A History of Innovation
The Rudd family traces its roots in the industry to Colorado where they were the original manufacturers of wood cooperage for the Coors Brewery of Golden, Colorado. Upon graduating from the University of Denver in 1935, Mr. Sam Rudd moved to Wichita, Kansas. Sam and his wife Elenore, began Standard Mercantile in a small 5,000 square foot warehouse and primarily serviced the Wichita market.
In 1948, Kansas prohibition laws were repealed by the voters of Kansas. Seeing an opportunity, Sam Rudd established applied for and received the third alcohol wholesale license by the State of Kansas that same year.Through their tireless efforts and commitment to their customers, their business grew rapidly. The name was changed to Standard Liquor Corporation and in the 1950’s, SLC opened branch facilities in Lawrence and Great Bend. In 1959 SLC moved to a 40,000 square foot facility in Wichita.
In 1965, Leslie Rudd, the Rudd’s only son, who had grown up in the business, joined SLC as a sales representative upon his graduation from Wichita State University. Following the principles of success established by his father: professional service, aggressive marketing, and close partnerships with suppliers, Leslie quickly moved up in the company. In 1969, he became Vice President and engineered the most successful share of market increase of any Kansas wholesaler (over the next decade.) Leslie advanced accordingly and was named President in 1974.
Through foresight and careful monitoring of changes in the business, Leslie positioned the company to become a statewide wholesaler when brand franchising, a concept he was instrumental in implementing, replaced open wholesaling in Kansas in 1979. Since that time, many other significant market changes have occurred including price decontrol, legalized advertising, and liquor by the drink. Shortly after the turn of the new century, the name was changed again to Standard Beverage Corporation, and the company has continued to prosper in this ever-changing environment by embracing change as a positive ally.
In 2015, Darrell Swank was named President of Standard Beverage and has worked tirelessly to maintain its standing as the premier distributor in Kansas. In 2012, after serving 6 years as CFO, Darrell was named to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer for the Leslie Rudd Investment Company. In his role as President, Darrell works closely with Mr. Rudd overseeing all Standard Beverage portfolio business.
From those humble beginnings in 1948, Standard Beverage has grown to become the state’s largest, most progressive, efficient, and ethical wholesaler. Our greatest asset is our people. We’re 250 strong with a selling force dedicated to serving our customers.
We operate out of a central facility in Lawrence, Kansas, originally built in 1989, with 88,000 square feet of warehouse space and 12,000 square feet of office space. It was expanded by 40,000 square feet in 1995 and an additional 90,000 square foot expansion was completed in August 1998. Wichita, Kansas is home to our Southern Sales Office and we also maintain a 35,000 square foot warehouse. Our warehousing facilities have state of the art material handling capabilities and in excess of 15,000 square feet of climate controlled storage. Lenexa, Kansas, a suburb of greater Kansas City, is home to our northeast Kansas sales office. This modern, 50,000 square foot facility was completed in May of 1999.