STATEN ISLAND, NY – Champ Beverage closed in March. And, after selling the business and building at 2248 Hylan Boulevard – another beverage distributor is planned – its longtime owner, Ed Spall, retired from the beverage distribution world. So what does he do in his spare time?
The Princes Bay resident says he is now in real estate. He also said he relishes seasonal foods and travels a bit.
“I had three great vacations. I was able to enjoy all my vacations with my family, ”he said. His annual trip with friends to the Outer Banks was especially enjoyable without having to worry about business.
He added: “I helped my dad fix his house, I spent a lot of time with him. It has been a great summer!
And he cooks.
“I am a master of the grill! I love my Weber! he enthuses. He roasts wursts and sausages with peppers and, coming from the beer realm, a splash or two of a good beer. He uses white wine or cooking sherry to juice the steamed clams.
“I put clams on the grill and shut it up. I melt butter with garlic, parsley and wine and when the clams open up I pass them in the butter sauce. Everyone’s cracking! ”Spall said.
BEGINNING AT ROSEBANK
Champ Beverage started at Rosebank on St. Mary’s Avenue, Spall thinks in the 1940s. His stepfather, Al Somma, bought the beverage operation in the 1960s. During the sugar crisis of the 1970s, the service door-to-door delivery dried up and Somma moved Field to Grant City. In this new location, the focus was on retail and wholesale sales of beverages. Spall took over the beer fair in 1990.
“I have been in this profession for almost 40 years. I did it longer than my stepfather! Spall said with a small laugh. He decided, before COVID-19, that it was time to retire. However, Champ’s sale went so quickly that he feels like he hasn’t given enough farewell.
“It happened so quickly that I would really like to apologize for not having had the chance to say goodbye. Honestly, I had the best clients. But you know what? The people were just great to me. I enjoyed them all. Hope I always did the right thing for everyone. I’ve always tried to help everyone, ”said Spall. Some pet donation projects have been for Veterans and Unity Games causes.
He reflected on the history of beer on Staten Island, with Champ playing a pivotal role in its distribution over the years.
“Remember there were a lot of breweries in Stapleton – amazing,” said Spall, referring to Atlantic Brewery, eventually known as Rubsam & Hormann Atlantic Brewery (R&H for short.) Brooklyn’s Piels Brewery bought R&H in 1953 and the brand was relaunched in 2019 by comedian Brian “Q” Quinn as Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company.
He added, “At the time, Champ was making his own soda. One of the guys from Midland Beach was scuba diving and found a bottle of Champ drink. Years ago they made the refillable glass bottles. Remember the old hammer [brand] a soda? ”The bottles were marked with a red and white label.
Spall says a similar company will replace Champs. A native of Staten Island, Bishop Farrell and a graduate of St. John’s, Spall hopes the new owners will continue to “pour their heart and soul” into the community.
“It was a real pleasure to serve everyone,” said Spall.
Pamela Silvestri is Editor-in-Chief of Advance Food. She can be reached at [email protected].