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Major Brands, Jameson Irish Whiskey and Lyft Partner to Make This St. Patrick’s Day the Safest Yet with 2,000 FREE RIDES HOME in Missouri

Rides are offered through Safe Home After Every Occasion™, Major Brands’ social responsibility program that encourages making planning your ride home before socializing a habit.

ST. LOUIS, MO— For more than 40 years, thousands of revelers have poured into the streets of Midtown for the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and this year will be no exception with the theme “Shamrocks & Shenanigans” and celebrity Grand Marshall Eric Stonestreet. With that in mind, Major Brands, Inc., the largest Missouri-owned distributor of premium spirits, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages; Jameson®, the largest Irish whiskey brand in America; and Lyft, whose mission it is to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, are offering a combined total of 2,000 FREE RIDES HOME in Kansas City and St. Louis on Sunday, March 17, double the amount offered in 2018. The rides are offered through Safe Home After Every Occasion™, Major Brands’ social responsibility program.

The Safe Home program is made possible through the support of Major Brands’ supplier partner, Pernod Ricard, one of the largest global suppliers of wine and spirits, whose leading brands include Absolut®, Jameson®, Beefeaters® and Malibu®. Jameson® is the world’s top-selling Irish whiskey and has been sold internationally since the early 19th century. Originating in Dublin, Ireland, Jameson Irish Whiskey is celebrated across the globe by St. Patrick’s Day revelers and for everyday enjoyment.

Safe Home After Every Occasion is a 365-day a year social responsibility program designed to make planning a safe ride home before a night out a habit. The program’s mission is to take the next step in responsible consumption efforts—moving from designating a driver, to the easiest step of all, planning your ride home before leaving the house.  To date, Major Brands has given more than 70,000 Missourians a safe ride home.

“On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish and with that tradition in mind Major Brands wants to make sure that everyone gets home safe. You don’t need the Luck of the Irish to get home safe this St. Patrick’s day, just Major Brands and Jameson. So find something green to wear and double down on our 2,000 free rides home across Missouri,” said Major Brands CEO, Sue McCollum.

“We’d like to thank Major Brands for encouraging more people to take advantage of Lyft’s smart and reliable transportation on one of the biggest going-out occasions of the year,” said Joe Schlichter, St. Louis Market Manager, Lyft. “This partnership will enable more people to enjoy themselves on St. Patrick’s Day without worrying about parking hassles or driving home after the festivities.”

To get your free ride home, beginning on Saturday, March 16 Major Brands will post a ride code on its Facebook and Instagram channels.  The code will be redeemable for a ride credit that can be used between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on March 17, 2019.  The code is redeemable through the Lyft app. A link to download the app can be found at Lyft.com. Quantities are limited.

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors

Major Brands is the largest Missouri-owned 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 Lyft

Lyft was founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, and is available to 95 percent of the United States population as well as select cities Canada. As the only rideshare company to offset carbon emissions from all rides, Lyft is preferred for its commitment to effecting positive change for our cities, and promoting transportation equity through shared rides, electric bikes and scooters, and public transit partnerships.

Major Succession – Beverage Media Group

As CEO Of Missouri’s Major Brands, Inc.,  She Is The Only Woman To Run A Major Wine And Spirits Wholesaler In This Country. But That’s Not All That Makes Her Unique.

By Kristen Bieler


In 2012, Susan McCollum took the helm at Major Brands after the passing of her husband, Todd Epsten, from brain cancer. While attending law school at Washington University in St. Louis and raising two teen-age sons, she added representing the third generation of family ownership for the 84-year-old company. McCollum was quickly immersed in the complicated world of wine and spirits distribution, and tasked with leading a 600-person organization that represents over 400 suppliers and serves over 9,000 customers.

After surviving multiple legal battles and business challenges early in McCollum’s reign, Major Brands is stronger than ever today. I spoke with her about what she has learned, the importance of doing more than just “selling liquor” and why she believes local wholesalers have a very bright future.

Kristen Bieler:

You entered this industry after success in other fields. What surprised you most about this business?

Susan McCollum:

This industry remains intensely relationship-based—at every level—in ways that other businesses are not. Many things in this industry haven’t changed with time. Think about it: If you go to the corner bar, that bar owner still has the same role as he did decades ago. He has more power over what he puts on his back bar than almost anything else in his business. It’s a personal choice based on his relationships with his customers and his distributor.

