From a tiny distributor of candy and newspapers to becoming one of the most innovative and enduring distilled spirit companies in America, the story of Phillips spans hundreds of products, five generations and two continents.
1899 Edward Phillips and his family emigrate from Minsk, Russia to Manitowoc, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan.
1912 At the urging of his son Jay, a newspaper boy, Ed Phillips starts Ed Phillips & Sons, a wholesaler of candy, newspapers and magazines.
1914 After two successful years, the company begins expanding throughout Wisconsin.
1925 Ed Phillips & Sons expands their business across the upper Midwest.
1933 The 21st Amendment ends Prohibition and within months Phillips becomes the exclusive distributor for Hiram-Walker and Schenley, two of the largest distillers.
1934 Jay Phillips moves his family and the company headquarters to Minneapolis.
1935 A Phillips salesman, Al Dorsch, develops a recipe for Peppermint Schnapps. Phillips Peppermint Schnapps becomes an immediate success as America’s first Schnapps brand.
1945 Phillips becomes America’s largest independent distributor of wines and spirits and one of the strongest regional spirits brands in the country.
1951 American G.I.’s returning from Europe after WWII, help to introduce Americans to a new spirit: Vodka. Phillips becomes the best selling vodka in the Upper Midwest.
1957 Phillips pioneers another category with a highly successful line of flavored vodkas.
1964 The third generation of Phillips, Morton Phillips (front, center), assumes the role of President.
1967 Phillips begins its first large-scale advertising effort with outdoor billboards and print advertising in Look and Life Magazines.
1975 Edward Phillips (below) becomes the 4th Phillips to take the reign as President.
1975 Phillips launches its “Enjoy in Moderation” campaign-a sentiment that is still printed on every bottle of every Phillips brand.
1981 Phillips introduces America’s first Cinnamon Schnapps.
1984 Phillips introduces America’s first Root Beer Schnapps.
1995 Edward Phillips launches Millennium Import Co to develop and market luxury spirits. The company’s first introductions, Belvedere and Chopin Vodka.
2001 Phillips Distilling Company is spun-off from Millennium Import Co, & Dean Phillips (bottom, left) becomes the fifth generation President in the family line.
2005 Phillips launches Phillips Whiskey, a blend of Kentucky Bourbon and Canadian Whisky.
2013 Phillips Vodka begins shipping internationally.