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Instead of Free Rides, Major Brands Promotes Staying ‘Safe at Home’ By Supporting Missouri Restaurant Workers and Suggesting Great DIY Cocktails

ST. LOUIS, MO — Thanksgiving 2020 will be like no other. Not only will there be fewer place settings at the table, but with local governments and the CDC urging people to stay at home, the biggest bar night of the year just may have to go remote. To encourage Missourians to celebrate safely, Major Brands will be pivoting its signature social responsibility program, Safe Home After Every Occasion. Instead of offering free rides home on Thanksgiving Eve, Major Brands will be offering easy DIY cocktail recipes, including the SAFE HOME SOUR, and wine pairings for ZOOM and stay at home Thanksgiving gatherings.

“For 10 plus years, we have helped more than 100,000 Missourians get home safely through our social responsibility holiday ride voucher program. This year, with COVID changing all of our traditions, we wanted to keep the holidays festive with great cocktail recipes and wine pairings while supporting restaurant and bar workers, who are the backbone of our industry and have been so hard hit by this pandemic,” said Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum.

The funds typically earmarked for providing free rides on Thanksgiving Eve will be donated directly to helping restaurant workers in need. Major Brands, along with supplier partners Beam Suntory and The Wine Group are donating $30,000 to the Missouri Restaurant Association Workers Benefit Fund. The fund has raised more than $1.3 million since its founding in April, with an initial $100,000 donation by Major Brands and Beam Suntory.

“The effects of COVID-19 have devastated the restaurant industry. The Missouri Restaurant Association Education Foundation created the Restaurant Workers’ Benefit Fund in the spring of 2020 to assist restaurant workers. With more restaurants now closed for indoor dining, MRA is reviving the fund,” stated Bob Bonney, the association’s CEO.

“The continued leadership and support of Major Brands and Beam Suntory, along with the Wine Group, will allow us to step up once again to immediately provide a helping hand to many of those
affected.  MRA acknowledges their donation with heartfelt gratitude.”

Mike Ward, Major Brands’ wine and spirits education director has created the “Safe Home Sour”and other cozy cocktails with Beam Suntory’s Makers Mark bourbon and wine pairings featuring
Imagery and Chloe Wines for the perfect ZOOM or at-home celebration. The cocktail recipes with easy instructions and recommended wines are available on the company's Facebook page here.

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors
Major Brands is the largest and oldest Missouri-based distributor of premium wine, spirits beer and non-alcoholic beverages, with offices in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia and Cape Girardeau.
Major Brands employs more than 600 people and serves more than 9,000 retail customers. It began operations in 1934 and remains family owned and operated. For more information visit majorbrands.com.

About Beam Suntory
As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires human connections. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark
bourbon brands, Suntory whisky Kakubin and Courvoisier cognac, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Legent bourbon; Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and
Toki Japanese whisky; Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whisky; Canadian Club whisky; Hornitos and Sauza tequila; EFFEN, Haku and Pinnacle vodka; Sipsmith and Roku gin; and Midori
liqueur. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamsuntory.com and www.drinksmart.com.

About The Wine Group
Celebrating a portfolio of more than 60 award-winning brands, The Wine Group has been a leader in the wine industry for over 40 years. Their timeless brands including Imagery Wines, Chloe Wine Collection, Cupcake Vineyards, Ava Grace Vineyards, Benziger Family Winery, Franzia and more tell a story of passion and artistry in every bottle. To learn more about their time-honored tradition of
winemaking and acclaimed portfolio of wines, visit https://www.thewinegroup.com.

About The Missouri Restaurant Association
The Missouri Restaurant Association serves as an indispensable resource to the foodservice and hospitality industry by promoting, educating, empowering and protecting the Missouri restaurant
community. For more information, visit: www.morestaurants.org.

Major Brands’ Statement on Black Lives Matter

Major Brands Family,

Growing up, every time we “forgot” to do something my mother asked, she would say, “Actions speak louder than words.” And if we failed to do what she asked a second time; we would be reprimanded with: “The road to hell was paved with good intentions.”

Yesterday, George Floyd was laid to rest. His brutal and senseless killing by a Minneapolis police officer and the inaction of his fellow officers have led to a public outcry that the system is unfair and to demand better from law enforcement, our legal system and society. It wasn’t just unfair for George Floyd. It was unfair for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Amadou Diallo, Michael Brown and many others before them. These horrific incidents and the glaring injustices cannot be tolerated.

