Reed’s Inc., a Los Angeles-based handcrafted, all-natural beverage company, named Val Stalowir as its new chief executive officer (CEO). In conjunction with his appointment as CEO, Stalowir also will serve on the company’s Board of Directors.
A 25-year veteran of the food and beverage industry, Stalowir has a proven track record of driving accelerated growth and building category-leading brands, the company says. He has helped steer the growth and development of large global brands at Quaker Oats, The Coca-Cola Co. and Yum! Brands Inc. in addition to more emerging consumer brands that include Boylan Bottling, Detour Bar and Zola Acai, it adds. Stalowir brings to Reed’s extensive leadership experience in sales, marketing, new product development and operations. His career also includes leading brand expansion into international markets as well as private equity experience with a focus on the food and beverage sectors.
In a statement, Reed’s Inc. Chairman of the Board John Bello stated: “I have known Val for years, he is a talented leader with deep experience in the beverage industry. He brings a clear vision for how to grow Reed’s valuable portfolio of brands balanced with the operational leadership to deliver that growth profitably.
“Chris Reed and I have a strong vision for Reed’s as a premier sales and marketing company, and we’re closely aligned with Val on the critical steps that need to be taken to capture the company’s significant upside and realize its full potential,” Bello continued. “We are confident that Val and his team will successfully drive growth, improved operational efficiencies and profitability that we believe will in turn deliver increased shareholder value. The board looks forward to working closely with Val and supporting his efforts to build category winning brands.”
Upon his appointment, Stalowir said: “I am honored to be joining the Reed’s team and to work with John Bello and Reed’s Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Chris Reed who have both pioneered iconic beverage brands in growing categories. I am excited to take the helm of this great company and to be given the opportunity to take the Reed’s and Virgil’s brands to higher levels of growth and profitability.
“Chris has been brewing the ultimate ginger beer for more than 25 years,” he continued. “Many entrants into the ginger beer category have been unsuccessful in their attempts to deliver the authentic and intense ginger beer experience that comes from Reed’s proprietary processes of brewing fresh ginger root. There is a very good reason why Reed’s is America’s No. 1 selling ginger beer. We believe that there are also powerful consumer trends that will help propel the growth of the Reed’s brand portfolio including increased consumption of ginger as a recognized superfood, the growing use of ginger beer in today’s popular cocktail drinks and consumers increased demand for higher quality, all-natural handcrafted beverages. The Virgil’s line of award-winning beverages will also benefit from this trend of accelerated consumer adoption of all-natural, premium beverages, which is currently driving the impressive growth rates in the craft soda category.”
The company also announced that Stefan Freeman, who has been on the Board of Directors since late last year and had served as interim CEO since April, would continue with the company in the role of chief operating officer (COO).
Bello said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Stefan for leading the company during the interim period while we conducted our thorough search for a permanent CEO. I’m very pleased Stefan has agreed to drive the day-to-day operations as the COO reporting to Val.”