WhistlePig, the No. 1 distiller in the fast growing, ultra-premium and luxury rye whiskey category,1 announces that it has appointed two new board members and made several key hires to the company.
Marty Birkel, former President at Constellation Brands, alongside Reza Sultan, Principal, of BDT Capital Partners, join WhistlePig’s Board of Managers.
In addition, Roland van Bommel, Chairman of the Board of Managers at WhistlePig, will retire from the board. WhistlePig expresses its gratitude for the tremendous efforts by Roland over the last ten years as a highly valued expert and industry advisor to the company. In WhistlePig’s early days, Roland served as interim CEO in 2016 and 2017, then as Chairman, after successfully transitioning the interim CEO responsibilities to Jeff Kozak. Roland’s experience as CEO of Maxxium and William Grant, building route to markets and brands like Glenfiddich and Hendrick’s, was invaluable to WhistlePig as the company worked to build a premier whiskey business over the last decade. Mr. van Bommel remains a shareholder in the Company.
John Esposito will assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Managers and bring his experience of 40 years from Moet Hennessy, Bacardi, Stoli and most recently at the High West Distillery. Co-founder Wilco Faessen, Chris Evison and John Rhea will continue on as key members of the Board of Managers.
Furthermore, WhistlePig has appointed Barnaby Hawken as Chief Sales Officer. Barnaby, who has worked across the beverage industry for 20 years, was most recently the National Sales Manager of Swish Beverages, before working for Pernod Ricard, The Wine Group and Allied Beverage. Barnaby will manage WhistlePig’s regional brand chiefs and help grow the brand domestically and abroad.
WhistlePig is also pleased to announce the hiring of Jason Newell as Chief Marketing Officer. Newell is the former Chief of Marketing at Rossingol Group North America where his career spanned 25-years, overseeing brand communications, marketing, product launches and events for the group’s award-winning portfolio of brands. At WhistlePig, Newell will focus on building upon WhistlePig’s existing marketing footprint domestically and internationally via events, media partnerships and content creation collaborations.
“WhistlePig is thrilled to add Marty and Reza to our board of managers, and also welcome Barnaby and Jason to our in-house executive management team. They each bring a unique skill set to the company, which we know will allow us to grow the brand considerably both in the U.S. and internationally over the coming years. I, along with the Board of Managers, would also like to thank Roland for his considerable effort and oversight to help the company achieve its current success,” says WhistlePig CEO Jeff Kozak.
(1) Ultra-premium and luxury rye category defined as all rye whiskies in the U.S. sold at $75 or higher per 0.75L bottle at retail (Source: IWSR 2016)