Former Constellation Brands executive Marty Birkel has joined the board of directors at Cannabiniers, the cannabis company behind the Two Roots line of THC- and CBD-infused non-alcoholic craft beers.
Birkel, who officially departed Constellation in February, had most recently served as the president of the company’s craft and specialty division.
During his 20 years with Constellation, Birkel spent 7.5 years as the chief global sales officer for the company’s wine and spirits labels, which at the time generated $3 billion in revenue.
“In my 20 years at the forefront of the spirits industry, there have been few moments as significant as where we find ourselves today as the worlds of alcoholic beverages and cannabis merge,” Birkel said via a press release. “The innovators at Cannabiniers are truly at the forefront, and I’m thrilled to join them as a dynamic shift in the industry takes hold.”
In February, Cannabiniers acquired Colorado’s Dad & Dudes Breweria. The Denver-area brewery only produced 827 barrels of beer in 2017, according to the Brewers Association, but it gained national attention in 2016 when it became the first U.S. brewery to earn approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) for a CBD-infused beer.
In addition to the Dad & Dudes purchase, Cannabiniers is engaged in active conversations with numerous other potential sellers, according to Kevin Love, the company’s vice president of market activations.
Cannabiniers is looking to acquire about 500,000 barrels of brewing capacity for production of its 2.5 mg and 5 mg THC-infused brews.
While at Constellation Brands, Birkel led a $70 million capital project to expand production capabilities at Ballast Point Brewing’s Virginia facility. He also helped engineer Ballast Point’s taproom expansion strategy in markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
“Marty’s addition to the board will function as a key driver to support the expansion of our national brewery acquisitions and operations, allowing us to fully reach national targets ahead of plan,” Victor Jerez, Cannabiniers president and COO, said via the release.
In addition to the February hiring of Jerez — who departed William Grant & Sons last September and previously oversaw corporate strategy and M&A for Pernod Ricard — Cannabiniers recently added Brian Goldberg, a high-profile CPG executive who has invested in brands such as High Brew Coffee and Deep Eddy Vodka, and held numerous executive and board roles with Sweet Leaf Tea, Amplify Snacks, Kettle & Fire Bone Broth and Waterloo Sparkling Water, to its board.
Last November, the company appointed former PepsiCo president Michael Lorelli to its board of directors. It also hired former Green Flash brewmaster Kevin Barnes in late 2017.
A press release with additional details is included below.
20 Year Constellation Brands Executive, Marty Birkel, Joins Cannabiniers’ Board of Advisors
SAN DIEGO, (April 11, 2019) – Cannabiniers, a global cannabis brand management company, today announces Marty Birkel as the company’s newest board member. Former President of Ballast Point Brewery and twenty years of experience in global beer, wine, and spirits with Constellation Brands, Birkel brings decades of knowledge focused on building brands, managing aggressive market expansion, marketing, operations and hospitality in support of adult beverages.
“In my 20 years at the forefront of the spirits industry, there have been few moments as significant as where we find ourselves today as the worlds of alcoholic beverages and cannabis merge. The innovators at Cannabiniers are truly at the forefront, and I’m thrilled to join them as a dynamic shift in the industry takes hold,” said Marty Birkel.
During his 20 years with Constellation Brands, Birkel served as Chief Global Sales Officer- Wine and Spirits, President of Ballast Point Brewing, President of Constellation Spirits, and Executive Vice President of Barton Beers.
He led a $70 million capital project, which expanded brewing production to Virginia, optimized Ballast Point’s West Coast production footprint, and expanded restaurant/tasting rooms to Chicago, San Francisco and Disneyland. Over the past two years, Birkel was key in the Ballast Point acquisitions of Florida’s second largest craft beer company, Funky Buddha, and Four Corners, a Dallas based dynamic and bi-cultural Hispanic and Anglo craft brand.
“This represents another meaningful and strategic step in a series of moves that will further build our company’s Board of Directors and Advisors, enhancing strategic thinking, business integration, leadership, and brand strength,” said Victor Jerez, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cannabiniers. “Having held a variety of senior management positions and possessing well-versed knowledge of national and global beer, wine and spirits, Marty’s addition to the board will function as a key driver to support the expansion of our national brewery acquisitions and operations, allowing us to fully reach national targets ahead of plan.”
Cannabiniers continues to expand its advisory board and executive team with leaders who have a proven track record in the beverage space. Earlier this year, Cannabiniers announced the addition of Former President of PepsiCo-East, Michael Lorelli to its board.
For information about Cannabiniers’ full suite of brands, please visit: www.cannabiniers.com.
Cannabiniers, located in San Diego, CA, is a global cannabis brand management company, revolutionizing the cannabis industry with first to market, patented, safe, natural and fast acting infusion technology focusing on products that are healthy for the consumer and that positively impact the environment with products that will continue the mission of normalizing cannabis use.