By Christine Graf
In 1921, Irish immigrant Michael Minogue purchased a soda bottling plant and distribution center in Granville, NY. After Prohibition ended in the U.S., he was issued the 34th wholesale beer license in New York state.
Today, the business he founded is thriving under owner John Minogue Jr. He said it is the oldest continuously operated family owned and operated beer distributor in New York state.
This year, it has been celebrating 100 years in business.
Minogue’s Beverage Center has locations in Queensbury, Saratoga Springs, Wilton, and Malta. Stores carry a wide variety of beer including seasonal varieties and craft beer. They also feature a large selection of ciders, growlers, kegs, seltzers, and sodas.
Minogue was 14 when he first started working part-time for his father, John Sr.. At the time, his father operated just one beverage center in Queensbury.
While Minogue was pursuing a degree in economics from College of the Holy Cross, a friend of his father who was a retired F.B.I. agent suggested that Minogue consider a career with the F.B.I. Intrigued by the possibility, he moved to Washington, D.C., and entered the bureau’s clerk -to-agent program after he graduated from college in 1976.
“You could work for the bureau as a clerk assisting agents in their work, and after a three-year period, you would be given an opportunity to take the (agent) exam,” he said.
After the program was eliminated, clerks were no longer guaranteed the opportunity to take the exam. As a result, Minogue made the decision to leave the F.B.I. in 1977.
“There were a lot of question marks at that time, and I chose not to take that risk,” he said. “At the same time, I had the opportunity to come back and go into business with my father in the family business, so I chose to do that. At that point in time, when I returned, we purchased the store in Saratoga Springs that was owned by the Ferrone brothers.”
For the past 44 years, Minogue has worked out of that West Avenue location in Saratoga. During the years that he was growing the business, it wasn’t unusual for him to put in more than 60 hours a week.
“You have to be willing to put in the time, energy, and effort to make it successful. It isn’t going to happen by accident,” he said. “It takes hard work and good planning.”
Minogue has three grown children, and they all worked for their father at some point during their lives.
“The family business was like the family farm,” he said. “They all worked here as kids growing up and while they were in college, but they have chosen not to get into the family business.”
As was the case with his own father, Minogue never pressured his children to choose the family business as their career path. Now, at the age of 69 and with his retirement looming, he has no one to take over for him.
“It’s a lot of mixed emotions for me to be at my age with no plans of succession,” he said.
All four stores are open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.