I believe that with massive consolidation at every level, the less impactful brands become and the more important relationships become. It’s not that brands don’t have power, but the consumer is becoming more fragmented and the wholesaler-licensee relationship influences what choices consumers will have.

 

KB: You have extensive experience in law, marketing, communications and public affairs. What skills from your past careers have been most useful in running Major Brands?

SM: My favorite Steve Jobs quote is: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” I firmly believe we must take every experience and make it meaningful and then take meaning from every experience we have. I can draw upon every experience in my life for my role now, starting from my time as a waitress at Friendly’s to being a marketing consultant to earning a law degree. I’ll never forget Friendly’s first rule of customer service—greet customers within 15 seconds of their arrival. What’s more universal than that? We must let our customers, suppliers, employees, community—anyone—know they matter, right away.

A wholesaler is essentially the local marketing team and sales force for our supplier’s brands, so my background lines up pretty well. Our job is to bring our brands to life in Missouri; to take national brands and make them local treasures. My experience in law and public affairs has also been helpful in this highly regulated industry. Those of us who have come from outside this industry bring a different lens that is beneficial; we see opportunities where others might not.

 

KB: Major Brands has faced many legal and business challenges from suppliers and competitors. What did you learn from these struggles?

SM: First, I learned that this is a very tough industry. We were dealing with legal and legislative battles which could have terminated our business. On the positive side, I learned again and again how important relationships are in this industry. So many of our retailers were calling us and asking us how they could help. They wanted Major Brands to stay in business. I learned just how important we are in this community and to our customers; they see us as a value-add. It wasn’t just the job we did, but how we did it. Sometimes being small is a huge advantage; biggest isn’t always best.

 

KB: I would imagine that being the only woman at this level in the industry must have been an additional challenge?

SM: Absolutely. The culture of the wholesale industry has not changed; the sheer language of the industry often feels like stepping back in time. Stereotypes play strong. There have been presumptions made about my ability because I am a woman; some thought that I “wouldn’t have the stomach” to weather the legal battles.

Additionally, many still assume that women aren’t interested in this industry, which is so wrong! Wholesale businesses should be filled with women; wholesalers depend on collaboration, communication, attention to detail, all things women excel at. Besides, our customer base is diverse and this industry doesn’t reflect the diversity of our consumers.

 

KB: With your legal battles behind you, how have you found growth as a single-state wholesaler?

SM: Some assume the only way to grow is to expand your footprint. Our strength is that we are local. It’s a very different platform than that of a multi-state distributor. We aren’t brand collectors; we are looking for the right mix of brands that we can do a great job with. Years ago, Major Brands made the decision to go deep, not broad. To do that, we looked at our portfolio to determine how we could grow our local business as well as improve our value proposition to our retailers. Today, 10% of our business is in beer, primarily, craft beer. We carry the fastest growing local brands. We are doing the same with craft spirts.

 

KB: Please explain what you mean by “values-based leadership” and how you build this into the Major Brands culture.

SM: The opportunity to lead a large organization with such wonderful people and to create an atmosphere where they want to work is a true privilege. To be able to make decisions based on what is right, along with performance, is so rewarding. A few years ago, Major Brands established an Emergency Hardship Fund, a relief fund for our employees and their families, to help people in times of crisis. I know first-hand that really bad things happen. When I lost my husband, many people had my back and I want to have theirs. For our employees and their families, we created the Todd Epsten Scholarship Fund, in honor of my husband.

We are also passionate about community involvement; it’s who we are as a company. Every year as a team we alleviate the Wheels on Meals crew on Thanksgiving and deliver meals. I’m always thinking: How do we make what we do more important, more relevant? We do more than just sell liquor.

 

SueMcCollum_boxKB: Women Who Whisky is a non-profit you founded to support several local charities—and challenges the perception that whisky is a “man’s drink.” But it’s much more than that. Please explain.

 

SM: I wanted to tap into the power of strong, innovative, risk-taking women in senior leadership roles in this region and honor them, while at the same time doing something wonderful for the community. Our group of leaders traveled together to Maker’s Mark distillery in Kentucky to create our own barrel of Maker’s Mark Private Select Bourbon—about 200 bottles worth, which we donated to four St. Louis nonprofits led by women. The response was extraordinary. We named our batch Major Brands Whisky 4 Good and to date we have raised more than $250,000 for local causes.

