Joseph J. Fisch, Jr., Chairman of U.S. Beverage, Has Died (2024)

Joseph J. Fisch, Jr.

May 18, 1949 – May 27, 2024

Joseph J. Fisch, Jr., Founder and Chairman of United States Beverage and former President of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, passed away on May 27 in Naples, Florida. He was 75.

Fisch’s distinguished career in the premium beverage alcohol industry – spanning more than fifty years – began at Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. Early in his career he became the company’s youngest Regional Vice President, managing the Chicago-based Central Division of Seagram’s specialty import brands company: The General Wine & Spirits Company. Three years later, Fisch was elevated to the Seagram Corporation’s largest spirit unit, The Seagram Distillers Company, managing its most profitable Eastern Division based in New York.

In 1989, Fisch was promoted to Senior Vice President, Central Division of the newly created House of Seagram, which managed the corporation’s entire spirits portfolio. In this position, Fisch developed and oversaw aggressive growth and increased market share within the industry. In 1991 he returned to New York to oversee the House of Seagram’s most profitable spirits unit, the Atlantic-Pacific region.

In 1993, Fisch was named President of the Seagram Beverage Company. During his tenure, he created and initiated a strategic plan to expand the company into the high-end craft and imported beer sectors, while at the same time, recreating the company’s flagship Seagram Cooler portfolio of brands.

Driven by a passion to pursue his entrepreneurial spirit, Fisch departed Seagram in 1996. With the support and guidance of many incredible industry friends and colleagues, Fisch embarked on his life-long dream of owning a family business, forming United States Beverage (USB) in 1997. Nearly three decades after its founding, U.S. Beverage is the #1 Independent Beer Importer in the United States. The company represents a broad portfolio of leading brands within the import, craft, and specialty space, and has partnered with industry giants such as Heineken, S.A DAMM, Budweiser Budvar Brewery, Erdinger Weisbrau and Pernod Ricard. Additionally, in 2022 USB assumed an ownership position with the Uinta Brewing Company, marking the company’s first acquisition and, with access to a state-of-the art-brewery, adding capacity for production.

Fisch’s values for USB were built upon a fierce commitment and loyalty to partnerships at the distributor, supplier and retailer levels. He felt the beverage industry was the ultimate “relationship business” and ensured that USB kept a commitment to relationships at the core of its principles. Fisch’s passion and love for the beverage industry was unwavering – a value he instilled in each of his employees.

When Fisch stepped back from the role of CEO in 2023, it was with the confidence that under his son Justin’s leadership, USB would continue to grow. At the time he even predicted USB’s expansion into spirits, a move that will be completed in the Fall of this year.

Fisch long credited his education at Bowling Green State University for being well prepared to succeed. His passion for entrepreneurship and achievements in innovation were recognized in 2013 when he was inducted into the prestigious BGSU Hamilton Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. He was proud to work within the BGSU Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in various capacities – his most rewarding as a mentor/ investor for students participating in the school’s entrepreneurial “Hatch” program, a 10-week course which takes student business ideas from concept to startup, culminating in a live presentation before investors.

Fisch’s passion outside of business was his family. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Gayle Fisch and their children Justin Fisch (Brooke), Candace Hewit, and Lauren Reed (Tyler), his brothers Robert Fisch, Thomas Fisch and is forever cherished by his nine grandchildren, Jay Fisch, Ryan Fisch, Campbell Fisch, Tommy Fisch, Grace Hewit, Hardy Hewit, Jacquelyn Hewit, Bodie Reed and Blakely Reed. He is preceded in death by his daughter Jacquelyn Fisch, son-in-law Rusty Hewit and parents Joseph John Fisch and Grace Dunsmore Fisch.

Joseph J. Fisch, Jr., Chairman of U.S. Beverage, Has Died (1)Joseph J. Fisch, Jr., Chairman of U.S. Beverage, Has Died (2)

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Joseph J. Fisch, Jr., Chairman of U.S. Beverage, Has Died (2024)

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