Company History

Success that spans four generations

The story of Merrimack Valley Distributing Company, Inc. begins in the early 1900s when a refugee, Jack Tatelman, immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island, New York, to escape the Stalin regime and the rise of communism in Soviet Russia.

Jack first made his living as a local peddler with a horse and wagon and later as a saloon keeper in the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts. In a time that predated refrigeration and pasteurization, local brewers were looking for ways to reach beyond their local trade areas and the early model of a distribution network began to take shape. Legend has it that Jack was distributing contraband during the Roaring Twenties and, when prohibition was repealed, he obtained one of the first wholesaler licenses from the state of Massachusetts. In 1935, two years after the repeal of prohibition, Merrimack Valley Distributing Company was officially incorporated. Jack started by distributing such legendary brands as Ruppert’s Knickerbocker Ales/Beers and Four Roses Whiskey.


Upon Jack’s passing, his son Herbert Tatelman became President in 1952 which began the era of brand and territory expansion for the company. Under the slogan “The house that Jack built”, Merrimack Valley Distributing was awarded the distribution rights to the Miller Brewing Company brands, along with some very prestigious spirit lines such as Brown-Forman, Bacardi, Fleischmann’s and Hiram Walker products. During Herb’s presidency the company also underwent several territory expansions through multiple business acquisitions to include all of Essex and Northern Middlesex County.

The company’s third generation of uninterrupted family management continued first with Herbert’s son Richard Tatelman joining in 1974 and then his second son Jack Tatelman joining in 1978. The company sold off its major liquor franchises to focus on their growing malt beverage business including the rights to sell Coors Brewing, Boston Beer Company, Crown LTD, Heineken USA, Harpoon Brewing Company plus many more quality brands from around the country and world. Following the strong foundation set by their grandfather and father, Richard and Jack’s active hands-on leadership style and commitment to excellence have led the company these last 30+ years to become one of the premier beverage wholesale operations on the North Shore. Today Merrimack Valley Distributing represents dominant brands in all the malt beverage categories including: Domestics, Crafts, Imports, and Flavored Malt Beverages as well as being a leader in the Cider category. Merrimack Valley also maintains its license to sell Wine and Spirits and represents great brands like Senior Sangria, Hammer & Sickle Vodka, and many more unique offerings. It’s through hard work and dedication of more than 125 employees that MVDC successfully warehouses, sells, delivers and merchandises close to 4 million cases of beverage product annually.


Family pride and heritage continues with Mark Tatelman, Richard’s son, who joined the company in 2010 after graduating from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and working two years for the Boston Beer Company. Jennifer Tatelman, Jack’s daughter joined the company in 2013 after graduating from Wofford College as an Economics major and working for two years at Boston-based PR firm Ebben Zall Group. With the fourth generation of active management securely in place, MVDC is poised to take on new challenges for years to come, leading the industry as stewards of product development for Greater Middlesex and Essex County. And it all started more than 77 years ago with a Russian immigrant who possessed little more than a horse, a wagon, and a dream.