 

KB: Where do you see Major Brands in ten years from now?

 

SM: I see us as who we are today, and perhaps even more significant in Missouri. We are unique in a way that is a defense against bigness. And as the industry continues to change, I think being local makes us closer to where the change is actually occurring.

Glass half full: Major Brands’ McCollum addresses disparities in the liquor business

St. Louis Business Journal  By   – Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal

Several years ago, Sue McCollum was facing near insurmountable odds.

She had just taken over leadership of Major Brands from her husband, Todd Epsten, who led the family-owned beer, liquor and wine distribution business before his premature death in 2012. That’s when her company’s position in the industry was challenged. By 2014, after several supplier contracts were abruptly terminated, Major Brands’ revenue had plummeted to a historic low of $350 million.

But McCollum always viewed the glass as half-full.

“I am as passionate as ever about leading the organization and sharing the importance of values-based leadership, which was a major part of how I navigated through our challenges,” she said. “Life is made up of a series of defining moments and how we respond at each turn informs the outcome.”

Today, her company has revenue of $414 million and features solid relationships with some of the top craft beer brands in the region, including Urban Chestnut and 4 Hands.

McCollum spoke to the Business Journal ahead of the 14th annual Women’s Conference and shared insight she’s learned as a woman in business. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you navigate stepping into the CEO role when you previously had no formal role? Though I had no titled role at Major Brands before I joined the company in 2011, I had been involved in the business for a long time. Whether it was by association or through participation on the Major Brands Advisory Board, I had knowledge of the business and knew our leadership team well. I like to say that when I joined Major Brands, I just moved from the background to the foreground, formalizing and expanding upon my involvement. I also had extensive business experience from prior professional positions. I had undergraduate degrees in economics and journalism, as well as an MBA. At the time I joined Major Brands, I was in my second year of law school at Washington University.

What challenges have you faced since becoming CEO? How did you overcome them? Shortly after Todd passed away, the company faced nearly insurmountable challenges. In a period of 24 hours, two of our largest suppliers terminated (contracts) without cause or warning, and we lost almost 40 percent of our overall business. At that point, I had to decide whether to fight for the business, and if so, how I, along with our 600 employees, decided to fight for the company and for Todd’s legacy. Through multiple legal challenges and lawsuits, Major Brands prevailed. Since 2014, we have gradually rebuilt our business through outstanding performance and service while remaining true to our values of community, integrity and teamwork.

The beer, wine and spirits industry is dominated by men. How have you been able to navigate that disparity? The industry is traditional in many ways, including remaining dominated by men and without much diversity. I’ve navigated the disparity by ignoring it. Additionally, I think the fact that there aren’t many women at my level has actually opened doors. My approach and viewpoint may not be the same because I am a woman, but it’s welcomed. Next time you’re in the wine or spirits aisle of the grocery store or at a restaurant, take a look around. You will likely see as many women, if not more, as men enjoying or buying our industry’s products. Women make up half of the consumer base. We guide in-store purchase decisions. We already are key influencers in the industry. We just need to become a greater part of the industry itself. As a woman in this industry, I’m often asked for my input, from how to get more women to drink whiskey to how to encourage more women to enter and stay in the business. Women are naturals for all aspects of this business: beer, wine or spirits, producer, retailer or wholesaler. At the end of the day, this industry is about relationships. Women are great at building relationships and understanding the value of service and collaboration.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in your industry? Our numbers. We need to see the fact that there aren’t many women as an opportunity, not an obstacle. We also need to approach this industry with resilience. It’s not an easy business, but with confidence and persistence, women can have great careers in an exciting industry, centered on celebrations, friends and family.

What advice would you offer to women who want a career in your industry?Jump in. Now. There’s plenty of opportunity for women who are willing to work hard, take risks and share their perspectives. The industry needs us. I’d also like to add that the industry is increasingly comfortable having conversations about our need to increase diversity at all levels. Our industry needs to better reflect the consumers that enjoy our products, and we know it.

How do you maintain a work/life balance? I believe that work life balance can only be achieved over a lifetime and not in a day. Frankly, right now, I’m not sure I have much balance. Honestly, that’s never been one of my objectives. Rather than focus on balance, I try to focus on finding something joyful and meaningful in each day.

