Throughout the year, the Cayman Distributors Group supports a variety of community causes, as well as sponsoring events that give residents and visitors access to great culinary experiences.
For many, December is traditionally a month for giving, a month for dining and a month of enjoying some alcoholic beverages. For the folks at Cayman Distributors Group and its divisions- Cayman Distributors Wholesale, BlackBeard’s and Big Daddy’s – December just continues what they do all year long.
Cayman Distributor’s Wine Sales Manager Jodie Petts said the company, which is owned by the Dart Group, is always supporting charity events.
“We get involved in a huge amount of charity causes,” she said, noting that it donates wines for receptions or dinners, or for auction items and raffles.
Petts said the company’s support of some charities, like the Breast Cancer Foundation, is an extension of an effort the Dart Group does company wide. Others are matters of being able to help good causes that have specific needs for specific events.
Over the course of the year, the Cayman Distributors Group offers product support to many not-for-profit charity organisations.
In recent months, it supported the annual Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts – CARE – Paws for Wine event, an event it helped conceive. In November, it supported the annual Cayman Island Cancer Society’s ‘Movember’ fund-raising event, just two months after sponsoring the annual Breast Cancer Gala Dinner.
Other charity events it sponsors on an annual basis include, among others, the Humane Society Fur Ball; the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s Festival of Trees; the National Trust Gala Dinner; Rotary Sunrise’s Casino Nights; The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s Camelot Auctions; Hedge Fund Care; and The Taste of Cayman, which supports the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and a group of charities.
Although Cayman Distributors has a policy not to provide alcoholic beverages for charities that involve children in any way, it does support these organisations with non-alcoholic beverages, said Petts.
“There’s a group called the Belford Estates Community Response Team, which we provide juice and water for 300 families, and the North Side Community After-school Programme is supplied with Ribena,” she said.
Another area Cayman Distributors supports is food and beverage sustainability.
For the past several years, it has supported the Brasserie Restaurant’s Garden Harvest Dinners – which serve locally produced or caught fish, meats and vegetables – with accompanying wines.
Although there is no commercial wine production in Cayman, many of the wines Cayman Distributors carries are produced at certified organic or certified sustainable vineyards.
In addition, BlackBeard’s has become the major sponsor of Cayman’s Slow Food chapter, suppling wines and spirits at a reduced cost for the almost monthly events.
“We like to support Slow Food,” she said. “For one thing, it incorporates all the local restaurants, which are our partners in business. But Slow Food is also a growing, worldwide movement because of its sustainability aspect. For the Dart Corporation, sustainability is one of those things that is important to practice and promote.”
The Slow Food movement seeks to promote eating healthy foods produced locally in an environmentally responsible way. It also supports fair trade practices throughout the food chain, from farmer to retailer and everyone in between.
“I feel, from my point of view, that being involved in Slow Food enables us to be a part of something bigger than us that can help many people,” said Petts, who is a Slow Food member herself. “In generations to come, I imagine the sustainability aspects of Slow Food will become a part of people’s everyday lives.”
Although hosting six or so wine dinners a year for a company that sells wines is not a philanthropic endeavour, Cayman Distributors often does them with little or no profit margin in appreciation for their customers’ business.
During the last four autumns, for example, the company has sponsored a white truffle wine dinner that has featured good wines from the Italian winery Batasiolo. Each time, the dinner has been at a different restaurant. Because truffles have short life span, it’s no easy task to get these ultra-expensive delicacies to Cayman. Doing this, however, allows Cayman’s food and wine aficionados – and visitors – an opportunity to experience white truffles.
“[Wholesale wine sales representative] Lee [Quessy] and I like to do the wine dinners because ultimately it’s a form of marketing,” Petts said, noting that the dinners not only promote the company’s wines, but they support the restaurants that serve their wines.
However, beyond those benefits, Petts said the events add to Cayman’s culinary offerings and support the concepts of food and wine pairing.
“We like to choose restaurants that are interested and passionate about food and wine pairing and want to make that work,” she said. “It’s also a way of showing the public what you can do with a certain wine made from a certain grape by pairing it with the right food.”
Petts noted that the Cayman wine market is very sophisticated and has an impressive variety of wines from all over the world, something that is hard to find even in most places in North America and Europe.
“We’re very lucky here,” she said.
With all of the variety, she said she likes to encourage people to try different wines and many of the wine dinners offer the chance to do that.
“It’s a shame if people don’t try new things,” she said. “Life is all about experience.”
By offering wine dinners at affordable prices, Petts said Cayman Distributors and the selected restaurants can demonstrate the close link between food and wine, something that is well known in Europe.
“Family and friends and food and wine are all interlinked,” she said. “That’s what the wine business is all about.”