I must acknowledge for all of us at Major Brands, and in particular for our Black team members, that we, and I, must do better. We must do our part to help change the intentional – and unintentional – inequity that persists in our nation, state, cities and company. We will not stand on the sidelines.

To do better, we must be open to an honest – and for many, uncomfortable – dialogue on the negative impact that prejudice, institutional racism and systemic inequities have on our society. This is true of our own team members. We must recognize that sales reps have been pulled over while on the job just because of the color of their skin. We must recognize that fitting into a predominantly white organization is not easy and that, as a company, we all must commit to fostering an inclusive workplace. Beginning today, we must hold ourselves accountable and drive toward change in our company.

At Major Brands, we often say that we build our business by building the communities we serve. I am now further defining the Major Brands value of community. To be a community-minded company, we must bring compassion and empathy to how we deal with one another and always honor our differences. We must work to understand how inequity limits and injures individuals and harms our social fabric. To value community each of us must work to promote change and acceptance in and outside of our company. This work begins, today, in memory of George Floyd, who frantically used his last words to call for his mother. Black Lives Matter.

I know these are just words. But because I know the people at Major Brands so well, I promise you, mom, action will follow.

Sue McCollum

 

Major Brands and Beam Suntory Join Forces to Launch New Missouri Restaurant Association Workers Benefit Fund

The fund will support restaurant workers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19

ST. LOUIS, MO (April 3, 2020) — Major Brands, the largest Missouri-based distributor of premium spirits, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages and Beam Suntory, a world leader in premium spirits, are founding donors of the newly established Missouri Restaurant Association Workers Benefit Fund. The companies’ support along with that of Major Brands’ CEO Sue McCollum will provide a combined $100,000 donation in direct support for restaurant workers who are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Restaurants and their workers are vital to our communities and are among the hardest hit in this crisis,” said Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum. “With our shared belief that good businesses grow by supporting their communities, we felt it was critical to join forces with key suppliers to support the individuals who are both in need and make our state a more vibrant place to live.”

The first of its kind and unlike other funds, the Missouri Restaurant Association Workers Benefit Fund will specifically and directly support restaurant workers aross the state of Missouri. Employees of any restaurant, members and non-members of the Missouri Restaurant Association alike, are eligible for this funding.

“We are proud to support our extended restaurant family, who are an integral part of the social fabric throughout Missouri,” said Greg Hughes, President – North America, Beam Suntory. “We are fortunate to be part of an industry where so many companies are uniting to assist our communities in this unprecedented battle.”

While Major Brands and Beam Suntory are initial donors, the goal is to raise as much money as possible for the fund to help the greatest number of people.

“The Missouri Restaurant Association (MRA) created the fund to assist restaurant workers and their families during this challenging time. The effects of the coronavirus have devastated the restaurant industry, and many of the state’s 300,000 restaurant employees need a helping hand,” said Bob Bonney, the association’s CEO.

“This founding donation from Beam Suntory, Major Brands and Sue McCollum will allow us to immediately provide support to many of those affected by the pandemic. On behalf of the entire Missouri restaurant community, MRA acknowledges their generosity with heartfelt gratitude.”

For more information on how to donate, apply for funds and and join the movement to support our Missouri restaurant workers, visit: Missouri Restaurant Association Workers Benefit Fund.

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors
Major Brands is the largest Missouri-based and operated distributor of premium wine, spirits beer and non-alcoholic beverages, with offices in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia and Cape Girardeau. Major Brands employs more than 600 people and serves more than 9,000 retail customers. It began operations in 1934 and remains family owned and operated. For more information visit: majorbrands.com.

About Beam Suntory
As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires human connections. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands, Suntory whisky Kakubin and Courvoisier cognac, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Legent bourbon; Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Toki Japanese whisky; Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whisky; Canadian Club whisky; Hornitos and Sauza tequila; EFFEN, Haku and Pinnacle vodka; Sipsmith and Roku gin; and Midori liqueur.

Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and vision of Growing for Good. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamsuntory.com and www.drinksmart.com.

About The Missouri Restaurant Association

The Missouri Restaurant Association serves as an indispensable resource to the foodservice and hospitality industry by promoting, educating, empowering and protecting

the Missouri restaurant community.

For more information, visit: https://www.morestaurants.org/.