People Moves: North American Breweries Announces New CEO; Chris Steffanci Named CEO of Columbia Distributing

NAB Names New CEO

North American Breweries this week announced that Kris Sirchio, who has served as CEO since 2013, would step down.

Adrian Lachowski, the general manager of Florida Ice and Farm Co.’s (FIFCO) Central American beer and FMB business, will take over as CEO in early February, the company said via a press release.

FIFCO owns North American Breweries, whose portfolio includes the Genesee, Magic Hat, Portland Brewing, Pyramid and Seagram’s Escapes brands.

“Under Kris’ leadership, NAB has made significant progress integrating our triple bottom line strategy,” Ramón Mendiola, CEO of FIFCO, said in the release. “He improved the company’s financial performance, transformed our supply chain, and engaged our employees while increasing our community impact and improving our environmental footprint each year.”

The switch comes as FIFCO plans to “simplify the company structure by aligning NAB’s practice areas to FIFCO.”

“To move in this direction, we’ve selected an innovative leader who has proven experience at FIFCO,” Mendiola said. “He has spent more than two decades in the industry, and for the past five years has transformed our beer and flavored malt beverage business in Central America.”

Prior to joining FIFCO, Lachowski spent over 20 years in the beverage industry, most notably with Anheuser-Busch InBev, the release stated.

Chris Steffanci Takes Over as Columbia CEO

Chris Steffanci has officially been named the CEO of Columbia Distributing, one of the largest beverage wholesalers in the U.S.

The news comes about 20 months after Columbia announced that former CEO Gregg Christiansen, who will continue to serve as board chairman, would retire.

“I’m stepping into this role at a crucial time in the beverage distribution business, and I could not be more excited,” Steffanci said via a press release. “As the complexity of the business changes, it is more important than ever to have a clear vision and focused strategy that will allow us to realize long-term growth. With our incredibly talented leadership team and support of our suppliers, we’ll continue to be aggressive in our approach to help reshape the industry in the most competitive environment we’ve ever encountered.”

According to the release, Steffanci’s 20-year career in the beverage business includes stints with Pabst Brewing Company, where he was COO, as well as Heineken USA, Diageo-Guinness, and E. & J. Gallo Winery. He joined Columbia Distributing in 2012.

Beer Institute Names Dan Roth as Senior Director of Public Affairs

Beer Institute communications director Dan Roth has been named the senior director of public affairs for the trade organization.

Roth, who joined the lobbying group in 2016 following stints with Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, was instrumental in helping the Beer Institute lobby for federal excise tax relief for all brewers and beer importers, a press release noted.

“Dan is a thoughtful communications professional with a track record of success in the beer industry, communications, and in government at the federal, state and local levels,” Jim McGreevy, CEO of the BI, said via the release. “His continued contributions will be critical in our ongoing efforts to educate lawmakers, members of the media, and the American public about the more than 2.2 million Americans whose jobs depend on our nation’s vibrant beer industry.”

Drizly Expands Leadership Team

Online alcohol marketplace company Drizly this week announced a trio of executive hires, including the appointment of a CMO, CFO and “Head of People Operations.”

Scott Braun, who was most recently the CMO at Auto Europe Group and previously held the global marketing director position for Gillette, has been named the new chief marketing officer.

Joe Grabmeier — who held finance positions with Apple, Inc., Quattro Wireless, Arnold Worldwide and most recently Adelphic, a Time Inc. subsidiary — has been named chief financial officer.

Gabriela McManus, who previously served as the executive director at Intelligent.ly, a leadership development company, will “own HR at Drizly” and be tasked with making the company the “best place to work in Boston.”

“Scott, Joe and Gabriela bring precisely the experience and discipline that will set the stage for sustained growth and operational excellence at Drizly,” Drizly CEO Nick Rellas said via a press release. “At the same time, they bring a big, healthy dose of energy and fresh perspective that help fast-moving technology companies like Drizly thrive.”

Other Notes:

Dan Wandel, the former principal of market research firm IRI Worldwide’s beverage alcohol client insights division, has joined Mark Anthony Brands as the senior director of category insights. In this role, Wandel will help identify marketplace insights and work with the company’s sales and marketing teams, as well as distributors and retailers.

Bill Manley, who spent 10 years with Sierra Nevada Brewing and most recently served as the company’s new product development manager, has joined Minnesota’s Surly Brewing as the director of brand development.

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