Carlos J. Carreras
Chief Executive Officer
Carlos began his career in the Gallo Sales Division of Premier Beverage company in South Florida in 1993. Since then, he has held various roles and positions in The Paddington Corporation, Brown-Forman Beverages and William Grant & Sons. Before joining Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing, Carlos was the VP Sales/National Sales Manager at White Rock Distilleries from 2006-2012 and he held the same position at Western Spirits Company from 2012-2015. He was very active in the development, rollout planning, distributor management and volume growth of brands which included Pinnacle Vodka, Three Olives Vodka, and Bird Dog Bourbon. His experience in brand building, brand volume growth and national distributor relationships is an integral part of the development of all Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing Brands.
Vice President, Sales
Rene began his career in the wine and spirits industry in 1993 working in Gallo’s Sales Division of Premier Beverage in South Florida. In 1997 Rene joined Remy Cointreau as South Florida District Manager. Rene rose through the ranks and ultimately became Remy Cointreau’s Florida State Manager. In 2002 Rene joined Pernod Ricard USA as a Regional Manager overseeing Florida and South Carolina. Rene joined White Rock Distilleries in 2008 as their Southeast Division Manager, overseeing 14 states along the Southeast. Rene played a pivotal role in the growth and ultimately the sale of the Pinnacle Vodka Brand. Rene resides in South Florida with his wife and four children.
John T. Dunn
Vice President, Business Development
John has over 26 years of experience in the hospitality industry, the most recent 16 years with various wine & spirits distributors. Prior to Blue Ridge, he was the Director of On-Premise Wine overseeing the state of Georgia for Georgia Crown Distributing. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, and a graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown, John has called Atlanta, GA home for the last 20 years. John is a tenacious individual who contributes to all aspects of our business in sales, marketing, operations and supplier development.
Southeast Regional Vice President
Carter represents four generations of hospitality expertise. He spent his adolescent years working in hotels and restaurants. Carter’s extensive knowledge of on premise operations along with his results oriented retail sales execution strategies make him an asset to brands looking to gain traction in the marketplace. Carter began his his career in the wine & spirits industry with National Distributing Company (NDC) Georgia in 1999. During his 16-year career at NDC, he achieved several positions, including Vice President of On Premise Georgia. Carter was instrumental in developing launch and market strategies for brands in Georgia across many leading suppliers and independent-craft portfolios. Carter has a passion for brand building and has achieved the Specialist of Spirits (CSS) along with WSET certifications. Carter is a graduate of Florida International University School of Hospitality Management and currently resides in his home state of Florida.
Southwest Regional Vice President
A graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management, TJ has spent the entirety of his career in the world of wine & spirits - creating, introducing and growing new brands. Before joining Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing in May 2019, TJ was the Central Division Director for Zamora Company USA and before that, Director of Sales for Mesa Vineyards, Texas’ largest winery. Prior to working for Mesa, he spent many years with Western Spirits, living in both Dallas and Chicago, debuting new brands including Kru Vodka, Bird Dog Bourbon, Lexington and Calumet Farms, among others. He was the Southwest Regional Manager with White Rock Distilleries, contributing to the growth of Pinnacle Vodka to becoming a 2.8 million case brand. TJ currently resides in McKinney, TX with his wife, Hillary and their two young daughters.
Northeast Regional Vice President
Nick joins Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing from Deep Eddy Vodka, where he spent three years as the Northeast Regional Manager. Prior to Deep Eddy, he spent two years at Western Spirits, three years at White Rock Distilleries and seven years at Empire Merchants selling the E&J Gallo portfolio. Nick is responsible for NY/NJ and will also oversee MA/CT/RI. Nick resides in Metro New York with his wife Ayesha, and son Colin.
Regional Vice President National Control States & Western Open States
Paul began his career in the beverage industry in 2004 working as a Retail Account Manager in Pennsylvania for Capital Wine & Spirits (Charmer Sunbelt Group). After a short time, his immediate success afforded him multiple opportunities within Diageo North America, where he worked for nearly 5 years. He was later recruited to a Regional Sales Manager role at White Rock Distilleries. Paul was responsible for developing brands such as Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack Rums, which became marketplace leaders during his tenure. After the sale of White Rock Distilleries, Paul accepted a regional role at Western Spirits Beverage Company and was promoted to Control States Sales Director after 18 months. Paul oversaw 9 markets and worked closely with a broker, distributor network on building brands, most notably Bird Dog Flavored Whiskies. Paul lives in the Philadelphia area where he patiently awaits a Super Bowl victory by his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. He has never eaten a cheesesteak from Geno’s.
