Ex-Miller VP Named Central Standard Craft Distillery CCO

Central Standard Craft Distillery Cofounders Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan announce a strategic C-level new hire. Local executive Jim Kanter joins the distillery teams as Chief Commercial Officer. Kanter delivers more than 15-years of hands-on industry experience to the newly created role.

Most recently, Kanter held the same title at Sprecher Brewing Company. He also spent 14-plus-years at MillerCoors, where Jim was the General Manager of Wisconsin and Vice President of Commercial Operations. “Pat and I adhere to the business philosophy that you always hire people smarter that you,” said Hughes. “Jim brings Central Standard hands-on, real-world experience at the highest level of our industry. He instantly makes us smarter in the sales-and-growth areas of our business.”

Along with his commercial experience, Kanter is also highly involved in Milwaukee. He is chairman of the board of the Wisconsin Center District, which encompasses the Wisconsin Convention Center, Miller High Life Theater and UWM Panther Arena. Jim also serves on the board for VISIT Milwaukee and Discovery World, as well as the advisory board to Donald Driver’s Driven to Achieve Foundation.

“Jim and his philanthropic mindset are a natural fit with our local-helping-local commitment to the community,” McQuillan said. “Jim shares our dedication to making Milwaukee the best it can be.”

Kanter was candid when asked about his new role. “I’ve known Pat and Evan for years and have always admired their entrepreneurial-business approach, as well as what they’ve accomplished in such a short period of time,” Jim said. “When we started talking, I realized that growing sales for this dynamic craft distillery at this pivotal time in Central Standard’s growth trajectory was not only an incredible opportunity, it would be a dream job for me.”

Regarding his new team, Kanter had nothing but praise. “We have a smart and scrappy sales team already in place here at Central Standard,” Jim said. “They’re hungry to continue to grow and expand the business. I am excited to see where we can take the commercial side of Central Standard together.”

Kanter holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications from Michigan State University and an MBA in International Business and Marketing from DePaul University. Jim, his wife Molly and their four children live in Fox Point, Wis.

About Central Standard

Central Standard Craft Distillery, a small batch, craft distillery in Milwaukee, handcrafts award-winning, bourbon, whiskey and vodka from locally sourced ingredients. In 2019, Cofounders Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan took over the Wisconsin Leather Building, at 320 E. Clybourn St. in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. Once renovated, the building will become the Central Standard Experience, complete with a restaurant, bar, tour operation, tasting facility, private-events space and a rooftop.

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