Publisher: Lawrence Business Magazine, LLC Editor-in-Chief: Ann Frame Hertzog Chief Photographer: Steven Hertzog
On the Cover Santa Claus, the Spirit of the Holidays with locally produced spirits - wine and beer. Special thanks to Phil Bradley
Featured Writers: Julie Dunlop Emily Mulligan Bob Luder Patricia A. Michaelis, Ph.D. Tara Trenary Liz Weslander Copy Editor: Tara Trenary Contributing Writers: Aynsley Anderson Sosinski Lauren Cunningham Megan Gilliland
Contributing Photographers: Patrick Connor
INQUIRIES & ADVERTISING INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lawrence Business Magazine, LLC 3514 Clinton Parkway, Suite A-113 Lawrence, KS 66047 Lawrence Business Magazine, is published quarterly by Lawrence Business Magazine, LLC and is distributed by direct mail to over 3000 businesses in the Lawrence & Douglas County Community. It is also distributed at key retail locations throughout the area and mailed to individual subscribers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reprinted or reproduced without the publisherâ€™s permission. Lawrence Business Magazine, LLC assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Statements and opinions printed in the Lawrence Business Magazine are the those of the author or advertiser and are not necessarily the opinion of Lawrence Business Magazine.
Conte nts Features: 22 Non-Profit:
Local Craft Beer
and Holiday Cocktail Recipes
Lawrence Bars Standing the Test of Time
65 Distributors Local Lawrence Wholesalers 71 The Art of Collecting Wine
Lawrence in Perspective:
West or Dry - Prohibition
Business on the Hill
City of Lawrence
Lawrence Memorial Hospital
77 Newsmakers 78
Mission: Lawrence Business Magazine: Telling the stories of people and businesses making a postive impact on Lawrence & Douglas County. /lawrencebusinessmagazine
SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION: LawrenceBusinessMagazine.com/SUBSCRIPTIONS
LAWRENCE & DOUGLAS CO [IN PERSPECTIVE]
ivilization begins with distillation. – William Faulkner
Wet or Dry:
Prohibition in 19th-Century Kansas by Patricia A. Michaelis, Ph.D., Historical Research & Archival Consulting John Walruff Brewery Lawrence - photos from the Kansas State Historical Society, kansasmemory.org
From the opening of Kansas Territory until the mid-1980s, the availability (or lack thereof ) of alcoholic beverages was a recurring political topic, with endless nuances and little enforcement. A few of the prohibition efforts with attention to Kansas territorial legislatures enacting several laws, include: “An act to restrain dramshops and taverns and to regulate the sale of intoxicating beverages passed in 1859.” Section 6 of this law stated it was unlawful to “sell intoxicating liquors to any persons intoxicated or who are in the habit of getting intoxicated, or any married man, against the known wishes of his wife.” Other provisions of these early laws prevented to sale of alcohol to Native Americans and slaves. In some instances, the laws aimed at Native Americans were supported by tribal leaders. Prohibition discussions occurred during the various constitutional conventions, with Lawrence women presenting to the members of the Topeka Constitutional Convention a “memorial” with 90 signatures. However, despite many efforts to control the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, such provisions were not included in the Wyandotte Constitution because the founders of Kansas did not want adoption of the constitution making Kansas a “free state” (banning slavery) to be sidetracked because of a controversy over provisions for sale of alcoholic beverages.
In spite of prohibition sentiment, Kansas was not “dry” in the early years of statehood. Lawrence was home to the Walruff Brewery, established in 1867 by Christian Joseph Walruff. Located on northern end of Maine Street, the Walruff Brewery was the only one in Lawrence at the time. In 1870, Christian’s brother John became a silent partner in the business by providing the capital for the operation under his wife, Elizabeth’s, name. “Kansas Breweries and Beer,” by Cindy Higgins and published with support from the Free
State Brewery, describes the three-story Walruff Brewery, officially the Lawrence Brewery and Beer Gardens. Resting on a heavy walnut foundation, the mail brewery’s upper section housed a drinking parlor on two floors where tap beer sold for five cents a glass. … The brewery gardens stretched across five wooded acres complete with lawn bowling, swings croquet wickets, strolling peacocks, and a shooting gallery. Further treats were available, too, at long rows of canopied tables with bountiful servings of pickled herring, boiled ham rye bread, pretzels, and Swiss and Limburger cheeses, according to a member of Buch’s Brass Band, a popular music group that played at Walruff’s brewery. By 1872, John was the sole owner of the brewery, which produced more than 2,000 barrels of beer a year. He had a monopoly in the Lawrence with 23 saloons and five wholesale liquor dealerships. Given this success, John was one of the leading antiprohibition supporters, fighting the emerging efforts for a state constitutional amendment banning the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages. In 1880, Kansas voters (males of course) adopted a constitutional amendment prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors, becoming the first state in the nation to do so. They also elected John P. St. John, a strong prohibition advocate, as governor of Kansas. In the late 1870s, prohibition supporters had been active, and several national temperance meetings were held at Lawrence’s Bismarck Grove. The first national meeting occurred in September 1878 and lasted for 10 days. Attendees listened to numerous
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John Walruff Brewery Lawrence - photos from the Kansas State Historical Society, kansasmemory.org
speeches, musical performances and “praise meetings,” where individuals professed their gratefulness for not drinking alcohol and thanked mothers who taught their daughters to be temperance supporters. In addition to detailing the events of the meeting, the Sept. 3, 1878, issue of the Lawrence Daily Journal contained an extensive description of Bismarck Grove. The author wrote of the beauty of the grove in effusive language: Few Lawrence people have an adequate idea of the magnitude and beauty of Bismarck Grove. The conformation of the surface—perfectly adapted by nature for drives and walks; the picturesque little water basin; the finely formed panoptic plateau for the accommodation of audiences of any size or quality; the convenient adjacent areas of sparsely timbered prairie for the quartering of baggage wagons and camping; all this covered by grand old trees whose youth knew no civilized presence … . Most residents of Douglas County have little idea of what Bismarck Grove was like in the late-19th century. The Sept. 3 article included an extensive description of the amenities for visitors. The line of the main entrance is hemmed in by the many booths and stands always necessary in such places. Following to the left the visitor soon reaches the “Grand Pacifics” of the place. The Dicker House and the Morton House stand side by side, each with table room for 300 or 400. Still further to the left is the great barrack with its double tiers of berths, sleeping car fashion, the straw in the beds being plentifully decorated with clean linen and good blankets. To the right of the barrack, upon the summit of a slight elevation, is the grand stand with its “audience room” for 4,000 people who are protected from sun and rain by generously overspread tarpaulins and pine roofing. Beyond the grand stand, to the east, is the Bardell House, with its comfortable accommodations, full tables, and courteous corps of assistants. Turning from the Bardell House to the south and following the circuitous drive towards the main entrance, one passes a second series of smaller stands, including photograph gallery, baker’s shop, candy factory, etc. In the southeast quarter of the grounds are circular swings, shooting gal-
leries, and various other attractions of a similar nature. The 1878 national temperance meeting was one of the first major events held at Bismarck Grove, attracting approximately 2,000 people. National temperance meetings were held at the grove in 1879 and 1880. Bismarck Grove also hosted chautauquas, church encampments, old settlers reunions and fairs. It had its own depot, and the Kansas Pacific Railroad often offered special prices for passengers coming to these events. Enforcement of the 1880 prohibition constitutional amendment was lax. One of the major issues for women supporting suffrage was the enforcement of prohibition laws against local drinking establishments. After an unsuccessful campaign for equal rights for women and blacks in 1867, Kansas women focused on achieving the right to vote in municipal elections, which was accomplished in 1887. Frances Willard, president of the Woman’s National Christian Temperance Union, wrote Gov. John Martin in 1888 to see if the municipal voting rights for women in Kansas were having an impact on the enforcement of prohibition laws in local communities. (Martin’s response is not available.) Thus, the 1880 constitutional amendment did not end the availability of alcoholic beverages in Kansas, and it “stayed on the books” until 1949. The 18th amendment established national prohibition in 1920 until it was repealed in 1933. Liquor laws in Kansas remained complex. For example, in 1937, the Legislature categorized beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% or less as a cereal malt beverage (not an intoxicating liquor) available to anyone 18 years of age or older. The 1949 Liquor Control Act set up a complicated system to regulate, license and tax “package liquor” by county option. “Liquor by the drink” was illegal until 1986, but alcohol had been available via various options of private clubs. Thus, prohibition in Kansas has a long and complicated past. Many of the 19th-century efforts were tied to the hope that Kansas would be a free and progressive state, leading the country on issues that had troubled older states. Many of the early prohibition supporters were also advocates for women’s rights because it was believed intoxication damaged homes where women had little recourse against their husbands or fathers. Treatment of alcoholism remains a concern, but these days, many Kansans enjoy their beer, craft beer, wine and mixed drinks at a variety of business establishments and at home as part of their daily life. p
BUSINESS on the [HILL] by Lauren Cunningham, Communications Coordinator, KU Business School
Business SEMINARS Business School’s Executive Education Seminars Provide Leadership Development, Opportunities for Collaboration Business School’s Executive Education Seminars Provide Leadership Development, Opportunities for Collaboration Each year, the University of Kansas (KU) School of Business hosts a series of seminars designed to prepare leaders across industries with the knowledge and skills to confront today’s challenges. The Mount Oread Leadership Series brings together professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds—military officers, business executives and managers, leaders in federal agencies—and provides intensive graduate-level leadership development. The seminars, each a week long, offer a collaborative learning environment in which participants with diverse experiences share lessons learned, develop networked approaches to complex problems and form teams of leaders that bring together the best from their respective communities of practice. “It’s a great honor to provide executive education in a format that broadens the capability of leaders across the spectrum of companies, national security institutions and federal agencies that make up our society,” says Tom Jindra, director of the Center for Business, Industry and National Security at the KU School of Business. “The outcome is a shared broadening, not only in our understanding of critical leadership processes but also of one another.” The University of Kansas was selected in 2015 as one of only four civilian universities in the nation to host strategic broadening seminars for U.S. Army officers, warrant officers, senior noncommissioned officers and civilians. In the seminars, the School of Business emphasizes practical learning with considerable dynamic engagement within each group of participants. “Anytime you can bring people with so many diverse backgrounds—educational levels, vocational backgrounds—anytime you can bring that many people together, it’s extremely valuable,” says Capt. Kurtis Hout, who participated in the program last August. Ultimately, the goal is for professionals attending the seminars to leave with an increased set of tools they can immediately apply to their respective organizations. “It’s been very interesting for me, coming from a federal agency, to particularly watch the folks in the military talk about their struc-
ture, some of their issues that they have, and then those from industry offer another unique perspective,” says Jeff Johnson, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in Topeka, another participant of the program. The business school’s upcoming 2017 schedule of programs primarily focuses on leader development and the management of change. The programs take place on KU’s Lawrence campus and are open to all organizations. The Mount Oread Leadership Series program concentrations, and the dates of each seminar, include: •
Senior Executive Leadership, which focuses on understanding the strategic process, Feb. 27–March 3, 2017
Leadership and Change, which focuses on strategic and senior leader skill development, March 2–March 31, 2017, June 5–June 9, 2017, Aug. 7–Aug. 11, 2017
• Leader Identity, Style and Skills, which focuses on self-awareness and communication skillsets, June 12–June 16, 2017 •
Leading in a Global Environment, which focuses on the issues of global leadership, June 19–June 23, 2017
For more information about the programs or to register, contact Dave Byrd-Stadler, director of corporate and community engagement for the KU School of Business, at 785-864-8047; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. p
Lawrence Recognized as a National Leader in Sustainability City, community partners work together to achieve 4 STAR ranking.
By Megan Gilliland, City of Lawrence Communications Manager
With a total evaluation score of 460 points, Lawrence is the first community in Kansas to receive a 4-STAR rating for national excellence in sustainability. The STAR Communities framework evaluates local governments on economic, environmental and social factors to measure sustainability, and rates communities out of 5 STARs.
What is STAR?
The STAR Community Rating System (STAR) is the first national certification program to recognize sustainable communities. STAR was built by and for local governments. The STAR framework integrates economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability. There are seven goal areas and 44 objectives by which cities are evaluated. These include both actions of the city government and the community at-large. Since the launch of the certification system in 2012, 51 communities have achieved STAR Certification, including regional and peer cities such as Wichita, Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri, Iowa City, Dubuque and Des Moines, Iowa, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Fort Collins, Colorado.
Our City of Lawrence Score
The city received a 4-STAR rating (out of five). This makes us the highest-rated community in Kansas. The graphic to the right shows areas where the city excelled and areas for improvement.
Why Does This Matter?
A 4-STAR rating puts Lawrence in a prestigious tier in the STAR certification system. Of the 51 certified communities, only 20 have achieved a 4-STAR rating. Only four have achieved the 5-STAR rating. National leaders in sustainability, such as Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, are also in this 4-STAR tier.
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Where Do We Go From Here?
We undertook the STAR certification not only to assess our progress toward sustainability but also to set targets for moving forward. The STAR framework provides a nationally recognized set of best practices for sustainability, and we look forward to continuing to improve. The STAR Community Rating System supports best practices aimed to move the needle on community-level conditions and outcomes. The chart below shows the STAR goals and objectives. Every city department and division within the city, along with our community
partners, will be working to use the STAR objectives in defining our policies and through service delivery of our programs. Weâ€™ll use the STAR framework to enhance the quality city services we provide and continue to build on our sustainable practices. The city plans to use the STAR framework as part of its Strategic Plan, which is currently in development and will help set community priorities and goals for the foreseeable future. For more information about the score and the STAR certification process, visit the Cityâ€™s STAR website at www.lawrenceks.org/sustainability/STAR p
Putting the Joy Back in the Holiday Season By Aynsley Anderson Sosinski, Lawrence Memorial Hospital
Stress is often a part of our daily lives. For many, the holidays add an extra helping. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that close to 40 percent of respondents reported increased stress levels during the holiday season. The leading causes of stress included lack of time and money; exposure to too much commercialism or hype; pressure of gifts—giving or getting; family gatherings; staying on a diet; and increased credit card debt. Here are 12 tips to help you find more enjoyment in the holiday season and relieve holiday-related stress. For more information on coping with holiday stress, visit apa.org or lmh.org/wellness/ health-library/.
