Graybeal Distributing Company is the largest beverage distribution company in eastern Oregon. It was started by Finley and Jay Graybeal, a father and son team that began with only the Olympia beer brand. Since 1955, we have built our portfolio of beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverage brands to currently over 190 suppliers from around the world. On any given day in one of our warehouses we stock 2400+ beverage sku’s. Today the company employees nearly 50 employees and covers the eastern counties of Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Baker, and Wallowa.
As a family owned business we realize our reputation and community involvement are key to success. Each employee is encouraged to participate in the community in which he lives and the company provides paid time to coach or simply volunteer in activities that build the community spirit. In addition, the company sponsors some 15 major events, and contributes to over 100 smaller events. We estimate that each year we invest nearly $200,000 back into the sponsorship of community events.
Our primary goal is to continue serving the rural communities of Eastern Oregon. We realize the importance of investing in our employees, just like we do our capital assets. So besides encouraging our employees to participate in the community we also encourage and pay for them to seek additional education and training. To insure that they can remain gainfully employed in our rural community, each employee receives paid health, dental, and vision benefits, paid time off, and a retirement program.
Initially Finley Graybeal was hesitant to the idea. But with prodding from his son Jay, Finley soon decided to jump headlong into the beverage distribution business in 1955. Jay Graybeal, an accomplished athlete known as the “Pendleton Jackrabbit”, had retired his University of Oregon football helmet years earlier. He returned from Marine service in World War II on the shores of Okinawa, and was ready for a new challenge. Finley Graybeal, having brought Olympia beer to the region for the Gilanders and Burroughs grocery chain, was asked by the Olympia Brewery to open a distributorship.
“It is a story of determination and dedication,” says Maryl Featherstone, the youngest of Jay’s daughters, and president of the family business. “I remember my dad working long, hard hours to keep the business going. It was never easy, but dad worked hard enough to make a living for our family.” Later, Jay’s role in guiding the company to success was passed down to the Graybeal children Gary and Mark, and now Maryl.