Management Team

Bill-Anderson

William S. Anderson

Founder & CEO

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Bill-Anderson

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 financial services firm 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., Health-Ade Kombucha and Purity Organic, LLC.  He is also a former Board member of the New Belgium Brewing Company.

Bill has long been an active angel investor in consumer brands, especially in the beverage business, including WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, WTRMLN WTR and Gem & Bolt mezcal.  Bill is the former Chairman of the Board of Weingart Center, one of the nation’s largest facilities for the homeless.  He now serves on the Board of Street Poets, a non-profit dedicated to using creative arts as a force for individual and community transformation.

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.

John-Cornish

John Cornish

COO

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John Cornish

COO

You might guess from his easy-going exterior that John is your typical buttoned-up CFO/COO.  You’d be wrong.  This Oklahoma native keeps us laughing with his funny twang and with sayings like, “If ifs and buts were beers and nuts, we’d have a helluva party.”  Aside from making us smile, John is also responsible for overseeing First Beverage’s daily operations and management.

John’s previous experience was as COO of New Urban Builders, a real estate developer of in-fill mixed-use products in northern California.  Prior to that, he was Director of Capstone Advisors’ Northern California office where he was responsible for making equity and mezzanine investments in land development and entitlement ventures as well as for the office’s real estate financial advisory services, asset management and direct lending. Prior to Capstone Advisors, John was a Director with DB Real Estate, a division of the Deutsche Bank Group, where he was primarily responsible for business development in the Northern California region along with the oversight of asset management for the entire DB Real Estate development portfolio. John also served as COO of The Braemar Group, a real estate development company based in Los Angeles, where he oversaw the operations and management of the company and was directly responsible for all debt and equity relationships. He was also Western Regional Manager for Lomas Realty USA, where his responsibilities included acquisition, development and disposition of all property in the Western United States.

John received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma.

He lives in Chico (and therefore knows a thing or two about craft beer) with his son and daughter, both of whom are heavily involved in horse-related activities.  His hobbies include water and snow skiing, mountain biking and reading.

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John Sheldon

President, First Beverage Financial

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John Sheldon

President, First Beverage Financial

John initially developed a strong interest in beverages during his college summers in Minnesota where he drove a beer truck for a Grain Belt distributor and then was a bartender at a leading local bar and restaurant.

John is an investment banking veteran with over thirty years of experience in the consumer products sectors including, food, beverage, tobacco, wine, spirits, beer, luxury goods, apparel, household products, personal care and consumer durables.

Prior to joining First Beverage, he was Managing Director of the consumer products and services group of Peter J. Solomon Company (PJSC) where he worked on a broad range of transactions including representing Enjoy Beer in its acquisition of Abita, E&J Gallo in its sale of Hornsby’s, VMG in its sale of Natural Balance, Dolan in its recapitalization and the London Stock Exchange Group in its acquisition of Russell Asset Management.  Before PJSC, John worked at Lazard & Co. for six years as a Managing Director covering the consumer products sector.  Prior to that, he was Managing Director of investment banking services at Goldman Sachs & Co., Co-Head of the global consumer/retail investment banking group at J.P. Morgan & Co., Partner in the Private Equity and M&A group at The Lodestar Group, and Vice President of the M&A group at Goldman Sachs & Co.

John is a Director of the Union Land & Grazing Company and a member of the Investment Committee of the Bennington College Board of Trustees.

He received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BA in political economy from Bennington College.

John lives in New York City with his wife and enjoys a variety of activities with his three young adult children.

Nicole-Fry

Nicole Fry

Managing Partner

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Nicole Fry

Managing Partner

Nicole grew up in a family involved in the restaurant and wine businesses and developed a passion for the wine, food and hospitality industries at an early age. Growing up in Southern California, Nicole was particularly interested in emerging trends in the natural and organic food and beverage space.

