Fechtel Beverage and Heineken USA's Sober Driver Program Helps 15,000th Rider

White Plains, NY – January 7, 2010 – Over 15,000 people in Jefferson City, MO have the Sober Driver program to thank for arriving home safely. The Sober Driver program is a responsibility initiative that provides free taxi rides home to adults after the consumption of alcohol beverages. Fechtel Beverage and Heineken USA will be continuing their support of the Sober Driver program.

Initially, the Sober Driver program was offered during the holiday season only, but Fechtel Beverage believed it was just as important to save a life in April as in December.  Therefore, Fechtel Beverage launched the program to cover the entire year starting in 1999.  Since then, the program has grown tremendously.  In year one of the program, the service offered 468 rides. Last year, nearly 2,500 rides were provided with the 15,000th ride given in November 2009. 

Supporting the Sober Driver Program
As part of their strong commitment to responsible consumption of alcohol, Heineken USA and Fechtel Beverage have teamed up to promote the program to consumers and wait staff to help them make responsible choices. 

Since 2005, Heineken USA has awarded the Efforts in Action grant to Fechtel Beverage to continue the Sober Driver program.  Efforts in Action provides matching grants to Heineken USA’s distributors for community-oriented projects that are designed to encourage responsible consumption of beverage alcohol. The matching grants, up to $5,000 each, are available to the local distributors of Heineken products.

“Heineken USA and we are very committed to the program, and it is a real testament to a big company like Heineken USA to help out our little program in such a small community, which speaks volumes about who Heineken USA is and to their core values,” said Bernie Fecthel, President of Fecthel Beverage & Sales Inc.

The primary effort of the grant money is to help subsidize the cost of covered taxi cab rides.  Fechtel Beverage petitioned the Council of Jefferson City to create a line item to deposit the funds.  Consequently, 100% of the donated money pays for the cab service for adults who should not get behind the wheel.  Additionally, Fechtel Beverage prints the taxi cab vouchers and promotion posters, and hosts training sessions for wait staff.  The training sessions are conducted to ensure that all wait staff can properly determine whether a customer can drive home or a cab should be called. 

Continued Commitment to Responsible Consumption in the Community
The company’s sponsorship of the Sober Driver program is one element of Heineken USA’s ongoing collaboration with local and regional programs to promote responsible behavior related to alcohol consumption. 

“Sponsoring the Sober Driver program in Jefferson City allows us to continue to demonstrate the commitment Heineken USA gives back to the communities where we live, work and sell our product,” said Dan Tearno, senior vice president and chief corporate relations officer, Heineken USA. “We’re proud to extend our relationship and continue to help the public and private sector reinforce responsible behaviors associated with alcohol consumption.”

Due to the success of the Sober Driver program, Heineken USA honored Fechtel Beverage as the first recipient of the 1864 Responsibility Award in 2007.  Since the Brewer first opened its doors in 1864, Heineken has taken a leadership role in encouraging social responsibility both internally among its own employees and externally with trade partners and ultimately consumers. With that same spirit and commitment in mind, Heineken USA launched the 1864 Award in 2007 to honor distributor partners who takes social responsibility beyond the message and puts it into action.  The award also encourages all Heineken distributors to strive for excellence in the area of responsibility.

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