Midwest Area Manager (IL, MN, WI)
A native of Pittsburgh, Brian has over 20+ years of experience in Beverage Alcohol. Brian began his career in Illinois as a Chain Key Account Manager at Union Beverage and quickly moved to District Sales Manager at Southern Wine & Spirits where he spent 3 years. Soon after, he was promoted to the supplier side working for Jim Beam Brands and advanced to a State Manager role for William Grant & Sons. For ten years, he oversaw the birth and development of brands such as Hendricks Gin, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Milagro Tequila effectively putting them on the map throughout Illinois. Brian joined Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing in April 2018 and brings with him strong in-market distributor and account level relationships throughout the Midwest that will take the Blue Ridge portfolio to the next level. Brian lives in the Chicago area with his wife and son.
Area Manager (GA, SC, AL, NC (wine))
Brandon is an industry veteran with over 13 years of experience. Brandon began his career in the spirits industry in 2006 with Specialty Beverage, specializing in craft spirits and beers. In 2011, he went to work in spirits and craft beer sales for Savannah Distributing in Georgia. Most recently prior to Blue Ridge, Brandon was the State Manager for Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi for Western Spirits. He resides in Kennesaw, GA and we are pleased to have him join Blue Ridge May 2019.
TX, LA State Manager
Sean earned his Bachelor’s degree from the nationally ranked Hilton Hospitality College at the University of Houston. After graduating, he managed some of the top restaurants in Houston in the fine dining category. During this time, Sean maintained a passion for wine and spirits, which led him to join Republic National Distributing Company December of 2014 as an on-premise sales representative. He was then promoted to be the Prestige Portfolio Manager, with an on-premise focus in the wine and spirits luxury segment of Pernod Ricard’s portfolio. Sean was then interested in expanding his supplier and retail knowledge and joined Rebecca Creek Distillery as the Southeast Texas and Louisiana market manager. We’re glad to have Sean onboard with Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing as of April 2019. Sean resides in Houston, TX with his wife and son.
Area Manager CO, MO, KS
After graduating from the University of Arizona with an Economics degree, Chris started his beverage alcohol career at Judge & Dolph, Ltd. In Illinois. Working under the Regal Division, representing Diageo Chateau & Estates portfolio, he was quickly promoted to the #1 on premise territory in downtown Chicago. After 3 years at the distributor, Chris joined his family and business partners in creating the YES Vodka brand. He was an integral part of the creation, packaging, pricing and promotions for the brand. Chris managed the brand’s sales and marketing activities in IL, WI, AZ, and CA. The Yes Vodka brand closed it’s doors in 2011, and Chris joined Proximo Spirits, first managing the state of Tennessee. After 1 year in Nashville, Chris was promoted to On Premise manager for Illinois. For the next 2 years, Chris managed all sales and marketing activities for the portfolio, with specific focus on growing the ultra-premium brands, such as Hangar 1 Vodka, Maestro Dobel Tequila, and Bushmill’s, Stranahan’s and TINCUP whiskies. Chris then took on the role of Regional Director at Wyoming Whiskey, managing 10 states out west. In June of 2019, he gladly accepted the Area Manager role with Blue Ridge Spirits. Chris resides in Denver and enjoys skiing and other outdoor endeavors.
New Product Development Manager & Market Manager (GA, FL & AL)
An industry veteran of over 20 years, Eddie’s experience is diverse. He has owned successful restaurants, worked for 8 years at a large distributor, achieved the Specialist of Spirits (CSS) and Specialist of Wine (CSW) certifications from the Society of Wine Educators, and is a member of the United States Bartenders Guild. With his ear on the street looking for trends, Eddie comes to you with a passion for learning, teaching, hosting and sharing, and is organically drawn to all aspects of the beverage industry. Consistently, it is the connection between food, beverage and the personal relationships that come with the wine and spirits industry that have kept him on this path for so long.
Area Manager (MA, CT, RI)
Keith was born and raised in Rockport, Massachusetts, located along the north shore coast of MA, Rockport and was ironically a “dry” town until very recently. Keith began his career in the wine and spirits industry in 2001 and spent over 15 years working for various incarnations of Jim Beam Brands (Future Brands, Beam Global and now Beam Suntory) in Massachusetts and Rhode Island markets. He started as a sales representative in MA before he was promoted to MA Area Manager. He then became the State Manager in RI, followed by managing territory sales in MA and RI. He was crucial to the growth of premium brands such as, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek and Hornitos Tequila in MA and RI; and successfully worked in both on and off premise channels managing multiple distributors in those states. He currently resides in Tewksbury, just north of Boston with his wife, Roberta and two children, Alexandra and William.
