Mark Anthony Brands’ long-time senior vice president marketing Sanjiv Gajiwala will depart the maker of White Claw and the Mike’s Hard Lemonade franchise at the end of the month, according to a memo president Phil Rosse sent to wholesalers. The news was first reported by Beer Business Daily.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce Sanjiv Gajiwala, our passionate marketing leader, has made the decision to transition to his next leadership opportunity,” Rossee wrote.“Sanjiv has accepted a senior executive level role, with a leading multinational CPG food organization, where he will oversee all strategy, innovation, consumer insights, creative and marketing activation.”
Gajiwala joined Mark Anthony Brands in October 2011 as the director of marketing activation for Mike’s Hard Lemonade, according to his LinkedIn profile. He rose through the ranks, being named vice president of marketing in November 2014 and was promoted to his current position in August 2016.
“I have had the pleasure of working alongside Sanjiv for the past eight years and I am grateful for his loyalty, energy, resiliency, results and most importantly his friendship,” Rosse wrote. “His openness to feedback and his commitment to his own personal and professional development has been an example to all of us at Mark Anthony.”
After Gajiwala departs on July 31, the marketing leadership team will report to Rosse while Mark Anthony seeks a successor.
“Given the pace and continued exponential growth in our business, we are moving quickly to bring on board an extremely capable senior-level marketing executive who will be aligned with our culture, values and ways of working,” Rosse wrote.
During the first half of 2020, Mark Anthony’s depletions (sales to retailers) have increased 125%, Rosse wrote. Last year, the company’s depletions increased 90%.
“While White Claw Hard Seltzer remains at the core of our accelerating performance, growing +251% YTD,” he said. “All brands in our portfolio continue to show incredible growth.”
Year-to-date through mid-June, dollar sales of the White Claw brand family are up 315.5%, to $800.1 million, in off-premise multi-outlet grocery and convenience stores tracked by market research firm IRI. Over the past 52 weeks, White Claw dollar sales have increased 325.5%, to $1.4 billion, and the White Claw brand family is the No. 7 best-selling brand family in the beer category.
Mark Anthony’s other top brands, Mike’s Harder Lemonade and Mike’s Hard Lemonade, are both up double digits in multi-outlet food and convenience stores. Off-premise dollar sales of Mike’s Harder Lemonade, the 8% ABV version of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, have increased 15.1%, to $169.4 million, year-to-date, according to IRI. The original, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, trails slightly, with year-to-date dollar sales of $145.8 million, an increase of 30.2%.
To support skyrocketing White Claw sales, Mark Anthony has two new production facilities in its pipeline — one in Hillside, New Jersey, that’s “completed and producing,” and one in Glendale, Arizona, which the company expects to be online later this summer. Mark Anthony has also added a dedicated high-speed canning line to Cold Spring Brewing’s contract brewing and co-packing facility in Cold Spring, Minnesota.
“Until the day arrives when supply exceeds demand for the Mark Anthony portfolio,” the company will continue allocating its core products to wholesalers, Rosse wrote.