SOUND Names New Sales Team Hires
Sparkling tea maker SOUND has added two new sales team members in preparation for omni-channel expansion, the company told BevNET last week.
Suzanne Cox joined SOUND this month as Director of Growth for corporate and food service accounts. Cox comes to the beverage company from vending company Canteen One where she served as client services director handling corporate accounts including Facebook, Palo Alto Networks, and Uber. Prior to that, Cox spent 12 years with food service provider Aramark in a number of roles, including national account manager.
Speaking with BevNET, SOUND co-founder Salim Najjar said corporate and food service accounts, including LinkedIn and Lyft, have acted as the brand’s fastest growing channels.
“We like to call it an incredible brand building channel outside of retail and a way to get our product into our target market’s hands while still economically making money,” Najjar said. “Suzanne has a lot of experience in that corporate food service channel which is exactly what we wanted and needed.”
According to Najjar, SOUND last month signed a contract with Foodbuy, a program operated by Compass Group that incentivizes partner brands for affiliated distributors, such as Canteen.
“Foodbuy is an essential piece of the puzzle, but in the end the last and most important piece is the relationships,” Najjar said. “So just because Canteen and all these distributors are now being incentivized through Foodbuy to sell our product, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to push it. They still want to hear from us, they want to know about us, they want to know about our product and that’s why bringing on Suzanne is really something that excites us. She has those relationships and has been in this industry for 15 years in this channel and really has been working on that distribution side with Compass.”
In addition to Cox, SOUND has also hired former GT’s Living Foods region manager Andrew Ford to serve as Eastern division sales manager for the company’s retail business.
Based in New York, Ford, who will begin with SOUND on July 22, has more than a decade of beverage industry sales experience, including regional sales management positions with Runa, Guayaki, and Honest Tea. According to Najjar, Ford has extensive experience working with SOUND’s current DSD distributor, Dora’s Naturals.
According to Najjar, the New York-based distributor is primarily focused on expanding SOUND’s canned tea-infused sparkling water line. In retail channels, he added, SOUND has taken a “mile deep, inch wide” approach of solely targeting the New York tri-state market.
“We wanted to bring someone on board who could help manage and grow that relationship,” Najjar said. “Just in talking to [Dora’s management], Andrew was one of the most well respected guys on their side with their whole team because he’s been working with them for the past eight years.”
SodaStream CEO Resigns
SodaStream International Ltd. CEO Daniel Birnbaum will step down as CEO effective September 1, handing leadership of the PepsiCo-owned beverage appliance maker to deputy CEO Eyal Shohat effective August 1, the company announced today. Birnbaum will remain with the company as chairman.
Birnbaum’s resignation comes nearly a year after PepsiCo announced it had agreed to purchase SodaStream for $3.2 billion. In a letter sent to employees, Birnbaum wrote that PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta asked him to remain as chairman.
“Eyal has been a partner to me and a key driver of our success, both leading up to and since our integration with PepsiCo,” Birnbaum said of his successor in a press release. “Equally important, he shares my passion and commitment to offer the world a great-tasting sparkling water while reducing the use of single-use plastic. I have no doubt the company will continue to thrive under his leadership.”
Rise Brewing Co. Announces New Director of Sales
Nitro cold brew coffee maker Rise Brewing Co. has hired Abby Redick as director of sales, the company announced this month. She will work remotely from her home in Asheville, North Carolina.
Redick comes to the company from Health-Ade Kombucha, where she spent three years, most recently as the senior regional account manager for the East and Central regions, where she handled key retail accounts including Wegmans, Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, Lowes Foods, Giant Eagle, and H-E-B. Prior to Health-Ade, Reddick co-founded and served as CEO of Wags & Weights, a lifestyle clothing and supplements brand for dog owning fitness enthusiasts.
“After working for Health-Ade Kombucha for a little over three years, I was ready to make a jump back into the brand building phase again and luckily the stars aligned with Rise,” Redick said in a press release. “As Rise continues to grow as a company, being remote-centric allows us to broaden the pool of talent of people we want to join the Rise team. And for me personally, I am thankful that I didn’t have to uproot my life from the beautiful mountains of Asheville, N.C.”
Based in New York, Rise has embraced a cross-country remote work culture for key leadership positions. Last year, CEO Grant Gyesky moved to Bend, Oregon to help the company oversee its West Coast expansion. COO Melissa Kalimov said in the release that the company’s “remote culture” has allowed the brand to “go deep and be local in markets across the country.”
Caliva Plots New Cannabis Growth Blueprint with Jay-Z
Cannabis consumer products company Caliva, which also owns plant-based beverage maker Zola, has entered a multi-year partnership with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, appointing the Grammy-winning rap star as its Chief Brand Strategist. According to the company, Carter will “play a crucial role driving creative direction, outreach efforts and strategy for the brand.”
Carter will also focus on outreach efforts to former convicts who served prison time for cannabis-related charges. According to Caliva, the company will undertake advocacy, job training and workforce development initiatives for people returning to civilian life following incarceration.
“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Carter said in a press release. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos makes them the best partner for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way.”