Project Juice Takes Aim At Off-Premise, Hires Leader of Wholesale Development

1fb51e23-67a4-4040-b4d8-4fec6216d5e2Project Juice, a San Francisco-based cold-pressed juice company, has announced the hire of Catherine Jirik as its new leader of wholesale development. Jirik, a Bay Area native, comes to the company after more than 20 years working in the hospitality and tourism industry in a variety of sales and marketing capacities.

Project Juice announced the news in a press release on Tuesday, in which CEO Susan Shields said the addition of Jirik – and the creation of the new position – arrives as part of Project Juice’s efforts to expand its wholesale business beyond its brick and mortar locations and the business’ continuing evolution from “from a cold pressed juice brand to a plant-powered nutrition brand. ”

“We are excited to bring on Catherine and her sales savvy to the growing team,” said Shields. “She will take a critical role in propelling wholesale business and increasing points of distribution so that more people can enjoy Project Juice.”

Reached via e-mail, Jirik indicated the keys to achieving such goals will be “[expanding] consumer awareness by building and sustaining quality partner relationships with several wholesale market segments,” pointing to on-demand delivery, foodservice and retail opportunities.

Project Juice, which counts First Beverage Ventures as one of its investors, is one of several California cold-pressed juice outfits pushing to break out beyond their juice bars into other distribution channels. In 2015 Los Angeles-based Juice Served Here and Moon Juice both announced plans to begin utilizing high pressure processing (HPP) to do so.

Such efforts haven’t been without challenges. In March of 2015, former ZICO CMO Bill Lange was brought on to spearhead similar efforts at Santa Monica-based Pressed Juicery, but left the company less than a year later.

Jirik’s hire is also the latest piece in Project Juice’s recent buildout of an executive leadership team. At the top of 2016, Shields, the former senior vice president, chief innovation officer and chief marketing officer at Jamba Juice, came aboard as the company’s first CEO. Then in April the company welcomed veteran chef and plant-based food expert Sascha Weiss as head of innovation.

“These actions are all about taking our brand to the next level and accelerating growth in a smart way,” Shields said of the hires. “Project Juice is evolving from a cold pressed juice brand to a plant-powered nutrition brand, and our full-menu stores have resonated with customers in a big way. Innovation will be a key driver of our success and we are thrilled that Sascha has joined our team with his wealth of experience in plant-based foods menu creation. Expanding our presence to wholesale channels is another important opportunity for growth and we are equally thrilled to now have Catherine to drive that effort.”

The company’s full press release can be found below:

SAN FRANCISCO (July 12, 2016) – With continued, marked growth propelling the company forward during the first half of 2016, Project Juice, the West Coast’s rapidly growing certified organic, non-GMO, cold-pressed juice and clean food company, is pleased to announce the creation of a new position within the company, and welcome its new leader of wholesale development, Catherine Jirik, to the team.

With more than two decades in the hospitality and tourism industry, Jirik brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience to the Project Juice team. Project Juice plans to expand its wholesale business, and Jirik will be instrumental in taking sales to the next level.

“We are excited to bring on Catherine and her sales savvy to the growing team,” said Susan Shields, Project Juice CEO. “She will take a critical role in propelling wholesale business, and increasing points of distribution so that more people can enjoy Project Juice.”

Jirik began her career with the prestigious Alex’s Catering, in the wine country of Napa Valley, Calif., where she developed a successful marketing program. She then worked for Taste, one of San Francisco’s premier catering companies, where she was successful in increasing annual sales volume year-after-year, as well as creating a roster of loyal clientele. She then moved to Park City, Utah, where she owned and operated a special event business, before returning to her Bay Area roots to work with Greenleaf Produce. There she worked with San Francisco’s top chefs and became a top category sales producer. She has a cornucopia of food knowledge – from seasonal menu designs to the latest cuisine trends. She holds degrees from the University of Utah and the California Culinary Academy. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and is an avid outdoorswoman, with amateur interests in gardening, canning, pickling, and apothecary.

“I’m excited to join the Project Juice team, as an advocate for eating healthy by way of seasonally available products that are both nourishing and delicious,” Jirik said. “By working with like-minded retailers, we hope to spur the growth of Project Juice’s wholesale business in order to bring that ethos to more customers who seek it.”