Wirtz Beverage Canada officially launched July 2 establishing the country’s largest brokerage model in the beverage business. Wirtz Beverage will serve as the exclusive national broker for the Diageo beer, wine and spirits portfolio in Canada, in an agreement announced in March 2014. To support the new business, the company has hired more than 100 Canadian employees and appointed its leadership team, under the direction of John Donohue, Wirtz Beverage Canada SVP and GM.
“This is a huge milestone for us as we expand to an international footprint and help to bring a new model to the Canadian beverage industry,” said Julian Burzynski, EVP Wirtz Beverage Group. “We’ve spent a number of months building the team, establishing relationships with our customers and aligning priorities with Diageo. By combining our sales execution expertise with the knowledge of our new team, we are extremely excited about the future and the many opportunities that lie ahead.”
The new leadership team will lead these priorities and the company’s work throughout Canada. Regional Directors will manage sales consultants and lead local initiatives in their respective region while the Trade Development lead will oversee programing to enhance execution. The qualified group of new Wirtz Beverage Canada leaders includes:
Martin Laverdure, Regional Director (Quebec/Eastern region): A key part of the Diageo Canada team for the past ten years, Martin Laverdure is knowledgeable on all aspects of the marketplace and Diageo portfolio. Most recently, he served as Regional Director overseeing total sales and supply process for Diageo Canada’s Mid-West territory.
David Prodanovic, Regional Director (B.C./Yukon region): Skilled in customer focused sales and marketing, David Prodanovic previously served as Regional Director for the B.C./Yukon region for Diageo Canada. In his new role, David will remain focused on generating solutions through strategic planning and channel management.
Kim Arnold, Regional Director (Alberta/Midwest region): A talented and results-driven senior management professional, Kim has more than 20 years of experience in beverage sales. Prior to joining Wirtz Beverage Canada, Kim was Regional Sales Manager for Cott Beverages, leading its sales and marketing objectives for Western Canada.
Patrick Robertson, Regional Director (Ontario): Accountable for the sales team in the Ontario region, Patrick Robertson transitions from a similar role he held with Diageo Canada. A veteran of the industry, Patrick brings regional and portfolio expertise to his new role with Wirtz Beverage Canada.
Lorraine Ventresca, Director, Trade Development: Leading the company’s national trade development efforts will be Lorraine Ventresca. Lorraine joins Wirtz Beverage Canada from Diageo Canada where she held positions such as Director, Customer Marketing, and most recently, Director, Sales Capability & Development, making her well-qualified for her new role.
“We have a very strong leadership team to launch this effort and are confident that they bring the energy, experience and drive to make this successful,” said John Donohue, SVP Wirtz Beverage Canada. “This type of broker model has never been done before in Canada and by creating a strong foundation here; we believe we can inspire industry-leading growth and success.”
About Wirtz Beverage Canada
Wirtz Beverage Canada is the country’s largest alcohol beverage broker serving all 10 Provinces and 3 Territories. It is a member of the Wirtz Beverage Group, a wholesale distribution company headquartered in Chicago, IL, transforming execution standards within the beverage industry. With more than 2,500 employees throughout its operations in Canada, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Wisconsin, the company calls the industry’s elite beer, wine and spirit suppliers its partners.