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Managing the state’s enormous liquor warehouse in Ankeny, Herb Sutton knows what Iowans are likely to order.


Imagine a 175,000-square-foot warehouse holding 3 million bottles of booze. It's in Ankeny, the temporary home of every drop of distilled spirits sold in Iowa. Leading the way down the aisle between towering stacks of cases is Herb Sutton, 51, who knows every brand you drink like the back of his hand. The bureau chief of operations at the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Division cut his teeth running this warehouse and can tell you the season of the year simply by walking past the inventory.   

The first thing you learn from him is that Iowans have evolved into adventurous drinkers. Today, consumers try so many new concoctions of alcohol and in smaller sizes that just in Sutton’s dozen years here, the options have grown five-fold to more than 2,300.

The choices are head-spinning.You want peach flavor in your Crown Royal? Done. ("I never thought that would work," Sutton says.) A booze infused with hibiscus? Cucumber in vodka? Well, sure.

"Choice is what people want," he says. "We have to change and keep up with what people are drinking." Read the full story here, from the July/August issue of dsm magazine.

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George's Marshmallow Sundae at Centro — rich and refreshing and just right for this summer.


By Karla Walsh

Sure, you could dive into a big pool when the summer heat makes you feel like you’re about to melt. Or you could dive into a big frozen dessert at one of these (conveniently air-conditioned) local restaurants. Their creative ice cream concoctions go far beyond soft serve—although that’s sounding pretty good about now, too…

Here are three of my three favorite ways to cool off on a scorching summer day:

Centro: George's Marshmallow Sundae
1003 Locust St.;
As this parfait featuring chocolate sauce, dense fudge brownie pieces, homemade vanilla gelato, and marshmallow cream arrives at your table in a pint glass, you’ll swear, "There’s no way I'll be able to finish that!" Then, all of a sudden, your spoon is clinking the bottom of the glass. And the experience between part one and part two of that scene is so delightful, you’ll have zero regrets. While George Formaro’s signature sundae (the idea for which came to him in a dream) has been on the Centro dessert menu for years, it’s not going anywhere. "I fear there’d be riots if it ever went away!" says Adam Bartlett, marketing director for Orchestrate Hospitality (the umbrella group that owns Centro, Django, Gateway Market and more).

Union 29: Scotcheroo Sandwich
101 Jordan Creek Pkwy., Ste. 12520, West Des Moines;
My mom made Special K Bars (AKA scotheroos, those oh-so-Midwest bars of cereal, peanut butter and chocolate) for nearly every bake sale and special occasion when I was a kid. So this dessert sandwich featuring scotcheroo ice cream, a peanut butter cookie and a chocolate cookie is an instant dose of cool nostalgia.

Central Standard: Vanilla Birthday Cake Shake
1222 SE University Ave., Waukee;
Over-the-top milkshakes have been earning all the ❤️s on Instagram this decade, and they show no signs of losing steam in our community, in part thanks to Central Standard. The Waukee burger restaurant offers spiked and spirit-free versions of all of their generously garnished homemade milkshakes. Enjoy cake without heating up the kitchen via the birthday cake shake with cake ice cream and confetti cake (Rumchata optional). To take it to the next decadent level, the rim of the glass is coated in frosting and rainbow sprinkles, and of course, a cherry makes an appearance on top.

Concert-goers fill the Capitol's western lawns for the Symphony's annual Yankee Doodle Pops performance.


It's back in all its red, white and blue popping splendor: The Des Moines Symphony’s 26th Annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert is Wednesday, July 3, on the State Capitol grounds. Iowa’s largest single-day concert event, this family-friendly and patriotic concert concludes with a grand fireworks display over the downtown  skyline.

It's all free. You can bring picnic baskets, blankets and lawn chairs, or purchase food from an array of vendors.
A highlight: This year’s concert reprises a powerful performance of a suite from Ellis Island: The Dream of America," which blends theater, narration, historical images, and music to portray immigrants in search of the American dream. Go online here to learn more about the performances, parking tips, a VIP viewing party and other details. A prelude begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the concert at 8:30 p.m.

Also this week:
the 11th Annual Yankee Doodle Drive Against Hunger: A Symphony of Caring. To help, you're encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items at area Bank of the West or Hy-Vee locations or at the concert. All donations will benefit the Food Bank of Iowa. Money can be donated at The drive runs through July 7, 2019.

Artwork in the Bankers Trust collection includes pieces by (top row): Christopher Chiavetta, Molly Wood, Kim Hutchison, James Ochs; (middle row): Annick Ibsen, Chris Vance, Catherine Dreiss, James Navarro; (bottom row): Mirza Kudic, Mary Muller, Jordan Weber, Fred Easker.


Bankers Trust has unveiled a 12-piece collection of works by artists who live and work in Iowa. The Bankers Trust Iowa Artists Collection was created to promote and support culture and the arts in Central Iowa. This is the bank’s second Iowa Artists Collection – the first was introduced in 2016. The latest collection made its debut last Tuesday during a private event in Des Moines.

The collection is about to begin a 24-month tour of Bankers Trust branches, with each piece spending two months in each of the bank’s 12 Central Iowa locations, including Ames. For information about the artists and their works, visit

Pianist Connie Han will perform with a trio at Hoyt Sherman Place as part of a day of jazz on July 20.


We’re impressed by the talent that will be showcased at the revived Jazz in July and at Civic Music Association’s new CMA Jazz Festival, both at Hoyt Sherman Place.

The previous Jazz in July—which ran for some 40 years and featured concerts at parks throughout the city—ended in 2017 after organizer Metro Arts Alliance ceased operations. The new version of the event will be on three dates: July 11, 19 and 24. Local musicians will play at 6 p.m. on the Hoyt Sherman lawn, then the headlining acts will perform in the auditorium starting at 7:30 p.m. They include Charmin Michelle, a Minneapolis-based singer whose style is said to recall Billie Holiday, July 11; Minneapolis vocalist Debbie Duncan, who blurs the line between jazz and pop, July 19; and acclaimed Iowa City saxophonist and composer Damani Phillips, July 24. All concerts are free; find more details at

Civic Music’s new festival will be July 20, beginning at 1 p.m. The free portion will consist of seven concerts by local and regional musicians, who will perform on the lawn or in the gallery. That evening, the ticketed concert ($36) inside the auditorium will feature two dynamic stars who are shaking up the jazz world: Canadian trumpeter, singer and songwriter Bria Skonberg and Los Angeles-based pianist Connie Han.

The Connie Han Trio will open the show at 6:30 p.m., followed by Skonberg at 8:30 p.m. Han, 22, has gained fame for her fresh approach of blending modern and traditional jazz, while the 35-year-old Skonberg, the Wall Street Journal praises, "plays trumpet like a red hot devil and sings like a dream." More info:

Fitz and the Tantrums are Michael Fitzpatrick, Noelle Scaggs, James King, Joseph Karnes, Jeremy Ruzumna and John Wicks.


Nitefall On The River presents the Los Angeles indie pop group Fitz and the Tantrums plus Sires tonight (Tuesday, July 2) at the Brenton Skating Plaza. Admission starts at 6 p.m. with the music starting at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $130. The next Nitefall concert includes the Eli Young Band with Muscadine Bloodline Thursday, July 11, also at the Brenton Skating Plaza. 

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