Lakeland, Florida (Polk County).  Bernie Little Distributors, Inc. was selected by Anheuser-Busch as the number-one distributorship in the United States and given the Ambassadors of Excellence Award.  The honor was presented in New Orleans February 27, 2012. 


Winning over more than seven-hundred distributorships nationwide, both management and employees have shown a high level of perseverance, dedication, commitment, and teamwork.  The one-hundred fifty one member workforce (including the Sebring) also received an award for second place (Highlands-Hardee-Okeechobee Counties) as well.


“Everyone knows what their expectations are,” says Bernie Little Distributors Owner Joe Little.  “In order for our organization to be the top performing wholesale distributor, each employee has to be focused, have loyalty to the company and each other, and maintain an attention to detail.  That’s what makes the difference,” he says and adds that he gives the employees all the credit for the award.


To be considered for the Ambassadors of Excellence Award, a distributor must adhere to intense criteria standards contained in the company performance work manual.  The figures shown by the distributorship during the Anheuser-Busch team audit are the key performance indicator.  State and nationwide, Bernie Little Distributors, Inc. was unmatched.


“During the review and examination by Anheuser-Busch, our people scored nine-hundred ninety six points out of one-thousand points…an almost perfect score,” says Bernie Little President Keith Harris.  He mentioned that the employees were very proud of the honor bestowed on them and that each worker will receive a beautiful ring from Anheuser-Busch (similar to a Super Bowl football ring).


Joe Little and President Keith Harris compares the Bernie Little employees to the Band of Brothers (World War II 2nd Battalion, Easy Company).  The Parachute Infantry Regiment was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army and endured every battle, including Landing of Normandy, Siege of Bastogne, and at the end of the war, the prize…the taking of Eagles Nest.


Owner Joe Little’s manner with his people is comfortable and inspiring.  He is proud of its employees and their award.  He mentioned management gets along well together and that transpires to the organization.  “Customers and employees…that’s all we got,” he says. 


In 1972, founder Bernie Little purchased his first Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Lakeland, Florida.  As “Hometown Hero” to the city of Lakeland and recipient of the Horatio Alger award in 1994, he was honored as one who had overcome a difficult childhood and became an adult exemplifying hard work, honesty, and service to others. 


“He always wanted to win, no matter what it was,” says Joe.  “All of us have that ethic instilled in us.  As the top winning wholesaler distributor nationwide, we have proven to be consistent.”


Bernie Little Sr. passed away on April 25, 2003.  Little is survived by his two sons, Bernie Little Jr. and Joe Little; daughter Becky Ham; sister Catherine Moore, and four grandchildren.


He was a passionate and dedicated racer of boats.  His Anheuser-Busch sponsored team record is unsurpassed with one-hundred forty one race victories, twenty-four national Championships, and fourteen APBA Gold Cups.  As the receiver of many awards, including the induction into Hall of Champions, Bernie Little had been the most successful team owner in the history of unlimited hydroplane racing.


Contact: Bernie Little Distributors, Inc.

President: Keith Harris 

Location: 4105 Maine Avenue.  Lakeland (Eaton Park), Florida

Phone: (863) 665-3615  Fax: (863) 557-5926

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