Which female leaders do you admire? There are many. Michelle Obama, Shannon Watts, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But on a day-to-day basis, I have wonderful women friends, who are leaders, in their homes, the workplace and the community. They are professors, CEOs and mothers. They are full of energy and kindness, and always listen with an open heart. One of my first bosses was a woman. She promoted me to a management position when I was fresh out of college and was a true mentor in all things. She gave me the confidence to believe in myself when others didn’t. And, she told me to pour my Diet Coke in a coffee mug, so I would look more mature. Two great pieces of advice I’ve never forgotten.

Jim Beam and Major Brands are Doubling Down, Ringing in the New Year With 2,000 FREE RIDES HOME Across Missouri

Safe Home After Every Occasion and Jim Beam will get New Year’s Eve partygoers home safely after ringing in 2019

ST, LOUIS, December 27, 2018 — Due to the great success in 2018 of its social responsibility program, Safe Home After Every Occasion™, Major Brands, Inc., the largest Missouri-owned distributor of premium spirits, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages, will ring out the old and bring in the new with 2,000 free rides home across Missouri on New Year’s Eve. Major Brands is kicking off 2019 by doubling down, offering twice as many safe rides home in one night than ever before. In partnership with Jim Beam, and with Lyft as its rideshare provider, Major Brands wants to make sure all Missourians make planning a safe ride home their first New Year’s resolution to keep in 2019.

Safe Home After Every Occasion™ is a 365-day a year social responsibility program designed to make planning a safe ride home before a night out a habit. The program’s mission is to take the next step in responsible consumption efforts—moving from designating a driver, to the easiest step of all, planning your ride home before leaving the house. On December 31, Major Brands will be providing Safe Rides Home across Missouri in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia, through Lyft, our Safe Home ride provider.

Safe Home St. Louis on New Year’s Eve 2/2

New Year’s Eve is not just known as the biggest party night of the year. It’s also known as one of the deadliest nights on the road. Through its Safe Home program, Major Brands intends to make the holiday safer by reminding people to plan their ride home ahead of time. In 2018, Major Brands added several new holidays to its’s Safe Home after every Occasion program, including St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, and throughout 2018 will have offered more than 10,000 Missourians free safe rides home.

“Major Brands is doubling down on getting people home safe on New Year’s ever. With 2,000 free rides home–a record number ever given away in one night by Major Brands–we intend to make to responsible consumption and getting home safe the number one New Year’s resolution of 2019,” said Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum. “To date, through our social responsibility efforts we’ve provided more than 80,000 Missourians a safe ride home.”

To get your free ride home, beginning on Saturday, December 29, Major Brands will post a ride code on its Facebook and Instagram channels. The code will be redeemable for up to a $25 ride credit that can be used between 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve (December 31, 2018) and 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day (January 1, 2019). The code will only be redeemable through the Lyft app. A link to download the app can be found at Lyft.com. Quantities are limited to the first 2,000 riders.

The Safe Home program is made possible through the support of Jim Beam Bourbon and Major Brands’ supplier partner, Beam Suntory. Beam Suntory is a global wine and spirits leader best known for its bourbon brands, including Jim Beam Bourbon, Maker’s Mark, and Knob Creek, as well as its own Drink Smart® initiative, which encourages safe celebrations and pre-planning.

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors

Major Brands, Inc. is the largest Missouri owned 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, Inc. 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

Major Brands is Offering 1000 FREE Rides Home on the Biggest Bar Night of the Year–Thanksgiving Eve

Rides are offered through Safe Home After Every Occasion™, Major Brands’ social responsibility program that wants you to make planning your ride home before socializing a habit.

ST. LOUIS—Major Brands, Inc., the largest Missouri-owned distributor of premium spirits, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages wants you to eat, drink and be safe this holiday season, beginning with the biggest bar night of the year, Thanksgiving Eve. With that in mind, Major Brands, Inc., the largest Missouri-owned distributor of premium spirits, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages, including Beam Suntory®, the world’s third largest premium spirits company, is offering 1,000 free rides home in St. Louis and Kansas City on Thanksgiving Eve. The rides are offered through Safe Home After Every Occasion™, Major Brands’ social responsibility program.

Major Brands will be offering free rides through Lyft, a rideshare service. Lyft is the nation’s fastest-growing rideshare company and is known for its friendly and safe drivers, with operations in more than 350 U.S. cities. The Safe Home program is made possible through the support of Beam Suntory®.