12 TIPS TO REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS 1. Make a list, and check it twice. Create a realistic list of what you need to get done before the holidays and a time line for completion. Pace yourself. Checking off items as completed can give you a sense of accomplishing your goals. 2. Make a budget in advance for what you can afford to spend, and stick to it. Avoid using credit cards and layaway plans, if possible. Overspending at the holidays can prolong financial stress well into the New Year. 3. Make the “estimates.” Underestimate how much you can do in one day. Overestimate how long it will take to do it. Use any time left over for personal relaxation.
4. Learn to ask for help. This may be as hard for some as learning to say “no.” Sharing the load allows others to be involved and feel part of things. 5. Instead of buying a gift for someone, give the gift of your time. Make a voucher for a homemade dinner and an evening to share it. Give your older neighbor a certificate for a few hours of yard work help. Take a friend to lunch. 6. Allow some things to slide. You can’t do what you normally do and add in the holiday stuff. Think about what you can put aside for a few days or weeks, and let that happen. 7. Don’t put your health last on the list. Something will probably have to give in the holiday rush, but don’t let it be your health. Take extraspecial care of yourself—try to get an adequate amount of sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. 8. Gift yourself with some “me time” each day. Sometimes, this has to be scheduled into your calendar. Have a massage, read a book in a coffee shop or go for walk. Just make sure the focus is on you. 9. Laughter really can be the best medicine. Intense emotions often abound this time of year. Allow yourself to feel and express these emotions. Both laughter and tears may help release stored up emotions; so laugh or cry.
10. Reach out to others. Volunteer activities are a way for people, even children, to reach outside of themselves and give to others. If you are alone at the holidays, this is a wonderful way to share time with others who need you. 11. One of the greatest gifts you can give your family is to learn about other cultures or ethnic groups, and their holiday traditions. Experience some of the celebrations of Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Invite an international student or a new-to-the-community family to share the holidays with you. 12. Know that this time of year provides memories, and these may not be happy ones for everyone. Grief often returns with a vengeance during the holidays. Reach out to those who may be saddened or hurting. A phone call, a card, a visit or an invitation to participate in your holiday events is so important. Aynsley Anderson Sosinski, MA, RN, is community education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She is a Mayo Clinic-certified wellness coach. She can be reached at email@example.com. p
PROFESSIONAL [ SPOTLIGHT ]
emember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s champagne! – Sir Winston Churchill
PHILLIP BRADLEY P.B.C. CONSULTING What is your business’s most important commodity or service?
Peace of mind. The knowledge that someone is watching their back while they run their business. Someone is present and actively advocating for them in places where decisions are being made.
What is your business’s most important priority?
Service to and the welfare of my members and their establishments.
What has been some of the most important aspects of your success?
Working with wonderful people who are passionate about hospitality and serving their customers. Connecting with decision-makers and elected officials. Helping them find the best solutions pain-points and assisting business owners and staff in understanding, interacting, and shaping public policy.
How many people do you work with, serve, interact with on a daily basis, and are responsible to? Or for?
Each day is different. Some days it's hundreds or thousands, and on other days it's just one person helping them with their problem. I am responsible to members and their governing boards. I also work for the best interests of the public. I do my best to improve the industry and the general public understanding of the challenges of our industry.
What is do you see as your personal responsibility and The Industry’s responsibility to the community?
Responsibility. I referred to this in an earlier question because it is a large part of what we do. We fully realize that we are in an industry that has restrictions and controls placed upon it by the government, you elected officials. We take those obligations very seriously. So, personally, I feel a duty to provide the tools my members need in offering friendly, ethical and legal service to the customers.
Kansas Licensed Beverage Association KS Viticulture & Farm Winery Association Craft Brewers Guild of Kansas Kansas HomeBrewers Allicance Artisan Distillers of Kansas Kansas Fireworks Association Equal Entertainment Group
How do you and The "Spirits" Industry, make a positive impact on the Lawrence community?
Interesting question, there's so many ways we have a positive impact. The spirits industry is just a part of the overall hospitality industry. This is the group that celebrates with you, that welcomes you in, rejoice the best times of your life, and to comfort you in the worst times of your life. Also we provide many jobs from your waiter, to the person who provides the food to the restaurants to the chef to the distributor to the manufacture we provide employment opportunities in the community and particularly the artesian and craft distillers brewers and vintners provide local jobs in our community. We are also the first line in protecting the community from underage drinking or folks who cannot consume alcohol legally. A large part of what we do is to ensure safe and legal consumption.
What would you change about doing business (or working with businesses) in Lawrence?
It is such an honor to work with the people and the amazing diversity that is Lawrence. In the places providing services I really would only change one thing in two ways. One: I wish I had more time. Time to work with each individual business. Time to listen to their needs and help solve all their problems. Two: I wish we had more time with a large part of our customer base. So many of them come to town to attend the University of Kansas or Haskell University or for other educational purposes and then they're gone. I wish we had more time to get to know them and to help them understand what they're looking for in a hospitality experience.
Why did you become involved? or What inspires you? – is there a specific thing, person or incident?
I became involved tangentially, sort of a backing into this role. Because I had so many friends who owned, operated or worked in this industry and they needed help. They were getting affected by changes of statutes, regulations, and policies. They needed representation in the Capital to make sure that all the facts were being heard and decisions were not negatively affecting them. And they couldn’t be there and working hard to grow their businesses and serve their customers. So with a little arm-twisting by my good friend Peach Madl and others, I agreed to help. I started off just as a part-time, short-term arrangement, to assist with one issue. Long story somewhat shorter it has turned into another career for me. I work in five states, and Chair the Government Affairs program for a national organization in D.C. I also do other consulting in my “spare time”. I couldn't be happier being “miserably busy”. It's very gratifying personally, for when I was younger, I was a server and a small business owner in the hospitality industry and was constantly affected by decisions of others, in places that I couldn't be. Usually, on issues I didn't even know were being considered.
What is the biggest challenge you feel The "Spirits" Industry faces?
Our industry is constantly being challenged from the day it began thousands of years ago. They have found recipes for beer and illustrations of spirit making on cave walls and in pyramids. I think our current largest problem is twofold; first, keeping up with expec-
tations in a society that demands instant gratification. Our industry and all of the servers and sellers are challenged to keep up with things that people see on their devices or Mass media, that have yet to be brought to our particular location. They may not even be legal here. The second largest challenge is unique to our time; more and more people are used to experiencing life at an arm’s length. I'm referring to through their screens. They have events and experience things where they are not physically present. The Hospitality industry, spirits and alcohol, are not that kind of experience. Ours is a personal physical interaction and with a group that is less and less used to that personal affect. We have a challenge to make sure we are relevant and that our interaction is done responsibly, safely and hopefully enjoyably.
What do you foresee as being the biggest challenge for the future for your industry? And how are you addressing or preparing for it?
Another large challenge for industry is sustainability. Almost all of our products start from agriculture and natural resources and many if not most of our industry are now sustainable and working to stay green. What I'm referring to here is to keep a small businesses alive long enough to find their audience. So much is happening in the craft hospitality industry and so many new ideas and products are coming out all at once, it is a real challenge to get those products in front of the public long enough, that they can decide if this is something that will succeed or is this something that isn't meant to be at this time. Hopefully, we all work together to make that happen. p
NON- [ PROFIT ]
LAWRENCE BUSINESS HALL OF FAME
Laureates Inducted by Tara Trenary, photos by Steven Hertzog
This past October, about 320 people gathered at the University of Kansas Student Union Ballroom dressed in black-tie attire for the Junior Achievement ( JA) Lawrence Business Hall of Fame (BHOF) Tribute Dinner. The crowd was there to celebrate five special people: this year’s Laureate Class of 2016. These prominent individuals have displayed excellence in business and courageous thinking and vision, and are innovative and inspiring leaders in the Lawrence community. Junior Achievement of Kansas is a nonprofit organization started with a goal to inspire and prepare young people with the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. Partnering with the business and educational community, JA of Kansas provides relevant, hands-on experiences that give students knowledge and skills in financial literacy, workforce development and entrepreneurship. The organization works with students from kindergarten through high school and serves nearly 28,000 children statewide, including more than 6,000 students in the Douglas County area. “From our local board of directors providing support and direction for our district, the many businesses providing support for our fund-raising events, the outstanding businesspeople providing their valuable time to teach and work with our students, and the many teachers who allow our volunteers time in their classrooms to teach and interact with the students each year,” says Debbie Harman, Douglas County district director, who’s worked in some capacity with JA for the past 29 years. “We could not do what we do without the generous help and support of the Lawrence school district and the Lawrence community.” In the 2015-2016 school year, JA of Lawrence had 52 local businesses that provided 171 businesspeople who volunteered in 277 classrooms. Many volunteers help in multiple classes throughout the school year. In the same 2015-2016 school year, the JA of Lawrence served 6,124 students in grades K through 12, although the majority of the classroom programs are delivered to students in K through 8, Harman explains. There is a grade-level-specific JA program for each grade, which meets the requirements for the social studies economic unit curriculum. JA provides programming for every student in each of the schools it works with each year at no charge to the school or school district. “The students in our program are provided real-life examples of the roads to success of our local entrepreneurs and their contributions to our community. The Hall of Fame banquet provides funding for the programming the students receive in school,” Business Hall of Fame co-chair Bradley Burnside says. With nominations taken throughout the year, Business Hall of Fame Laureates are chosen by an independent selection committee made up of local business leaders from the Lawrence community. “These individuals are honored not only for their success in business but for their dedication and commitment to the local community and the state of Kansas,” Harman says. A committee selected this year’s laureates based on criteria including business excellence, entrepreneurial spirit, community impact, leadership style, local influence and enduring legacy. “Our Business Hall of Fame is the final piece of business education for our students, as well as the residents of our community,” Business Hall of Fame co-chair Ernesto Hodison says. “Those chosen for this award can be held up as role models to the children in our community. The laureates honored at the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame are prime examples of giving, caring and enthusiastic leaders.” The five current and former Lawrence business leaders and community members chosen as this year’s Lawrence Business Hall of Fame Laureate Class of 2016 are Ross and Marianna Beach, Douglas County Bank (posthumous); Smitty Belcher, P1 Group Inc., specialists in construction, fabrication, facility maintenance and energy services; Mark Buhler, CEK Insurance; and Sharon Spratt, Cottonwood Inc., established to provide services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Class of 2016 (Left to Right) Smitty Belcher Sharon Spratt Mark Buhler Terry Edwards (Daugther of Marianna and Ross Beach)
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ROSS AND MARIANNA BEACH
Lifelong Kansans, Ross and Marianna Beach, of Douglas County Bank, believed being successful in business and being a community leader went hand in hand. The couple met at
Ohio native Smitty Belcher, of P1 Group Inc., began his career with a risky decision: quitting college to become a pipefitter in a refinery. Seemingly a good opportunity, Belcher ultimately
Kansas State University, where they attended school, Ross studying engineering and Marianna studying industrial journalism. Ross worked in the oil and gas industry, owned Kansas Natural Gas, in Hays, and a radio/TV business, and finally bought a controlling interest in Douglas County Bank in 1964. The couple owned the bank for 50 years, always encouraging their employees to give back to their community, especially through JA.
In 1990, the couple bought a condo in Lawrence, finally moving there full-time in 2001. Although K-State graduates, Ross and Marianna were attracted to the culture and university atmosphere of Lawrence, as well as its possibility for growth. They shared a belief in giving back to their community and supported many community organizations, including The Beach Center on Disabilities, the Lied Center, the Hall Center for the Humanities, University Theatre at KU, the Community Shelter, Theatre Lawrence, the Lawrence Arts Center, the Lawrence Public Library and Lawrence Memorial Hospital, as well as endowing professorships in special education. The couple also received many awards for their humanitarianism, including being honored by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas. Marianna was named “Kansan of the Year” in 1988, Ross in 2001; and each received the Distinguished Service Citation Award from the University of Kansas Alumni Association, Ross in 1977 and Marianna in 1990. But their daughter, Terry Edwards, says of all the awards they received during their lifetimes, the JA award would mean the most to them. “They were selected by the very people with whom they did business and with whom they volunteered and with whom they lived. This is the greatest honor—to be recognized as a leader of and a contributor to your community,” she says.
completed a pipefitter apprenticeship, then went on to complete his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business in five years while also working full-time. How did he accomplish so much so quickly? “Empathy” and “never being happy with the status quo,” he says.
Belcher has lived in Lawrence since 1983, having been introduced to Huxtable and Associates owner Mel Huxtable, and agreeing to work in his business for six months without anyone knowing his plan: to purchase the company, which he ultimately did. In 1998, Huxtable and Associates and A.D. Jacobson Co. merged to form P1 Group, the company of which Belcher is now the CEO. It is currently a $220-million business and has received multiple awards for excellence. Belcher attributes his success in Lawrence to “establishing relationships, networking and delivering a service that was consistent and exceeded expectations.” He says his biggest achievement in business is being able to provide employment to more than 1,000 associates and their families. “I was able to achieve this by surrounding myself with people who wanted to work in a business that has a culture of family values,” he explains. Belcher’s advice to the young people of JA: “Always keep a positive attitude, never be satisfied and never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.” He says the JA award is a personal one for him: “I have been fortunate to be honored on a national level where two or three may have known me, but it is very humbling to be honored by my local community—friends, business associates, community leaders— who really know me,” Belcher says.
Buhler graduated from Lawrence High School and the University of Kansas, and began his career at Lawrence Savings Association. After nine years in lending, he began work with Stephens Real Estate and eventually became a partner in the firm. He returned to insurance several years later to work with Calvin Eddy and Kappelman (CEK), where he is currently a managing partner. To Buhler, making a difference in the community through public service is an important role. In Lawrence, “You can make a difference. It is not too big to get involved.” And get involved he has. Buhler has served as a member of the planning commission for Lawrence and Douglas County, as well as two four-year terms on the Douglas County Commission. He also represented his community in the Kansas State Senate for two years, is involved in the Lawrence Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Lawrence Schools Foundation, with past involvement with Boys and Girls Club, the Cottonwood Foundation and United Way, among other projects. “If you don’t get and stay involved in your community, then you live with the decisions that others make for you,” he says.
MARK BUHLER With experience in real estate and insurance for more than 30 years, Mark Buhler, CEK Insurance, has called Lawrence home since he was 4 years old. His great-grandfather came to Lawrence as a member of the Immigrant Aid Society in 1854 to settle the town, ultimately losing his farmhouse to fire in Quantrill’s Raid.
