Richard Herschel Salzman

Richard Herschel Salzman
01/03/1935 - 06/06/2024

On June 6, 2024, Richard Herschel Salzman of Westfield, New Jersey, passed away peacefully at home.

Richard led an incredible and unique life as the owner of Peerless Beverage Company—a beer, wine, and spirits distributor based in Union, NJ. Richard was the son of Charles Salzman, an Austrian immigrant who in 1933, upon the abolition of Prohibition, seized the opportunity to begin distributing beer. When Richard joined Peerless Beverage Company, he ultimately grew the company into what it is today. Within the beer industry, he became a legend in his own right, serving on many industry councils. He was Chairman of the Diageo Distribution Council, and a founding member of the Coors National Business Council, to name a few. He was also the recipient of the prestigious MolsonCoors Legends Award in 2023, and in June was to receive the Diageo Sir Ivan Menezes Titan of Industry Award. Over the course of his time running Peerless, the company was honored ten times with the Diageo Beer Company Golden Bar Award for Quality, was a three time winner of the Constellation Gold Standard Award (2016, 2018, 2022), a 2014 honoree for Craft Beer Distributor of The Year Award, the 2022 New Jersey Family Business of the Year Award, the 2009 and 2012 Brand Guinness National Distributor of the Year Award, the 2016 Heineken Red Star award for Sustainability, and the MillerCoors President’s Award twice (2010 and 2012). He also never forgot his roots and this year Peerless was awarded the FoodBank Help Award for decades of volunteerism and philanthropy, as well as the Great Oak Award in 2022, recognizing Peerless as one of the most charitable companies in all of New Jersey.

Richard was raised in Union, NJ, with his late brother, Ted, by parents Charles and Rose Salzman. After graduating from Bucknell University, Richard took over Peerless in 1956, it was a modest company of six trucks distributing brands such as Schlitz and Schaefer. Richard worked tirelessly throughout the fifties, sixties, and seventies to set the company up to be chosen as a Coors distributor in 1988 and Corona distributor in 1989. Peerless was also the first Guinness distributor in the United States in 1963. The hard work put in by Richard and his partner, the Beim family, paid off and the company is now a fleet of over seventy trucks and three hundred employees. Throughout his years at the helm of Peerless, Richard was a force and an icon in the industry with his sense of humor, charm, candor, and signature bowtie.

Along with being a beer guy, Richard was an avid gardener with gardens in both Westfield and Long Beach Island that boasted hundreds of species of plants, fruit, and vegetables. He also enjoyed art and creating sculptures in his home workshop.

Richard is survived by his loving wife, Mady; daughter, Barb, and her husband, Dave Comee; son, Chuck (the current President of Peerless), and his wife, Jen; and adored grandchildren Penelope, Teddy, and Joe. Also, by his trusty cardiologist Dr. Andrew Beamer, who kept his ticker ticking way past its expiration date.

A private ceremony, followed by a celebration of life, Cheers to 89 Years! will be held on Thursday, June 13 at the home of Chuck and Jen Salzman, 6 Essex Road, Summit, NJ from 3:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. No sad black outfits at the request of Richard. He loved color and laughter.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey or go buy a friend a beer! Cheers!


Funeral Home:
Bradley, Brough & Dangler Funeral Home
Will be private
Memorial Gifts:
Bradley Funeral Homes
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