Safe Home After Every Occasion is a 365-day-a-year social responsibility program designed to make planning a safe ride home before a night out a habit. The program’s mission is to take the next step in responsible consumption efforts—moving from designating a driver, to the easiest step of all, planning your ride home before leaving the house. To date, Major Brands has given more than 70,000 Missourians a safe ride home.

To get your free ride home, beginning on Tuesday, November 20, Major Brands will post a Lyft ride code on its Facebook and Instagram channels. The code will be redeemable for up to a $25 ride credit that can be used between 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve (November 21) and 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (November 22). In both St. Louis and Kansas City, the code is redeemable through the Lyft app. A link to download the app can be found at Lyft.com. Quantities are limited

“The intention of Safe Home is to make planning your ride home before going out a habit—like turning off the lights and locking the door. When you plan ahead, everyone can enjoy the festivities. So this holiday season, enjoy a libation, celebrate with family and friends, but please get home safe. It’s never been easier,” Sue McCollum, Major Brands CEO said.

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors

Major Brands, Inc. is the largest Missouri-owned 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, Inc. 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®

Beam Suntory is a global wine and spirits leader best known for its bourbon brands, including Jim Beam Bourbon, Maker’s Mark, and Knob Creek, as well as its own Drink Smart® initiative, which encourages safe celebrations and pre-planning.

“GAME ON” MAJOR BRANDS TO OFFER 500 FREE RIDES HOME FOR MIZZOU HOMECOMING

Social Responsibility Program aimed at getting Tiger fans home safe after every occasion during Homecoming Weekend

Columbia, MO (October 16, 2018) – The University of Missouri Columbia is known as the birthplace of Homecoming, dating back to 1911 when then Athletic Director Chester Brewer called upon Mizzou alumni to “come home” for the annual football game against Kansas University. Today, Mizzou’s Homecoming is one of the largest student-run celebrations of its kind and is one of Mizzou’s most treasured traditions. To ensure all tailgating Tigers fans get to home safe from homecoming, Major Brands and Woodbridge wines are offering 500 free rides home.

The free rides home are being offered through Safe Home After Every Occasion™, Major Brands’ social responsibility program. Major Brands, Missouri’s largest locally owned and operated wine and spirits distributor, will be offering the free rides through Lyft.   The Safe Home program is made possible through the support of Major Brands supplier partner Constellation and one of its leading wine brands, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi.

Safe Home After Every Occasion is a 365-day a year social responsibility program designed to make planning a safe ride home a habit before a night out. The program’s mission is to take the next step in responsible consumption efforts—moving from designating a driver, to the easiest step of all, planning your ride home before leaving the house. This is the second year Major Brands has extended its Safe Home free ride program to Mizzou’s Homecoming. To date, Major Brands has given more than 70,000 Missourians a safe ride home.

“Safe Home After Every Occasion is all about making sure family, friends and neighbors make planning a safe ride home ahead of time a habit. Homecoming is the perfect occasion to remind Tiger fans that nothing is more important than getting home safe after a Mizzou victory. So, go Tigers and go Safe Home!” said Sue McCollum, Major Brands CEO.

To get your free ride home, beginning on October 20, Major Brands will post a ride code on its Facebook and Instagram channels. The code will be redeemable through the Lyft app for a ride credit that can be used between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. on October 20, 2018.  A link to download the app can be found at Lyft.com. Quantities are limited.

The MAJOR BRANDS SAFE HOME SQUAD will be giving away FREE RIDE HOME VOUCHERS for use on OCTOBER 20 at the following times and locations:

Logboat – Thursday, 10/18

504 Fay St.

5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Harpo’s – Thursday 10/18

29 S 10th St

6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Fieldhouse & Willie’s Pub & Pool – Friday 10/19

 1107 E. Broadway,

7 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors

Major Brands, Inc. is the largest Missouri-owned 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, Inc. 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.

