News Articles

Beer distributor plans to expand in Everett

By Ira Kantor
Boston Herald
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beer distributor gets incentives to relocate from Kingston

L. Knife & Son Inc. has big expansion plans brewing in Everett.

The fourth-generation, family-owned, 114-year-old distributor of specialty and imported ales and lagers wants to begin renovating a more than 200,000-square-foot, abandoned, partially refrigerated warehouse on Beacham Street next month, a $13.4 million project that would create 20 permanent, full-time jobs and spur revenue and economic growth in the city.

Based in Kingston, L. Knife & Son will relocate two of its divisions — Craft Brewers Guild of Boston and St. Killian Importing — to the former U.S. Foods building, which it’s in the process of acquiring, to better accommodate customer demand. The building will also house an on-site training center and future trade shows, company officials said.

“It’s a drawing point being close to the city, close to the airport, so we’re going to be able to bring in brewers and suppliers in the country and overseas,” said Brian McGuire, L. Knife & Son’s vice president of operations, adding the company has 17 divisions in 12 states. “This is going to be a center headquarters for us for craft beer in the state.”

James Errickson, executive director for Everett’s Department of Planning and Development, said L. Knife’s presence would help elevate the status of the city, which is led by Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr., as an economic development center.

“L. Knife speaks to that initiative — to really change the perception of Everett to one of a place where people want to invest in economic development and job creation,” he said. “It is beer, but the focus of this one is craft beer and import business, and those businesses are both growing at the moment within the U.S. market, so we saw it as a generally positive market to bring in.”

To offset project costs, the company sought help from government incentives firm Business Development Strategies Inc. of Medway. Working with Everett and state officials, BDS secured L. Knife & Son a $1.5 million, four-year special tax assessment from the city and another $260,000 investment tax credit from the state, all within 30 days.

The company’s incentives package was approved by the Everett City Council in August, and the state’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council last month.

L. Knife & Son hopes to have the Everett location operational by early next year, McGuire said, adding the company is “very happy with this location, very happy with the city.”

The company is the second this year to receive tax incentives from Everett, following Cumar Inc., a local importer and fabricator of fine architectural stone, Errickson said.

The tax incentives package completely spares L. Knife & Son from paying more than $600,000 in property taxes for the first year. By the fourth year, the company will have to pay 75 percent of property taxes.

Under the Bay State’s Economic Development Incentive Program, companies must create at least one permanent full-time job in Massachusetts, make a private real estate investment, and have substantial sales outside of the state to qualify for tax incentives, said BDS President Lynn Tokarczyk, adding available L. Knife & Son jobs will be open to qualified Everett residents first.