Eastside Distilling names Paul Block CEOBy Nicola Carruthers
Portland-based Eastside Distilling has appointed its chairman, Paul Block, as the firm’s new chief executive officer following the departure of Lawrence Firestone after eight months in the role.
Effective today (1 July), Block takes over the CEO position from Firestone who joined Eastside Distilling in November 2019, after the firm’s interim CEO and chief financial officer Steve Shum announced his resignation. Firestone has resigned from the board, effective 30 July.
“I would like to thank Larry Firestone for his leadership of Eastside as he successfully implemented a number of structural changes and processes to improve our working capital position, significantly decreased our cash break-even point, and improved operational efficiencies during an important time in the history of the company,” said Block.
Block joined Eastside Distilling in April 2020 as chairman after holding a number of positions at Miller Brewing Company. He also worked for the Guinness Import Company as vice president of marketing and served as chief marketing officer, and then vice president, general manager, of Allied Domecq’s premium US spirits division.
“I am extremely excited to lead Eastside Distilling as we progress to the next phase of our evolution in becoming a leader in the branding, marketing and sale of craft spirits with a continued focus on strong fiscal management and operational excellence,” said Block.
“I look forward to working with our enthusiastic team of professionals and our current portfolio of brands as we embark on a high growth strategy. Eastside has tremendous opportunity to grow with our current brands and through accretive bolt-on acquisitions. I look forward to the future with tremendous optimism.
“Based on Larry’s leadership, the Eastside platform is extremely well positioned to drive growth in our branded portfolio going forward.”
Robert Grammen, who joined the firm’s board last month, has become Eastside’s lead independent board member, as well as chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee.