The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) presented its highest honor during the 80th Annual Convention and Trade Show to Joe LaMantia Jr. in recognition of his lifetime of service to the beer distribution industry and his South Texas community.
LaMantia is general partner of L&F Distributors, a company he purchased in 1978 with one location in McAllen, Texas, and fewer than 20 employees. The company slowly expanded distribution to cities and counties along the Texas-Mexico border, including Harlingen, Alice and Laredo. In 2001, L&F branched out into Corpus Christi and seven years later, had a presence in El Paso and Roswell, N.M. Today, the company consists of eight distribution warehouses, services 35 counties throughout Texas and southeastern New Mexico and employs more than 1,200 people.
Showing the progress L&F has made over the years, the company was focused on selling Anheuser-Busch brands Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob when it started and today represents more than 150 craft and imported breweries.
“When I think about beer distributors who have worked their entire life to build a strong, family business and have given back to their community time and time again, there’s nobody who embodies these qualities quite like Joe LaMantia,” said NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser.
“He is so passionate about everything that he does, that he does it 110 percent, and I think that’s only something that comes from doing the things you love,” said Lisa Peisen, LaMantia’s granddaughter, who is involved in the business and serves on NBWA’s Board of Directors. “And he loves the beer industry. He loves his community.”
LaMantia is also passionate about higher education and providing scholarship opportunities for others. He started the Stars Scholarship Fund in 2002, which has raised $25 million in scholarships for more than 12,500 students from South and West Texas.
“Joe values hard work, but he’s also known for his passion for politics, compassion for his community and his incredible love of family,” added Purser. “It’s an honor to recognize Joe with this award.”