Management Team

William S. Anderson

Founder & CEO

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William S. Anderson

Founder & CEO

Bill’s passion for beverages started at an early age.  During his high school and college years, his summers were spent working in the warehouse and driving a delivery truck for his family’s beer distributorships.  He soon learned to love the beverage industry for many reasons—its dynamic culture, its well-branded and innovative products, and most of all its entrepreneurial and committed people.

His love of the industry led him in 2005 to found First Beverage Group, a private equity firm focused solely on the beverage industry which advises and invests in innovative and transformational beverage brands.

Prior to founding First Beverage, Bill was Executive Vice President of Topa Equities, Ltd., a diversified holding company and Top 15 beer distributor group based in Los Angeles.  He is also the former President of Topa Properties, Ltd.  Prior to joining Topa, he was an attorney with O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles and a legislative assistant to US Senator George J. Mitchell (D-Maine).

Bill sits on the Boards of Directors of Topa Equities, Ltd., Acacia Research (Nasdaq: ACTG), Health-Ade Kombucha and GEM&BOLT Mezcal and on the Board of Advisors of the UCLA Anderson School of Management.  In March of 2018, First Beverage sold its investment banking arm to Cascadia Capital, a leading boutique investment bank based in Seattle, at which time Bill joined that company’s Board.   He is a former Board member of the New Belgium Brewing Company.  He is also the former Chairman of the Board of the Weingart Center, one of the nation’s largest facilities for the homeless and now sits on the Board of Experience Camps, a national nonprofit organization that provides free, one-week camps for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver.

Bill has long been an active angel investor in consumer brands, especially in the beverage business, including WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, WTRMLN WTR, and Blue Bottle Coffee.

He received a B.A. from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law.

Bill has two sons, Max and Spencer, and lives in Los Angeles.  He is an avid traveler and his interests include golf, yoga, hiking, cycling and politics.

Chris Greco

CFO

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Chris Greco

CFO

Chris developed an appreciation of craft beers and the entrepreneurs behind them while attending school in Boulder, CO. Over time, that early interest in craft beer developed into a broader appreciation for the dynamic nature of the beverage industry as a whole.

Chris most recently served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Newstone Capital Partners LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Newstone has approximately $2.5 billion in committed capital, across multiple investment vehicles, from leading institutional and high net worth investors. The firm focuses on investments in U.S. based middle-market companies involved in leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and later-stage growth financings. During his tenure at Newstone Capital Partners, Chris was responsible for treasury management, strategic planning, corporate and fund accounting, SEC compliance, portfolio valuation and investor relations.

Prior to that Chris spent seven years as the Treasurer of Wesco Financial Corporation, a publicly traded, diversified financial corporation that was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2011.  In addition to managing a multi-billion portfolio of publicly traded fixed income and equity securities, Wesco has operations in insurance, furniture rental, steel warehousing and real estate. Chris was responsible for SEC and financial reporting, accounting, internal audit and strategic planning. During this time, Chris also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Blue Chip Stamps, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which held 80.1% of the outstanding stock of Wesco Financial Corporation until the complete merger in 2011. Before that, he was with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Los Angeles.

Chris is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the State of California, and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Chris grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Pasadena with his wife, Anneke and two children, Abigail and John. He enjoys skiing, hiking, fishing and hunting.

Kyle Wheeler

Managing Partner

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Kyle Wheeler

Managing Partner

Originally from New York and now living in Southern California, and having traveled extensively both domestically and abroad, Kyle has an appreciation for the diverse, creative and exciting opportunities in the beverage industry globally.

Kyle joined First Beverage with a background in private equity and leads all investment activities of the firm.  He began his investment career in New York where he was a Principal at a joint family office investment firm established by the Fisher family and the de Gunzburg family, a branch of the Bronfman family, founders of the Seagram Company.  Previously, Kyle was a member of the mergers & acquisitions, restructuring advisory and merchant banking groups at Gleacher Partners, an advisory and investment firm founded by Eric Gleacher, who previously headed global M&A at Morgan Stanley.

Most recently, Kyle served as President of Gores Holdings, Inc., a publicly traded acquisition vehicle listed on the NASDAQ which acquired Hostess Brands in partnership with a private investor group.  Prior to Gores Holdings, Kyle was responsible for leading the negotiation and execution of acquisitions and divestitures at The Gores Group, a private equity investment firm.

Kyle holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Colgate University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

In addition to all types of family activities, his interests include skiing, golf, hockey and music, as well as community involvement focused on improving the lives of at-risk children.

Kristen Bareuther

Managing Director

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Kristen Bareuther

Managing Director

Growing up in the Napa Valley, Kristen doesn’t recall a time when family, friends, good beverages and business were not completely intertwined.  Today she’s fascinated by evolving consumer preferences that have created an explosion of unique, creative beverages in completely new categories.

