NEW YORK, N.Y. — Jim Clerkin, former CEO of the Americas for Moët Hennessy and Jim Beam, and Jeff Menashe, Founder and CEO of Demeter Advisory Group, the nation’s leading investment bank to the adult beverage industry, have unveiled their new company: Demeter & Co.
Taking cues from the Greek goddess of agriculture, Demeter & Co’s mission is simple and bold – to grow and develop global, digital-first adult beverage brands that are as authentically bold and expressive as the consumers who love them.
Industry leaders form new adult beverages company to mix up the traditional approach to building premium global brands.
Led by Clerkin, CEO, and Menashe, Executive Chairman, Demeter & Co will develop new adult beverage brands informed deeply by consumers and the cultural landscape – with the clear intention to mix up the industry’s approach towards building premium global brands.
With an insider’s understanding of the industry’s inefficiencies around route-to-market, in addition to how brands must modernize their engagement with consumers, Clerkin and Menashe are looking to not only develop new global brands but also the framework for doing so.
While the US-based company is new, its leadership team have a proven track record of building the industry’s leading global brands including: Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Moët Hennessy, Campari, Heineken, Aperol, Guinness, and Jim Beam, among many others.
And crucially, it will be the only team in the industry to blend the dynamic perspective of entrepreneurs and corporate brand stewards, investment banking and operations, as well as digital and field marketing across both US and global markets.
To ensure brands engage consumers nationally across all channels, Demeter & Co will align with leading distribution partners including Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits – the world’s preeminent distributor of beverage alcohol.
A long-term friend of Clerkin, Wayne Chaplin, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Glazer’s was the first partner to support the venture: “As a multi-generational, family-owned company that operates in 44 U.S. states, we are always looking for new and evolving adult beverage brands that not only connect and appeal to a diverse consumer, but also break the traditional mold when it comes to choice and experience.
“Clerkin and Menashe are mixing up the rules when it comes to brand relevancy. By identifying new products that reflect cultural movements, this dynamic pairing will set a new standard for how global brands are built with a 360-consumer lens. ”
Demeter & Co Origins
Clerkin and Menashe have long standing relationship which started when Menashe became M&A Advisor to Clerkin, as he looked to expand Moët Hennessy’s portfolio.
Working on deals such as Moët Hennessy’s acquisition of Woodinville Whiskey Company, the duo became friends based on their mutual trust for never compromising on fairness and quality, as well as a shared passion for building teams and global adult beverage brands.
Clerkin and Menashe have been able to witness first-hand how the relationship between consumer and brand is evolving, in part, through their joint involvement with ReserveBar – the largest e-commerce platform in the spirits industry. Changes within both the competitive landscape and the cultural mood sparked an idea – to become owners of a new generation of adult beverage brands.
“Covid-19 made us all re-evaluate what really matters in life. I was locked in an apartment in New York feeling increasingly frustrated, doing a lot of thinking – whilst at the same time all these great opportunities were arriving on my desk that I couldn’t move on because I didn’t have the autonomy to do so,” explained Jim Clerkin, Co-Founder of Demeter & Co.
“As I talked to Jeff, he was the first to have the idea of doing something completely new together. We saw an immediate opportunity to mix up the industry’s approach to developing global adult beverage brands, through a digital-first lens and by celebrating the real boldness and expressiveness of their consumers.
“The way our two world’s combine and complement each other, and the speed at which we can move compared to big committees and corporate organizations allows us to take a new approach that will mix up how our industry develops global brands.”
“There’s such a newness in terms of the cultural mood, how people connect to each other, consumer expectations of how brands need to speak to them and how brand communities want to be part of a larger movement. It presents so much opportunity in the adult beverage industry to build global brands that make positive impact,” continues Jeff Menashe, Co-Founder Demeter & Co.
“As of now, no one is fully leveraging the opportunity at scale across a portfolio of brands, as it is tough to do from the traditional approach to building brands. It requires a real posture to continuous learning as well as making positive impact. ”
Clerkin and Menashe are building a team unlike any other. To date, they have recruited 10 professionals, each of whom is recognized for their ability to impact the trajectory of global brands within their area of expertise.
Clerkin continues, “Jeff and I decided that we were only going to work with the very best talent at Demeter & Co. Not just in stature and title, but people we trust to pivot from the traditional corporate structure to entrepreneurs and owners leading with independent thought, unbelievable inner drive and a real passion for building global brands through the power of people and collaboration.”
Demeter & Co will launch its first brand into the US market in late September 2021. Significantly, the company will be introducing the UK’s leading no and low alcohol spirits brand through wholesale as well as direct-to-consumer. Clerkin and Menashe are especially excited to get out of the gate to bring the brand’s fresh take on tequila, one of the fastest growing categories in the US.
In addition to founders Jeff Menashe, and Jim Clerkin, Demeter & Co’s team include Jacques Mantz, chief financial officer and former global chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Moët Hennessy, Rudy Costello, head of sales and former global chief executive officer, Stoli Group, Lana Buchanan, chief brand officer and former VP Beyond Beer, Anheuser Busch, Stephanie Olmstead, head of ecommerce and former director, commercial strategy and transformation, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Richard Hurst, head of strategy and former head of strategy / M&A, Moët Hennessy Americas, Laurence Wolfe, head of operations and former senior vice president operations and chief supply chain officer, Heineken USA, Elizabeth Lee, head of financial planning and analysis and former manager, Business Transformation Group, Mattel, Amee Lile-Schrock, controller and former vice president and controller of finance, Sacramento Kings LP, Linda King, accounting director and former senior accounting manager, Campari America LLC.
About Demeter & Co
Established in 2021, Demeter & Co is an adult beverage company co-founded by Jeff Menashe, Founder and CEO of Demeter Advisory Group, the leading investment bank to premium adult beverage brands in the US, and Jim Clerkin, former CEO of the Americas for Moët Hennessy and Jim Beam.
Demeter & Co develops global adult beverage brands that make an impact as much as the bold and expressive consumers who love them.
Demeter & Co will develop wine, spirits, champagne, ready-to-drinks, low and no alcohol, and cannabis-infused drinks as part of its portfolio of brands.
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