Sam W. McQuade Sr. was born in Virginia, Minnesota, on July 23, 1917. The McQuade family, a mixture of Irish, Scottish, English and French, had early roots in northern Minnesota. Sam's great grandfather, Samuel C. McQuade, was Duluth's first Chief of Police and the first sheriff of St. Louis County. "McQuade Road" still exists north of Duluth and there is a McQuade Lake southeast of Hibbing. Sam's father, Samuel Browning McQuade, worked for the French's Mustard Co. and traveled extensively in Minnesota and the Dakotas. During the summers the family would often accompany him on his business trips and that is how Sam W. first became acquainted with Bismarck.

Following high school, junior college and several jobs in the Iron Range, Sam went to work for Minneapolis Brewing Co., traveling the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Idaho, where he met Viola Ring, a native of Wilbur, Washington. When World War II broke out Sam joined the Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Master Sergeant, and serving on Guadalcanal and the aircraft carrier Bunker Hill, which took two kamikaze hits during the battle of Okinawa. During that time Vi was a Rosey Riveter, building war ships in San Francisco, and that is where they were married in January, 1944. After the war, Sam returned to work in Iowa for Minneapolis Brewing Co. He then learned that the Bismarck market was for sale, and subsequently moved here.

Sam Sr. and Viola lived in Bismarck until their deaths in 1992 and 1994 respectively, raising six children: Sam Jr., Steven, Gerard, Debra, Joan and Sean. Sam Jr. is Chairman of the Board of McQuade Distributing Company. Steven (17) and Gerard (23) died in motor vehicle accidents in 1966 and 1975 respectively. Debra is a nurse in Rochester, Minnesota. Joan is in sales in Escondido, California. Sean, born with Down Syndrome, passed away in June of 2010, he was 46.

Sam and Stanton Billy Simonson form a partnership, M&S Distributing Co., purchase the former Capitol Sales Company from Cyril J. Thomas and begin distributing Grain Belt beer in bottles and kegs from a warehouse made out of attached railroad box cars, located at Washington and Main Street in Bismarck (now the Washington St. underpass). At this time there are 17 beer wholesalers in Bismarck-Mandan and over 700 breweries nationwide.

Sam McQuade purchases Billy Simonson's half of the business and renames it McQuade Distributing Co.

Anheuser-Busch, Inc. appoints McQuade Distributing Co. the rights to distribute Budweiser in bottles, cans and kegs and Michelob, available in kegs only.



The Budweiser Clydesdales make their first ever appearance in the Bismarck-Mandan area. They are stabled in the old International Harvester Building on South Mandan Street, just north of Main Avenue.

Sam McQuade Sr. serves as president of the North Dakota Beer Wholesalers' Association and is elected to the Board of the National Beer Wholesalers' Association.

The company moves to a warehouse on the Soo Line Railroad at 16th and Broadway, Bismarck.

Sam McQuade Sr. is elected as president of the Bismarck Chamber of Commerce. A new addition is built to the warehouse at 16th & Broadway. Anheuser-Busch and McQuade Distributing donate two Clydesdale horses to the Dakota Zoo.

McQuade Distributing Co. is incorporated as McQuade Distributing Co., Inc. Olympia Brewing Company of Olympia, Washington, appoints McQuade as its area wholesaler.

McQuade Distributing is appointed as the wholesaler for G. Heileman Brewing Co., La Crosse, Wisconsin.


McQuade's Recycle Center begins aluminum can recycling in the former Soo Line ice house at 11th & Broadway. This first year 9O,OOO Ibs or over 2,OOO,OOO cans are recycled.

Sam McQuade Jr. returns to the family business after the death of his brother, Gerard. Prior to his return, he studied in France in 1967-68, his junior year in college; there he met and married Maryvonne Anne Jollet. He graduated with a B.A. in English and French in 1969 from St. John's University, Collegeville, MN; in 1971 he earned an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Denver. He was a professor of English and Humanities at Arrapahoe Community College in Littleton, CO, and worked in sales at the Denver branch of Xerox Corporation. Sam and Maryvonne have two daughters, Shannon and Kelly, and four grandchildren. Sam is now retired from active involvement in McQuade Distributing. He spends his time reading and writing; he has published four books, and is working on several more.

