Northwest Beverages has been sold to Bernick's. The Superior distributing business changes hands this weekend and opens as Bernick's of Superior on Monday, Jan. 28, according to Northwest Beverages co-owner Rich Reder.

Twenty-two employees will remain, he said, and customers shouldn't be affected by the move.

"Basically, they're going to be coming in and changing the name on the door and on the trucks and just run things pretty much status quo," Reder said.

"We want to take all the positive things that they've done and the history that they have in Superior, and just try to enhance it," said John Torgerson, chief operating officer for Bernick's.

Bernick's is a family-owned business based in St. Cloud, Minnesota that traces its roots back to 1916. With the addition of Northwest Beverages, it employs 750. It's distribution footprint reaches from Rochester, Minnesota to the Canadian border.

One of Bernick's key visions is growth, Torgerson said. Adding a seventh distributing center in Superior does just that.

"We're excited about the opportunity to increase our territory, grow our business and continue to build and strengthen our existing customer relationships as well as add new customers to our portfolio," Torgerson said.

The move adds Bayfield County and northern Ashland County to the business' service area and opens up the MillerCoors brands in Douglas County.

Reder's father, Dick, founded Northwest Beverages in 1971. When he died in 1992, Reder and his brother, Paul, took the helm. A few years later, the business moved from its former location, now Charter Films, into a new building with a larger footprint at 1606 N. Sixth St. The family has given back to the community over the years through the Dick Reder Golf Scramble and other venues.

Reder said he's proud to have carried on the family business.

"You don't stay in business for 40 years without being a good employer and having great employees, that makes the whole thing tick," Reder said.

He thanked customers for their support over the years. Some have been with Northwest Beverages since the first day.

"Like Jim Bolin out at President's, he's been our customer for 48 years," Reder said.

So have the Heytens family at the Hammond Steakhouse and the Jaques family, which owns Belknap Liquor and Lounge.

"It's just been a pleasure being able to service everybody and helping them be successful along the way," Reder said.

The Northwest Beverages building at 1606 N. Sixth St. is owned by RPR Enterprises and sits on city-owned land. Bernick's will be leasing the building from RPR Enterprises, which leases the land from the city. Torgerson said Bernick's has signed a four-year, renewable lease for the building.

The Superior City Council approved a sublease between RPR Enterprises and Bernick's at its Jan. 15 Common Council meeting.

Reder said he's been too busy with the sale to give much thought to his next chapter. His future plans include learning how to cut meat and make sausages. His wife, Judy, owns Superior Meats. He expressed interest in fishing, as well.

"I don't really want to call it retirement. I'm just going to be an ex-beer guy," Reder said.