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Breakthru Beverage Group Strengthens National Accounts Focus with Key Strategic Hires

Posted on September 12, 2019

New York, N.Y.—Today, Breakthru Beverage Group announced it has bolstered its National Accounts' Leadership Team with the promotion of Gus Bozzo to Executive Vice President, National Accounts, a newly-elevated position reporting directly to COO E. Lloyd Sobel, and the appointment of four senior leaders reporting to Gus. The newly-expanded team allows the company to drive an increased focus on retail, on-premise, category development and national account client services. Today, national retail and on-premise customers account for nearly 30% of Breakthru’s overall beverage alcohol sales nationally.

“The investment in and expansion of our National Accounts team allows us to strengthen our position in a consolidating and demand-driven environment and establish a nimbler and more efficient service model across our North American footprint,” said Greg Baird, President and CEO of Breakthru Beverage Group. " This includes deeper channel and customer focus, enhanced trade marketing, compliance and pricing management, e-tail capabilities, increased data and robust analytical capabilities. By better adapting to the changing market dynamics, we will drive incremental value for our suppliers and customers.”

Breakthru’s strategic moves are aimed to create a deeper customer focus through strategies that drive transformation from selling products to selling total beverage solutions and leveraging data to expand insights and reach. These leaders are knowledgeable and have significant industry experience, demonstrating Breakthru’s commitment to increased support and resources to help suppliers and customers achieve higher levels of performance.

New to Breakthru, Ezra Henson will serve as Vice President, National Accounts Category Development where he will lead the development and implementation of Breakthru’s 2020 Category Strategy and organizational design. Previously, Ezra spent 10 years with Constellation Brands most recently serving as Senior Director in Category Leadership overseeing the Walmart and Sam’s Club accounts for Constellation’s beer, wine and spirits portfolio.

Joining the National Accounts team from within Breakthru, Cristina Desmond will serve as Vice President, National Accounts Retail. In this role she will oversee a team of national account directors and managers to develop and execute growth strategies with suppliers and customers. Cristina has been with Breakthru (via Charmer Sunbelt) since 2002 and most recently served as Vice President, Marketing, Sales & Promotions for Breakthru Beverage Pennsylvania.

Also new to Breakthru, Mike Maihen will serve as Breakthru’s Vice President, National Accounts On- Premise where he will guide strategy and sales efforts to grow volume and value share. Mike has spent the last 25 years with Brown Forman where he has held leadership roles with increasing responsibility including Director of Retail Field Sales – U.S. National Accounts and Division Portfolio Manager.

Critical to Breakthru’s future growth and advancement with suppliers, customers and ever-changing consumer demands, Chris Houk will serve as Vice President, National Accounts Client Services. He will be responsible for leading the trade marketing, supplier digital platform, customer analytics and compliance across National Accounts. Chris assumes this position from within Breakthru where he served as Director of Sales in Corporate Chains for Breakthru Illinois United Division. Chris has more than 15 years of experience in the beverage alcohol industry including several years with Diageo before joining Breakthru Beverage Illinois in 2014.

“We are excited to bolster our team with a significant increase in resourcing and further build out of specialization in a number of key strategic areas,” added E. Lloyd Sobel, Breakthru’s Chief Operating Officer, “Combining expertise with market-based specialization helps us ensure we are driving success for customers nationally and locally with leading execution and compliance. We continue to make major investments in our people along with analytics, data and technology to enhance and accelerate overall business performance for Breakthru and our partners.”

About Breakthru Beverage Group
Breakthru Beverage Group is one of the leading alcohol wholesalers in the United States and the largest broker in Canada representing a full total beverage alcohol portfolio of spirits, wine and beer. Across all markets, Breakthru aligns a nimble and insightful approach to sales, marketing and operations. Family ownership is active in the business and committed to being stewards of heritage and champions of innovation. For more information, visit

Region: New York
Job Function: Executive Vice President, National Accounts

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