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Beverage Industry’s Ray Herrmann Passes Away

By September 23, 2021Top News, VIPs

Breakthru Beverage Chairman Emeritus Raymond R. Herrmann died peacefully on Aug. 21, 2021, just weeks before his 101st birthday with his wife Marianne by his side. Born on Sept. 11, 1920, in Louisville, Kentucky, Hermann’s accomplished career spanned more than five decades. His family ties to the industry began with his grandfather, who settled in Louisville in the late 1800s and founded a wine and spirits importing company, later forming Herrmann Brothers Distillery in Bardstown in 1880. A 1942 graduate of Princeton University, he began as a liquor salesman in New York’s distribution tier after honorably serving in the United States Army, 191 Field Artillery Group in the South Pacific Theatre from 1943 to 1946. Herrmann’s career spanned roles with Schieffelin Company, National Distillers Products Company and McKesson Corp, leading to the acquisition of McKesson’s wine and spirits businesses, forming a four-state distribution company known as Sunbelt Beverage Corporation. In 1994, Hermann partnered with the late industry legend, Herman I. Merinoff, to form The Charmer Sunbelt Group. In 2016, Charmer Sunbelt merged with Wirtz Beverage to form Breakthru Beverage. Herrmann, who was an industry mentor and supporter of numerous charitable efforts, was named to the Chevalier de L’ Ordre National du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit) by French President Francois Mitterand, and received the WSWA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 among other accolades, and held extensive trade leadership positions in U.S. trade associations.


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