People Moves: Brent Willis Named Interim CEO at Bucha, Q Drinks Hires Ted Roman

Dan MacCombie - RunaMacCombie Moves into Tech

Dan MacCombie, who along with Brown University classmate Tyler Gage founded the guayusa tea company Runa, has moved outside of food and beverage and into the tech world. As indicated by his LinkedIn profile, MacCombie has joined New York City non-profit Coalition for Queens (C4Q). On his user profile, MacCombie described his role as a managing director of C4Q Ventures one in which he’ll be “working to build a tech, work, and lifestyle hub in the heart of Queens that will be the center of the world’s tech + livelihood movement.”

MacCombie stepped down from from his day-to-day role as co-CEO at Runa in June of 2015, citing an interest to pursue outside passions and “[reimagine] the connections between communities and ecosystems.” MacCombie remains a member on Runa’s board.

Brent Willis Named Interim CEO at Bucha

Brent Willis has been named interim CEO at Bucha, the kombucha brand acquired by craft beer brewer American Brewing Company in April, 2015. Willis, the former chief commercial officer at Anheuser-Busch InBev and before that president of the Coca-Cola Company’s North Latin America division, will also serve as chief financial officer and as a director of the company. Meanwhile Neil Fallon, the former CEO of American Brewing has been given the newly created role of executive chairman of Bucha’s board of directors.

American Brewing Company was purchased by fellow Washington brewery Pacific Brewing in October. The deal saw saw the separation of the company’s alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as Bucha was not acquired in the deal and has continued to operate as an entirely non-alcoholic business.

Q Drinks Hires Ted Roman

Premium cocktail mixer brand Q Drinks, which recently completed an $11 million capital raise led by First Beverage Ventures, has hired Ted Roman as executive vice president of sales. Roman joins Q Drinks after eight years as senior vice president of sales for premium spirits company William Grant & Sons.

In a press release, Q Drinks founder and CEO Jordan Silbert called Roman “one of the most respected liquor industry executives in the United States” and called the hire “a game changer” for the company.” According to Silbert, sales of Q Drinks have grown by 40-50 percent annually since the company was founded in 2008, and now has revenues in excess of $10 million.

Tom Cardella Takes on New Role at Long Island Iced Tea

Six months after joining Long Island Iced Tea Corp.’s advisory board in October, 2015, Tom Cardella has been appointed to the company’s board of directors. Company CEO Phillip Thomas called Cardella “an invaluable member of our advisory board”, adding that he was excited to see the former president and CEO of Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft, import, and cider arm of beer giant MillerCoors, expand his role at the business.

Erik Elfstrum Takes on Role of CEO at LYFT

LYFT, maker of all-natural “clean caffeine” stir sticks, has named Erik Elfstrum as its CEO. In a press release announcing the hire, the company said the hire will see Elfstrum look to expand the brand’s existing footprint in more than 500 Barnes & Noble college booksellers to more college-focused retailers, resort casinos, hospitality and convenience markets, as well as online. Prior to joining LYFT, Elfstrum spent 21 years at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, most recently serving as district manager.