Wirtz Beverage Nevada (WBN) announced strategic investments in the craft category supporting its progressive expansion statewide. Several renowned national and regional artisanal beer and spirit brands along with three industry experts join the company, a leader in the wholesale distribution of beer, wine and spirits.
“We see incredible opportunity in the craft business so we forward invest behind great brands and with the right specialization,” said Kevin Roberts, senior vice president of Wirtz Beverage Nevada. “With our continued expansion into the category, our footprint is expected to grow exponentially. Leveraging the expertise of our specialists, we foresee even more opportunity for growth.”
With committed professionals leading the effort, such as Craft Brand Specialist Kent Bearden, the Wirtz Beverage Nevada team is comprised of a talented ensemble of beer, wine and spirits experts with a wide range of abilities and experience. The newly appointed craft experts will bolster the Wirtz Beverage Nevada team and include:
Michael Shetler, craft brand specialist: Michael Shetler is an industry veteran holding several accreditations such as Sommelier, Cicerone Beer Server, BAR and Beer Judge Certifications and is also currently working toward Cicerone ranking. Holding varied senior-level industry positions, most recently, Shetler was director of beverage for the Aria Hotel where he oversaw all beverage operations. In his role with WBN, Shetler will help enhance the programming and performance of its craft portfolio.
Jack Kramer, craft brand specialist: A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and University of Nevada Las Vegas, Kramer holds respective degrees in culinary arts management and hospitality management. Career experience includes more than seven years in the wholesale beverage industry. He is a Certified Cicerone and Certified Sommelier. With WBN, His expertise will contribute to building craft brands.
Joseph Morandi, head draft technician, Northern Nevada: A student of zymurgy for more than 20 years, Morandi is an avid home brewer and winemaker with Cicerone Beer Server and Beer Judge Certifications as well as Micro Matic Advance Draft Training. Currently, he is also pursuing a Siebel Institute Associate Brewing Science degree. A renowned expert, Morandi owned a quality draft line service company. In his new role, he will oversee the quality and service standards of the WBN craft beer portfolio, including proper delivery methods and pouring techniques.
Together, the specialized team will support the company’s integration of its artisanal brands statewide, now including the Reno/Northern region. Wirtz’ expansion into the category includes newly formed partnerships with many illustrious brands some of which include Rogue Brewery, Ballast Point, Green Flash, Sierra Blanca and Santa Fe.
Continuing education, training and programming efforts demonstrate Wirtz Beverage Nevada’s commitment to the craft business. Already, its sales force has undergone extensive training with all members holding Level One Cicerone accreditation.
“There is an incredible appreciation, both inside and outside the walls of Wirtz Beverage, for the craft segment,” Bearden said. “The additions to our company complement our ability to service the market’s growing demand for premium beverage offerings with the knowledge and service to match.”