In 1932, a young traveling salesman named Milt Odom stepped off a steamboat in Juneau, Alaska full of ambition and dreams of making his mark on the last frontier. A year later, Milt formed Odom & Company, an independent broker selling bourbon, liquor, coffee, tea, spices, meats, candy, and other dry goods. In 1934, he opened Anchorage Cold Storage for business. In 1937, after meeting with Coca-Cola’s Chairman of the Board, Milt seized a unique business opportunity. He acquired the Coca-Cola franchise rights for one dollar.
Throughout the next few years, Milt also acquired distribution franchises for several other popular sodas. The Odom Company, selling produce, opened in Seattle in 1944. And in the early 1950s, Anchorage Cold Storage canned its first Coca-Cola. It signaled the beginning of a new era in soft drink beverage distribution and established Anchorage Cold Storage as the major supplier of canned beverages in Alaska. Milt then purchased the Coca-Cola franchise in Idaho in 1964.
In 1970, Milt bought distribution rights to Miller Brewing Co. and extended his soft drink business to include Dr. Pepper, 7-Up, Hires Root Beer and Crush. Then in the mid-1970s, Milt reorganized all his business activities into what is now The Odom Corporation. The company had grown to more than 200 employees located throughout Washington, Idaho and Alaska and had expanded its product line to include beer, wine and spirits.
After Milt passed away in 1988, his three sons – John, Jim and Bill – took over the leadership of the company. The three brothers had worked closely with their father for years, and continued his successful business model of building and maintaining relationships and treating people fairly. This approach continues to be the cornerstone of the company’s success today.
From 1996 to 2008, Odom began expanding its portfolio and territory through a series of acquisitions, expansions and joint ventures with other beverage distribution companies in the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, Odom started distribution in the state of Oregon. Then in 2013, four of Washington’s wholesale beer distributors joined their efforts to create a new enterprise: Great Artisan Beverage Company. GAB is a supplier partnership between The Odom Corporation, Marine View Beverage, Sound Beverage Distributors, Inc. and Craig Stein Beverage.
In 2016, Odom expanded its non-alcoholic beverage business into the Hawaiian Islands as Coca-Cola Bottling of Hawaii, a subsidiary of The Odom Corporation. This move refranchised the territories of Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai and Molokai from The Coca-Cola Company, transferring ownership of the local bottling and distribution operations to Odom as an independent partner.
In 2017, The Odom Corporation formed a joint venture with Craig Stein Beverage as CSB purchased Click Wholesale Distributing. With this new partnership between Odom and CSB, Click’s territories and Odom’s Western Washington distribution footprint merged together to create the new beverage wholesaler company of NW Beverages, LLC. This new entity is equally owned by The Odom Corporation and Craig Stein Beverage. NW Beverages, LLC is Odom’s most recent acquisition in its series of significant portfolio expansions over the past two decades.
With these steady accomplishments over the years, Odom has grown and matured into one of the largest privately held companies in the Pacific Northwest and employs a team of over 1,700 talented people across a span of five states. While the corporation has grown considerably, the core operations and values that made Odom an initial success have remained the same. Odom's divisions and wholly-owned subsidiaries still operate today under the guiding spirit of Milt Odom.
The Odom Corporation was proudly named Beverage Industry Magazine’s 2014 Wholesaler of the Year, New Belgium Brewing’s 2014 Distributor of the Year, the Brewers Association’s 2016 Craft Distributor of the Year, and Market Watch’s 2018 Beer Wholesaler of the Year. Additionally, Odom has been honored in recent years to receive several MillerCoors Presidents Awards.
The Odom Corporation is actively involved in the communities it serves by sponsoring or participating in local, family and charitable events.