People Moves: Steele Joins High Brew Coffee, Ricks Segues from Peet’s to Noah’s Bagels, Project Juice Adds CEO

Andy Steele

Andy Steele

Andy Steele Tapped to Lead High Brew Coffee’s C-Store Strategy

High Brew Coffee has brought on Andy Steele as its vice president of sales – small format. Steele will head up sales efforts for the cold brew coffee company in convenience and drug stores. A former executive with the Coca-Cola Co. and Glaceau, Steele has extensive beverage sales experience in both retail channels.

From 2005 to 2009, he oversaw C-store sales efforts for vitaminwater, later becoming Coca-Cola North America’s vice president of business development for small format/Target/Supervalu. He’s also held senior management positions with Store 24 and the Shell Oil Company.

In 2011 Steele founded Anonymous Consulting & Sales, a firm focused on “assisting new to market and start up brands on strategy, channel architecture and launch plans,” according to his LinkedIn profile. Anonymous clients included Krave Jerky, Pretzel Crisps and First Aid Shot Therapy. Steele has put his consulting work on hiatus and is now “100 percent” focused on High Brew, he told BevNET.

High Brew is currently sold in convenience stores on the West Coast, Texas and parts of the Northeast. Steele is aiming to expand placement of the brand in those regions, albeit taking a slow and steady approach to new distribution. He’s primarily focused on getting High Brew into the “right accounts at the right time.”

“You don’t want to go too fast, too soon, before consumers know what cold brew is all about and how High Brew is different,” Steele said. “You want to get into those influencer accounts that are going to amplify the brand. So we’re going to walk before we run, and then we’re going to run really fast.”


Tyler Ricks

Tyler Ricks Takes the Reins at Noah’s Bagels

After nearly two years as the chief marketing officer for Peet’s Coffee, Tyler Ricks has been named president of Noah’s Bagels. It’s somewhat of an internal move for Ricks: both Peet’s, a premium coffee roaster and retailer, and Noah’s, part of the Caribou Coffee Company/Einstein Noah group, are majority owned by JAB Holding Co.

In an email to BevNET, Ricks said that it was Caribou/Einstein CEO Mike Tattersfield who approached him about making the move to serve as president of Noah’s.

“[It was] hard to leave Peet’s because I love the brand and the company, but this is a great opportunity to apply my entrepreneurial background to Noah’s,” Ricks said.

Ricks also noted that it’s “great to move into a general manager position again.” Prior to joining Peet’s, he was the CMO and vice president of sales for baby food company Plum Inc. and founded Yumnuts Naturals, a healthy snacking company that was sold in 2013 to Healthy Brand Collective. Ricks has also held senior leadership positions with Bear Naked and PepsiCo.

Former Jamba Juice Executive Named CEO of Project Juice

Susan Shields

Susan Shields

Project Juice, a retailer of organic, cold-pressed juices and raw foods, has hired its first CEO. Susan Shields, a 25-year veteran of the food and beverage industry, comes to Project Juice a few months after she departed juice and smoothie chain Jamba Juice where she was an executive for six years.

Shields began her career at Jamba Juice as the company’s vice president of consumer products and licensing, and became Jamba’s CMO three years later. Her role evolved to chief innovation officer and head of international marketing. In July,2015, Shields co-founded Pluot Consulting, an advisory firm that offers “CMO level support” to natural and organic companies.

At Project Juice, Shields will be responsible for “setting company culture and implementing a unified vision, and to “raise and allocate capital to support continued company growth,” according to a company release. In an interview with the San Francisco Business Journal, Shields said that she views significant “untapped” opportunity for Project Juice, particularly in its food offerings.

“I see it going well beyond juice and providing plant-based nutritional products and being a leader in plant based nutrition, which is a true trend,” she told the Business Journal.

Project Juice was founded in 2012 by Greg and Rachel Malsin, Devon Briger, Marra St. Clair and Lori Kenyon Farley. First Beverage Group, an investment and advisory firm, acquired a stake in the San Francisco-based company in 2014. Last year, Project Juice which owns a manufacturing facility in South San Francisco, merged with Ritual Wellness, a retailer of cold-pressed juices in the L.A. market. Project Juice now operates nine retail locations throughout the Bay Area and Southern California. It also wholesales its products on a limited scale.

Long Island Iced Tea Hires Former National Sales Director for AriZona Beverages

Joseph Caramele has been named vice president of national sales & marketing – non-alcohol division for Long Island Iced Tea Corp. Caramele has been with Arizona Beverages USA for nine years and was the company’s executive national sales director for the past five. His role included management of an 85-person team and 100 accounts with annual retail sales that surpassed $850 million, according to a company release.

At Long Island Iced Tea, he will be responsible for developing and overseeing the company’s strategic growth into national retail accounts.

“We have been working hard to transform Long Island Iced Tea into a multi-beverage alcohol and non-alcohol company – building a best-in-class team that will help us win market leadership in our industry,” said Philip Thomas, CEO, Long Island Iced Tea Corp. “Joseph brings substantial experience and expertise, which we are thrilled to leverage as we look to execute on our expansion efforts and build our national presence.”