Ansay International launches charitable campaigns

From Chug for Charity to International Drink at Home Day, Port company supports people fighting and affected by Covid-19

EMPLOYEES OF LOPEZ Bakery & Restaurant in Milwaukee made more than 200 meals that were donated to area health care workers on March 31. The donated meals were part of an effort led by Kate Ansay, co-owner and director of Ansay International, which is supporting health care workers and those in the bar and restaurant industry during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo courtesy of Ansay International
Ozaukee Press Staff

Ansay International is stepping up to support health care and hospitality workers who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The motto my dad and grandfather always said is ‘You have to give to get,’” co-owner and Director Kate Ansay said. “In order for all of us to get out of this, we have to give.”

Marketing Director Rob Ebert said the Port Washington importing company quickly rallied to begin organizing its charitable efforts on March 16, just before Gov. Tony Evers directed the Department of Health Services to order bars and restaurants to close except for delivery and pickup orders and prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people.

“There was no red tape. We didn’t have to meet with our board of directors or go through multiple meetings. I think (CEO) Mike Ansay approved the idea in 12 seconds,” Ebert said. “Being a smaller, family-owned company, we were really able to mobilize the first day.”

Last month, the company donated 10% of its sales of Bofferding beer, Domaines Vinsmoselle wine and Ramborn cider — all of which are imported from Luxembourg — to the Milwaukee Hunger Task Force, which supplies critical meals for those in need. Ebert said the company will also donate 10% of this month’s sales to the cause.

“We felt our partners at Total Wine & More, Discount Liquor and some of our Piggly Wiggly chains jumped on that bandwagon by letting us put up special signage and displays to show we are working with the Hunger Task Force,” Kate Ansay said, noting Ansay International’s sister companies, Ansay Development Corp. and Ansay & Associates, are matching the 10% sales donation. 

“We work in the same building with the other two companies, and they graciously offered to match our donations in March and April,” she said.

Ansay, who is a member of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2020 “40 Under 40” class, helped raise more than $18,000 to purchase meals from area restaurants for health care workers who are on the front lines of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“I wanted to team up with my 40 Under 40 group because I thought we had all these amazing restaurants that are clients of ours and I wanted to help those who are helping others,” she said. 

While 40 Under 40 primarily supported Milwaukee-area hospitals, Ansay said she also wants to give back to local long-term care facilities and hospitals in Ozaukee County.

“We have quite a few senior living facilities that have been hit by Covid-19. We have Aurora and Ascension hospitals as well, and they need all the help that they can get,” Ansay said.

On Thursday, April 23, Ansay International will host an online International Drink From Home Day event through Facetime, Zoom and Google Hangout parties, which will feature surprise videos of key figures in the brewing industry. Proceeds from the event will support the Hunger Task Force.

“It’s a way to remind people what we’re doing with the Hunger Task Force, and they can drink in the safety of their own home,” Ebert said.

He said among the celebrities who will be featured during the event are the owners of Bofferding Brewery in Luxembourg. 

“It’s a father and son duo, and they’re the ninth and 10th generation of owners. It’s going to be a cross-continental event for people,” he said.

Next month, the company will launch a viral Chug for Charity campaign, similar to the Ice Bucket and Push Up challenges. Ebert said proceeds from the cause will go to the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.

“Because we work so closely with bars and restaurants, we’re very sensitive to the fact that very few groups of people have been hit harder than waiters and bartenders, and this is way to raise awareness for the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program,” Ebert said.

The goal is to have at least 100 people record and upload a video of themselves drinking or chugging a Bofferding beer and then tag five friends to join the challenge. 

“To seed the start of this initiative, we’re having several key people record videos to help get the word out. They will then tag their friends to get the first wave started,” Ebert said. “I’m sure some of our bigger beer drinkers will have no problem chugging a Bofferding pilsner. Any sipping or drinking will be fine as well.”

While beverage sales have been affected by the pandemic, Ansay International has seen an uptick in retail numbers, Ansay said. 

“Restaurants and bars aren’t open, which make up a huge percentage of our sales. We’re not hanging our heads because we realize there are a lot of people who are way worse off than we are,” she said. “Even though sales have been impacted, we’re still in a position to do something.”

In the past, the company has been involved in charitable causes such as the fight against childhood cancer and raising awareness for adoption.

“It’s definitely in our DNA to help, and this is affecting the most people right now,” Ebert said. “We’re going to do everything we can to try to help.”

Ansay said her employees were also given gift cards to buy takeout meals from local restaurants to help keep the eateries afloat.  

“There are a number of restaurants in Port Washington and in the county that have been devastated by this, and we want to give our employees the opportunity to pay it forward by ordering from them,” she said. “If they give to us, we want to give back. That kind of mentality is already in our ethos.”

Ebert agreed.

“It’s not business for us. It’s personal by getting involved with different restaurants and people we work with locally. We want to be there in their time of need and help in any way we can,” he said. “We’re a small importing company and our partnerships are paramount for what we do. Because of our business model, we can’t just go to 500 different bars in Wisconsin and drop off one keg. We need to form partnerships with people that last for years.”

Ansay said her company will continue supporting those in need throughout the pandemic.

“We don’t want to sit back. Knowing the people we work with are affected and even our employees, we want to try to help anyway we can, even if it’s just a little bit,” she said.




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