The first annual charity slowpitch softball tournament, named the McQuade Distributing Muscular Dystrophy tournament, is begun by Sam McQuade Sr. and Bob Crawford. 103 teams enter, a state record.

The company moves to a new warehouse facility on East Rosser Avenue, Bismarck. Eventually this building will see three expansions and three office remodelings.

Sam McQuade Jr. becomes President of the Company and Sam McQuade Sr. is named Chairman of the Board.

The company wins the Golden Horseshoe Award from Olympia Brewing Company for sales and operations.

McQuade Distributing wins Honorable Mention in the first year of Anheuser-Busch's "Dimensions of Excellence" program, which rates wholesalers in the areas of sale, distribution, warehouse, fleet, administration, and community involvement.

McQuade Distributing wins the Bronze Award in Anheuser-Busch's "Dimensions of Excellence" program.

Sam McQuade Jr. is appointed to serve on the Anheuser-Busch Wholesaler Advisory Panel.

McQuade Distributing wins the Gold Award in Anheuser-Busch's Dimensions of Excellence Program. Anheuser-Busch and McQuade Distributing donate two more Clydesdales to the Dakota Zoo.

September, 1983
The Budweiser Clydesdales make their second Bismarck-Mandan appearance for the grand opening of the new facility for McQuade's Recycle center and the Bismarck Folkfest parade.

Sam McQuade Sr. is named "Humanitarian of the Year" by the Bismarck Sertoma Club.

Sam McQuade Jr. serves as president of the North Dakota Beer Wholesalers' Association. Sam McQuade Sr. receives Norwest Banks' Gold Award for community service and the Bismarck Chamber of Commerce names him Small Businessman of the Year.

McQuade Distributing is recognized as an Ambassador wholesaler, the smallest volume wholesaler ever to achieve with consistency the highest award in Anheuser-Busch's Dimensions of Excellence program, which ends after 1993.

Sam McQuade Jr. serves as the North Dakota representative to the National Beer Wholesalers' Association.

Sam McQuade Sr. is elected to the North Dakota Softball Hall of Fame and the Bismarck Washington St. softball diamonds are named the Sam McQuade Sr. Softball Complex in his honor. The annual charity softball tournament suffers its first rainout, so winners are determined by coin flip at the VFW All Seasons Arena.

McQuade's Recycling Center is recognized for recycling 100 million aluminum cans with Container Recovery Corporation, the recycling subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Companies. McQuade Distributing Co. is given the "Leadership Award" by the Division Office of Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

Sam McQuade Jr. is elected to the Management Committee of the National Beer Wholesalers' Association.

Sam McQuade Jr. is elected Secretary of the National Beer Wholesalers' Association.

July, 1989
The Budweiser Clydesdales make their third appearance in the Napoleon, ND Centennial, and Mandan North Dakota State Centennial Parades.

Top Sales Achievement award from Anheuser-Busch's Division 330 (North and South Dakota and Minnesota).

The recycling facility is expanded and its services increased; it now employs 28 persons, 20 of whom are developmentally disabled, working through Pride, Inc.

April 28, 1992
Sam McQuade Sr., passes away at his home in Bismarck. In his honor the newly installed Board of Directors of the softball tournament, now in its 17th year, renames it The Sam McQuade Sr./Budweiser Charity Softball Tournament.

May 15, 1995
McQuade Distributing purchases the rights to distribute Stroh Brewery Company products in its marketing territory. From seventeen in 1947 there are now two beer wholesalers in Bismarck-Mandan.

June 23, 24, 25 1995
20th Anniversary Sam McQuade-Sr./Budweiser Charity Softball Tournament, now the World's Largest, with 420 teams registered. The Budweiser Clydesdales make their fourth area appearance for the tournament and the McQuade Parade with 68 units marching from BHS to Kirkwood Plaza. In its 20 years the tournament has raised over $400,000, most of it going to local charities and organizations, particularly those that help run the tournament.

May 13, 1996
Ground breaking for the company's fourth warehouse facility at 1150 Industrial Drive, Bismarck.

May 16, 1996
McQuade Distributing sells the recycling company.

July, 1996
Anheuser-Busch and McQuade Distributing donate Clydesdales to the Dakota Zoo for the 3rd time.

