Newport, Kentucky-based New Riff Distilling has announced the appointment of Rawnica Dillingham as chief sales officer. With more than 25 years of combined spirits, wine and hospitality experience, Dillingham’s unique blend of industry acumen and passion for customer engagement formed an undeniable alignment with New Riff’s commitment to innovation and culture authenticity.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer, New Riff is embracing a year of growth, including leadership changes that set the company up for success in the years ahead. Founder, co-owner and chief executive officer Ken Lewis will retire this spring and a new leadership transition will follow, with Hannah Lowen as chief executive officer, Mollie Lewis as president and Denny Gorman as chief operating officer. The company’s director of sales, Mollie will become the second generation to be a part of the New Riff leadership team, succeeding her father in his role as president. Additionally, New Riff is expanding its national distribution footprint into four new markets in Q1 of 2024 — a testament to the brand’s continued growth trajectory and allegiance to meeting the demand of existing and new customers.
The addition of Dillingham rounds out a predominantly female-led executive team, alongside Lowen and Lewis, further reinforcing the distillery’s commitment to diversity at all levels of leadership.
“I am thrilled to join the exceptional team at New Riff Distilling,” said Dillingham. “I’ve long admired the brand’s dedication to innovation, authenticity, and the art of crafting exceptional whiskey. As one chapter closes, another begins, and I am eager to contribute to New Riff’s continued success.”
Most recently, Dillingham served as director of sales and national director of consumer experience at Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. With a focus on executing strategic initiatives for large-scale events, national whiskey clubs and hospitality and trade organizations, Dillingham’s proven expertise in sale execution and consumer experience served as a catalyst in the successful growth of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey’s portfolio.
“We’re privileged to find someone who shares our values in business, people and whiskey,” said Lowen. “When such experienced and talented sales leaders want to come work for New Riff, we know we are doing something right, building our reputation and taking the right steps to becoming one of the great small distilleries of the world.”
As chief sales officer, Dillingham’s role will play a pivotal role in driving New Riff’s growth strategy, expanding its market reach, and fostering relationships within the spirits community. The chief sales officer is a critical position that will shape the direction and trajectory of the New Riff brand for years to come, Lowen added. Dillingham’s extensive experience coupled with her passion for consumer education and advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the industry will further solidify New Riff’s position as a leader in the craft spirits landscape.
“I am excited to work alongside such a dynamic team and play a role in shaping the future of this esteemed distillery,” said Dillingham. “Together, we will build upon New Riff’s legacy and drive forward with passion, creativity, and a commitment to excellence.”