Buhler advises future young entrepreneurs: “Listen first before you act. Study the success and failures of others attempting the same endeavor. You always learn the hard way, but you do get better. That is called experience.” Buhler was surprised he was chosen as a recipient of the JA Award. “One of the nicest honors of my life. A total surprise, and I’m not sure why me and not some others, but I am very proud,” he says.
SHARON SPRATT With more than 40 years of experience in service to persons with developmental disabilities, Sharon Spratt, CEO of the nonprofit Cottonwood Inc., believes strongly in the statement, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” She has lived in Lawrence for 28 years and believes it is a vibrant and welcoming community with strong education, arts, recreation and business climate, which all make it a desirable place to live. She says business and community leaders must possess a vision for their businesses and “be resilient, possess strong values, be able to work well with a variety of people and never give up.” Spratt has a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and has completed graduate coursework at the University of South Florida, Fort Hays State University and the University of Kansas. She has worked with community service providers in both Kansas and Florida, and has served with various local groups and on local boards, including InterHab; Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; KU Center for Research Inc. Board of Trustees; Douglas County Bank; Douglas County Visiting Nurses; Douglas County Dental Clinic; Leadership Lawrence; Lawrence Rotary Club; Lawrence Parks and Recreation; and the Executive Committee of the Lawrence Chamber of Board of Directors, among other community activities. She has also received numerous awards, including the InterHab Mark Elmore Award for Distinguished Leadership in 2011, the Buford M. Watson Jr. Public Service Award by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the 2012 Athena International Award, as well as being named the 2015 Lawrence Rotarian of the Year. Spratt says being involved in one’s local community is one of the most honorable duties there is. “It is very necessary for the vitality and preservation of our society,” she says. “Many times, we receive more than what we give. I think it is … one of the best ways to stay healthy—physically, mentally and emotionally—and to live a purposeful life.”
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She believes young people should remember to “always be trustworthy and dependable. Be ready to work hard and volunteer for the things you believe in. And every now and then, do some things for yourself to keep balance in your life.” Spratt says she’s honored to be recognized and inducted into the JA Lawrence Business Hall of Fame and feels blessed to have had so many wonderful teachers, friends and family supporting her along the way. “It’s important to be successful, and it’s important to be significant. Hopefully, through my work at Cottonwood and in other ways I have been involved in the community, I have achieved some of both.” Congratulations to the 2016 Junior Achievement Kansas Business Hall of Fame Laureates! To view their tribute videos, visit www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-kansas/lawrence-bhof. p
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fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure. – Czech Proverb
by Julie Dunlap, photos by Steven Hertzog
The story of local craft beer is much longer than the simple marrying of barley, wheat and hops. Revelers on New Year’s Eve 1880 in Lawrence likely had little idea that, the night before statewide prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcohol, generations would pass before a brewery would open again in Kansas. While federal prohibition lasted from 1919 until 1933, Kansas’s prohibition straddled well beyond that period, beginning in 1881 and lasting through 1937 for 3.2% alcohol content beer (known as the cereal malt beverage, or CMB), and 1948 for all other forms of alcohol, when voters approved an amendment allowing for the regulation of the manufacture, sale, possession and transportation of intoxicating liquor. During the next 30 years, Kansas liquor laws slowly changed, as did the nation’s. In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation legalizing home brewing, and a young University of Kansas graduate with an entrepreneurial spirit, a mind for science and systems, and an appreciation for the fruits of the earth was paying attention. Chuck Magerl, founder and owner of the trail-blazing Free State Brewing Co., Kansas’s first legal commercial brewery to open since statewide prohibition took effect in 1881, became interested in craft beers and local brewing in 1977 while researching one of Lawrence’s many long-gone breweries, Walruff Brewery, for a article he was writing. As a manager and cofounder of The Merc in Lawrence, Magerl had nurtured a curiosity for food and beverage
grown from the earth, and his West Coast travels had introduced him to a budding trend in brew pubs, most notably Anchor Steam, in Northern California. After observing the community benefits of a locally owned microbrewery, Magerl began working to bring Walruff’s legacy back to the area. “I had traveled on the West Coast and had a job offer in California,” Magerl recalls of his decision to bring this blossoming industry to his home state, “but I wanted to open a brewery in Kansas as an enhancement,” adding, “Lawrence is one of the few places founded in the U.S. not for economic reasons but solely founded as a social cause.” There was only one problem with his plan to bring a new social element to town: His business plan was illegal. The journey from conception to consumption traveled not only through wheat and barley fields, but heavily through the law library, as well, where Magerl researched laws for surrounding states regarding manufacture, distribution and sales of alcohol, working closely with the Kansas legislature to develop new legislation for this long-unchartered industry. “It was a big unknown for the government,” Magerl explains. “No one really knew how to approve and regulate the industry.” As the path to legalized brewing and in-house sales became more clear in Topeka, Magerl secured a spot at 636 Massachusetts St., a rarely patronized area of downtown. During the course of the building’s conversion from warehouse to brewery and restaurant,
Top left: Free State Brewing co. beer cellar (also used as their tornado shelter) Center (this page): Steve Bradt inside the Free State Brewing Co. bottling plant.
Center (this page): Matt Llewellyn of 23rd street Brewery
combined with the renovation of neighboring Liberty Hall, enough foot traffic had passed, and enough interest had been generated to pack Free State Brewing Co. for its opening in February 1989. Free State opened with 30 employees, including bartender Steve Bradt, who quickly worked his way into the brewing room. “[Bradt] exhibited good mechanical ability and a high level of IQ,” Magerl recalls of the young bartender who would soon become his brewmaster. “I washed the glasses very well at the bar,” Bradt laughs, quick to downplay his rapid rise in the ranks. The former apprentice now serves on the board of the national craft brewing industry’s Brewers Association, assisting beer makers across the country in all facets of the art and business of brewing. Here in Lawrence, Bradt not only plays a role in production at the brewery’s Mass Street location—along with head of beer production Geoff Deman—but Bradt also oversees production at the 20,000-square-foot brewing and bottling facility at 1923 Moody Rd., which opened in 2009. The East Lawrence location brews and moves beer from vats to bottles through a mesmerizing hightech assembly line at a rate of 150 bottles per minute. Extracted proteins and spent grains, byproducts of the brewing process, are fed to cattle, minimizing waste and using as much of the plant as possible. Eleven of Free State’s 112 employees work in the brew house, including production manager Brad Scott. “It’s a lot to pay attention to,” Scott says of the fast-moving filling and packaging system, “a well-choreographed dance.” While many start in the restaurant before moving over to the brew house and bottling facility, the East Lawrence site also houses scientists with quality-control expertise to maintain consistency and meet the required legal standards and regulations in production. Free State Brewing Co. will ship nearly 100,000 cases and 10,000 kegs of beer in 2016. While beer is sold in the restaurant by the drink and to-go increments ranging from the 32-ounce Squealer or the 64-ounce Growler to a full-sized keg, bottled beer may only be sold via three-tier distribution, another legal requirement born out of concern for regulation as prohibition ended. Free State beers are available in liquor stores in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and, soon, in Iowa. Across town, 23rd Street Brewery managing partner Matt Llewelyn and his team are hard at work brewing for Lawrencians, as well. Located at 3512 Clinton Pkwy., 23rd Street Brewery has served locally brewed beers since 2005, when Llewelyn purchased the brewery and restaurant from Kansas City’s 75th Street Brewery. Now a uniquely Lawrence staple for beer lovers, 23rd Street Brewery features a seasonal variety of beers along with their four flagship beers: Raspberry Wheat, Crimson Phog Irish Red, Bitter Professor IPA and Wave the Wheat Ale. “I wanted to provide four flagship beers that would be extremely consistent,” Llewellyn says of the brewery’s mission, “and a couple of beers that would be more unique.” The restaurant’s massive brewery is visible from the restaurant’s entry and bar area, providing patrons with a peek at their pints in process, a process that takes weeks to complete. The restaurant employs two full-time brewers among its 80 to 90 employees.
Grain is milled on-site where it is cracked, opened and heated in water. The liquid is then boiled for up to two hours before being incrementally cooled and allowed to ferment for two to three weeks. Additional flavor may be added at the end, though the grain provides the main flavor, with hoppiness developing during the boiling phase. 23rd Street Brewery upgraded its brewery with a $150,000 brewing system last summer, providing for motorized mixing and resulting in a more consistent product. After more than a decade in the craft beer industry, Llewelyn has noticed a few interesting trends, including the steady growth in IPA consumption and an affinity in women for darker, full-bodied beers, a surprising pattern for a demographic associated with lighter drinks. All of 23rd Street Brewery’s beers are available on tap, both in the restaurant and in kegs available for purchase; but so far, none are available by bottle. Independent commercial brewers, such as Free State Brewing Co. and 23rd Street Brewery, operate under the legal restrictions of a microdistillery in Kansas, such as production limits and distribution requirements under the Kansas Liquor Control Act. To monitor, navigate, negotiate and facilitate the ever-changing legislation, Kansas brewers work closely with Philip Bradley, of the Kansas Craft Brewers Guild. Bradley, a legal advocate for the alcohol industry, assists both home and commercial brewers in the state in creating legislation for the growing industry. According to the Brewer’s Association, craft beer manufacturing grew 13%, and sales grew 12.5% in 2015, while the overall manufacture and sales of beer dropped nationally by 0.2%. Bradley has seen the financial benefits of craft brewing for a community, happily sharing the story of Kansas Territorial Brewery. Like many small towns in rural Kansas, Washington, Kansas, had seen its share of attrition. Residents Brad and Donna Portenier, looking for new ways to revitalize their town, seized the opportunity to open a microbrewery in downtown Washington after a longtime business moved out. Business has boomed, bringing locals, surrounding residents and travelers alike in to check out locally brewed beers, such as Locomotion and Wind Wagon, and adding much-needed life and dollars to the town. The year 2016 began with 33 microbrewery licenses in the state, a number that more than doubled from the previous five years. With this growth has come the need for revised legislation to keep up with the needs of Kansas brewers. One of the keys to successful legislation has been patience, Bradley notes. Up to 50 changes to liquor laws may be proposed annually, and all are reviewed with the opportunity on which to be voted. Consumer safety is the primary mission when enacting legislation. “It’s easy to make bad beer,” Bradley laughs. Indeed, the brewing process, which begins for many home brewers as a hobby in pursuit of better-tasting or cheaper beer, is a delicate one. While the 18th Amendment didn’t technically prohibit home brewing, the 21st Amendment, ironically, did, as beer manufacturing would become a regulated industry. During the following decades, the government largely ignored this technicality until home brewing became more prevalent and le-
gal regulation of the larger-scale brewing industry had taken hold. Some Kansas legislators saw an opportunity to tax home brews, but this effort never gained traction. The opportunities for bacteria and inconsistencies in alcohol content to develop in a batch, however, led lawmakers to lock down on the distribution of home brews for public consumption, a law that kept brewers from sharing the fruits of their labors with others.
As legal changes and social trends continue to shape the industry, its foundation will not, as craft brewing will, at its core, always be rooted firmly in the earth and be a fitting passion for residents of the Wheat State.
In 2012, the Lawrence Brewers Guild teamed up with the Kansas City Bier Meisters and hired Bradley to push legislation through that would allow home brew enthusiasts to share their products with others, including entry in contests, provided no money is exchanged for the product. It was a victory—and a relief—for home brewers in Kansas.
Bradt agrees wholeheartedly, summing up the foundation of the art with a quote from Chris Swersey, of the Brewers Association, “Chris [Swersey] says, ‘Craft beer is an American success story fueled by farms.’ ” p
“What we do here involves water resources and biology,” says Magerl, a biologist and engineer by training and education, whose gratitude for nature’s resources gives spiritual life to his product.
BREWING TIMELINE: 4300 BC Babylon tablets detail recipes for beer. 55 BC Romans introduce beer to Northern Europe. 500-1000 AD Brewing shifts from private homes to monasteries and convents. 1587 AD First beer is brewed in America. 1880 AD Approximately 2300 breweries are open in the U.S. 1881 AD Kansas outlaws alcohol statewide. 1902 AD Brother Epp, of the Capuchin monastery, in Munjor, Kansas, extolls the benefits of beer, stating, “ … because without beer, things do not seem to go as well.” 1919 AD The U.S. outlaws alcohol nationally. 1933 AD The U.S. legalizes alcohol again to be regulated by the states. 1937 AD Kansas allows the manufacture and sale of cereal malt beverages (3.2 beer). 1948 AD Kansas allows the manufacture and sale of “intoxicating liquor,” creates the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). 1949 AD July 18, the first legal sale of alcohol in Kansas is made. 1965 AD Kansas allows for liquor-by-the-drink in private clubs. 1977 AD President Jimmy Carter signs legislation legalizing home brewing nationally. 1987 AD Kansas enacts liquor-by-the-drink in bars and restaurants; legal drinking age is fully raised to 21. 1989 AD Chuck Magerl brews and serves his first Ad Astra Ale, ushering in a new era for craft beer brewers and drinkers in Kansas. Tucker Craig inspects the tanks at 23rd Street Brewery
R ETA I L LOCATION
Where you live and shop for groceries may be the determining factors in what type of spirits you find at your local liquor store. by Emily Mulligan, photos by Steven Hertzog
Customer service and a personal touch are the keys to happy customers and repeat business at Lawrence retail liquor stores, local store owners and managers say. It would seem that in a college town rife with tailgate parties and graduation celebrations, retail liquor could be a simple, straightforward business, where the shelves are stocked and the cash register rings constantly. However, several retail liquor store employees work hard to rise above the crowd and attract both college students and higher-end local residents—and keep bringing them back. Parkway Wine and Spirits, 3514 Clinton Parkway, has been open almost 16 years, and manager Michael Walters has been overseeing inventory and service for the past two years. Most of the store’s business comes from its proximity to Hy-Vee. Walters says customers sometimes even bring their groceries into the store to show the staff what they are cooking and ask for beerand wine-pairing recommendations. He always has lollipops for the kids and says something as simple as that can be the reason people keep coming back to the store. It is a small space, but Walters and the store’s owner, Brian Fadden, stay up with industry trends and do their best to carry what is new and in demand in beer, wine and spirits. Matt Easley and his sister-in-law, Jennie Storm, opened On the Rocks, 1818 Massachusetts St., in 2009 at what ended up being the bottom of a recession. Easley and Storm had worked in the local restaurant scene and wanted to work for themselves. The
store was one of few retail liquor locations east of Iowa Street at the time, and Easley and Storm planned to fill a large proportion of the store’s 10,000 square feet with wine. “People said, ‘You’re crazy. Nobody’s going to buy wine on that side of town.’ I said, ‘That’s just because nobody’s selling it.’ Now, people thank us for being here,” Easley says. The store now carries more than 2,000 wines—even more than the 1,700 wines the business claims on its sign, Easley explains. On the Rocks also opened toward the beginning of an ongoing craft-beer boom, so he and Storm created a walk-in “beer cave”: essentially, a room-sized refrigerator stocked with cases of both traditional and craft beers. The store also carries a sizeable selection of spirits. “It’s a big place—where do you start? You need someone to help you. We look at the store from a service standpoint and try to be different. Customer service in most places, not just liquor stores, is a lost art,” Easley says. City Wine Market, 4821 W. Sixth St., opened in 2010 after owners and longtime college friends Steve Wilson and Jamie Woodall-Routledge left their previous jobs and completed the Culinary Institute of America’s Certified Wine Professional program in the Napa Valley. Wilson previously worked for specialty wine retailers in Kansas City, Missouri, and Woodall-Routledge had worked in fine dining for chefs Michael Smith and Debbie Gold. Both were still living in Lawrence and commuting daily to their jobs, so the retail liquor store venture allowed them to work where they lived.
