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Crafthouse Cocktail Line Accelerates Expansion Plans, Hires National Sales Manager

October 1, 2013

Crafthouse Cocktails, an artisanal line of pre-mixed bottled cocktails launched just two months ago, is ramping up plans to expand beyond its base in Chicago with a key sales appointment. Robert Slawinski, a sales and marketing veteran who has worked in a variety of positions with E&J Gallo and Southern Wine & Spirits over the past three decades, has been named national sales manager for Crafthouse effective immediately.

Founded on the recipes of award-winning Chicago mixologist Charles Joly, Crafthouse had planned to concentrate on the Midwest for a year before considering expansion. But sales have exploded since Crafthouse received a favorable mention in a Wall Street Journal article two weeks ago, and Slawinski said the expansion timetable was shortened for competitive reasons.

“What we’re doing is creating a whole new category—craft cocktails,” Slawinski says. “Our initial sell-through has been phenomenal, and everything is happening very fast. We’re aware that an artisanal brand starting a new category like this can get copied pretty quickly by the big spirits players. We’re getting calls from around the country for our product. The brand’s creators lacked experience in dealing with out-of-state distributors, but I have that experience. My goal is to take the product to a warm-weather market like Florida first, and then probably New York and California.”

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