History of H.W. Herrell Distributing

On January 19, 1923, Harvey and Irma established H.W. Herrell Distributing Company. They began with the distribution of coal, ice, and gravel for the local area.

All of the office work and the business were run out of Harvey and Irma's kitchen. They built a small building next to their house they called the "ice house" which was their warehouse.

Donald as a kidIrma would take all the orders, and pay the bills, while Harvey would meet with customers and pick up the product. When Irma finished her part of the business you would find her in the seat next to Harvey making deliveries. That same year, August 11th, Irma gave birth to their only son, Donald C. Herrell. Business continued as usual. The family and the family business had begun to grow.

This being the time of prohibition, Anheuser-Busch launched a range of non-alcoholic products. Their line included soda and "Near—Beer". Demand began to grow for these items so Harvey and Irma expanded their distribution to include their Grape Bouquet, Ginger Ale, Root Beer, and Malt Nutrine and Bevo.

HW Herrell Old Brand Labels

It wasn’t very long until the business had outgrown their kitchen.  They built a one room office next to the Herrell‘s residence.

On December 5, 1933, prohibition was repealed, and Anheuser Busch returned to brewing beer. H.W. Herrell Distributing Company gained exclusive distribution rights to Anheuser Busch’s alcoholic products in 1936.

As the company continued to grow, more construction of buildings was inevitable. The ice house was torn down in order to expand the office area. They purchased ground to build a "garage" for the trucks, which later became the warehouse.

Old HW Herrell Warehouse

The building of the warehouse began between the periods of 1942-1946, which was big enough for 3-4 trucks. At that time, they had two vehicles which were used for the deliveries, a 1947 Diamond T Stake Bed Truck and a 1947 Diamond T Pick-Up Truck. They gradually added a loading dock and more room for coolers and a storage area for the beer products.

Old HW Herrell Budweiser TruckOld HW Herrell Budweiser Truck

In 1944, after serving in the military (World War II)  and a three year stint as a professional baseball career with the St. Louis Browns, Mr. Donald C. Herrell returned to help his parents with their business. Don started working on the trucks loading and delivering beer to the retailers. His jobs also included delivering ice and shoveling coal. Under the direction of his parents, and working by their side, he learned the business.

Donald HerrellHW Herrell Budweiser School

Don married Frances Kasten on June 28, 1947, and they were blessed with two children, Donald H. (Donnie) Herrell, and Carol Ann Herrell-Schanz. With the birth of his son, named for him, Don became affectionately known to his family, friends and customers as “Big Don”.Don and Frances Kasten Marry

H.W. Herrell Distributing Company was incorporated in 1963 and “Big Don” was appointed President of the company. He worked side by side with his parents, raising a family, in a rapidly growing business and ever changing economy.

The company was unionized in 1965 with the Teamsters Local #133, which is the only union distributor in the county.

On August 16, 1968, Mr. Harvey Herrell passed away leaving Irma and Don to run the business. Their business kept on growing rapidly with Irma in charge and Don by her side.
Donnie HerrellIn 1970, after attending Drury College, in Springfield, MO, Donnie joined his father and grandmother in the family business. As his father and grandfather before him, he started working on the trucks loading and delivering beer to the retailers. He was a driver and union member for 12 years. In 1982, Donnie joined his grandmother and his father in the office. Under their direction, and working by their side, he learned the business.

Carol Ann Joins HW HerrellIn 1974, Carol Ann joined the company assisting with checking in the drivers and keeping a handle on balancing their wallets, working as a part of the team.

Irma became more and more involved with her community outreach, local charities, St. Joseph Catholic Church, and her favorite team sport, bowling. Irma took or promoted many local teams to the MO. state championships.

Irma HW Herrell Bowling
She was often visited by August. Busch himself who got a real kick out of her! She always told it like it was.

On September 28, 1988 “Big Don” passed away leaving Irma and Donnie to run the business. The next few months took a toll on the family. With the loss of “Big Don”, Irma’s health began to deteriorate. On January 4, 1989 Irma passed away leaving Donnie to run the business. Their business kept on a steady incline with Donnie in charge and Carol by his side. Donnie is currently the President/CEO of H.W. Herrell Distributing, Co.

Old HW Herrell Budweiser TruckOld HW Herrell Budweiser TruckOld HW Herrell Budweiser Carriage


H.W. Herrell Distributing Company covers the entire Jefferson County and part of Washington County, which consists of over 300 accounts. The company is now celebrating its 90th Anniversary. They have expanded their vehicles, from two to a fleet. There are twenty-two Union Drivers, fourteen Sales and Marketing staff, and nine office employees doing the work that, at one time, Irma and Harvey did themselves.

With sales in excess to a million cases a year, H.W. Herrell Distributing has received many awards from the brewery of their excellent growth and outstanding services.

In the conference room of H.W. Herrell Distributing, CO., you will see a banner that reads “Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration, and inspiration.”  That quote describes how this company was started, and how it is running today. Irma, Harvey and Don would be proud!

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