Kristen is a corporate development executive.  She most recently served as the Vice President of Corporate Development for The Charmer Sunbelt Group, one of the nation’s leading distributors of spirits, fine wines, and beer.  In addition to leading profit-enhancing initiatives across the 13 state enterprise as a member of the executive team, Kristen advised the team on growth and acquisition strategies during a period in which the group acquired partner interests in five companies, and executed an industry-changing merger resulting in the second largest wine & spirits distributor in the country, Breakthru Beverage Group.  During her tenure at The Charmer Sunbelt Group, Kristen also served as an elected board member of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America’s Council for Leadership Development.   Prior to joining The Charmer Sunbelt Group in 2001, Kristen managed cross functional teams for two marquee accounts at Hal Riney & Partners.

She is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received both a BA in Political Science/International Relations and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Kristen lives in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, where she has served as both coop Board President and Treasurer for the past eight years – helping lead the coop to financial stability following a fire and flood, as well as four major capital improvement projects.  She enjoys skiing, cycling, and travelling, particularly to places with great “café culture!”

Bob Nakasone

Managing Director

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Bob Nakasone

Managing Director

Bob has spent nearly 20 years in the beverage industry but didn’t truly find his passion for it until 2010, when he moved to southern CA to help PepsiCo form an emerging brands team that was initially tasked with nurturing the company’s young premium nutrition brands.  It was there that he became fully exposed to the vast world of beverage innovation and entrepreneurs seeking to capture the country’s growing obsession with health & wellness in a beverage format.  Bob has a healthy thirst for experimenting in this segment and has developed a reputation amongst his family and friends for getting them to try new beverages – especially ones in which he has a vested interest.

Bob joins First Beverage Group after a two-year run at KeVita, where he helped accelerate the company’s already steep growth trajectory, culminating in the successful sale of the company to PepsiCo at a significant premium to revenue and over $100MM in retail sales.  As the senior vice president of sales, he led the team responsible for gaining distribution in the nation’s largest conventional retailers while maintaining thought leadership with the brand’s early adopters in the natural channel.  Prior to KeVita, he spent 17 years at PepsiCo in leadership positions across business development, customer development, strategic planning and product commercialization and developed a strong track record for architecting and staffing teams for growth as well as leading them to above-plan results.  Naked Juice revenue nearly tripled over his five-year tenure with the business during which he designed and implemented an emerging brands development team that had a unique focus on strategic markets and channels of distribution for PepsiCo’s stable of emerging brands – Naked, IZZE and O.N.E. Coconut Water.

He holds a BA in political science from Denison University, where he also was a four-year varsity letter winner for the men’s soccer team and ran his own student discount card business.

Bob lives in South Pasadena with his wife, Kelly, and their two daughters, Penelope and Holland.  He sits on the Board of Trustees of the Mayfield Junior School in Pasadena and enjoys coaching youth soccer and playing in Pasadena’s adult ice hockey leagues.

Leila Khoury

Business Development Manager

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Leila Khoury

Business Development Manager

As a college gymnast, a yoga enthusiast and a mother of three, Leila has always been interested in nutrition and wellness and has found a comfortable home in the beverage industry because it draws upon her entrepreneurial spirit and her passion for a healthy lifestyle.

Leila’s enthusiasm for cultivating relationships through business development ventures and strategic operating initiatives has created different opportunities across several industries, including medical, technology, eCommerce and now beverage.  She brings over 15 years of business development experience to the First Beverage Group team.

Prior to joining First Beverage, Leila worked at BoxCast, a live streaming startup, where she implemented key customer success infrastructure and helped grow and support its rapidly growing client base.  She spent the majority of her career at Sallie Mae, a higher education lending company, focused on selling eCommerce automation tools for universities’ bursars and financial aid offices.  She also spent several years in the medical field managing a radiology center and spearheading the expansion of a medical spa.

Leila received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California – Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

She has three children, Arianna, Malina and Grant, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband Matt.

Joseph Angiuli

Senior Associate

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Joseph Angiuli

Senior Associate

Following his passion for beverages and the unique opportunity to help entrepreneurs in the space fund and grow their businesses, Joe joined First Beverage Group in 2015.  As changing consumer preferences continue to drive innovation, he is excited to work with and learn from the many beverage entrepreneurs that have built the industry into what it is today.

Joe is involved with deal origination and execution across alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage transactions for the private equity team at First Beverage.  Prior to joining the private equity team in 2017, he spent two years working on the First Beverage investment banking team, where he was involved in mergers and acquisitions in the craft beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverage sectors, and worked on several transactions including the sales of both Hop Valley Brewing Company and Terrapin Brewing Company to MillerCoors/Tenth and Blake, Brooklyn Brewery in its minority investment from Kirin Holdings, 21st Amendment Brewery in its minority investment from Brooklyn Brewery and Avery Brewing Company in its minority investment from Mahou San Miguel.  Prior to joining First Beverage, Joe worked as an Associate at Eastdil Secured, a commercial real estate investment bank in Los Angeles, where he helped underwrite and market over 1,300 properties totaling over 100 million square feet.

Joe graduated cum laude from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business with a B.S. in Business Administration, double majoring in Finance and International Business.

He is a native of Los Angeles, an alumni of Loyola High School, and enjoys surfing, skiing, fishing and hunting.