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Originally, Wilson and Woodall-Routledge planned to sell almost exclusively wine in the store, but the popularity of craft beer and spirits among their customers led them to expand the store’s offerings. “We both kind of saw the world of wine and spirits first through fine dining,” Wilson says. “The way we sell the products we do is stolen from the fine-dining world: We purposely don’t carry everything; we focus on the price point.” Either Wilson or Woodall-Routledge greets and guides every customer in the store. Wilson calls it the “concierge” approach, which they have adapted from their experience in fine dining. They taste every wine they carry, they choose their wines based on the best quality at each price, then they take a personal interest in “hand-selling” the products to each customer. City Wine Market opened a second location at 900 New Hampshire St. in the fall of 2015 hoping to capture customers in Downtown Lawrence as construction is completed on several residential projects. They have continued the same philosophy in the downtown store as the west-side store. The College Factor The store owners find they must appeal to the collegeaged customer in some way, in addition to focusing on products for more mature drinkers. Walters says Parkway has a significant walk-up beer sale business in the evenings, likely both from Hy-Vee shoppers and from the many large apartment complexes in the area. He stocks cases and six-packs of the popular mainstream beers for that core customer group. On the Rocks also sees a fairly large college crowd because of its location near KU’s campus and Greek houses. “We know we need to have the beer cave stocked with 30-packs of beer and have them cold, and have them at a fair price,” Easley says. Wilson explains the west side location of City Wine Market hardly ever sees business from the college-student crowd, but the downtown location has put them more on the beaten path with younger customers.
Top to bottom: Mike Walters, manager of Parkway Wine and Spirits Display of custom wine for sports fans Customer searches the refrigerator for beer.
Still, he says, they want to keep their stores with similar inventory and a similar business plan. “There are certain value products that are not known for their quality, and there are certain products we refuse to carry. We located there primarily for the developments going in on New Hampshire Street,” Wilson says. Customer Base Despite being in a college town, these stores’ business definitely does not start and end with the college-age crowd. Walters says Parkway Wine and Spirits functions much like a typical neighborhood retail liquor store in Kansas. His customers usually live nearby, either in single-family residential developments or apartment complexes, and they likely shop at Hy-Vee and Parkway for that reason.
ind out what whiskey he drinks and send all my generals a case, if it will get the same results. – Abraham Lincoln
(in response to complaints about General Grant’s drinking)
Racks of City Wine Markets wines and beers City Wine Market’s Steve Wilson and Jamie Woodall-Routledge behind a display of their unique scotches, bourbons whiskeys, gins and tequila’s
Days tend to be quieter at Parkway because it is a neighborhood store, and most people are at work. In addition to the college students, evening is the time that families go to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. That is when Parkway’s selection of about 400 wines comes into play, as well. “About 75 percent of all of our sales are after 4 p.m., and most of them are Wednesday to Saturday,” Walters says. Easley says On the Rocks definitely sees an increase in business among 21 to 25 crowd on the weekends for house and game parties. But he says the store also draws from its diverse surrounding neighborhood and, increasingly, from all over Lawrence for its wine, craft-beer and craft-spirits selections. On the Rocks also has a wholesale license and operates a wholesale liquor business that supplies craft beer, wine and specialty cocktail spirits for restaurants such as Merchants Pub and Plate, John Brown Underground and Hank Charcuterie. Because many of the restaurants they supply specialize in craft cocktails, On the Rocks carries a larger selection of specialty spirits for its retail customers than it might otherwise, Easley explains.
So, that likely has contributed to the store becoming a destination store in addition to a neighborhood store. Most of City Wine Market’s customers at its Sixth Street store come from within two miles of the store. But, Wilson says, they also have regular customers from Baldwin, Eudora, Tonganoxie and even Topeka and Manhattan. He says the vast majority of the store’s customers are over age 30. “Our customer is somebody who sees wine more as a condiment on the dinner table than as a special occasion. Maybe they have traveled and experienced wine that way. They also enjoy both cooking and dining,” Wilson says. He says the store is catering to a growing interest in high-end wines, bottles $40 and up, for cellaring, something that was not part of his and Woodall-Routledge’s original plan but that now accounts for about 30 percent of the business. Marketing and Advertising None of these stores have large marketing budgets, but all three spend a lot of effort focusing on their image and brand. “The No. 1 way to gain customers is to treat people well, including
On the Rocks has one of he finest collection of Tequila in Lawrence Matt Easley store manager for On the Rocks
employees, and provide good service. If you don’t do that, anything else you spend your money on is worthless,” says Easley, of On the Rocks. Wilson, of City Wine Market, and Walters, of Parkway Wine and Spirits, definitely share that philosophy of customer service. Even with a good reputation and positive impressions on customers, it is good for the businesses to keep their name in front of customers and build their brand. In the past, On the Rocks made TV ads on local cable, which Easley says a lot of customers mentioned when they were airing. He has also done print advertising in the newspaper and local magazines but says he has focused more recent marketing efforts on social media, particularly for promoting new inventory items. Now that the business is established and so many people are familiar with the brand, Easley says it is difficult to determine how much the marketing efforts grow sales above what they already would be from walk-in traffic. This year, Parkway printed official KU men’s basketball schedule posters with the store’s logo on them to distribute to customers. Walters says the store is also part of the advertising on this year’s Women of KU swimsuit calendar. Having advertised on the radio
and in the newspaper in the past, he says one of the single best marketing tactics is the store’s neon sign in the front window. Most of the surrounding businesses close earlier than Parkway, so the store stands out after dark and draws customers—particularly Hy-Vee shoppers—in. City Wine Market has a large email list and compiles a weekly newsletter featuring interesting or thematic wines, which Wilson says is very effective. In more recent years, he has started using social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, in addition to the email list to highlight certain wines and promote the store’s free weekly wine tastings on Saturdays. The tastings are the ideal way to showcase the store’s boutique aspects and personal touch, Wilson says, because they give Woodall-Routledge and him an opportunity to present products face-to-face. Although the retail liquor business has a lot of regulation and literal heavy lifting, these stores make it a point to remember that they are also in the party business. “It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun,” Easley says. p
ouglas County D & e K er nc
i n W e l r a ies c o L by Liz Weslander, photos by Steven Hertzog
It may not be exactly what you find in Napa Valley, but Kansas wineries can hold their own when it comes to making good wine.
Let’s get this out of the way: You’re probably never going to find a Kansas wine that tastes like your favorite California wine. But that’s not because Kansas wines are inherently inferior. It’s because the grapes that grow well in California are not the same grapes that grow well in Kansas. Different grapes equal different wines. Pep Solberg, owner of BlueJacket Crossing Winery and Vineyard, in Eudora, admits even he came to this realization reluctantly. Prior to moving back to Kansas in 2001 to start BlueJacket on land adjacent to his parents’ farmland, Solberg worked as a builder in California’s Bay Area for several years. When he visited Kansas from California, Solberg says he always refused to visit Davenport Orchard, Vineyard and Winery, in Eudora, where owner Greg Shipe has been selling wine made with Kansas fruit since 1996. “I was convinced that the only place to get a decent wine was California,” Solberg says. “But I finally went down to Davenport in 2000, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t go in there, ask to try some dry red and find it was really good. I ended up taking a bunch of it back to friends on the West Coast.” Davenport and BlueJacket—two of five licensed farm winer-
ies in Douglas County—are part of Kansas’s relatively new, but quickly growing, wine industry. Although Kansas was a significant grape-growing state prior to prohibition, commercial wine production did not become legal in Kansas again until 1985. According to the Kansas Department Revenue, there are currently 41 active farm winery licenses in the state. Despite the challenges and hard work involved in growing grapes in an area with unpredictable weather extremes, entrepreneurs like Shipe and Solberg are committed to building a positive reputation for Kansas wines, with a focus on the unique grapes that thrive here. The Davenport wine that changed Solberg’s mind about Kansas wine was made with Norton grapes. Developed by Dr. Daniel Norton in 1827 in Virginia, Norton grapes, which also commonly go by the name Cynthiana, are popular in MidWestern vineyards because they fare well in varying weather extremes. Shipe grows 17 varieties of grapes at Davenport but has more Norton vines (about 3000) than anything else. While wines made with Norton grapes are a good option for experienced drinkers who like dry reds, Shipe says many people who come to the Davenport tasting room prefer sweeter wines. Their best-selling wine is a sweet red made with Fredonia grapes, called Charlotte’s Red. “We get people in here who have just turned 21 or older people who were never wine drinkers,” Shipe says. “When
Clockwise from top right: Owner of Blue Jacket Crossing Winery, Pep Solberg cuts grapes off the vine Blue Jacket Wines Grapes being harvested at Blue Jacket Crossing Winery Travelers from Texas visit Blue jacket for a wine tasting before the KU-Texas football game.
people first start drinking wine, they will usually start with a sweet, fruity wine. There are a lot of new wine drinkers in Kansas who weren’t drinking wine until we opened.” When Solberg planted his first grapes for BlueJacket in 2001, he started small, with 1 acre of Norton grapes. During the course of the next seven years, he slowly expanded the vineyard, built a tasting room and learned as much as he could from Shipe and other local winemakers. He opened the BlueJacket tasting room to the public in 2008. “Because of my lack of knowledge and starting something like this at [the] age of 55, we really had to be careful about learning and being successful, and taking what revenue we generated and putting it back into the business,” Solberg says. “There’s so much to understand, between the grapes themselves and the mechanics of the vineyard, and you just don’t pick that up in a short amount of time.” Another reason Solberg waited to open the BlueJacket tasting room is he wanted to grow enough fruit on-site to meet the minimum “percentage of products grown” set by the State of
Kansas for farm wineries. This provision requires that a certain percentage of the fruit used to make Kansas wines actually be grown in Kansas. When BlueJacket opened in 2008, the minimum was 60 percent. However, in 2012, the minimum was reduced to 30 percent as part of House Bill 2689. While the lower minimum makes it easier for Kansans to open a winery and is a positive incentive for growth in the industry, both Shipe and Solberg have misgivings about the provision. “It’s misleading for customers because wineries operate under Kansas Farm Winery License,” Shipe says. “That gives the impression that the grapes used to make the wine were grown in Kansas.” Davenport wines are made with 100 percent Kansas-grown fruit. BlueJacket wines are also made with primarily domestic fruit, with the occasional supplement from one Missouri vineyard. “There are a lot of wineries in Kansas that are producing the California-style wine, but it’s not grown here, it’s trucked in from someplace like Lodi, California,” Solberg says. “I under-
stand that the lower minimum is a real positive incentive, but it is still necessary that our state grows more fruit.” Rising to the challenge of discovering grapes that will both grow in the Midwest and produce a great wine is what’s fun about operating a Kansas farm winery, Solberg explains. While experimenting with the more than 100 varietals found in the Mid-West, Solberg says he has been especially pleased with some of the French hybrid varietals—French rootstocks that have been altered over time to have shorter growing seasons and to be more resistant to drought and rain. Two of Solberg’s favorite hybrid varietals are Chambourcin, which he says has an overtone of strawberry to it, and Vignoles, which he describes as having a wonderful citrus characteristic. “If you pick the right varietal and do a good job with it, then it’s something unique to our area,” Solberg says. “That’s what makes having a vineyard in Kansas more fun; there’s a little bit of a challenge with the weather, but there’s a reward in having a local product.”
Background: The Davenport winery orchards. Left to right: Greg Shipe displaying his eclectic bottles of wine in his tasting room at Davenport Winery. Field hands cutting grapes from the vines during harvest.
Because Kansas farm wineries are allowed to sell their product directly to customers, the majority of Davenport’s and BlueJacket’s sales are by customers who visit their tasting rooms, and Solberg says creating a comfortable and welcoming experience for people who visit the winery is a big part of the business. With that said, creating a quality product customers respond positively to is the heart of the wine business. Unfortunately, there are some wineries in the state that may have lost sight of this, Solberg explains. “There’s a lot of different aspects to our industry, and a lot times, a winery is not so interested in wine or winemaking, they are more interested in events they can host. That’s really not a winery,” Solberg says. “People will tell me that they went to a winery and that the music was really good, but they didn’t find a wine they liked, and that kills just all of our reputations.”
WE ARE A
When it comes to growing grapes and making wine, Holland says one of the pleasant surprises about getting into the local wine business has been that local wineries are supportive of one another and happy to share the knowledge they have learned along the way. He believes this type of camaraderie can only help push the industry forward.
Although a modest pop-up shade currently serves as Haven Pointe’s tasting room, Holland says it’s the interaction with customers at tastings that really makes the experience.
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Haven Pointe Winery, near Baldwin, which first opened to the public on the first weekend in October for the Kaw Valley Farm Tour, is the newest farm winery in Douglas County. Owner Tom Holland, who describes himself as a total novice, says his half-acre plot of Chambourcin and Tramanet grapes will not be mature enough to use for wine production until 2019. In the meantime, he produces Haven Point’s wine in the basement of his home using Kansas fruit from other farms.
