Quarterly Philanthropy Review: Educational Scholarships

Columbia Distributing Scholarship Program

Philanthropy with its charity partners is not new to Columbia Distributing. “We are a 90-year-old company, and everywhere we’ve done business, we have also given back to the community,” says Lindsi Taylor, director of corporate communications. The company also gives back to its employees and has awarded two $10,000 educational scholarships to dependents of full-time team members for the last four years.

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Employee Spotlight: Jon-Paul ‘JP’ Lafitte on the Career Opportunities at Columbia Distributing

Jon Paul

Columbia Distributing distributes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to retailers, restaurants, and bars throughout the Pacific Northwest and northern California. But what makes the company stand out from other employers? “Given everything that the world has thrown at us, it’s always been a good place to work,” says Jon-Paul “JP” Lafitte.

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What Is Hard Seltzer? A Beginner’s Guide

Glasses of hard seltzer with lemons and cherries on table

If you’ve gone out recently, chances are you’ve noticed patrons enjoying a concoction called hard seltzer. If you’ve never experienced one of these delicious beverages, you may be wondering, what is hard seltzer, anyway? At Columbia Distributing, it has always been within our vision and values to educate our customers on the products we carry, including hard seltzers. Here, we offer a guide to hard seltzers and suggest some of the top brands newcomers can try responsibly.

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Don’t Like Hops? Here Are the Best Types of Beers to Try Instead of IPAs

Closeup of pints of beers being toasted by group of people

Known for their bitter and strong taste, India pale ales (IPAs) are a popular type of beer that emphasize hop flavors and aromas. They get their distinct characteristics from the hops used to brew them, which give them a citrusy undertone. On the scale of international bitter units (IBUs) – which can range from five (not bitter at all) to 120 (extremely bitter) – American IPAs tend to fall in the 55 to 70 range. Double IPAs can be as high as 100 IBUs. Finally, because of the variety of brewing methods, IPAs can contain higher levels of alcohol compared to other types of beer.

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Favorite Mexican Lagers to Wash Down Tacos

Shredded chicken tacos and glass of beer

The next time it’s taco night in your home, don’t instantly reach for the traditional, salted-brim margarita. Instead, try a Mexican lager to compliment all the delicious flavors of your favorite tacos. With a vast selection of beers in our lineup, Columbia Distributing discusses some great Mexican lagers to pair with your tacos.

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Unusual and Out-There Party Punch Ideas

Fruity Punch

A true party favorite, punch is one of those beverages that can be modified with a variety of ingredients and still taste great. There are few standard punch recipes that you’ll find at almost any party, however, it’s well worth trying out a more unique recipe or two that’ll add a twist to your refreshment selection. At Columbia Distributing, we’ve found some unusual ingredient combinations that make for a stellar drink.

Pineapple Sweet Tea Punch

When you think of sweet tea, you probably imagine that sweet Southern favorite. But this take on that refreshment involves pineapple, which gives the drink gives a bold, new flavor profile that’s sure to be refreshing. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 c unsweetened iced tea
  • 1 c pineapple juice
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Pineapple wedges to garnish
  • Optional: 3/4 c vodka

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine pineapple juice and sugar. Let the mixture boil for roughly 15 minutes or until it’s reduced by half. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. In a pitcher, combine unsweetened iced tea, lime juice, and pineapple mixture, as well as vodka if desired. Garnish with pineapple wedges and enjoy.

Cran-Raspberry-Vanilla Punch

This beverage combines the sharpness of berries with the mellow sweetness of vanilla. The acidity of the berries does a great job of cutting through the sweetness of the punch. To make this beverage, stock up on the following ingredients:

  • 6 c cran-raspberry juice
  • 6 c carbonated cranberry beverage
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pt raspberry sorbet
  • Frozen cranberries to garnish

In a large punch bowl, combine cran-raspberry juice, carbonated cranberry beverage, and vanilla extract. Add scoops of sorbet and garnish with frozen cranberries. Serve directly from the bowl and enjoy. If you want to add a little alcohol into the mix, reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 tbsp and add 1/2 to 3/4 c of spiced vanilla rum.

Pink Ginger Lemonade and Champagne Slush Punch

Toast to a special occasion with Pink Ginger Lemonade and Champagne Slush Punch. While this drink requires a bit of preliminary work, the result is well worth the effort. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 64 oz pink lemonade
  • 2 L ginger ale
  • 1 c triple sec
  • 3 (750 mL) bottles of pink champagne
  • Fresh mint to garnish

A day ahead of time, prepare the slush. In a large, freezer-safe container, combine lemonade, ginger ale, and triple sec. Freeze the mixture overnight. Then, 20 minutes before serving, remove the slush mixture from the freezer. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before breaking it up with a wooden utensil.

At the time of your event, prepare the punch. Pour the slush mixture and champagne into a large punch bowl. Stir the punch until the slush is evenly distributed throughout. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve.

For more unusual and out-there party punch ideas, contact Columbia Distributing today. If you’re a business in the Pacific Northwest, ask us for information about the brands we supply that will keep your customers well-stocked on ingredients for their favorite beverages.  


Hot Chocolate Fun for Kids and Adults

There are many ways to stay warm in chilly weather. One of the easiest – and tastiest – ways to do so is by cozying up with a big mug of hot chocolate. Hot cocoa tastes great with all sorts of ingredients and toppings, so you can customize this beverage to your liking. Here, Columbia Distributing describes a few hot chocolate recipes the whole family can enjoy.

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How Whiskey and Bourbon are Made

A bartender makes whiskey and bourbon cocktails

If you’re a whiskey or bourbon lover, then you know that these liquors taste great, and go well with many different foods, for many different occasions. They’re also great on their own after a long day, or to toast a special occasion. But how much do you know about how these liquors are made? Columbia Distributing is a provider of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and we carry a wide variety of products and recognizable brands. Here, we describe the basics of how whiskey and bourbon are created.

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Drinks to Serve at a Winter Gathering

Apple Cider Moscow Mule

Winter is a time for gathering with loved ones and celebrating all of the joys life has to offer. One of the best ways to accentuate your wintertime dinner is with delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Learn how to craft the perfect cold-weather cocktail or mocktail with this list of recipes that are sure to be crowd-pleasers.

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Winter Ale as Gifts for Beer Lovers

Pouring Winter Ale

Beer is an incredibly versatile beverage with a variety of recipes that appeal to many tastes. The vast selection is what makes beer the ideal candidate for seasonal drinks. Winter ale is a high-gravity brew that incorporates warming spices and other ingredients to give it a delicious holiday flavor. Providing alcoholic beverages to businesses all over the Pacific Northwest, Columbia Distributing has organized a list of the best gifts for the beer lover in your life.

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