Brody Pierce/Stoutonia

Before buckling down to do homework in the MSC, I dwelled in front of the merchandiser refrigerators in the back of the Blue Devil Market. As I shifted awkwardly to the left because two others were doing the same thing, I felt obliged to grab a Starbucks Doubleshot, mainly because my favorite caffeinated beverage, Red Bull, was not an option, and I wasn’t in the mood for a 300mg caffeinated punch of Bang energy. 

Doing so got me thinking: Who decides what beverages make up these shelves? How do they make these decisions and what do other students think? 

The process of selecting beverages for students on campus is operated by the University Dining Service. According to dining service officials, the University of Wisconsin-Stout holds an exclusive pouring right with Pepsi, with whom the university works with to put new and trending products in front of students. 

“We work on having a wide range of beverages available,” University Dining Service director Justin Krahn said, who has been working with dining services for 12 years now, the last four serving as director. 

“We take a lot of input from students and staff.” Krahn said, ranging from surveys to feedback forms. Vendors, Krahn said, are also a deciding factor when choosing what beverages to serve to students. “They let us know what they are seeing in the market.”

The university also abides by state purchasing contracts and guidelines in the selection process. “Typically, contracts go out for bid so we get the best pricing and our service needs met.” Krahn said. “The bids are created and evaluated. We then work with those vendors once a contract is awarded on options available and bring feedback to them.” 

When asked about the data collection of drinks students tend to choose, Krahn said that it’s tough to say “based on the amount of flavors each brand has. The beverage selection changes frequently with new flavors, brands and innovation.” 

Brody Pierce/Stoutonia

Peyton Hart, a Freshman applied science major, said he’s satisfied with the variety of options offered on campus. “All of the drinks on campus I am good with,” Hart said, who is a native of Delafield, WI. “I don’t drink a ton of caffeine, so I’m not too concerned about my health. I usually grab a Bubbl’r.” 

Like Hart, Brady Bertram, a Senior professional communication and emerging media major, typically tries to shy away from caffeinated beverages. “I usually refrain from these types of beverages,” Bertram said. “Water does the trick for me.” 

According to Krahn, when it comes to caffeinated drinks, Starbucks and Mountain Dew drinks are popular among the student population. When it comes to drinks in general, “Our biggest selling products are waters, teas and juices.” Krahn said. 

In the past, Stout has had companies come to campus to run tasting events and promotions for new items, such as Rockstar and Naked Juice. Pepsi, too, has done similar events in the past, according to Krahn. 

For now, students seem to be content with what campus has to offer. “I think there are plenty of healthy options offered on campus,” Bertram said. “But a nice Baja Blast would be cool.”

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