“This is not a business you get into to get rich, because you will not,” he says. “You get into it because you love making a handcrafted product that you can give to the consumer and get feedback. Kansas used to produce a heck of a lot of grapes, but prohibition killed that. The state is now seeing a resurgence in the wine industry, and my commitment is to put quality Kansas wines on people’s table. There’s some great product out there, and I want consumers to be aware of that.” p
aking wine is like having children; you love them all, but boy, are they different.
– Bunny Finkelstein
Background: Vineyards at Blue Jacket Crossing Winery Top right and middle: Blue Jacket In the process of making wine. Bottom: Davenport vines
he water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it. – Sir Winston Churchill
by Anne Brockhoff, photos by Steven Hertzog
’Tis the season to celebrate, and what better way than over a craft cocktail at one of the many Lawrence bars and restaurants that serve them? They’re certainly festive, thanks to the winter flavors, premium spirits and fresh house-made ingredients. Amid all that good cheer, it’s almost Scrooge-ish to bring up the issue of price. But it’s important. Craft cocktail prices have crept steadily higher, rising about 10 % in Lawrence during the past five years. Many bars now charge between $8 and $10 for bespoke drinks, although some hit the $12 or even $14 mark. Is it worth the money? That depends. “People want affordable cocktails. They don’t want to spend $12 on a cocktail unless they’re going to be really blown away,” says Ryan Pope, owner of The Bourgeois Pig. Balancing quality and price isn’t necessarily easy. The best spirits and liqueurs are sometimes (but not always) the most expensive, and house-made and fresh components are timeconsuming to prep. Trends come and go. There’s plenty of competition, and overhead is intractable.
On the upside, a well-executed cocktail program generates excitement at both restaurants and stand-alone bars. Cocktails drive sales— patrons who might skip dessert will pay a bit more for an intriguing drink. And consumers expect cocktail selections to equal beer and wine choices. In other words, cocktails are sexy, profitable and essential. “I can’t imagine doing a restaurant without a successful bar,” Jeffrey Morgenthaler, author of “The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique” and the nationally respected bar manager at Portland’s Clyde Common, says.. Cocktails help communicate an establishment’s personality. Classics and their modern riffs suit The Bourgeois Pig’s bohemian espresso bar vibe, while culinary cocktails match Hank Charcuterie’s artisan personality. The handmade, local feel of 715’s menu also shines in its drinks. “It was natural to do that with the bar,” says Katrina Weiss, who helped open the restaurant in 2009, moved to Denver then returned to take over as 715’s bar manager. “We started getting lots of repeat customers coming back for specific drinks, ones that had a little flair to them or that were different. So that’s where we took it.”
Small barrels at Hank Charcuterie
715’s cocktail menu includes three sections: classics, 715 standards such as the vodka-limoncello-lavender Former Spy that are so popular Weiss says they’ll never go away and seasonal drinks. That last changes about twice a year, most recently to add more autumnal character with options like the Pulling Rank, made with pisco, Punt e Mes (a rich and bitter-edged sweet vermouth) and pickled red grapes. Developing a new menu takes months of preparation and involves weighing everything from flavor and presentation to price. Because no matter how great a drink tastes, if the ingredients are prohibitively expensive, it won’t work financially. Most bars use spreadsheets to track that by determining what’s known as the pour cost, or the cost of ingredients divided by the gross sales generated by that drink during a period of time.
his Bitter Guiseppe, a barrel-aged mix of blended Scotch, bourbon, Cynar and Benedictine—against those that are less expensive, such as the Miles From Minnesota (applejack, Drambuie, Amaro Sfumato, maple syrup, lemon juice and bitters). “It evens out, and we do sell a lot of the Miles From Minnesota,” Chase says. “We’re not compromising on ingredients. They’re all good. It’s just relatively cheap to pour.” Most bars average an 18% to 24% pour cost, Morgenthaler says. That translates to a profit margin of between 76% and 82%, right? Wrong.
Adam Chase, bar manager at Hank Charcuterie, created his own Excel spreadsheet, entering the price of each bottle of spirits and liqueurs the bar uses, as well as as nonalcoholic ingredients like maple syrup and citrus juice.
The pour cost only shows how much a drink’s ingredients cost. That can fluctuate, sometimes unexpectedly, and bars can’t always pass that increase on to customers. Such was the case in 2014, when lime prices more than doubled after bad weather, and disease cut output in Mexico, one of the world’s biggest producers, and drug cartels in the state Michoacán took control of a distribution center there and demanded extortion payments from lime growers.
Then, as he develops a new drink, he enters exactly how much of each is used, even if it’s only one-quarter ounce, to arrive at his pour cost. Chase balances drinks with a higher pour cost—such as
The lime supply tightened, and what was available was generally lower quality. Switching to bottled juice or premade mixers wasn’t an option for establishments like 715 that use only fresh-squeezed
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juices. So Weiss kept buying limes, and 715 absorbed the added expense. “That was a rough half-year,” Weiss says. Fresh produce like fruit, vegetables and herbs are challenging in other ways—there are seasonal variations in availability and quality, for one—but are necessary for innovation. And again, it’s something customers have simply come to expect. “If you’re not doing that, it’s hard to call yourself a cocktail bar,” The Bourgeois Pig’s Pope says. “Fresh ingredients are pretty key.” House-made ingredients are de rigueur, too. Coffee often figures into The Bourgeois Pig’s drinks, in part because Pope and his wife, Amy Pope, also own specialty coffee roaster Repetition Coffee. Currently, he’s shaking cold brew coffee with crème de cassis and lemon juice for the Morning Bell, but the bar also infuses spirits to make drinks like the Strawberry Hill (strawberry-infused reposado tequila, lemon juice, thyme and bitters topped with wheat beer).
715’s Katrina Weiss
715 maintains a prep schedule and checklists to ensure it doesn’t run out of cucumber and fennel-infused gin, tonic syrup, falernum (a spiced almond syrup used in Tiki-style drinks), pistachio orgeat (a sweet, nutty syrup) or other ingredients. Hank, which earlier this year remodeled to add a bar and become a full-service restaurant, also makes plenty of syrups, bitters and shrubs in-house. For the apple-cinnamon shrub (which works as a nonalcoholic soda and plays nicely with tequila), that means chopping apples, macerating them with sugar overnight, running them through a blender, adding vinegar, blending again and then straining and storing. As is typical in the industry, those processes are handled entirely by the bar staff. If Chase asked Hank’s kitchen team to do it for him? “They’d laugh at me and tell me to work harder,” Chase says. The upshot: House ingredients increase a bar’s labor cost. Craft cocktails are also more involved when it comes to assembly thanks to the multiple techniques and steps they usually require. Take the Vieux Carré, one of Pope’s favorites. Rye whiskey, Cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters all have to be measured, stirred with ice in a mixing glass and strained over cracked ice in another glass.
The Bourgeois Pig’s Jesse Gray
On the other hand, the Moscow mule, The Bourgeois Pig’s top seller for the past four years, is easy to build: Add ice, pour in vodka and lime juice, top with ginger beer. “The Vieux Carré takes four times as long to make,” says Pope, who, with his partners, bought The Bourgeois Pig a decade ago (it’s now been open 22 years). One way to streamline is to batch cocktails or mix their shelf-stable ingredients in a larger quantity and refrigerate until service. Then, a bartender only has to pour the premixed spirits and liqueurs, add any syrups, juices or other elements, mix and serve. That’s a boon on busy nights, Weiss says, when 715’s bartenders serve as many as 16 guests at the bar plus the 75-seat restaurant. “It just gets things out faster, and it helps with consistency,” Weiss says. The Bourgeois Pig’s taken to batching classics like the Manhattan or Negroni, and serving them on tap on weekends. It’s speedy, but batching’s not without its risks, Pope says. “It can be a little daunting from a bar owner standpoint,” he says.
Hank Charcuterie Adam Chase
“If something doesn’t sell, it’s just sitting there.” Hank Charcuterie’s had one drink “just sitting there” for months, albeit by design—Chase’s egg nog. He began the process two months ago, combining eggs, cream and sugar with brandy, rum and bourbon, and stashing it in the restaurant’s walk-in cooler. The egg nog’s alcohol by volume is at least 35 %, ensuring it will be safe to consume, and the time will yield a richer, more complex flavor, he says. Chase also offers several barrel-aged cocktails, like the Old Pal. He mixes rye whiskey, Campari and dry vermouth, and transfers it to a charred, new oak minibarrel from Lenexa’s Union Horse Distilling Co. He then lets it rest for at least two weeks, allowing the flavors to integrate before serving. That’s a long time to tie up expensive inventory, but the result is worth it, Chase says. “If we’re anything, we’re a whiskey bar. Barrel-aging is a natural, I feel,” he says. Craft cocktails hold other hidden costs, including the expense of developing new drinks. Few are exactly right the first time a bartender makes them. Ingredients have to be tasted, proportions tweaked, almost-finished recipes evaluated by other bartenders and samples poured in staff training sessions. Shift drinks provided gratis to staff, tasting portions poured for curious customers, happy hour and other promotions, inaccurate measuring and even spillage, all add up, too. Regularly checking inventory helps keep track of it all, and 715’s point-of-sale system generates reports that allow Weiss to evaluate which products and drinks are selling, as well as price points and pour costs. “We do that weekly, monthly and quarterly to track what’s selling and what’s just taking up real estate,” she says. Other expenses include garnishes, ingredients such as bitters that are used in such small quantities they don’t make it into the spreadsheet, glassware and even ice. Then there’s overhead, cleaning and maintenance, printing and promotional expenses, and the costs associated with creating a particular atmosphere (think stylish design, swanky chairs, artwork or a sound system). And, of course, payroll—skilled bartenders and well-trained staff are essential to the success of any craft cocktail program. “That’s the hidden part people don’t see in a restaurant,” Weiss says. “We still have to pay the bills.” Each cocktail must contribute its share to those total expenses, but not at the expense of the guests’ experience. If it is to be successful, a bar must first create delicious drinks that its clientele enjoys drinking and wants to order again. It’s about building trust with your guests—trust that what’s in the glass will be worth its price tag, Pope says. “If we’re using a $60 mezcal in a cocktail and charging $10 on the board, that’s a good deal for the customer, and hopefully a good way to gain their trust,” Pope says. “Then, if you see us put a $12 cocktail up, hopefully it will blow your mind.” p
Holiday Cocktail Recipes
have to think hard to name an interesting man who does not drink.
– Sir Richard Burton
Katrina Weiss, bar manager at 715, is a fan of pisco (a grapebased brandy claimed by both Peru and Chile) and combines it here with Punt E Mes (a rich and bitter-edged sweet vermouth).
Pulling Rank Makes 1 drink
2 ounces Pisco 1 ounces Punt e Mes 2 dashes Angostura Bitters pickled red grapes, for garnish (see instructions below) Combine pisco, Punt e Mes and bitters with ice in a mixing glass. Stir, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with sweet pickled red grapes. To make the grapes: This is a flexible, quick pickling recipe that can vary depending on which vinegar (Weiss uses apple cider vinegar) you prefer and how sweet you like it. Place apple cider vinegar, a bit of sugar, 1 split vanilla bean, 1 cinnamon stick and a few black peppercorns in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. While waiting for the mixture to heat, place halved seedless red grapes in a heat-safe container (such as a canning jar). Cover with hot vinegar mixture. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
This cocktail from 715 features Old Tom gin, a style popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, before the advent of London Dry. Bar manager Katrina Weiss uses Ransom Old Tom Gin in this warm cocktail; the Oregon-made spirit soft textured, tasting of gin but with woody, vanilla notes and a whiskey-like finish.
Honey Do, Honey Don’t Makes 1 drink
1-1/2 ounces Ransom Old Tom Gin 1/2 ounce smoked paprika-honey syrup (seen instructions below) 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 dashes Fig Bitters (try Brooklyn Bitters’ Black Mission Fig Bitters, available online) 4 ounces hot water cinnamon stick, for garnish lemon wheel, for garnish Combine ingredients, pour into a hot mug, garnish with a cinnamon stick and lemon wheel. To make smoked paprika-honey syrup: Combine 1 cup honey, 1/2 cup hot water and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and cool before using.
Ryan Pope, owner of The Bourgeois Pig, showcases cold brew coffee from Repetition Coffee (which he and his wife, Amy, also own) in this refreshing drink.
Morning Bell Makes 1 drink
2 ounces cold brew coffee (Pope uses Repetition Coffee) 1 ounce crème de cassis 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice lemon peel, for garnish Combine coffee, crème de cassis and lemon juice in a shaker tin, fill with ice and shake until chilled. Strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
The Bourgeois Pig’s Ryan Pope counts this New Orleans classic, first created in the 1930s, among his favorite cocktails.
Vieux Carré Makes 1 drink
1 ounce Cognac 1 ounce rye whiskey 1 ounce sweet vermouth 1/4 ounce Benedictine 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters lemon peel, for garnish Combine Cognac, rye, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters in a mixing glass with ice, stir until chilled. Strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
Adam Chase, head bartender at Hank Charcuterie, ages his egg nog for at least two months. Don’t worry—the alcohol by volume is at least 35 percent, so it’s safe to consume.
Adam’s Egg Nog Makes about 6 cups
12 large eggs 1 pound granulated sugar 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for serving 1-1/2 pints whole milk 1-1/2 pints heavy cream 3/4 cup rum (such as Mount Gay or Appleton Estate) 3/4 cup brandy (such as Paul Masson) 3/4 cup straight bourbon (such as Jim Beam) 1 to 2 pinches kosher salt Separate egg yolks from whites and place in a large bowl (save the whites for another use). Slowly add sugar to yolks while gently whisking. Add nutmeg. Continue whisking until mixture lightens in color and falls from the whisk in ribbons. In a separate container, combine milk, cream, rum, brandy, bourbon and salt. Add egg mixture and beat until fully incorporated. Transfer egg nog to another container, such as a large mason jar or glass milk jug, and cover tightly. Refrigerate until serving. Egg Nog can be consumed immediately (although please note that the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not recommend consuming raw or undercooked eggs) or aged (see note). To serve, shake egg nog with one or two ice cubes to add texture. Strain into a glass or mug, and grate a pinch of nutmeg over the surface of the drink.
Shrubs are a type of drinking vinegar that combine fresh produce, vinegar and sugar. They make a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage when combined with soda water, and they also play well in cocktails. You can experiment with any vinegar, sweetener and combination of savory or sweet you like. Hank Charcuterie’s Adam Chase counts green tomato-cilantro, celery, beet, pear-ginger, apple-cinnamon, watermelon and blueberry-jalapeño among his favorites. This shrub is currently on Hank’s menu.
