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Our Story

In 1946, Mutual Distributing was a newly formed company in Raleigh, NC.

Our Story

In 1946, Mutual Distributing was a newly formed company in Raleigh, NC.

 In the beginning, Mutual was in mom-and-pop stores selling mostly beer and fortified wine with only a handful of employees. Over time, Mutual built a reputation for being reliable and established a satisfied customer base.

By the 1960s, Mutual had branches in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Kernersville, making it one of the largest distributors in the state, with a product list containing 50 items.

While Mutual was growing independently, Bill Kennedy and partner Leo Daughtry bought the small distributor J.W. Simons Company in 1972. Little did they know they would eventually merge with Mutual in 1978. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

This was a time in US history when 14-percent low-alcohol wine sales were rapidly growing, making the change in public consumption from spirits to table wine. According to Kennedy, “People’s taste in wine began to change.” Mutual experienced rapid growth as a result of this change.

Kennedy and Daughtry formed an alliance with Johnson Brothers Distributing to warehouse and deliver products for them in North Carolina. In 2018 Michael and Todd Johnson acquired Mutual Distributing to create Johnson Brothers – Mutual of North Carolina. Through acquisitions of branches, distributors, and territory rights with other companies, Johnson Brothers – Mutual has became one of the largest distributors of wine and beer for the entire state of North Carolina.

The JB-Mutual Commitment:

Suppliers

To provide suppliers with the best representation possible for their products while continuing to be an industry leader.

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Customers

To provide customers with exceptional products and service that consistently exceeds customer expectations.

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Employees

To provide employees with a positive work environment, employment conditions, and advancement opportunities.

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Over the years, JB-Mutual has remained on the leading edge of technology and education in the wine, beer, and sake distributing industry

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The Information Technology team at Mutual implements the latest technology to streamline the warehouse and sales processes, allowing Mutual to provide the most accurate deliveries in the industry. Mutual sales team members are required to participate in continuing education opportunities through the company. In addition to the Raleigh operation, Mutual has beverage distribution facilities in Charlotte, New Bern, Wilmington, Elizabeth City, Asheville, Greensboro, Fayetteville (satellite), and Nags Head (satellite).

Mutual employs more than 700 people across the state.

  • William T. Kennedy
    William T. Kennedy
    Chief Executive Officer/Owner
  • N. Leo Daughtry
    N. Leo Daughtry
    Owner

Johnson Brothers – Mutual’s success started in the family, but the company would not be where it is today without the dedication and hard work of its employees, who are considered family, too.

William T. Kennedy
Chief Executive Officer/Owner

Bill Kennedy and Leo Daughtry have been friends and business partners for decades. In 1969, Bill and Leo bought a tobacco auction warehouse in Smithfield, NC. They made their first investment in the wine wholesaler J.W. Simons Company a few years later, in 1972. Then, in 1978, J.W. Simons Company merged with Mutual Distributing Company.

Prior to venturing into the wine wholesale business, Bill lived in Reno, NV and worked in the banking industry. When Bill returned to NC, he and Leo operated their tobacco auction warehouse business together. As Chief Executive Officer, Bill has overseen Mutual’s portfolio growth and expansion across the state. Since the early 70’s, Bill has been a visionary and pioneer in the NC wine wholesale business.            

Leo served as a Judge Advocate General with the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1969.  Leo also founded the Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling law firm in Smithfield, NC. In 1976, he became active in politics and was elected to the NC Senate in 1989. His political career has expanded to both the NC Senate and the NC House of Representatives and includes serving as both House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader.    

Bill and Leo grew up in their hometown of Newton Grove, NC. They both currently live in Smithfield, NC.  

N. Leo Daughtry
Owner

Bill Kennedy and Leo Daughtry have been friends and business partners for decades. In 1969, Bill and Leo bought a tobacco auction warehouse in Smithfield, NC. They made their first investment in the wine wholesaler J.W. Simons Company a few years later, in 1972. Then, in 1978, J.W. Simons Company merged with Mutual Distributing Company.

Prior to venturing into the wine wholesale business, Bill lived in Reno, NV and worked in the banking industry. When Bill returned to NC, he and Leo operated their tobacco auction warehouse business together. As Chief Executive Officer, Bill has overseen Mutual’s portfolio growth and expansion across the state. Since the early 70’s, Bill has been a visionary and pioneer in the NC wine wholesale business.            

Leo served as a Judge Advocate General with the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1969.  Leo also founded the Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling law firm in Smithfield, NC. In 1976, he became active in politics and was elected to the NC Senate in 1989. His political career has expanded to both the NC Senate and the NC House of Representatives and includes serving as both House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader.    

Bill and Leo grew up in their hometown of Newton Grove, NC. They both currently live in Smithfield, NC.