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Community Involvement

Standard Beverage Corporation, believing the importance of giving back to the communities where employees and operational facilities exist, has always been a strong corporate citizen. Since 1949, SBC’s support and involvement has long affected the missions of numerous organizations statewide. Charitable endeavors have included cash sponsorships and underwriting, manpower and labor (Habitat for Humanity), scholarships, tournaments, and the like.

In the mid-1990’s, management took a new direction and decided to more closely support large public events where food and beverage was the focus – and where the charities’ respective missions affected the health or well-being of Kansas communities at large.

The idea of organizing and hosting public tasting events – like wine festivals – were unknown to Kansans in the early 1990’s. It was in 1992 that Leslie Rudd, President of Standard Beverage Corporation, attended Wines for Life, a public wine tasting and live auction benefiting the University of Colorado’s Cancer Center. Hosted by another beverage distributor based in Denver, this successful event had raised over $1 million by its 13th year. Rudd thought a similar event could benefit Kansas charities, and launched a campaign change Kansas law to allow for wine auctions. Working closely with the Kansas Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association, the law was successfully changed in July 1995. During the two years it took to get the legislation up for vote, SBC staff attended other public tasting events to observe and learn from them.

With the knowledge now in hand, SBC “tested the waters” in 1994 and launched its first public tasting event – a beer festival benefiting the Leukemia Society. This inaugural event was met with overwhelming public response and festivals in Kansas were born.

In 1996, with wine auctions now legal in the state, SBC introduced its first two charity wine festivals – one in the Kansas City market (a benefit for the American Heart Association) and one in the Wichita market (a benefit for the Guadalupe Health Foundation). The response and popularity of these first two events convinced SBC management to expand, and in 1999 two additional wine festivals were launched in the college markets of Lawrence (for Cottonwood, Inc. who helps adults with developmental disabilities) and Manhattan (a benefit for the Homecare & Hospice Foundation). In 2013 a change was made to the Kansas City market with First Downs for Down Syndrome becoming the benefiting charity.

After 18 years, total net dollars for the charities benefiting from our public tasting events now stands at over $7 million. While benefiting these charities has been its primary goal, Standard Beverage also uses these public events as a platform in which to share responsible consumption information and remains committed to their success.

For more information contact Carrie Mulligan – Director of Corporate Development 785-350-1425 or at carrie.mulligan@stdbev.com.

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