Nicole has over 15 years of investment banking and corporate development experience and has an extensive background providing financial advisory services to middle market companies, including mergers and acquisition transactions, debt and equity capital raising, valuations and restructurings.   Since joining First Beverage in 2014, Nicole has been very active in the firm’s craft beer activities, having recently advised Four Peaks Brewing Company in its sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev and Saint Archer in its sale to MillerCoors/Tenth and Blake.  Nicole has also been active in the non-alcohol segment, advising Health-Ade Kombucha in its recent capital raise and C20 Pure Coconut Water in its sale to an international strategic acquiror.  Prior to joining First Beverage, Nicole was a Managing Director in the consumer investment banking group at Imperial Capital, where she led Imperial’s efforts in the beverage, food and restaurant sectors.   Prior to Imperial Capital, Nicole worked in the investment banking divisions of Bank of America, Bear, Stearns & Co. and Citigroup.  Nicole also spent time managing the corporate development activities for Cooking.com, an online retailer of cooking-related products and a trusted source of online culinary content.

Nicole received her B.A. in Economics and an M.B.A. from UCLA, where she competed in cross-country and track and field. She also holds a graduate diploma in Economics from the London School of Economics.

She lives in Manhattan Beach, California with her husband, Kurt and two boys, Alex and Matthew. Nicole enjoys running, cooking, travel and tennis and is an avid sports fan who particularly enjoys rooting for her beloved UCLA Bruins and San Diego Chargers.

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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.

Townsend-Ziebold

Townsend Ziebold

Managing Partner

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Townsend-Ziebold

Townsend Ziebold

Managing Partner

Townsend developed his love of beverages while at graduate school in northern California, where he found an appreciation for wine that evolved into a 25-year collector’s history.

Prior to joining First Beverage, Townsend spent over 25 years in investment banking and private equity at The First Boston Corporation, Wasserstein Perella & Co., and Wasserstein & Co.  He has completed over $40 billion in mergers and acquisitions advisory assignments, and as a principal investor over 30 private equity investments ranging from leveraged buyouts and growth equity to venture capital.  In this capacity, he served on numerous private and public company boards of directors.  He is a former Director and Non-Executive Chairman of Imax Corporation, a leading large-screen film projection company, and a former Director of two other public companies: Collins & Aikman Corporation, a $2 billion automotive components company, and Maybelline, Inc., a leading mass market cosmetics manufacturer.

While at First Beverage, Townsend has advised Firestone Walker in its partnership with Duvel Moortgat, Brooklyn Brewery in its investment from Kirin, Southern Tier in its investment from Ulysses, Boulevard in its sale to Duvel Moortgat, 10 Barrel Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewery and Spiked Seltzer in their sales to ABInBev, Xyience in its sale to Big Red and So Delicious in its sale to WhiteWave Foods.

Townsend formerly served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City. He was also formerly on the Board of Fellows of Trinity College and was the President of the Board of Trustees at West Side Montessori School in New York City.

He received his B.A. in Economics from Trinity College in 1984 and his M.B.A. from the Stanford School of Business in 1988.

Townsend lives in New York City with his wife and four children.  His interests include golf, skiing, yoga, wine collecting and gardening.  Having grown up in West Virginia, he is also an ardent WVU Mountaineer fan.

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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!”

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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.

Ryan-Lake

Ryan Lake

Director

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Ryan Lake

Director

Ryan is the only First Beverage team member who can say that his career in alcoholic beverage finance started right around the time that it became legal for him to drink.  A true craft beer enthusiast, Ryan realized while he and his wife were expecting their second child that since she couldn’t enjoy wine, he could pirate their wine fridge and fill it with all of the interesting crafts he wanted.  It remains 95% occupied by beer to this day.

Ryan joined First Beverage in 2010 and works on the investment banking team, where is he is focused on mergers and acquisitions for craft beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverage transactions. While at First Beverage, he has been involved in nearly $1.5 billion of closed M&A transactions, including Four Peaks Brewing Company and 10 Barrel Brewing in their sales to ABInBev, Firestone Walker Brewing Company in its partnership with Duvel Moortgat, Saint Archer Brewing Company in its sale to MillerCoors/Tenth and Blake, Southern Tier Brewing Company in its investment from Ulysses, Boulevard Brewing Company in its sale to Duvel Moortgat, Empire Distributors in its sale to McLane, and Xyience in its sale to Big Red, among others.

Prior to that, Ryan spent nearly a decade with GE Capital in various positions in sales and underwriting and gained over six years of direct experience in beverage lending.  At the time of his departure from GE, he had earned the title of Associate Vice President of Beverage Finance and Structured Risk.  He funded, approved or reviewed over $2 billion of loans over his lending career.

Ryan graduated cum laude from the Arizona State University with a B.S. in Finance.

