Roach & Smith was purchased by Joe & Ruth Markovich in 1968. The company was a small candy and tobacco wholesale operation based in Anaconda, Montana, located 17 miles outside Butte. The company serviced three counties, had four employees, a warehouse comprising of 3,000 square feet and two delivery vans.
By 1976, the company had expanded its operating area to seven counties in southwest Montana. In 1976, Joe & Ruth’s son Dale joined the company in hopes to help grow the family business. Joe realized that if the company was to support the family they had to diversify into other product lines that could be delivered to the same accounts they were currently servicing. After long weeks of consideration it was decided that beer distribution would become the focus.
The Coors Brewing Company entered the state of Montana in 1976, and the Markovich family applied for the distribution rights. Unfortunately the family was turned down. By 1977 an opportunity presented itself to purchase Kenny’s Distributing of Butte, Montana. Kenny’s Distributing serviced the same seven county area that Roach & Smith serviced with the brands of Rainier, Schmidt, and Heidelberg beer. This acquisition was Roach & Smith’s entry into the beverage business. This was the opportunity the Markovich family had been searching for to continue to grow the family business.
In 1976 there were 77 beer distributors in the state of Montana, and in comparison today there are only 24. The Butte area itself supported six stand alone distributors in 1976 which today have consolidated into two beverage distribution companies.
In July of 1979, the state of Montana went from a closed to an open system of wine distribution. Roach & Smith applied for but did not receive any wine brands until October of 1986.
In 1989, the Markovich family closed their Anaconda operation and consolidated the main office into the Butte operation. “The rationale behind the move was in order to grow and pick up more brands we had to be based out of our largest market which was Butte,” says Dale Markovich. “It was hard for the people of Anaconda to understand, having been home to Roach & Smith since the late 1800’s.” The move turned out to be the correct decision given the future goals of the company.
March of 2000 marked the acquisition of the Miller, Corona, and Gallo brands from Mile High Distributing of Butte. This acquisition allowed Roach & Smith Dist. Inc. to have a balanced portfolio that allowed them to continue in the beverage industry.
The purchase of Earl’s Distributing in April of 2004 made Roach & Smith Dist. Inc. the largest beer and wine distributor in the state of Montana, and demonstrated that they would be a consolidator in the state.
In December of 2004, it was decided that Roach and Smith would exit the candy and tobacco business and concentrate on the beverage business.
Dale Markovich has worked within the family business from 1968 thru 1975 as summer help, and then joined the company as a full time employee in 1976. His father Joe and mother Ruth retired in 1998 from the family business.
Dale Markovich is very involved in the community and has held positions of influence in the business arena in Butte, as well as positions with the Montana State Beer and Wine Distributors Association.
January 2005 created a new beginning when it was decided that operating as Roach & Smith Dist. Inc. in the Butte market and Earl’s Distributing in the Missoula market was confusing customers and suppliers. This is when a new company name and logo was developed. The company changed names from Roach and Smith Distributing to Summit Beverage.
In September of 2005, Mike Markovich, Dale’s oldest son, joined the company after spending three years with the Miller Brewing Co. Then in January of 2006, Greg Markovich, Dale’s youngest son, joined the company after having spent one year in training with Cresent-Crown Distributing of Phoenix, Arizona. In October of 2014, Rachel Markovich, Dale’s daughter, joined the company after having spent a year working for MillerCoors in Chicago, Illinois and five years working for Gallo Family Vineyards in Orange County, California.
In January of 2023, Summit Beverage purchased Fun Beverage in Kalispell, Montana, expanding the service area to include all of Western Montana and service approximately 50% of the population of Montana.