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Exclusive: Hotaling & Co. Names Dan Leese As New President And CEO

October 2, 2019

San Francisco-based distiller and spirits importer Hotaling & Co. has tapped industry veteran Dan Leese as its new president and CEO, SND has learned. Leese fills the role previously held by Dennis Carr, who left the company earlier this year.

Leese’s background includes executive positions at Brown-Forman and Beringer Blass Wine Estates (now Treasury Wine Estates). In 2010, he became an entrepreneur, launching V2 Wine Group, a sales, marketing, and production company in Sonoma, California that’s since been sold to Delicato Family Wines.

At Hotaling, Leese reports to the company’s board of directors, whose chairman is Philip Bowman, the former CEO of Allied Domecq. The other board members include Hotaling founder Tony Foglio, ex-Campari America chairman Gerry Ruvo, and Berry Bros. & Rudd senior executives Edward Rudd and Emily Rae.

The Hotaling portfolio currently totals around 225,000 cases. Agency brands include Japanese whisky Nikka, whose Nikka From The Barrel label was named Whisky Advocate’s 2018 “Whisky of the Year.” Other whiskies include Taiwanese label Kavalan, as well as Dingle from Ireland, and the Corby Northern Border Collection from Canada. Outside the whisk(e)y space, the key imports are Hine Cognac and the Luxardo liqueur brand. As for Hotaling’s owned brands, the two main franchises are the Old Potrero single malt whiskey range and Junipero gin. Leese hopes to expand on the portfolio’s platform, noting that “Scotch whisky, in particular, is a big opportunity.”

Leese added that his focus also will be on bolstering efforts in the trade channels. “We’ll need to go deeper into national accounts, both on- and off-premise,” he said. “V2 had a somewhat similar model to Hotaling, but on the wine side. Having been involved with the three-tier system for 35 years, I bring knowledge of the distribution tier, particularly regarding our biggest partners, Southern Glazer’s, RNDC, and Horizon.”

Hotaling & Co. was founded in 1993 as Anchor Distilling Co., and changed its name to Hotaling in 2018 after selling its Anchor Brewing division to Sapporo Holdings for $85 million. The company subsequently began scouting sites for a new distillery and visitor center. At press time, Hotaling was finalizing the acquisition of a new site in San Francisco, with a build-out of the distillery and visitor center expected to happen next year.—David Fleming

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