He lives in Phoenix with his wife, Melissa, their son, Hayden, and daughter, Ashley, and is a fan of the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Boston Red Sox.  His favorite pastimes are golfing, playing basketball, hiking and listening to music.

JB-Shireman

JB Shireman

Director

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JB Shireman

Director

Born and raised in L.A. (Lower Arkansas), JB’s affinity for beer developed early. A lover of the outdoors, hunting, fishing and time spent in nature were all synonymous for him with a cold one.  In 1987 he found his way to Colorado, where he attended Colorado State University, majoring in zoology and minoring in geology. A chance to travel abroad as a guide took him from some of the most remote desert country and deepest canyons in the U.S. to the tops of the Andes’ tallest peaks. He eventually settled down in Colorado, where he became a partner in the smallest bar in the state and the oldest continually operating business in the city of Fort Collins.

It was here that JB’s passion for the industry evolved from personal to professional. He was an early on-premise customer for New Belgium, Odell, and many other early craft entrants, including Pierre Celis, whose beer a friend bootlegged from Austin.

In 1995, he joined New Belgium Brewing Company as one of their first in-the-field sales reps. Over a 13-year career, he led the company’s sales and marketing function, served on the Mission group, which was responsible for long-range planning, held a seat on the Board of Directors, co-founded the Tour de Fat bicycle parade and festival, and helped the brewery expand into 27 additional states via 200+ wholesalers.  JB left his position at New Belgium as head of distribution strategy in 2009 to spend more time with his family.

Shortly thereafter, he started Craftcentric, LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to all tiers participating in the craft space.  JB developed a respectable list of clients which included many of the top crafts in today’s market.  In 2011, JB joined First Beverage Group as a consultant and now works full-time with the company, consulting to the craft beer industry.  Together, JB and First Beverage have consulted with and advised many of today’s leading crafts suppliers and distributors on topics ranging from operational efficiencies, improved wholesale and retail management, distribution network changes, and sales and marketing leadership.

He lives in Laporte, Colorado with his lovely wife Angela and two very special boys, Sawyer and Max. He is an avid fly fisherman, hunter, climber and writer.

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Mai Lai Breech

Vice President

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Mai Lai Breech

Vice President

Mai joined First Beverage because she was attracted to the entrepreneurial culture of the company.  She came on board when our focus was real estate, and over the years she has enjoyed working with beverage distributors and their management teams on many asset management and real estate transactions.  Though she wears many hats, Mai’s primary responsibility at First Beverage is to manage our portfolio of real estate properties.

Prior to joining First Beverage, Mai was a Director for Weintraub Financial Services, a real estate development company based in Malibu, California. In that capacity she analyzed and structured financing opportunities, acquisitions and real estate entitlements. She was actively involved in over 40 acquisition and disposition transactions with a total asset value of over $500 million, including a 48-story mixed-use and residential condominium tower in downtown Los Angeles, a 250-room five-star resort in Malibu, a one-million square foot mixed-use project in Woodland Hills and a 1.5 million square foot retail power center in Palm Springs.  Before that, she was an investment banker with SG Cowen in San Francisco as well as with Merrill Lynch & Co. and Sanford C. Bernstein in Chicago.

Outside of First Beverage, Mai is the Executive Director and Founder of Children’s Art Village, a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2006 to work with abandoned third-world children, specifically those who have been rescued from slavery and prostitution, by utilizing art and music programs to encourage therapeutic expression.

Mai holds a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California and an M.A. in Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

She is an amateur painter and loves to read and travel, especially to do humanitarian work, and is a Boston Celtics and Dodgers fan.  She and her husband, Bob, and son, Ryan, live in Santa Monica.

Zeeshan-Hyder

Zeeshan Hyder

Vice President

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Zeeshan Hyder

Vice President

Although Zeeshan is new to the beverage industry, he is quickly growing to love it.  Meeting innovative beverage entrepreneurs and being involved with the many creative and well-branded consumer products in this space is something he finds extremely interesting, and he is always excited to learn about new trends and products, particularly those in the fast-growing health and wellness category.

At First Beverage, Zeeshan is responsible for deal origination and execution, due diligence and portfolio company management.

Prior to joining First Beverage, Zeeshan worked in corporate development at eBay, where he participated in M&A and investment transactions in the e-commerce and consumer sectors. He also worked in business development and strategy at 12Society, an e-commerce subscription company backed by NBA and NFL players.