West Coast Area Manager (CA, AZ, NV)
Mitch graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Following graduation, he began his career in the wine and spirits industry working for Hyatt Hotels, where he was the Beverage Director for 9 years representing multiple Hyatt properties in three states: California, Colorado and Hawaii. Prior to joining Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing, Mitch contributed to the boost of Martin Miller’s Gin’s sales by 39% in 2015 and 2016. He was the brand’s Brand Ambassador during July 2015 – December 2015; and beginning in January 2016, Mitch was the California State Manager for Martin Miller’s Gin. Mitch will be a vital role in Blue Ridge’s expansion on the west coast in California.
North TX, Oklahoma Territory Manager
Kristy grew up in Bryan, TX and moved to Austin in 1997 to attend The University of Texas. She graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, majoring in Finance and minoring in Spanish. She spent 5 years as a staff accountant for Centex Construction’s commercial division. Then in 2006, Kristy moved into the wine and spirits industry with Republic National Distributing as an on-premise sales representative for key accounts and hotels. She worked there for 5 years before moving on to the supplier side. She became the North TX Territory Manager for Peligroso Tequila, where she managed both on and off-premise business. Kristy remained with Peligroso until they sold to Diageo in 2014, then accepted a job with Rebecca Creek Distillery as the North TX and and Oklahoma Territory Manager for on and off-premise before joining Blue Ridge April 2019. She lives in McKinney, TX with her two dogs, a cat and her husband, who is also in the industry.
South & Central TX, New Mexico Territory Manager
Jace began his career as a manager in the bar and nightclub industry in 1991, working for Mountain Lion Management LLC, a company that ran all operations of clubs in San Antonio, Texas. In 1994, he moved over to the restaurant industry, working for Veladi Ranch Steak House, where he trained bar personnel throughout Texas and Oklahoma. A year, later he was promoted to the restaurant’s General Manager in Addison, TX. In 1997, Jace worked for Glaziers wine division in Austin, TX, where he was accountable for the TX roll out of Fat Tire. Jace joined Capitol Beverage in Austin, Texas in 1998 as a sales manager, and launched Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Lemonade in the state of TX. Following, Jace joined Miller Halo in San Antonio as sales manager until 2007, when he joined Silver Eagle Budweiser working in route sales and moving his way up to Assistant Area Sales Manager, then Area Sales Manager. In 2011, Jace took the role of Territory Sales Manager for South and Central Texas with Rebecca Creek Distillery. As of April 2019, we’re pleased to have Jace on the Blue Ridge team. Jace resides in San Antonio, Texas with his two boys, Braden and Caden.
Marketing Brand Manager
Olivia began her career in the wine and spirits industry as a CRUZ Ambassador with CRUZ Tequila in Phoenix, AZ. Before graduating from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA (go bulldogs!) she had a marketing internship with Trinchero Family Estates, which eventually grew into a Public Relations position in 2014. In this role, Olivia managed events, created communications strategies and brand press kits, executed press releases and developed internal communications at Trinchero. In January 2017, she joined Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine and is looking forward to using her passion for wine, spirits and the business through quality brand building and marketing opportunities.
Originally from Connecticut, James began his career in manufacturing and warehouse management for a renewable energy company in Vermont. Following that, he worked for a non-profit car-sharing service as their Operations Manager. James was then presented the opportunity to live in Jamaica for a short time and explore the U.S. During his travels, he consulted for a craft coffee roaster based in VT and a custom bag manufacturer in OR. James studied environmental science at the University of Vermont and continued his education learning lean manufacturing, organizational change, leadership and accounting. James’ accounting and organizational skills have been an asset to Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing since he became the Operations Manager in May 2017. Although James’ background is not in the wine and spirits industry, he loves taste testing new products at the Blue Ridge HQ and supporting the business, exploring local Atlanta bars and restaurants.
Office Manager / Compliance
Jennifer began her career in the fashion industry. In 2013 she made the move to the wine & spirits industry. Her former position as Office Manager at Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits entailed Compliance and Administrative support. She now utilizes her skill set at Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing to help further grow the business. She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two boys.