2 pounds apples 1/4 cup raw sugar 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 3 cinnamon sticks pinch nutmeg pinch salt
Core the apples (Chase prefers to leave the skins on) and chop into fingertip-size pieces. Transfer to a food-safe container and half the sugar. Crush the apples a bit, mixing in the sugar and releasing the juice. Grind cinnamon sticks; add cinnamon and salt to apples. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer apple mixture to blender. Add vinegar and blend until it looks like applesauce. Strain through a fine mesh strainer until all the syrup has come through. Adjust sugar and vinegar, adding more of either to taste. To serve: mix 1 ounce of shrub with 3 ounces of soda water in an ice-filled glass. Gently stir and adjust to taste. p
Note on aging egg nog: If you wish to age your egg nog, simply let it rest in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for a minimum of one month. Don’t sneak any before then—the alcohol needs that much time to kill any potentially harmful pathogens. Chase says the egg nog will keep for up to a year, as long as it’s properly stored.
JEWELRY, GIFTS, ACCESSORIES FOR HOME, OFFICE AND WARDROBE.
Antiques & Collectables Upstairs at 928. 928 Massachusetts Lawrence, Kansas 66044 785-843-0611
by Bob Luder, photos by Steven Hertzog
Take a look at some of the longest-standing bars in town and why they beat the Lawrence biz turnover curse.
Parents probably don’t want to believe it, but if they ask their college-student children where they spent most of their time, being completely truthful, they very well might answer The Wheel or The Hawk, as opposed to Watkins or Burge. Every college town has what is referred to in local parlance as its “institutions.” In most of those small- to medium-sized burgs, that term translates to bars, typically long-standing watering holes where students— and parents and alumni, for that matter—gather on game days, Friday or Saturday nights, or really about any night of the week. They talk about the test they should be studying for at the aforementioned Watkins Library or just socialize and knock a few back before returning to class the next morning.
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Lawrence has its institutions. It’s a widely revered short list of long-standing establishments, some of which have been around longer than today’s students’ parents have been alive. The Wagon Wheel Cafe and The Jayhawk Cafe, two University of Kansas (KU) campus icons known more succinctly as “The Wheel” and “The Hawk,” are two of the oldest bars in town and have thrived by their close proximities to campus (they sit across 14th Street from one another) in addition to their friendly atmospheres and student-friendly pricing. Just
IN K N
WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME
O G T T S HE TE
COLLEGE TOWN INSTITUTIONS
man’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another drink. – W.C. Fields
Top left: West Coast Saloon - 1981 Keith Bodner, Claire Bodner and LBM writer Bob Luder
down the hill on 14th, Bullwinkle’s has also stuck around for more than three decades. Downtown on Mass Street, Louise’s and Harbour Lights have been fixtures for as long as locals can remember. The owner of Harbour Lights says he’s heard of liquor being distributed in the space during the Prohibition Era in the early 1930s. Cross the bridge over the Kansas River and find Johnny’s Tavern, famous for its early-morning opening, burgers and rugby club, and its legitimate claim as one of the oldest bars in town. Not to be forgotten are the “babies” of the group: the Jazzhaus on Mass and West Coast Saloon at 23rd and Iowa—mere pups at 36 and 35 years, respectively. It’s almost like its own fraternity, these long-standing institutions. Owners, employees and patrons alike are proud to say they belong to it. Alumni might be proud to say they survived. West Coast Saloon Shaun Trenholm
“All the owners get along; we’re all friends,” says Rick Renfro, owner of Johnny’s for the last 38 years. “That’s because we all know how tough the bar business is.”
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Johnny’s Rick Renfro
While it might be a fairly tight-knit group of owners, there does seem to be a bit of a dispute about which bar is the oldest in town. Renfro makes the claim for Johnny’s and its October 1953 opening, and Rob Farha, owner of The Wheel since ’97, agrees, adding that the Wheel’s opening in ’55 puts it a close second. They both note that, although The Hawk was established way back in 1919, it hasn’t always been known by that name throughout its history. It’s believed that Louise’s downtown first opened in 1957 in the location that’s today filled by Urban Outfitters. It moved a few doors north to its current location in the ’70s. Current Harbour Lights owner David Heinz insists his bar has been at its current location at 1031 Mass and under the same name since 1936. He says ownership can be traced all the way back to John Emick, former Lawrence mayor who owned much of downtown back in the late ’30s, early ’40s. “That arrow sign that hangs outside the front door of Johnny’s?” Heinz says. “John Emick had that sign outside Harbour Lights, but his mom made him take it down.” Based on information in telephone directories and research files at Watkins Museum, the first listing for The Harbour at 1031 Mass was in 1961. Whatever the case, these long-standing Lawrence institutions are in rare company in a town defined by turnover. Thanks to some extensive documented research by Wichita attorney and KU alum Tyler Heffron, it’s known the neoclassical Craftsman-style cottage that houses The Wheel was built in 1906 and originally opened as Rowlands College Book Store. When the Rowlands family gave up the business and moved away in 1954
The Wheel Rob (Knobbie) Farha
or early ’55, a couple named Jim and Virginia Large, who owned and operated a small restaurant called The College Inn at the site of what is today Bullwinkle’s, moved their restaurant up the hill and into the location of the bookstore. The Larges found three discarded wagon wheels while visiting a nearby farm and decided upon the theme for their new restaurant, the Wagon Wheel Cafe. “The first two years the business was opened, they didn’t serve alcohol,” Farha says. One of Jim Large’s golf buddies was a man named James Wooden. Wooden’s son, John, went to work for Large at The Wheel and eventually bought the business in 1965-66. John Wooden, known to everyone as “Woo,” was widely beloved by both KU students and townspeople, and the business thrived under his leadership (he also owned Harbour Lights for a time). Farha worked for Woo at The Wheel while a student at KU and, when Woo died suddenly in 1997 while putting on the 18th green in Palm Springs, California, he bought the bar from the Wooden family and owns it with pride to this day. It was a natural disaster which led to the creation of Johnny’s. Specifically, the infamous Kansas River flood of 1951. The existing building was a tractor dealership before the floodwaters wiped everything out. When John Wilson, whose family owned the building and business, came back into the area to survey the damage, he decided to rebuild the entire building and convert it into a bar. Johnny’s was born. Renfro, who bought the bar in 1978, proudly displays wonderful old photos of Wilson, former employees and friends, even overhead shots of the building under water, on the walls of Johnny’s
Downtown Lawrence: 10 E. 9th Street Inside & Drive-thru Service: 1800 E. 23rd & 2351 W. 31st Street All Locations - Open 7 days per Week
today. It’s a history he’s worked hard to maintain. "When I bought the place in ’78, it was a .32 bar. I broke out the walls, added some space," he says. "From 1982 to 88, we built out the upstairs into a private club." One evening in February 1981, in the original downstairs portion of Johnny’s, three one-time KU track teammates, Shaun Trenholm, Kendall Smith and Jim Groninger, sat in a booth enjoying a beer when, all of a sudden, Groninger blurted out, “We can do this!” That was the beginning of the West Coast Saloon, an establishment that, at first, was somewhat of a novelty, with its sandy-beach floor with surrounding boardwalk. From opening day on June 12, 1981, students lined up around the building waiting to get into the packed .32 beer bar. The West Coast offered students an alternative southwest of campus, away from the Mass Street stalwarts and 14th Street institutions, The Wheel and The Hawk. “I never had any doubt it would work, but it was mostly ignorance,” says Trenholm, who bought out Smith and Groninger after the first year and became sole proprietor. “People would walk by when we were getting the place ready and ask us what we were doing. We told them we were opening a bar. Everyone said we’d never make it.”
The three friends built the interior of the bar themselves on a very limited budget of about $8,000, Trenholm says. People thought the sand and wood-plank boardwalk were brilliant marketing moves,
wenty-four hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? – Stephen Wright
but that wasn’t the case. When Trenholm, Smith and Groninger finished building the bar, they discovered it was too high for a normal-height person. “We had two days to raise the floor 4 inches,” Trenholm says. “That’s why the boardwalk is there.” The sand? They simply didn’t have enough money to finish the floor. “We were so stupid … and so lucky,” he says. “It was all very amateur.”
known to all by the nickname Knobbie, “and two, it’s like a minihomecoming all the time. “I have a passion for the history of the place,” he explains. The university and its highly successful men’s basketball team, in particular, have been and continue to be a major boon to the business of most, if not all, bar business old or young. Heinz, who also owns Henry T’s in the western part of town, says the busiest day he can remember at Harbour Lights was when the Jayhawks faced North Carolina in the NCAA Final Four in 2008.
The West Coast Saloon celebrated its 35th anniversary last June.
“It was one out, one in,” he says. “So many people were jammed in there, it was hard to even move the door. We did a month’s worth of business in a day.”
It’s a different sport that’s helped support Johnny’s all these years.
Just about any weekend at The Wheel, especially one that includes a home football or basketball game, you’ll find an ex or current KU athletic luminary or three back in the corner booth, known to students as “the hot tub.” On Oct. 7 this past fall, legendary Jayhawk football coach Pepper Rodgers celebrated his 85th birthday with lunch at the bar, along with fellow former coach Terry Donahue and All-American quarterback David Jaynes.
The KU Rugby Football Club, formed in 1964, since its inception has made Johnny’s its home base. Initiations, meetings and team breakfasts and dinners have been held there, and the club even has an official headquarters with trophies and collection of jerseys upstairs.
“The best part about owning the bar for me is, one, I get older every year, and the clientele stays the same age,” says Farha,
“The main reason I bought the bar was that I was involved with the rugby team,” he says.
Renfro, who bought the building in 1980 and added another room to the north in ’88, himself played with the club from 1975 to 1981.
West Coast Saloon The West Coast Saloon was a hangout for college kids in the early days, but eventually the clientele shifted more heavily toward townies, especially after the liquor laws changed in the late ’80s and serving food became a much larger portion of the business. Trenholm’s “other” full-time profession as a teacher and coach in the Lawrence school district also dictated the West Coast demographic. “To be a college bar, you had to let underage girls in,” he says. “We couldn’t do that, because I worked for the school district.”
While Johnny’s might or might not be the city’s oldest bar, there can be no dispute that its brand has been the most successful financially. The little bar that rose from the floodwaters of a drowned tractor dealership today is a full-fledged franchise, with nine locations (and 12 partners) throughout Lawrence and the Kansas City area. “We’ve put more emphasis on food, less emphasis on frats and sororities,” Renfro says. “Since 2000, we’ve been doing OK. Now, we have realtors coming to us all the time wanting to loan us money.” Heinz has led some major expansion at Harbour Lights, and three years ago, he built a two-story outdoor patio out back that he says is the nicest outdoor deck of any bar downtown.
Trenholm, who today owns the West Coast with partners Bob Gruenwald and Dave Dick, bought that building and plans on adding Shaun and Sons Pub and Coffeehouse next door in January. And Knobbie Farha? He says he never thought he’d own The Wheel this long. Yet, he’s fully aware that, if he can make it eight more years, he will have owned the bar as long as his mentor, Woo. “I have a 10- and 13-year-old,” he says. “Is this something I’d pass on to my son? I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. “Whatever happens when I’m done, I can promise it won’t come down to money. It’s about selling it to the right person who won’t come in here and change things. “It’s been a fun run. I just hope my health stays intact,” he says. p
O’Malley Beverage Background: Kegs of beer stacked in their refrigerator warehouse Stacking Bud Light in the warehouse O’Malley’s Budweiser trucks getting ready to load up in the shipping dock.
DISTRIBUTORS L O C A L L AW R E N C E W H O L E S A L E R S by Anne Brockhoff, photos by Steven Hertzog
Order a cocktail or glass of wine at a restaurant, or pick up a bottle of wine or six-pack at a liquor store, and it’s easy to envision where those products come from. Perhaps the rolling hills of Kentucky, or sunny Napa Valley, or an eclectic mountain town. Less visible is the government-mandated link between producer and consumer: the distributor. Distributors in Kansas, also called wholesalers, are the middle layer of what’s known as the three-tier system. They purchase alcoholic beverages from their makers, and then supply those products to stores, restaurants and other licensed retailers. Those steps ensure taxes are collected, laws enforced and all players treated fairly—things that didn’t necessarily happen in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Back then, worries over unsavory business practices helped fuel temperance fervor. The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was meant to curtail the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liqueurs when it went into effect in 1920. Instead, it pushed those activities underground and into criminal hands. When passage of the 21st Amendment ended national Prohibition 14 years later, the government largely returned control of beverage alcohol to the states. Many, including Kansas, now rely on the three-tier system to guarantee transparency and accountability. Distributors must adhere to not only federal and state laws, but also county and city regulations. Add to that differing demographics and tastes, and it means one thing: distributors must know their markets inside and out, says Kevin O’Malley, president of the Lawrence-based O’Malley Beverage of Kansas, which operates in Douglas, Atchison, Leavenworth, Jefferson, Anderson and Franklin counties.
manager, Joe Bourneuf is a senior sales representative and Dan Bourneuf manages the sign shop, which makes displays, banners and other promotional materials. O’Malley’s fourth son, John Bourneuf, works elsewhere, and his daughter, Murphy O’Malley, is a student at Free State High School. O’Malley Beverage has 30 employees at its 65,000 squarefoot facility on North Iowa Street, and which building is obvious—it’s the one with Budweiser and Bud Light trucks parked at the loading dock. No other distributor can sell those brands here, or any of the other beers or spirits O’Malley represents, because Kansas is a franchise state, or one where distributors negotiate exclusive rights to particular products within a defined territory. Anheuser-Busch brands currently generate about 92 percent of O’Malley’s sales by volume, and they account for about 55 percent of the overall Kansas beer market, he says. Given AB’s dominance (it was already the world’s top brewer before this year’s $103 billion takeover of SABMiller), you’d think those figures would be easily maintained. Not so, O’Malley says. O’Malley’s sales staff is divided among bars and restaurants, retail stores and grocery and convenience stores, which can only sell cereal malt beverages with an alcohol content of 3.2 percent. A handful work in Lawrence, others call on a mix of accounts in a wider geographic area. All take inventory and orders, introduce new products, educate customers and help design promotional displays and marketing strategies. In restaurants and bars, that means constantly appealing to consumers’ eagerness for new flavors and experiences.
“They’re all totally separate markets. Their identities are different, and the beers we sell the most of there are different,” O’Malley says.
