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News Briefs for January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016

•Breakthru Beverage Group—the new joint venture recently formed by Charmer Sunbelt and Wirtz Beverage—has made a series of appointments within its sales and commercial leadership team. Breakthru has named Bob Catalani as executive vice president, sales and marketing (overseeing national accounts and suppliers like Brown-Forman, Gallo and Proximo); Kevin Roberts as executive vice president, sales and marketing (handling fine wine and craft efforts and suppliers such as William Grant, Rémy Martin, Stoli Group, Kobrand, Tito’s, MillerCoors and Heineken); and Kevin O’Neil as executive vice president, Diageo and Moët Hennessy. Meanwhile, Breakthru has tapped Brian Albenze as executive vice president, commercial, and Maggie Lapcewich as executive vice president, integration. Concurrently, the company has appointed four regional presidents, including Joe Marotta (West), David Lockie (Midwest), Kevin Dunn (East) and Bob Drinon (South).

•Svedka is looking to build off the success of its recent innovation efforts with next month’s launch of a new flavor, Cucumber Lime. Cucumber Lime ($12.99 a 750-ml.) marks the 13th flavor for Svedka, which hit 4.2 million cases on 3% growth last year, according to Impact Databank. The new offering is intended to tap the recent popularity of cool, crisp cocktails such as the Moscow Mule and Gin and Tonic, as well as capitalize on flavor trends found within Asian and Mexican cuisine.

•ROK Drinks, the beverage division of consumer products group ROK Stars, has inked a new distribution agreement with California’s Statewide Beverage Company for its ABK Beer brand. Effective immediately, Los Angeles-based Statewide Beverage will begin handling the Bavarian beer range—which comprises Hell, Edel and Rose expressions—throughout Southern California. Established by Patrón Tequila co-founder John Paul DeJoria and entrepreneur Jonathan Kendrick, ROK Stars acquired a majority stake in Aktien Brauerei’s ABK brand in 2013.

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