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Beam Suntory creates MD role for RTDs

Maker’s Mark owner Beam Suntory has appointed former Diageo executive Heather Boyd to the newly created role of managing director for its ready-to-drink business in the US.

Heather Boyd will join Beam Suntory on 4 January 2021

In the new position, Boyd will manage Beam Suntory’s ready-to-drink (RTD) businesses in the US and continue to build the firm’s RTD capabilities and offerings. The appointment is effective from 4 January 2021.

“Heather will be key to leading our growing RTD spirits business, seizing on the rapidly growing RTD spirits space, and driving our goal to become the industry leader,” said Greg Hughes, president of Beam Suntory North America.

“As a company, we are extremely excited about what we have to offer within this category, and Heather’s experience will enable us to strategically develop and deepen our RTD portfolio, allowing us to deliver quality and premium products that delight consumers.”

Boyd joins Beam Suntory from cannabis firm Acreage Holdings, where she served as chief product and innovation officer and helped establish the company’s wholesale business. Prior to Acreage Holdings, Boyd served in marketing and commercial roles of increasing responsibility at Diageo, working on brands such as Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Captain Morgan and Smirnoff Ice.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Beam Suntory and supporting its ambition to become the leader in the RTD spirits market, particularly as demand for premium, pre-mixed cocktails grow at an exponential rate,” said Boyd.

“Beam Suntory’s many years of global RTD experience, combined with its depth and breadth of premium, world-renowned brands, will allow us to pave the way forward in this exciting space.”

Beam Suntory said it already holds leadership positions in the spirits-based RTD category in Japan, Australia and Germany.

In September 2020, Beam Suntory acquired RTD cocktail brand On The Rocks as it aims to “become number one in the spirits-based ready-to-drink market”. The firm plans to expand the brand’s presence across the world and extend its range.

The company has “big ambitions” for the RTD market and will use On the Rocks as a platform for the firm to “innovate and grow” its share of the low- and no-alcohol market, Marguerite Allolding, senior marketing director for RTD North America, told The Spirits Business last month.

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