80 Years of Beverage Dynamics

This magazine has been anything but stagnant over the past 80 years. Not only the name has changed with the times — the content and readership has also undergone massive shifts, as the country and culture has changed.

This publication began as Liquor Store & Dispenser in 1935, as a trade magazine serving the needs of retail beverage alcohol sellers, most of whom had no experience with the industry due to Prohibition. Its first decade featured many patriotic covers, including a number that tracked the dwindling whiskey stockpiles during World War II, when distilleries were converted to alternative uses.

Not long after, the first name change took place, with Dispenser dropped from the title. The first issue of Liquor Store debuted in 1950, at a time when alcohol sales were steadily increas- ing as the American middle class grew, and strong post-war economies drove sales higher (see charts later in this section for a breakdown of total sales over time).

The following decades were not only a period of political and cultural change, but a also huge shift in beverage alcohol, as chain stores appeared for the first time. Distributors and sup- pliers also experienced a period of consolidation: previously family-owned brands became public corporations (later to expand into global market leaders).

By the 1970s, technology was making its way into retail stores as electronic cash registers were introduced in 1978. The first computerized point of sale system, created by AT&T, would hit the market eight years later. Also during that time, brown spirits began to wane as vodka exploded in the U.S., eventually dominating all other spirit categories in sales.

In 1989, Liquor Store magazine finally became Beverage Dynamics, the most comprehensive and respected trade publication for off-premise retailers. A few years later, in 1996, BeverageDynamics.com was created as a web portal for information related to off-premise retailing.

Aside from a short stint as Beverage & Food Dynamics in the early 90s, the magazine has maintained a consistent mission and editorial direction for the past 26 years. But that’s not to say the industry was as stable during that time — in fact, during the 1990s, a wave of mergers and acquisitions swept the spirits, wine and beer industries, setting in motion changes that still reverberate today.

Remember Allied Domecq? How about Grand Metropoli- tan, Seagram’s and Heublein? Brand swapping, buyouts and mergers during the 1990s and early 2000s created Diageo in 1997 and established the balance of power in the spirits industry that still exists today. Soon after, the same thing would happen in the beer industry, creating SAB Miller and AB InBev as the dominant suppliers (who have announced a merger agreement as of press time).

In 2004, Beverage Dynamics was proud to be named Best B2B Magazine by Folio. In 2007, BeverageDynamics.com was redesigned as a more modern website. It received an additional update in 2014 to correspond with a complete redesign of the printed publication for the first time in nearly two decades.

Today, the Beverage Dynamics editorial staff is proud to celebrate this 80th anniversary, and to say we’re looking forward to the next 80 years. Thank you to our readers, industry members and everyone who’s been a part of the Beverage Dynamics family over the years for contributing to our sustained success. We couldn’t have done it without you.

To view the full 80th anniversary section, please download the PDF below:

80 Years of Beverage Dynamics

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