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Local pop bottlers talk innovation

------------------------------HOPE COLLEGE NEWS RELEASE------------------------------------------  

HOLLAND, Mich. – The multi-generational journey that included growing a Holland soft-drink company from a home-based start-up into one of the nation’s largest private soft drink bottlers will be the focus of “The Brooks Family:  Four Generations of Bubbling With Innovation (Or Four Generations Of Bubbling Innovation)” on Monday, Sept. 12, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall through the Meijer Lecture Series at Hope College.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The presentation will be by James W.F. Brooks and son, Scott, who were the third and fourth generation to work with Holland-based Brooks Beverage Management Inc. (later Beverage America Inc.) and continue to work together through Brooks Capital Management LLC, a Brooks family holding company.

Brooks Beverage Management Inc. was established in Holland as a 7UP bottler and distributor in 1934 by Phillips Brooks—Jim Brooks’ grandfather and Scott Brooks’ great-grandfather--when he moved to the community from Cincinnati, Ohio.  Phillips Brooks started the business mixing the beverage in his home and renting a local bottling works at night to fill the product, using his 1929 Buick as a delivery vehicle.  Jim’s father, James F. Brooks, grew the business between the early 1950s and mid 1980s by steadily acquiring bottling and distribution rights for other brands in Michigan and eventually acquiring the Squirt franchise company in 1977. By the time the family sold the company in May 1998, it had grown to include five manufacturing plants, 60 distribution centers and 3,000 employees, with $600 million in revenues from brands including Dr. Pepper, 7UP, RC, Squirt, Vernors, A&W, Sunkist, Canada Dry, Hawaiian Punch, Snapple, Mistic and Evian. 

James F., James W.F and Scott Brooks each worked with Brooks Beverage Management Inc.  From starting on the production line and working on route trucks while in high school, James W.F. Brooks ultimately became chairman and chief executive officer, succeeding his father, from 1986 until Cadbury Schweppes plc and The Carlyle Group purchased the company in May of 1998.

Jim Brooks and Scott Brooks are chairman and president respectively of Brooks Capital Management LLC (BCM).  They are also currently partners in Investment Property Associates (IPA), a Grand Haven-based real estate development and property-management company.

Jim Brooks’ professional involvement and numerous honors include having served as director of the Michigan Soft Drink Association and the National Soft Drink Association. Jim and his father, James F. Brooks, were the first father and son to each be inducted into the Beverage World Hall of Fame.  Among others, his community activities include chairing the Holland/Zeeland Model Community Initiatives, directing the NewNorth Center for Design in Business, serving as founding chairman of West Michigan Strategic Alliance, serving as a trustee of The Culver Educational Foundation and serving on the Investment Committee of the Community Foundation of the Holland-Zeeland Area.  He and his wife, Donna, are also co-vice chairs of the Grand Valley University Foundation and co-chairs of the Hope College Patrons for the Arts.

In addition to his roles at BCM and IPA, Scott Brooks is also a founding partner of TicTock Studios, a feature film production company based in Holland, where he most recently produced the feature film, “What’s Wrong with Virginia,” written and directed by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black and starring Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly.  Scott’s past experience includes working in various management positions of Baltimore, Md.-based AcceleraRomar, a full-service blended learning company focused on training pharmaceutical, bio-tech and medical device professionals.  He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and a graduate of Leadership Holland.

The Meijer Lecture Series, which debuted in September 2008, is an endowed lectureship established through the support of the Meijer Foundation.  Coordinated by the Joint Archives of Holland, the annual lectureship highlights the experience of area family-owned businesses that have had a historical impact on West Michigan.

Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.

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