December, 1996
Case sales for Anheuser-Busch products (excluding draught beer) exceed 500,000 cases for the first time. Anheuser-Busch's total Bismarck area market share is over 50%. The company rewards its employees with a trip to Orlando, Florida. McQuade Distributing Co. now sells 28 Anheuser-Busch brands, 22 Stroh brands, and 22 imports and micros with a total market share of 61%.

January 2, 1997
The company marks 50 years of business in Bismarck.

March 10, 1997
The company moves into a new 50,000 sq. ft. building that contains a warehouse, offices and a gift shop.

December, 1999
The company exceeds 800,000 in case sales. The company rewards its employees with a trip to Las Vegas in March 2000.

March 2000
The company sells all of its non-Anheuser-Busch products to become an exclusive Anheuser-Busch wholesaler.

June 2000
The Sam McQuade Sr. Budweiser Charity Softball Tournament celebrates it's 25th Anniversary. wins the division. The Sam McQuade Sr. – Budweiser charity Softball Tournament adds an International Division. The “Defenders of Freedom” Division is played in Bosnia with international armed forces troops stationed there including a team from Finland. 6 teams play in the new division. The North Dakota National Guard team wins the division.

October 2000
A 3rd member of the McQuade family, Shannon McQuade-Ely, begins the training needed to eventually replace her father, Sam McQuade, Jr., who took over after his father, Sam McQuade Sr. Shannon is a graduate of the Mass Communications Department of the University of Minnesota, Moorhead.

May, 2002
The company celebrated its 55th Anniversary by inviting the members of the Chamber and its retailers to a Thursday evening party! Guests were treated to big band music by the Joe Friday Band, grilled brats, a variety of cold Anheuser-Busch beers, and a commemorative Budweiser/McQuade beer glass.

June, 2002
McQuade Distributing Co., Inc. added one more member to its fleet of vehicles. A replica of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. #8 nascar can be seen in and around the Bismarck-Mandan area in parades and on daily sales calls.

November, 2004
McQuade Distributing Co., Inc. announces the promotion of Shannon McQuade-Ely to the position of President and Equity Agreement Manager. Former President, Sam McQuade Jr., will remain with the company as Chairman of the Board.

June, 2005
The company celebrated its 50th Anniversary with Anheuser-Busch and 30th Annual Sam McQuade Sr./Budweiser Charity Softball Tournament by inviting retailers and area businesses to a Chamber Mixer and bringing in the World Famous Budweiser Clydesdales.

The company marks 60 years of business in Bismarck.

The “Defenders of Freedom” Division of the softball tournament is moved from Bosnia to Baghdad, Iraq for the next three years and maxes out at 32 teams each year. It is attended by General Petraeus in 2008.

Shannon McQuade-Ely is named President of the North Dakota Beer Distributors Association. She became the first third-generation president as well as the first female president of the board.

The company surpasses the 1 million case mark for the first time and celebrates by taking all employees to Las Vegasfor a well-deserved weekend. McQuade Distributing is named an Ambassador of Excellence by Anheuser-Busch for an outstanding year.

McQuade Distributing becomes the appointed distributor by several American craft breweries including Bells Brewery, and Boulder Beer.

The Sam McQuade Sr.-Budweiser Charity Softball Tournament celebrates its 35th Annual Tournament with a record 477 teams plus an additional 16 teams playing the “Defenders of Freedom” division in Kosovo.

Company adds numerous craft beers, including Deschutes, New Belgium and Southern Tier Brewing and starts participating in Beerfests (craft beer samplings) that donate their proceeds to local charities.

Company expands the warehouse and offices by 22,000 square feet to a total of 64,000+ sq. ft and begins an annual (Michelob Ultra) Beers for Boobs promotion in Oct. that raises money for local breast cancer charities. Because of a book Sam Jr. wrote on family business, "Hostile Takeover: How To and Not To Transition to the Next Generation," he and Shannon are invited to present at a forum for Chinese Anheuser-Busch/IN BEV distributors in Shanghai, China.

40th Annual Sam McQuade Sr./Budweiser Charity Softball Tournament, which, over the years, has contributed more than $1,500,000 to local charities.