                                         

MAJOR BRANDS, INC. PARTNERS WITH LEADING NONPROFITS TO DEBUT WOMEN WHO WHISKY™ BLEND TO BENEFIT ST. LOUIS COMMUNITY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ST. LOUIS (August 23, 2018) –Today Major Brands, Inc. announced a fundraising challenge for four local nonprofit organizations of $200,000 for a first ever “whisky fundraiser”. Last May, Major Brands, Inc. Chairman and CEO Sue McCollum invited female business, civic and nonprofit leaders on a road trip to the Maker’s Mark Kentucky distillery, where they created a custom, private select bourbon blend. In addition to McCollum, members of the private selection team included Rebecca Hatter with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri; Lesley Hoffarth with Forest Park Forever; Lisa Melandri with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Susan Sherman with the Saint Louis Fashion Fund; Ellen Sherberg, Special Adviser to the CEO of American City Business Journals, Suzanne Sitherwood, President and CEO of Spire, Inc. and Cabanne Howard, CEO of Kaleidoscope Management Group.

The barrel of bourbon, crafted by McCollum and her team, is the first ever of its flavor profile and will yield approx. 200 bottles of whisky. This limited-edition Maker’s Mark Private Select Bourbon is being made available to donors and discerning bourbon collectors and will be unveiled at an event, “Hatch the Batch” to be held Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at Big Brothers Big Sisters’ ANEW Rooftop in Grand Center. The event will feature whisky tasting and education, live music, great food and special appearances by Kentucky Bourbon legends.

“This is an opportunity for the St. Louis community to be part of the biggest bourbon barrel fundraiser of all time,” said McCollum, who leads the largest, women-operated and owned distributor in the country. “This limited-edition blend is the first barrel created by all women, the first made by a distributor, and the first whose proceeds will go 100 percent to charity. We look forward to joining with our community to provide support to these worthy organizations that play such an important role in our region.”

The bourbon can be reserved at WomenWhoWhisky.org via a tax-deductible donation to a charitable fund at the St. Louis Community Foundation. Sponsorships of the Hatch the Batch event are also available. All proceeds from the sale of the bourbon and the event will be split equally between Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Forest Park Forever, the Contemporary Art Museum and the Saint Louis Fashion Fund.

“Sue’s great at bringing people together to do good in the community, and I feel lucky to be a part of the first-ever all female team to make a barrel of whisky. These women are go-getters and innovators, and all of us love the St. Louis community. So, it’s only natural that 100 percent of proceeds go to vital and important St. Louis causes. Spire’s a proud sponsor, too, and we can’t wait to see all the good that comes from Women Who Whisky,” said Spire President and CEO Suzanne Sitherwood.

Donor packages start at the $1,000 level, which includes one bottle of the Women Who Whisky blend and two tickets to the event, and go up to the $25,000 level, which includes five bottles of the bourbon blend, 10 event tickets and presenting sponsor status.

“This is an excellent example of creative philanthropy,” said Rebecca Hatter, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. “This group came together to create a unique blend of whisky for good. While the experience was unique, working together in a creative fashion to make a positive impact is not new: it is something St. Louis women do especially well.”

For a full list of donor opportunities and to reserve a bottle, visit: WomenWhoWhisky.org.

Media interviews and whisky tastings can be scheduled the week of Sept. 15.

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors

Major Brands, Inc. is the largest Missouri-owned 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, Inc. 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.

MAJOR BRANDS PARTNERS WITH LOCAL BREWERY SIX MILE BRIDGE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 13, 2018

Major Brands, Inc. and Six Mile Bridge are excited to announce a new strategic partnership, effective today. With the ever-changing beer market and increasing demand from consumers, Major Brands, Inc. will provide distribution of Six Mile Bridge’s craft beer products to its vast network of retailers across Missouri.

“After self-distributing for the first three years, we reached a critical point of growth and knew that this partnership was the best way to serve our customers. We are thrilled to work with Major Brands’ team of professional experts to provide exceptional service to our current customers as well as expand into new territories where we have seen demand. By partnering with Major Brands, Inc., we believe we will be able to meet the demands of an ever-increasing market in much more effective ways,” said Ryan Sherring, Co-Owner and Head Brewer of Six Mile Bridge.

Six Mile Bridge is a local brewery within the St Louis region, founded in 2015 and focused on true-to-style beers with a dedication to using 100% all-natural ingredients. Named after a small village in Ireland known for its beer and hospitality, their tag line of “Made With Integrity” shines through in their products.

“We are thrilled to partner with a respected local brand such as Six Mile Bridge,” said Sue McCollum, Major Brands, Inc. Chairman & CEO. “We look forward to helping expand Six Mile Bridge’s presence across Missouri and bring these quality, craft beer products to more consumers statewide.”

