Recently, Banko Beverage Co. celebrated our 90th anniversary of operation as a beer distributor. From our founding in 1933 until today, Banko Beverage Co has remained a family-owned business committed to supporting and serving the greater Lehigh Valley area community. This commitment is expressed by our family-focused leadership team, multi-generational employees, service-focused culture, and local involvement. Here, we look back on nearly a century of accomplishments and growth.
The history of Banko Beverage Co. begins in 1933 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This was during the Prohibition Era, which was defined by the nationwide outlaw of alcoholic beverages. Our founder, Frank Banko Sr., started this company as a soda wholesaler distributing non-alcoholic beverages. It wasn’t until Prohibition was repealed later in 1933 that Banko Beverage Co sold the first Schaefer beer and began building its reputation and legacy as a Lehigh Valley beer distributor.
Frank Banko Sr. passed away in 1937. His son, Frank Banko Jr., continued to expand his father’s company with a broader range of beer suppliers. New corporate offices were built in 2017, in addition to a large, temperature-controlled warehouse that allowed Banko Beverage Co to further expand its supply.
Today, Banko Beverage Co is one of the biggest and oldest beer distributors in the region, serving over 1,000 restaurants, bars, and distributors within the greater Lehigh Valley area. Our roster of suppliers includes top brands like Schaefer, Miller, Molson, Heineken, Pabst, Guinness, and Stella, as well as smaller suppliers and craft beer suppliers. We also continuously update our offerings to keep up with trends and our customers’ changing wants.
The Banko Family Name
Ever since our inception, Banko Beverage Co has been a proud family business, and we are still family-owned and operated today. Mary Ellen Racz, our current President and CEO, is Frank Banko Jr.’s daughter. Her son, Tony Gallo, also serves the company as vice president. 90 years of leadership from the same family is proof of our unchanging identity as a high-quality beer distributor and our enduring dedication to family values.
Our family values also extend to the rest of our team. The company provides steady employment to residents across the Allentown, PA region, who know they will be treated fairly and with appreciation while they work with us. Suppliers who contact Banko Beverage Co can be confident in our representatives’ knowledge and experience. Our 75-person staff also includes multi-generational workers through all company divisions, who contribute toward a company culture focused on quality customer service.
Supporting Our Community
Our multi-generational mindset has strengthened our commitment to the greater Lehigh Valley community. We’ve formed lasting partnerships with local nonprofit organizations and charities. The Banko family name appears around the greater Lehigh Valley area on businesses we support, including hospital wings and athletic fields at both high schools and colleges. You can also see it at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas, a two-screen cinema screening independent, foreign, and arthouse films.
We also engage the community at events and performances. We have been present at Christkindlmarkt, the Great Allentown Fair, the Pocono Raceway, the Celtic Classic Highland Games, and many other local events, where we provide refreshing drinks to attendees. We’re also the main beer supplier for all ArtsQuest events, including the popular 10-day Musikfest, which features over 500 performances. The greater Lehigh Valley is more than just a place to do business: it’s an area bustling with culture we’re glad to support and call home.
Looking Toward the Future
For 90 years of business, Banko Beverage Co has operated as both a beer wholesaler and a member of the community in the greater Lehigh Valley area. While we celebrate our anniversary, we also look forward to showing this commitment in our future endeavors. We support over 1,000 suppliers and retailers, and your business could be next. Contact us today to learn more about our services or discover how to get involved.