Dallas’ WES Brands Adds 3 to Its Advisory Board

"Given our recent traction in key international markets, I believe their knowledge and contacts will be put to great use." said Shelly Stein, former president of Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits and chairman of the WES Brands' advisory board, of new advisory board members Chester Brandes, Jonathan Bonchick, and Johnny Manuel.

Industry veterans Chester Brandes, Jonathan Bonchick, and Johnny Manuel have been appointed to the advisory board of Dallas-based WES Brands, a leading spirits incubator.

WES Brands said this comes after early successes in Canada, Mexico, and Australia and the recent addition of Aspen Vodka to the WES portfolio. The company said the appointments underscore its commitment to expanding its global presence.

“The appointment of these gentlemen could not have come at a better time,” Shelly Stein, former president of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, and chairman of the WES Brands’ advisory board, said in a statement. “Given our recent traction in key international markets, I believe their knowledge and contacts will be put to great use.”

Brandes, a spirits industry executive with over 40 years of experience, brings a rich history of leadership roles across key global markets, WES said. His track record includes being president & CEO at Sobieski Vodka, Finlandia Vodka Worldwide, and launching Stoli Vodka at Monsieur Henri Wines (PepsiCo).

“I’m honored to join the WES Brands’ advisory board, focusing on charting new territories for the company’s brands,” Brandes said in a statement. “The global landscape presents tremendous opportunities for the company’s portfolio.”

Bonchick is the vice president of spirits & wine at Duty-Free Americas, a major player in super-premium spirits retailing, operating over 250 stores in the United States and internationally at major airports, seaports, and borders. Bonchick brings a wealth of industry knowledge and insights into duty-free operations, drawing from his tenure at Duty-Free Americas and UETA Inc. of Panama, Innovative Liquors LLC, and Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide.

Manuel most recently was director of sales for Brown Forman in the U.S. and Canada. During his tenure there, Manuel oversaw a surge in North American portfolio sales, which soared by $410 million from 2012 to 2022, including an impressive 27% growth in the U.S. market alone. Manuel will assist the team at WES in optimizing sales strategy, driving revenue growth, and building strategic partnerships.

Founded in 2021, WES Brands develops, markets, and sells innovative brands in the beverage alcohol category.

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