“Our guys are always thinking, ‘when I go into this account, what’s my weakest tap handle?’” O’Malley says. “That’s what my competitors will be targeting.”
He and his brother, Pat O’Malley, had a twenty-year track record with the Budweiser distributorship in St. Joseph, Mo., before purchasing the Lawrence business in 2005. They remain equal partners in both. Three of Kevin O’Malley’s sons are involved in the Kansas location, too: Mike Bourneuf is general
At the same time, they must devise and manage programs to generate excitement for well-established brands, such as the cross-promotional supermarket campaign that combines the marketing muscle of Budweiser, Kingsford Charcoal, Smithfield and K.C. Masterpiece.
ill with mingled cream and amber, I will drain that glass again. Such hilarious visions clamber through the chamber of my brain - Quaintest thoughts - Queerest fancies Come to life and fade away; What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today. – Edgar Allen Poe
Salesmen (and they’re all currently men, which is not unusual in the industry) use iPads loaded with software and a mobile computing program developed by Anheuser-Busch to manage it all, and then sync the information with O’Malley Beverage’s system. Once orders are uploaded, workers in O’Malley’s 25,000 square-foot refrigerated warehouse begin pulling inventory. Orders are built on pallets, and then loaded overnight on one of the company’s six trucks. By 7 a.m. the next morning, most drivers, armed with hand-held units using the same A-B software, are out on their delivery routes. O’Malley Beverage collaborates closely with AnheuserBusch to ensure good representation, but O’Malley insists distributors are an independent bunch. Big name sales may support his cost structure, but that just enables him more better meet customer demand for brands such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing. “What the Anheuser-Busch portfolio has done is given me a truck to go to the retailer, and if I can take 5, 15 or 20 more cases of craft beer and throw it on top of the load, that just
O’Malley trucks loading up inside the warehouse Above: Kevin O’Malley sits in his office
makes that stop exponentially more profitable,” O’Malley says. That’s essential in a landscape that’s increasingly competitive, in part because of consolidation among distributors. Companies like Crown Distributing, which sells Miller, Coors and other beers in Douglas and 37 other Kansas counties, have grown by acquiring competitors in other markets, and O’Malley is looking to do the same. “We are aggressively looking to expand,” Kevin O’Malley says. “As of right now, we haven’t found any willing sellers.” It’s the same story on the wine and spirits side. A merger this year between two dominant players yielded Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, now North America’s largest wine and spirits distributor with operations in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the Caribbean and Canada. Southern Glazer’s, which handles the likes of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey and Franzia wines, is undeniably huge. But market management in places such as Lawrence remains local, says
Tim Anderson, the company’s senior vice president and general manager for Kansas. “Every state’s different,” he says. “They need that local presence.” Two of Southern Glazer’s Lawrence-area sales representatives specialize in wine and two in distilled spirits. The remaining two call on restaurants and bars, even though those accounts can’t buy directly from distributors. In a quirk of Kansas law, restaurants and other on-premise accounts (so called because customers consume purchases on the premises) must buy wine and spirits from those retail liquor stores (known as off-premise retailers) specially licensed to sell to them. It in effect creates a fourth tier, but distributors say Lawrence retailers collaborate well with their on-premise accounts. That’s a boon, since Lawrence is seen as a growing market, thanks to the presence of the University of Kansas, consumers who are buying more premium wine, beer and spirits and a supportive restaurant community.
Purveyors of gourmet kitchenware & unique home goods in historic downtown Lawrence. 732 Massachusetts DelaneyandLoew.com
“The trend in Douglas County from a total sales standpoint is continuing to show growth,” says Ryan Thurlow, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Standard Beverage Corp. Standard Beverage operates only in Kansas, and about 115 of its 280 employees are based in Lawrence, including sales representatives, drivers, warehouse staff and professionals who oversee other operations. The company’s primary distribution center is here also, and Standard has in recent years invested heavily to improve its materials handling, conveyor and other warehouse systems; integrate iPads into ordering, inventory and education functions; and implement UPS’s Roadnet Transportation logistics software. “We want to use the best tools to allow us to run our business as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Thurlow says. The 250,000 square-foot warehouse operates overnight four nights a week, filling the trucks that make deliveries Tuesday through Friday. Volume fluctuates between 7,000 cases and 35,000 cases of beer, wine and spirits a night, depending on the season. October, November and December account for about 35 percent of Standard’s total sales, Thurlow says, which is par for the industry. Unique to Lawrence is KU’s impact. Although many markets see beer sales spike during the summer months, demand for domestic beer and value-priced spirits here drops between mid-May and August. “Year-over-year it’s consistent, though, because the students leave every year,” says Thurlow, whose company represents brands ranging from Bacardi and Robert Mondavi to Free State Brewing Co. “We plan for it. It’s an expected window and a short time frame.” More challenging is tracking trends and shifting drinking patterns. Cocktails are still gaining momentum, as is craft beer, and interest in wine is growing among younger legal-age drinkers, says Bryant Bickel, a sales representative for Olathe-based Handcrafted Wine & Spirits whose territory encompasses Lawrence. “Wine is definitely a hot area,” he says. “The Millennials are getting into wine so much more.”
The O’Malley refrigerated warehouse “the larges refrigerator in Lawrence”
But where consumers might once have stuck to their usual order, they’re now in an experimental mood, Bickel says. That offers opportunities for small- to mid-size distributors including Handcrafted, Vintegrity, Ad Astra Selections, Valley Beverage and LDF Sales & Distributing, which often attract boutique or family producers and say they can react more readily to market shifts. “Somebody can make a phone call and get me, the owner,” says J.P. Gilmore, co-owner of Vintegrity, a wine and spirits distributor with seven employees in Kansas and 30 in Missouri. “A lot of times we can pivot quicker and bring in these hot new brands that the big guys don’t have time to mess with.” Relationships matter, too. Vintegrity opened in Missouri in 2008 and expanded into Kansas last year, capitalizing on Gilmore’s long experience with the retailers, chefs, restaurant owners and other industry pros who routinely jump across the state line, often landing in Lawrence. He focuses just as much on supplier connections, some of which, like J. Rieger & Co. and Tequila Ocho, are new. He’s represented others, such as Truchard Vineyards, for decades. “I did business with the parents,” Gilmore says of the Napa Valley winery. “Now that I’m in my late 40s, I’m doing business with the kids.” Distributors regularly extend that relational philosophy to the communities they work in. At least half a dozen will participate in Cork & Barrel’s 2017 Imbibe event (www.imbibelawrence. com) to benefit Family Promise of Lawrence. Standard Beverage’s Salute Winefest (www.salutewinefest.com) is in its 17th year and has raised more than $600,000 for Cottonwood. Kevin O’Malley serves on the boards of local organizations including the Lawrence & Douglas County Economic Development Council and Lawrence Chamber, and his company supports the Lawrence Arts Center’s Free State Festival, Ballard Community Service’s B3: Blues, Brews & Barbecue fundraiser, the Kansas Food Truck Festival to benefit Just Food and others. It’s simply essential, O’Malley says. “Community involvement makes you realize the world’s a lot bigger than you are,” he says. “Nobody can do it on their own. We all have to pull together.” p
ROTARY CLUB Community Engagement with a Global Perspective
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS 1917-2017 We’re working to make Lawrence and the world a better place. Join Us! Enjoy the fellowship of business, community, and university leaders while helping provide clean water, nutrition, sanitation, medicine and immunizations, and education to millions of children and adults worldwide. Help promote world understanding and peace through youth and adult exchange programs and scholarships. Support local projects and charities including the Lawrence Rotary Arboretum and new back-to-school shoes for children. The Lawrence Rotary Club.
Mondays - noon to 1:00 p.m. at Maceli's, 1031 New Hampshire Street For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org www.LawrenceRotaryClub.org facebook.com/LawrenceRotary 69
ine to me is a passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living. – Robert Mondavi
Steve Wilson, co-owner of City Wine Market private wine tasting dining room. by Liz Weslander, photos by Steven Hertzog
While wine collecting is certainly about hunting down rare, unique and valuable bottles to go into a cellar, it’s also about drinking and, even better, sharing good wine. “Investment wine is a risky proposition,” says Steve Wilson, comanager of The City Wine Market, 4821 W. Sixth St. “Most collectors I know collect for simple enjoyment of the wine. The other thing that collectors enjoy doing is sharing their fines with others. To share it with someone else who gets why it’s a good bottle of wine—that’s the best.” Wilson says most of the wines that causal shoppers will find in the retail market are not intended for aging and typically only have a three- to five-year window of drinkability. Even when a wine does have the potential to age well, he says there are no guarantees that it will, especially when you consider that wine only ages properly when stored at a constant temperature of 55 to 58°F and 70 percent relative humidity. With that said, when a wine does age well, the reward for the drinker is complex flavors that are not usually present in young wines. “A young wine is fruit-forward, but as it ages, it changes chemically; the fruit flavors fade, and the more savory notes like spice, earth, and tobacco emerge,” Wilson says. “A lot of people think aged wine is what they want but can be surprised when they taste it, because it doesn’t taste like young wine. It’s sort of funky.” Jon Heeb, a local wine enthusiast who has a collection of wine that hovers around 800 bottles, says he was actually a teetotaler throughout college and only drank socially for many years. But, when he and his wife, Barbara, were gifted a one-year wine club membership to Napa Valley’s Peju Province Winery in 2006, he started to take wine more seriously.
“There was one cabernet reserve that was kind of a revelation to me. When I tasted it, I was like, ‘So this what good wine can be like,’ ” Heeb says. “It was the first time I had really tasted highquality wine.” The year of good wine from the club membership inspired Heeb to start collecting a few wines on his own, and before long, he found he had enough bottles to warrant building a space in his home to store it properly. He says he favors cabernet sauvignons, Bordeaux blends and pinot noirs. The rarest bottles in his collections are Burgundy pinot noirs. He also collects “birth wines” from the years that his son and daughter were born—1999 and 1993—and says he and his wife shared one of the 1993 bottles with their daughter on her 21st birthday and plan to do the same with a 1999 bottle when their son turns 21. “That’s a fun thing for me,” Heeb says. “I like the idea of celebrating and commemorating with something really special.” When he and his wife recently decided to purchase and remodel a historic home in Old West Lawrence, the home’s potential for housing a wine cellar factored into their plans. The wine cellar in the basement of Heeb’s newly restored home measures 17 x 9 feet and has a large table just outside the cellar that they will use for entertaining. “One of the reasons we bought this house was the basement, because it really appealed to me as place where we could build a new cellar,” Heeb explains. “Part of the idea behind the space is that it will be a really nice space to entertain and have people over for dinner to drink more of what we’ve collected. To me, wine is not something that I sit down with by myself. Mainly, we open wine to share with people.”
Among those Heeb and his wife enjoy sharing wine with is a small, informal club of other local wine collectors and their spouses. The group, which includes six to eight couples, gets together a few times of year for tastings and wine talk. “We’ve definitely developed some friendships around wine,” Heeb says. “A lot of them were friends before I started collecting, but our friendships have developed quite a bit more from the common interest.” Ken Wertzberger, who has been collecting wine since the late ’80s, is part of this friendship circle. He says he first started learning about wine after a less-than-satisfying trip to a liquor store more than 30 years ago.
Jon Heeb sits in his unfinished wine cellar
“I asked this very young fellow who was working there what I should buy to go with a dinner we were having with friends,” Wertzberger says. “He told me something, and I bought it, but afterward, it occurred to me that this 21-year-old kid didn’t know anything, he was just selling me what his boss told him to sell.” After this experience, Wertzberger started to learn more about wine by attending monthly wine-tasting dinners at a restaurant in Kansas City. In 1986, he decided collecting wine was a logical next step. Thirty years later, he sits on a collection of around 1,000 bottles that come California, France, Spain and Italy. The oldest bottles in his collection include about 25 Madeiras that date back to the 1830s. “The guys in the wine club like it when I bring some over of these older bottles,” Wertzberger says. “A lot of them are younger than I am, so they don’t have the older bottles that I have.” Wertzberger, who, like Heeb, has a historic home in Lawrence, stores his wine in a 7- x 12-foot wine cellar he had built in his basement in 1999. At that time, his collection was at its biggest at 2500 bottles. “I thought having that many bottles was a little silly, so over the years, I’ve bought less,” he explains. “When we first moved the collection into the cellar, every single space was taken. Now, it’s down by half, so there’s a lot of attrition there.”
Ken Wertzberger in his wine cellar picks out a bottle for his nights guests
One way Wertzberger pairs down his collection is by donating bottles to local charity auctions. He has donated multiple bottles yearly to Salute!—an annual food and wine festival benefiting Cottonwood Inc.—since the fund-raiser began 18 years ago. He also helps round up donations from other local collectors for the fundraiser, to which both Wilson and Heeb also regularly donate. "I always try to donate something that a wine collector is going to be interested in," Wertzberger says. Wertzberger says he doesn’t do much wine-related travel and finds most of his wine through various e-mail lists. Prior to the rise of the Internet, he found it through wine connoisseur magazines. Heeb says he and his wife have traveled throughout California, Oregon, Washington and even Croatia visiting wineries and discovering new wines.
Three bottles of rare wine standing up in Ken’s cellar ready to be served
“To me, the most enjoyable way to collect wine is to visit places, meet the people who made it and experience their land and weather,” he says. “And then, when you open a bottle to share, you can talk about the wine’s background story and kind of reminisce about the travel, the people that you met on the way and the experience you had.” Another way Heeb finds the wine he collects is through the Con-
noisseur Club at Lawrence’s City Wine Market. On a quarterly basis, the Connoisseur Club offers its members two to three bottles of ultrapremium red wines. City Wine Market co-managers Steve Wilson and Jamie Woodall-Routledge, who both have formal wine training and extensive professional experience working with wine in restaurant and retail settings, hand-select the wines that go out to club members based on their potential to age gracefully. The club currently has has between 50 and 75 members with three different price tiers.
across a bottle sooner or later that did not age as well as expected. “There’s no possible way of avoiding that,” he says. “You can easily spend $100 on a bottle, and then when you open it, it may be bad. There’s a certain amount of caveat emptor with aged wine.” On the other hand, the risk of investing in aged wine often pays off. “The most exciting wines are the ones that age forever, and when you open it up, it’s still a beautiful wine,” Wilson says. “It’s like a little time capsule.” p
The nice thing about being in the wine business in Kansas, Wilson says, is the supply of high-end wines often exceeds the demand. This means that when a vineyard produces a wine in very small numbers, it’s not uncommon for the City Wine Market to buy up a significant portion of the production that was allocated for sale in Kansas. “We go out of our way to find wineries that are not making high-volume wines,” Wilson says. “When we go into other markets, we see that these kinds of wines are sold out or are heavily restricted, or they don’t go on the self, and only those who know about them can ask for them. But the availability of really outstanding wine in Kansas is pretty high.” Wilson, who has a personal wine collection of several thousand bottles that he stores in a cellar below La Parrilla restaurant, in downtown Lawrence, says most serious wine collectors are going to come
A display in Steve Wilson’s wine cellar
ROCK THE BLOCK
JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT: Business Hall of Fame
NEWS [MAKERS] PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Cottonwood Inc.’s JobLink Award Goes to The Oread & The Eldridge Hotels “Accolades for Equal Opportunity Employment” Cottonwood Inc. has awarded its annual JobLink Outstanding Community Employer Award to The Oread and The Eldridge Hotels.
