Monthly Roundup: Beverage Alcohol Industry Promotions and Awards

Bacardi Appoints New Global Category Vice President of Rums 

Bacardi Limited announced the internal appointment of Mauricio Vergara, 43, as Global Category Vice President of Rums. Vergara will be responsible for the Bacardi portfolio of rums, including the flagship Bacardi rum brand, and the premium products within the Facundo Rum Collection portfolio.

Mauricio Vergara

Vergara will be in charge of developing the global marketing strategy of the rum category and leading the creation of global promotional, creative and packaging assets, as well as directing the development of brand innovation and line extensions, according to a press release.

Most recently, Vergara was Vice President of Global Commercial for Bacardi responsible for Customer Marketing, Commercial Development, and International Customers. He has 20 years in marketing and commercial roles, 15 of which were in the beverage industry. Throughout his time with Bacardi, he has held various regional and commercial leadership roles within both marketing and commercial functions. He joined Bacardi in 2013 as Vice President of Sales and Marketing Latin America and then was promoted to Global Customer Marketing Director.

Vergara succeeds Dmitry “Dima” Ivanov, who was named promoted to Chief Marketing Officer of Bacardi and President of Bacardi Global Brands in January.

Global Spirits USA Names New Northeast Regional Manager

Breeda Phoummany
Breeda Phoummany

Global Spirits USA has promoted NJ Manager Breeda Phoummany, naming her Northeast Regional Manager, responsible for building distribution and volume for the company’s portfolio of vodkas Khortytsa (Hor-Tea-Sa), Pervak and LEAF.


Phoummany joined the organization in November of 2013 as NJ state manager, solely responsible for managing LEAF Vodka, according to a press release. As northeast regional manager, she is now responsible for managing the entire Global Spirits portfolio for all states spanning from Maine to Virginia.

The announcement follows a period of growth for the company, which changed its name from Megapolis to Global Spirits USA, LLC, and realigned its structure and staff under the direction of newly appointed CEO Maxim Dubossarsky, according to a press release.

Heineken USA Selects New CEO

Heineken USA announced that effective July 1, its new CEO will be Ronald den Elzen. He succeeds departing CEO Dolf van den Brink, who will become the new CEO of Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma/Heineken Mexico.

Ronald den Elzen is originally from the Netherlands and has been with Heineken for over 20 years. He’s held various positions in Finance, Sales and General Management in Heineken’s businesses in Amsterdam, the U.K. and Portugal.  In his current role as Managing Director of Heineken Portugal, he he helped mobilize and energize the organization during an economic depression, according to a press release.

Van den Brink has been with Heineken for 17 years. During his six year tenure at Heineken USA, he led a turnaround of the business, according to a press release, restoring top line growth and driving consistent market share gains.

In his new role, van den Brink will lead Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma/Heineken Mexico, Heineken’s largest operating company, according to a press release. With over 16,000 employees, a clear innovation agenda and well-known brands such as Heineken, Tecate and Dos Equis, van den Brink will help CM/Heineken Mexico work towards its vision of becoming the leading brewer in Mexico.

Global Spirits USA Appoints Central Regional Manager

Global Spirits USA has appointed Mike Riesenbeck as Central Regional Manager, responsible for building distribution and volume for the company’s portfolio of quality vodkas Khortytsa (Hor-Tea-Sa), Pervak and LEAF.

Mike Riesenbeck
Mike Riesenbeck

Mike began his career at Procter & Gamble, where he rose to district manager before he was recruited into the Wine & Spirits industry by the E&J Gallo Winery. There, he held various positions in national accounts, field marketing and distributor management before rising to Midwest regional manager.

In 1993, Mike joined Romano Bros. Beverage Co. in sales and marketing and rose to vice president of marketing. In that position, Mike created numerous industry sales and marketing concepts including the “successful and highly regarded” distributor in-house “agency” inVision Marketing Solutions, according to a press release.

When Southern Wine & Spirits of America 2002 acquired Romano Bros. Beverage, he continued to expand the inVision Marketing model into seven Southern states, four of which are now top 7 volume states, according to a press release.

Grand Rapids Distributor Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Henry A. (Happy) Fox Jr.

Henry A. (Happy) Fox Jr., second generation chairman of Henry A. Fox Sales Co has been awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, the national trade association for wine and spirits distributors.

Henry A. Fox Sales Co. was established in Grand Rapids in 1952, and today is one of Michigan’s leading distributors of fine wines, and premium, imported and craft beers, according to a press release. Fox’s son Brien is president of the company, which delivers to all 83 Michigan counties.

WSWA’s Wholesaler Lifetime Leadership Award is presented each year to a distributor whose contribution to the association, the community and the beverage industry defines excellence, inspires loyalty and exemplifies leadership. The award will be presented to Fox at the WSWA convention in Orlando, Fla., on April 13.

Fox began working at his family’s distributorship in 1963 while still a senior at East Grand Rapids High School.  During his senior year of college, he took over the family business. Over the next 50 years, Fox focused on growing the business with a portfolio that today represents a large variety of craft, imported and premium beers, and wines.

Wirtz Beverage Group Announces New Leadership 

Danny Wirtz Headshot
Daniel Wirtz

Wirtz Beverage Group — a Chicago-based wholesale distributor of spirits, wine and beer — announced that Daniel Wirtz will assume the role of President, and Arthur Wirtz III the role of Chief Operating Officer, for the organization, which represents brands throughout its operations in the United States and Canada.

Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz, Chairman of parent Wirtz Corporation, will serve as Chairman of Wirtz Beverage Group.

Arthur Wirtz III

Danny Wirtz, 38, has served in multiple roles for the company since 2007, most recently as Executive Vice President, where he reorganized the company’s overall sales and marketing functions. Danny will oversee day-to-day operations of all Wirtz Beverage Group domestic and international functions and will report directly to the Chairman.

Art Wirtz, 46, a third generation family leader, assumes the role of Chief Operating Officerof Wirtz Beverage Group where he will oversee all corporate operations throughout their footprint. Art comes to the position from the role of Executive Vice President of Supply Chain and brings over 20 years of wholesale industry and company experience.

Infinium Spirits Announces New President

Infinium Spirits has announced that Steve Brecher has joined the company as president. In this newly created position, Brecher will provide leadership for all aspects of sales, marketing, and operations.

Mr. Brecher is an industry veteran with extensive experience building premium brands and businesses in the United States and overseas. In 1996, Brecher joined Diageo PLC, where he held increasingly senior marketing and sales roles, including: Brand Director for Guinness, Vice President of Marketing for Smirnoff, and General Manager for the Northeast United States. Brecher moved to London to lead the strategy team and deliver growth in Africa.

Since relocating to the United States in 2010, Brecher provided leadership for two private equity-owned companies. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer for TouchTunes Interactive Networks, and most recently served as the Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Today, a Texas-based juice and nutrition company.


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