Distill Ventures (DV), the world’s first independent accelerator devoted to building and scaling the drinks brands of the future, has announced several key leadership appointments positioning itself for expanded growth in North America.
Justin Lew has been promoted to managing director, Distill Ventures North America, and Evis Savvides to president, North America Commercial, while Jennie Leuzarder joins as portfolio director. Lew’s appointment follows the promotion of Heidi Dillon to become Distill Ventures’ global CEO.
Having served as portfolio director since 2020, Justin’s deep understanding of consumer marketing and insight has been critical to portfolio brands honing their strategic brand positioning. This coupled with his expertise in whiskey and experience scaling brands like High West and New Amsterdam, which he helped become a top 10 spirit brand by volume, have made him a critical asset to the growing portfolio. Since joining in 2020, Justin has worked closely with the NA whiskey portfolio including Westward Whiskey.
Savvides assumes the role of president – North America, Commercial. In this new role, he will lead an expanded team to help portfolio brands accelerate and scale rapidly in the U.S. In addition, he will continue to devote a portion of his time to Redwood Brands, an independent sales execution platform in North America with ties to DV. Evis joined DV in 2019 as operating partner, having previously held roles as president and COO at Domaine Select Wine & Spirits and COO at Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. In his time at DV he has helped all portfolio brands develop their commercial strategy and executional capabilities, including supporting the extraordinary growth of Mr Black in the market, leading to the brand’s acquisition by Diageo in 2021.
Leuzarder joins DV as portfolio director, North America, where she will partner with brands across a range of categories as well as leading and shaping the company’s growing agave practice. Jennie has extensive experience across an array of organizational roles, including sales, trade advocacy, branding and strategy on behalf of Diageo, Pernod Ricard, LVMH, distributor and agency.
Heidi Dillon, CEO, Distill Ventures said, “As we look to the next decade, our expanded, well-rounded, and seasoned North American team is better positioned than ever to support the visionary founders within our portfolio and future entrepreneurs who will look to us to help scale their brands in the coming years. Together, our brand experts will unlock growth through our brand and commercial strategic and executional excellence, as well as by helping our companies build great teams of their own.”