Earlier in his career, Zeeshan was an Analyst in the investment banking division at Citigroup in Los Angeles. At Citigroup, he was part of the Mergers and Acquisitions Group where he was involved in several M&A transactions in the consumer and healthcare sectors.  Zeeshan also served as an Investment Analyst at the Eli Broad Foundation, where he evaluated investments and performed due diligence for Mr. Eli Broad’s $2 billion investment fund.

Zeeshan holds a B.A. in Economics from Pomona College, where he was a member of the Sagehen basketball team, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Zeeshan is a Los Angeles native and lives in Santa Monica. He enjoys reading and traveling.

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Leila Khoury

Business Development Coordinator

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Leila Khoury

Business Development Coordinator

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.

Stephen-Scharafin

Stephen Scharafin

Senior Associate

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Stephen Scharafin

Senior Associate

Stephen has a rich passion for the beverage industry stemming from both his own personal consumption as a homebrewer as well as his involvement on several M&A transactions. Growing up in the Midwest, his father, an avid craft beer enthusiast and chemical salesman, introduced him to the craft beer industry in 2001 on “take your son to work day”, where he was brought to the Three Floyds brewpub in Munster Indiana.  Over time Stephen’s interests have also expanded into wine, as he has taken several trips to Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley and has returned with more wine than his wife anticipated.

At First Beverage, Stephen is involved with the investment banking business unit where his efforts are focused on mergers and acquisitions in the craft beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverage sectors.  While at First Beverage he has been involved in several transactions, including Argo Tea in its growth capital investment from Breakwater Investment Management, C2O Pure Coconut Water in its sale to an international strategic acquiror, Steaz in its sale to an international strategic acquiror, Breckenridge Brewery, SpikedSeltzer and Devils Backbone Brewing Company in their sales to ABInBev, Firestone Walker Brewing Company in its partnership with Duvel Moortgat, Health-Ade Kombucha in its growth capital investment from CAVU Venture Partners, and Saint Archer Brewing Company and Revolver Brewing Company in their sales to MillerCoors/Tenth and Blake.

Prior to joining First Beverage, Stephen worked in the Restructuring and Valuation groups within PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Transaction Services group where he was a generalist participating in various aspects of M&A transactions.

Stephen holds a B.A. in Business with concentrations in Accounting and Finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Stephen grew up in Chicago Illinois and now lives in Santa Monica California with his wife.  He enjoys traveling, cycling, and cooking.

Joe Angiuli

Joseph Angiuli

Associate

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Joe Angiuli

Joseph Angiuli

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.

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 is involved with deal origination and execution across alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage transactions for the investment banking team at First Beverage.  He has worked on several transactions including the sales of both Hop Valley Brewing Company and Terrapin Brewing Company to MillerCoors/Tenth and Blake and Brooklyn Brewery in its minority investment from Kirin Holdings.

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.

Rob-Klugman

Rob Klugman

Senior Advisor

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Rob Klugman

Senior Advisor

Rob has been in the beer business since 1979, though he points out that his interest in beer as a consumer goes back well before then.

In that year, Rob moved to Colorado to join what was then the Coors Brewing Company.  He spent 26 years with Coors, leading at various times Marketing, International Operations, Wholesaler Networks, and Strategy/M&A.  He retired, as Global Chief Strategy Officer, from what had become Molson Coors after representing Coors in its merger negotiations with Molson.  He consulted to Molson Coors through the merger of its US operations with those of SABMiller.

Since then, Rob has consulted part-time in the beer industry, working with brewers, wholesalers, and others.  Most of his time, though, is spent as Senior Advisor to First Beverage, where he helps on general business, organizational and strategic matters as well as with its work in the beer industry.

Rob grew up outside of Philadelphia and has a B.A. from Amherst College and an M.B.A. from Harvard.  Prior to Coors, Rob worked for Leo Burnett, then a leading independent advertising agency in Chicago.  He met Kathy Martin there; they married in 1979 before going to Denver.  They have had two children, Maura and Terence.

Rob has been on a number of business and not-for-profit Boards.  He currently serves on the Boards of the Rose Foundation and the Anti-Defamation League.  His hobbies include reading and, after a number of years of rugby, spectator sports.