History of Stanley Stawski Distributing Co.
For 50 years, Stawski Distributing has continued to grow and maintain its position as the leading importer of alcoholic beverages from around the globe.
Stawski Distributing imports ten different vodkas from Poland (where vodka was born) including the most popular vodka in Poland, “Zytnia®“. The company also imports vodka from Lithuania and Russia. In addition, Stawski imports Zipfer and Edelweiss beers from Austria; Bulgarian wines, vermouths; Slovenian mineral water, Croatian liqueurs, Turkish and Polish Honey Wines.
Then, there are beers, which make up to 80 percent of Stawski’s sales. There are the staple Polish beers such as STAWSKI BEER, Perla, and Lomza.
Stawski now imports Kalnapilis, an excellent, award winner Lithuanian beer and Slovakia’s wonderful Golden Pheasant®, Austrian Zipfer and latest addistion – Estonian Saku.
Nina Engel credits the company’s success to her father’s willingness to import new products. She points out Stawski was first to distribute beers such as Mousey from Switzerland, McEwan’s and Tenants from the United Kingdom and Broken Hill from Australia before the imported beer trend began.
And while concentrating on Central European products, Stawski is not afraid to take on niche products from other regions, such as the Indian beers Kingfisher, Flying Horse and Taj Mahal. One coup for Stawski was winning the rights to Singha, a beer from Thailand, which is generally the only beer sold in most Chicago Thai restaurants.
Stawski plans to continue introducing new beers, wines and spirits from around the world.
The history of Stawski Distributing is like any other successful firm: based on hard work, identifying potential markets and following the high road of business ethics in dealing with customers.
Stawski’s market of beers, honey wines, cordials, spirits and wines from the countries in the center of Europe is one built by the man who’s name is over the company’s door: Stanley Stawski.
Born in Poland in 1924, Stawski survived the 1939 invasion of his country by the Germans. In 1944, he took part in the Warsaw Uprising as a member of the underground Home Army. Captured and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp, Stawski headed to Italy after his camp was liberated, and joined the 2nd Polish Corps.
Two years after the war ended, the British sent his unit to England and when the British demobilized his unit in 1951, Stawski left for the United States. He had $20 in his pocket.
By 1954, Stawski was working as a liquor and wine salesman in Chicago. Six years later, he opened his own company, importing beers from Poland and Austria.
As with any new business, the beginning years were difficult, especially in dealing with countries that were, at the time, run by socialist governments who distrusted anything American. Sales were appropriate for a small operation.
The company distributes to 35 states.
Stawski credits his success to “hard work and perseverance.” His perseverance is now bearing fruit. Stawski Imports dealings with the state-run liquor monopolies of the Central European nations have given him product-knowledge and personal contacts to bring over the best and newest products.