Major Brands, Inc. is the largest Missouri-owned 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, Inc. 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.

Major Brands, Inc. Contact: Tammy Wheeler

Phone: 314-633-3606

Email: tammy.wheeler@majorbrands.com

Six Mile Bridge Contact: Lindsay Sherring (Co-Owner / Marketing Director)

Phone: 314.306.0434

Email: lindsay@sixmilebridgebeer.com

Major Brands’ Chairman & CEO Makes Her Mark Creating Custom Bourbon for a Good Cause

For Immediate Release: May 9, 2018

St. Louis-Area Female Leaders to Create Customized Whisky to Benefit Non-Profits

ST. LOUIS, MO — On May 14, Sue McCollum, Chairman and CEO of Major Brands, Inc. will blend three passions close to her heart – community, women and whisky – as she and seven St. Louis-area female leaders create a limited-edition Maker’s Mark® Private Select™ bourbon. The proceeds from this custom whisky will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Forest Park Forever and the Saint Louis Fashion Fund.

“This ‘Women and Whiskey’ tour is a match made in heaven,” said McCollum. “It is a creative way for us to develop a bourbon as unique as the female change-makers who are joining us, all to help make a positive difference in our community.”

In partnership with Maker’s Mark®, McCollum has hand-selected leading executive directors of St. Louis-based non-profits and female executives to serve on a “Private Selection Team” to create the whisky.

The Private Selection Team is made up of four executive directors, including:

  • Rebecca “Becky” Hatter, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri
  • Lesley Hoffarth, President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever
  • Lisa Melandri, Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
  • Susan Sherman, Founder of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund

and four executives, including:

  • Cabanne Howard, CEO of Kaleidoscope Management Group
  • Sue McCollum, Chairman and CEO of Major Brands, Inc.
  • Ellen Sherberg, Special Advisor to the CEO of the American City Business Journals
  • Suzanne Sitherwood, President and CEO of Spire, Inc.

Barrel customization is an increasingly popular trend in the industry since, through the process, whisky aficionados can select their perfect bourbon. The Maker’s Mark Private Select Experience is distinguished in that it allows participants to “make their own Maker’s™” by finishing fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon in a single barrel made up of their custom selection of oak staves, all of which were created and chosen specifically for this program. These five staves, which each accentuate different flavors found in fully-matured Maker’s Mark, can be combined in 1,001 ways to create your own personal taste expression.

After the stave combination is selected, the process continues to be a labor of love as the staves are then positioned inside the barrel by hand. After maturing for nine additional weeks in this custom barrel, the Maker’s Mark Private Select bourbon will be bottled, corked and dipped at cask strength, with details such as proof and stave combinations handwritten on the label.

The barrel created by McCollum and her Private Selection Team will yield approximately 240 bottles of unique bourbon, which will be divided between the participating non-profit organizations. Each non-profit will have the opportunity to distribute these bottles through meaningful fundraising opportunities.

As the CEO of the largest woman-operated and owned distributor in the country, McCollum is the only female liquor distributor owner to participate in the Maker’s Mark Private Select program to date.

“As women, we often deal with the misconception that whisky is ‘too strong’ for us, which is simply untrue,” said McCollum. “We can, and do, enjoy whisky as much as anyone else, which is why this opportunity to develop our own custom bourbon with these trailblazing women is so special for me. It is also a nod to Margie Samuels, whose imprint on Maker’s Mark – from the hand-torn label to the iconic red wax – is legendary.”

Bill Samuels, Sr., created the Maker’s Mark recipe, but his wife, Margie, gave the whisky its name. She also designed the Maker’s Mark label and bottle, identified the distinctive font on the bottles, and perhaps most notably, developed the idea of hand-dipping the bottles in red wax.

To learn more about “Women Who Whiskey”, please visit www.majorbrands.com and for more information on the Maker’s Mark barrel customization process, visit: https://www.makersmark.com.

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors

Major Brands is the largest Missouri-owned 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 Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
In 1954, in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr., fulfilled his dream to create a handmade and delicious bourbon. He decided to make his whisky in small-batches, using soft red winter wheat, with a proprietary barrel char to enhance the softness and sweetness. He then rotated each barrel by hand for consistency, and finally, aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr., transformed bourbon from a “commodity” into a premium handmade spirit, and today Maker’s Mark® continues to make its bourbon exactly the same way. In recent years, Maker’s Mark has introduced thoughtful, super-premium innovations to its portfolio including Maker’s 46®, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength and Maker’s Mark Private Select™, the brand’s first-ever custom barrel program.

