Throughout its 80-year history, Cappione Inc. has also seen drastic shifts in where its beer is distributed to. In the 30s and 40s, 80 percent of the alcohol they distributed went to bars and restaurants, while today closer to 80 percent of their product is shipped to grocers for direct sale to consumers.
“The beer market has changed dramatically from then until today,” Mr. Cappione said. “It could be from changes in [how our] leisure time [is spent].”
Although the company now deals solely in distributing beer throughout St. Lawrence county, it used to deal in soft drinks and heating fuels. In 1948, Cappione Inc. opened the Canada Dry Bottling Company, which bottled Coca-Cola, 7-Up, and Dr. Pepper brand soft drinks. Those operations were closed in 1983 because larger soda bottlers have made business unprofitable by smaller bottlers such as Cappione, Inc. “Smaller bottlers weren’t able to keep up. We would have existed but not been very profitable,” Mr. Cappione said.
The company also sold heating wood and coal, and later on oil to residents and local businesses for heating. It delivered its products directly to its customers. “We didn’t have oil burners or electric heat back then,” Mr. Cappione stated.
Cappione Inc. discontinued its home-heating sales in the 1960s, when natural gas became a popular commodity for home heating. “You get out of the business while you can,” Francis said.
Today Cappione Inc. is one of two beer distributors in St. Lawrence County. It is headed by Mr. Cappione’s sons, John B. Cappione and David Cappione, and it employs an average of 30 full-time workers in Massena.
– Excerpt from Northern New York Newspapers (Tim Fenster)