Lawrence, KS: While the name may say Standard, this Kansas beverage distributor is anything but.
Family-owned Standard Beverage has been servicing its customers with spirits, wine and beer since its inception in 1949 on the heels of the state’s prohibition laws being repealed.
As the state’s largest wholesaler, the company has the franchise rights to distribute top spirit brands such as Crown Royal, Smirnoff, and Bacardi. Standard Beverage’s stable of beers micro-brews and national brands, including Samuel Adams, are joined by such imports as Guinness, Heineken and Sapporo.
Delivering an average of 2.5 million cases per year throughout Kansas, the Standard Beverage fleet features 36 medium duty trucks equipped with 22-foot box vans, three of which have refrigerated units. The company began standardizing with Kenworth trucks four years ago, and has chosen the Kenworth T370 on recent orders.
“We decided to try Kenworth trucks after we experienced dependability and maintenance issues with our other vehicles,” recalls Matt Brown, transportation manager for Standard Beverage. “We tried three Kenworths in 2006, then added six more in 2007. They performed great and were a hit with our drivers, so we’ve been adding more replacement units each year.”
According to Brown, the company holds on to its beverage trucks for 10 years and about 300,000 miles before trade in.
“Our goal is to get the most useful life out of each truck. We’re seeing less downtime with the Kenworths, and our oldest Kenworth trucks are holding up very well,” says Brown. “They’re in much better shape than our other brands at comparable stages in their life cycle. That bodes well for our company down the road in better productivity, and ultimately in better resale value at trade-in time.”
Specified with PACCAR PX-8 engines rated at 260-hp at 800 ft-lbs of torque, and driven through Allison 5-speed automatics, the Kenworth T370s feature 4.88 rear end ratios.
“We were able to show Standard Beverage that we could get them better fuel economy and performance by stepping up to an engine with more horsepower and torque, while gearing the trucks to run at a lower RPM,” says Jim Hawkins, medium duty truck salesman at MHC Kenworth in Kansas City, MO. “When we began working with Standard Beverage, we took the time to understand and map their routes so we could make recommendations on how to improve their efficiency.”
“We welcomed Jim’s input. The Kenworths are able to pull the hills much better than our other trucks. Our drivers can tell the difference and it helps them complete their routes in less time,” says Brown.
With distribution out of Lawrence and Wichita, Standard’s fleet of trucks is able to cover the entire state.
“Our longest route is 400 miles roundtrip,” says Brown. “We put our new equipment on these routes and our older units work the metro areas. Each truck can carry up to 700 cases. Since each truck has to make multiple stops each day, a comfortable truck is important to our drivers. I’ve never had a driver who moved from our other brand and into a Kenworth say they wanted to go back. I guess that says something about the quality and look of a Kenworth.”