In 1980, the Maker’s Mark distillery became the first distillery in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark and has also been decreed as the “world’s oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery” by Guinness World Records. It remains one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, please visit www.makersmark.com.

WE MAKE OUR BOURBON CAREFULLY.  PLEASE ENJOY IT THAT WAY.

 

Maker’s Mark®, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength and Maker’s 46® Bourbon Whisky, 45-57% Alc./Vol. ©2018 Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc., Loretto, KY.

 

Major Brands Helps Make Cinco de Mayo Fiestas Safer by offering 1,000 FREE RIDES HOME in St. Louis and Kansas City

For Immediate Release: May 3, 2018

Rides are offered through Safe Home After Every Occasion™, Major Brands’ social responsibility program that encourages making it a habit to plan your ride home before socializing.

ST. LOUIS, MO—With Cinco de Mayo falling on a Saturday this year, May 5, 2018 promises to be a day filled with festivals, parties, mariachi music and traditional foods such as tacos, mole poblanos and, of course, tequila. Both St. Louis and Kansas City have a strong sense of Mexican heritage and boast longstanding celebrations. With that in mind, Major Brands, Inc., the largest Missouri-owned distributor of premium spirits, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages, including Jose Cuervo®, the number one selling tequila in the world, is offering 1,000 free rides home in St. Louis and Kansas City on Cinco de Mayo. The rides are offered through Safe Home After Every Occasion™, Major Brands’ social responsibility program.

Major Brands will be offering free rides through Lyft, a rideshare service. The Safe Home program is made possible through the support of Jose Cuervo® Tequila.

Safe Home After Every Occasion is a 365-day-a-year social responsibilityprogram designed to make planning a safe ride home before a night out a habit. The program’s mission is to take the next step in responsible consumption efforts—moving from designating a driver, to the easiest step of all, planning your ride home before leaving the house. This is the first time Major Brands has extended its Safe Home free ride program to Cinco de Mayo. To date, Major Brands has givenmore than 70,000 Missourians a safe ride home.

 

“St. Louis and Kansas City have the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in our state and we want to add a new tradition to these great Missouri festivities—ending the day with a safe ride home. No matter the occasion, we want you to get home safe, which is why this year we have added more socializing holidays to the Safe Home calendar,” said Major Brands CEO, Sue McCollum.

To get your free ride home, before the weekend, Major Brands will post a ride code on its Facebook and Instagram channels. The code, SHMBCINCO18, will be redeemable for a ride credit that can be used between noon and midnight on May 5, 2018. In both St. Louis and Kansas City, the code is redeemable through the Lyft app. A link to download the app can be found at Lyft.com. Quantities are limited.

In addition, Major Brands’ Safe Home Squad will be hitting the streets on May 5, 2018 in St. Louis and Kansas City. SAFE HOME SQUADDERS will be giving away FREE RIDE HOME VOUCHERS ON CINCO DE MAYO at the following locations:

St. Louis:

Casa Juarez | 12710 Dorsett Rd., Maryland Heights, MO 63043 (2 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

Espino’s Mexican Bar & Grill | 17409 Chesterfield Airport Rd., Chesterfield, MO 63005 (2 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

Mission Taco Joint (Delmar Loop) | 6235 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63130 (2 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

Kansas City:

Habaneros | 1008 SE Blue Parkway, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063 (2 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

Mission Taco Joint (East Crossroads) | 409 E 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108 (2 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

Ponak’s Mexican Kitchen & Bar | 2856 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108 (2 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

About Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors

Major Brands is the largest Missouri-owned 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 Jose Cuervo® Tequila

Jose Cuervo® is the largest and most widely distributed tequila brand in the U.S. and the world. The Jose Cuervo® portfolio of tequilas includes Jose Cuervo Especial®, the world’s best-selling tequila, Jose Cuervo Tradicional®, Jose Cuervo® Reserva de la Familia®, Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita®, Authentic Jose Cuervo Margaritas® and Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix®. Jose Cuervo® is distributed in the U.S. by Proximo Spirits, Inc., a premium spirits importer founded in 2007 and based in Jersey City, New Jersey.