served as a warehouse for AlaBev, and its first office and building was located downtown near the old Birmingham Terminal Station. The company has since moved to the the industrial area of West Homewood, where renovations to its offices and warehouse are currently underway.
7. Free the Hops
Harry Kampakis was ahead of the craft beer trend, starting its distribution in the state in the late 1990s. As a part of the Free the Hops movement starting in 2005, he helped change Alabama legislation to allow beers up to 13 percent alcohol by volume and in containers up to 750 ml to be sold in the state, along with reducing restrictions for brewery sales under the Brewery Modernization Act. Kampakis arranged meetings with Gov. Bob Riley, secured lobbyist representation, and served as the movement’s chief financial supporter.
8.Breaking Down Craft Spirit Distilling Barriers
Currently, Harry Kampakis is sponsoring legislation to break down the barrier to entry for Alabama distilleries, and craft distilleries in general. This bill would allow the state to flex and use DSD (direct store delivery) distributors such as AlaBev to market and deliver craft distilled spirits while retaining current revenue from taxes.
9. Drink the World
AlaBev imports and distributes beverages from craft breweries right here in Alabama to countries including the U.K., France, Belgium, Germany, India, and China.
In the company’s new homebrewing competition series, Masters of the Brewniverse, grand-prize winners get to brew a limited-edition specialty beer with a one of AlaBev’s brewery partners. The winning brew from fall 2015, Black Saturday, was brewed at Avondale Brewing Company and distributed to retailers throughout Alabama. The spring 2016 winner will bring a brew to life at Straight to Ale Brewing in Huntsville.