The origins of Treu House of Munch, Inc. stretch back to the 19th Century when Joseph Munch founded the J. Munch & Sons Company in 1875 in East Toledo. The original business included a department store, restaurant and cigar store in addition to the wholesale beer, wine and liquor business. The first telephone installed in East Toledo was at the company’s location at Front and Main Streets, and the first electric light in East Toledo was installed outside the business.
House of Munch, as the company came to be known, was appointed the first wholesale distributor for the Stroh Brewery in 1909, and shortly thereafter House of Munch acquired the rights to distribute the Anheuser-Busch brands. But in 1918, Prohibition forced the company to give up beer distribution and returned to selling candies and confections.
Surviving Prohibition was a difficult challenge and the Depression nearly proved to be a knockout punch, but John Stroh of the Stroh Brewery Company introduced Leo Munch – Joseph’s son – to a Saginaw Michigan beer distributor. In 1934, Leo Munch and Max Treu each put up $10,000 to form Treu House of Munch, Inc., distributing Stroh’s and Pepsi Cola products.
Richard A. Esser, who joined the company in 1940 as a truck route salesman, rose within the company and purchased Mr. Munch’s stock in the company. Esser led the company until his death in 1976. During his tenure, the company became the first Stroh’s distributor to sell 1 million cases of Stroh’s Beer in one year – a feat it repeated for 11 consecutive years.
It took until 1961 for Treu House of Munch to reacquire the rights to distribute the Anheuser-Busch product line, having lost the brands after the repeal of Prohibition. In 1993, the company acquired the distribution rights for the Grupo Modelo brands.
In 1984, Dick’s son, Richard G. Esser purchased the portion of the Company still owned by the Treu family and the Company set upon a period of rapid growth. Under Rich’s leadership and through focused marketing, new brand additions and good old hard work, the Company grew from an early ‘80’s market share of 33% to the peak share of 65% that was achieved in the early 2000’s.
Today, Treu House of Munch is owned by Todd Esser, son of Rich Esser and Grandson of Richard A. Esser and Tracey Perkins, daughter of Rich Esser. Company officers include, Todd Esser – President and CEO, Richard C. Niehaus – Vice President of Retail Sales & Merchandising, Gregory P. Hipp – Vice President Operations, and James W. Layman – CFO.
Treu House of Munch, Inc. employs 85 people and serves 1,200 retail customers in Lucas, Wood, Fulton and Ottawa counties.