For the last 10 years, The Olivia Collection, which is the hotels’ holding company, has em-ployed Cottonwood Inc.’s clients. Three individuals currently serve various roles at the ho-tels. “These three staff members make sure the little details of cleanliness and comfort are tend-ed to. It’s great to have our staff visit and interact with them. I just wanted to make their life more meaningful. It’s just something I’m very passionate about,” said Nancy Longhurst, General Manager of The Oread and Eldridge. There are 144 local businesses and organizations that partner with Cottonwood to provide employment to individuals with disabilities. Cottonwood Inc. is the city’s largest organiza-tion serving individuals with disabilities. The hotel properties were honored with the award in late September. “I think the most important qualities JobLink looks for its host partners are great commu-nication, people who will really provide natural support – a place where our job seeker will be surrounded by people who are wanting them to be successful,” said Keri Rodriquez, Business account Manager of Cottonwood’s JobLink.
Henry Wertin, 2017 President of the Lawrence Board of Realtors
Henry Wertin, 2017 President of the Lawrence Board of Realtors. For the past 6 years, Henry has worked diligently to make Lawrence a better place to live, work, and play. Henry’s real estate accomplishments include being named Lawrence Board of Realtor’s Realtor of the Year (2016), graduating from the KAR Right Track Leadership Academy (2015), and serving as a Director (2014,2015) and Secretary (2016) for the Lawrence Board of Realtors. He also stays busy as a member of several organizations including the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors and McGrew Master’s Program. In his spare time, you can find Henry singing to raise money for local charities with his band, Thunderkat, or spending time with his wife Tasha, and their 7 children. Henry is a great example of what it means to be a Realtor and a volunteer in our community!
NEW DOUGLAS COUNTY BUSINESSES 1101 Mass, LLC 602 Walnut Lawrence 66044
Ad Astra Investments, LLC 721 Eldridge Street Lawrence 66049
2040, Lc 643 Massachusetts Lawrence 66044
Agilify Solutions, LLC 1022 Cherry Street Eudora 66025
4700 Ranch Court, LLC 2201 W 25th Street Lawrence 66047
Alderwood Farms, LLC. 1212 Miami St Baldwin City 66006
7 Arrows LLC 745 Connecticut St Lawrence 66044
Amerine Wood Products LLC Rr 562, N 1600 Rd Lawrence 66049
770 S. Range LLC 3414 Morning Dove Circle Lawrence 66049 94 Rena, L.C. 643 Massachusetts Lawrence 66044 Ac Distributiion LLC 706 Massachusetts Street Lawrence 66044 Accent General Contractors, LLC 1955 North 1000 Road Eudora 66025 Ace Of Space, Inc. 1120 S Pennsylvania St Lawrence 66044 Ad Astra Homes, LLC 815 Indiana Lawrence 66044
Anchored By Grace Boutique LLC 6328 Steeple Chase Dr Lawrence 66049 Annabel Siu Artistry LLC 2301 Wakarusa Drive, Suite A Lawrence 66047
Boom Comics Lawrence LLC Rr 2429 Lawrence 66046 Bottle Cap Publishing, LLC 900 Massachusetts, Ste 500 Lawrence 66044 Breit Design Inc 2107 Maple Ln Lawrence 66046 Build Lawrence Corp. 430 Eisenhower Drive Lawrence 66049 Bully Trap Provisions LLC 1341 E 16th Street Lawrence 66044 Carbango LLC 1717 Bobwhite Drive Lawrence 66047
Berger Spirits LLC 1744 E 1100 Rd Lawrence 66049
Carpe Diem Community Living L.L.C. 546 Schwarz Rd Lawrence 66049
Blue Magic LLC 2718 Blue Stem Dr Lawrence 66047
Cleaning Maid Simple LLC 2512 Prairie Elm Drive Lawrence 66047
Blue Riot Hair Studio LLC 1022 Firetree Baldwin City 66006
Cultivate Education, LLC 604 9th Street Baldwin 66006 Dempseys Biscuit Co Inc 1768 E 700th Rd Lawrence 66049
Design Data Corporation 2749 Bluestem Drive Lawrence 66047 Dj Leasing, LLC 924 Silver Rain Lawrence 66049 Domicile Painting LLC 804 Pine St Eudora 66025 Downtown Barber1987 LLC 824 Massachusetts St Lawrence 66044 Dpls Nottingham Farms LLC Hcr 1274, N 650 Road Lawrence 66046 E. J. Garrett Property Management, LLC 842 Louisiana Street Lawrence 66044
[SEPT to NOV 2016]
Freedom Fighter Productions LLC 2604 Knollbrook Court Lawrence 66046
House Guys Inspections, LLC 2601 S Iowa Street Lawrence 66046
Kaw Valley It, LLC 810 Pennsylvania St. Lawrence 66044
Friends Of Raintree, Inc. 211 East Eighth St. Suite A Lawrence 66044
House Guys Remodeling, LLC 2601 Iowa St. Lawrence 66046
Kcg & Dago’s Corp 454 N Iowa St. Lawrence 66044
Frontrunner Holdings, LLC 734 N 1750 Road Lawrence 66049
Human Nature Farm LLC 906 Schwarz Rd Lawrence 66049
Kelsey Kimberlin Photography LLC 2415 National Lane Lawrence 66049
Fusion Social Media Group, LLC 3909 11th Place Lawrence 66049
Hurla LLC 978 E 2000 Road Eudora 66025
Kinsch Consulting LLC 812 Westgate Place Lawrence 66049
Jacobs Family LLC 1524 Fountain Drive Lawrence 66047
Kla Consulting LLC 2936 Lankford Drive Lawrence 66046
John Adair Photographs LLC 824 Mississippi Lawrence 66044
Kodiak Information Technology Solutions, LLC 2100 N Heatherwood Drive Lawrence 66047
Gaslight Garden LLC 317 N 2nd St Lawrence 66044 Gc Partners LLC 3514 Clinton Parkway Lawrence 66047
Esc Investments LLC 1236 Stonecreek Drive Lawrence 66049
Hafion LLC 2029 Becker Lawrence 66047
Financial Life Matters LLC 234 Landon Court Lawrence 66049
Healthy Paranoia Apps LLC 332 E 1100th Road Baldwin City 66006
Free State Agency Inc 917 Iowa St Lawrence 66044
Hocfd, LLC 5804 Longleaf Dr Lawrence 66049
Free State Publishing, LLC 4116 Teal Drive Lawrence 66047
Homestead Kitchen & Bakery, LLC 309 Dearborn Baldwin City 66006
Jones Group LLC 808 Connecticut Street Lawrence 66044 Jt Anesthesia LLC 1310 Stonecreek Drive Lawrence 66049 Kansas Copper LLC 1271 N 870 Road Lawrence 66047 Kansas Women In Higher Education In Leadership Inc. 1535 W 15th Street Lawrence 66045
Kona Ice Of Lawrence And Topeka LLC 130 Aspen Ln Lawrence 66049 Konza Property Management, LLC 842 Louisiana Lawrence 66044 Krebs-Stoppel, LLC 2135 New Hampshire Lawrence 66046
W E A SSEMBLE S MOKERS & G RILLS . FREE DELIVERY*
WWW.grillsANDgrinders.COM 4931 W 6th Street Suite 112, Lawrence, Kansas • Phone: 785.856.2279 *Some restrictions may apply.
NEW DOUGLAS COUNTY BUSINESSES con’t [SEPT to NOV 2016] Lavender House Inc 1600 New Hampshire St Lawrence 66044
Mass Street Mercantile LLC 2625 W 27th Terrace Lawrence 66047
Lawrence Action Civitan Club Mgs Enterprises, L.L.C. 2426 Ridge Court 5000 Clinton Parkway Lawrence 66046 Lawrence 66047 Left Handed Butcher LLC 175 N 8th Street Lawrence 66044 Lehman & Pillar, Inc. 2237 Rodeo Drive Lawrence 66047 Leslie Beesley Lmsw, LLC 1012 Massachusetts Street Lawrence 66044 Lfip LLC 1813 Carmel Drive Lawrence 66047 Lockdown Security LLC 2331 Alabama Ste 104 Lawrence 66046 Lr Media Inc 1524 W 22nd Lawrence 66046 Lundberg Sisters, LLC 1459 N 300th Road Baldwin City 66006 Magic Clean Detailing LLC 2629 Bonanza Street Lawrence 66046 Mass 943, LLC 3021 Riverview Road Lawrence 66049
Midland Financial Solutions LLC. 2712 University Dr. Lawrence 66049
One Choice Heating & A/C LLC 1040 N 635th Baldwin City 66006
Raymond C. Poteet Agency, LLC 4100 W 6th Street Lawrence 66049
Otfe 1, LLC 3500 Riverview Road Lawrence 66049
Residence 3d LLC 2036 Louisiana St Lawrence 66046
Packard Consulting Firm, LLC. 1734 Ohio Street Lawrence 66044
River City Painting And Repairs Inc. 908 East 14th Street Lawrence 66044
Mississippi Investments, LLC 1728 Mississippi Parrot Rescue Center Cr, Inc. Lawrence 66044 274 Highway 40 Lecompton 66050 Mmcc,LLC 39410 W 151st Street Pleasant Hill Farms, LLC Eudora 66025 933 E 1938th Rd Eudora 66025 Murphy Management, LLC 1309 N 1100 Pro Speaker LLC Lawrence 66046 6326 Lakeside Lane Lawrence 66049 My Ultimate Edge LLC 1452 N 200 Rd Pulse Aerospace LLC Baldwin City 66006 405 N Iowa, Ste 1a Lawrence 66044 New World Imports LLC 2626 Alabama Pyramid Place Early EducaLawrence 66046 tion, LLC 1904 Elm Off The Grid Pictures, Inc Eudora 66025 1414 W 22nd Terrace Lawrence 66046 Quonset, LLC 1760 E 1100 Rd Oldsters United For Respon- Lawrence 66049 sible Service, Inc 1215 N 1800 Rd R&R Ducts LLC Lawrence 66049 313 Stetson Circle Lawrence 66049 Olivia Homes, LLC 209 N Fall Creek Road R3 Home Professionals, LLC Lawrence 66049 1532 Eldorado Drive Lawrence 66047
Roman Homes, LLC 329 Northwood Lane Lawrence 66044 Ross Properties I, LLC 1855 E 950 Road Lawrence 66049 Ross Properties Ii, LLC 1855 E 950 Road Lawrence 66049 S W Kiowa Partners, LLC 1712 Learnard Avenue Lawrence 66044 Sabertooth Communications LLC 3100 W 22nd St. Lawrence 66047 Santee Capital Group, LLC 3101 Creekwood Dr Lawrence 66049 Sassy N Silver LLC 461 E 2100 Road Baldwin City 66006 Schenewerk Capital, LLC 1425 Oread West Lawrence 66049
Scoboria Properties LLC 932 Arkansas St Lawrence 66044
Tech Tools & Equipment LLC 2275 N 1137th Eudora 66025
Two-Six Group, LLC 842 Louisiana Street Lawrence 66044
Servant Group, LLC 1400 Lawrence Ave Lawrence 66049
Ten Mile Corner, LLC 6212 Berando Lawrence 66049
Simply Elite Interiors & Exteriors LLC 917 Ward Ave Lawrence 66044
Terranoe, LLC 700 S Monterey Way Lawrence 66049
Tyson Williams Productions LLC 495 Hutton Cir Lawrence 66049
Slj Properties, LLC 4560 Bauer Brook Court Lawrence 66049 Smackast LLC 740 S Iowa Street Lawrence 66044 So Bonner Oaks LLC 1948 Carmel Dr. Lawrence 66047 Spencer Ins. Inc. 1029 Oak Tree Dr. Lawrence 66049 Square One Development LLC 1948 Carmel Dr. Lawrence 66047 Sre I Properties, LLC 3202 Huntington Road Lawrence 66049 Sre Ii Properties, LLC 3202 Huntington Road Lawrence 66049 Switchgrass, LLC 1083 E 1400 Rd. Lawrence 66046
Tetrahedra Nation, Inc. 1701 E 30 Street Lawrence 66046 The Bradford House, LLC 444 Rock Fence Court Lawrence 66049 The Deli Creative LLC 1228 Rhode Island Street Lawrence 66044 The Isleworthgroup LLC 1804 Sweetwater Court Lawrence 66047 The Larken Photo & Video Co., LLC 613 N. 2nd St. Lawrence 66044
Vb House, LLC 602 Walnut Lawrence 66044 Vermont Place, L.L.C. 1720 Saint Andrews Drive Lawrence 66047 Vibra Urbana LLC 3531 Morning Dove Circle Lawrence 66049 Victory Properties, LLC 768 N 1750 Road Lawrence 66049 Waters Handy Services LLC 2552 Cedarwood Avenue Lawrence 66046 Wild Viking LLC 935 Anna Tappan Way Lawrence 66044
Triple Cross Ranch LLC 16598 21 Street Lawrence 66044
Wztech LLC 560 E 1909th Baldwin City 66006
Troy D’s Auto Center LLC 735 E 22nd Lawrence 66046
Z Transport LLC 1310 George Court Lawrence 66044
True Goof LLC 532 Walnut Street Lawrence 66044
Zero One Capital LLC 335 N Eaton Lawrence 66049
WH OSE D ESK? Be the first to correctly guess which local business figure works behind this desk. Winner receives a $50 gift card to 23rd Street Brewery. facebook.com/lawrencebusinessmagazine