CEO & Founder
BuzzBallz/Southern Champion LLC
Merrilee Kick is the CEO/Founder of BuzzBallz/Southern Champion LLC, the only woman-owned Distillery/Winery/Brewery combination in the United States. The Carrollton Texas based company is home to 650 employees and is family owned.
She was a high school teacher working on her master’s when she invented BuzzBallz®, a premium 15% ABV premixed cocktail in a spherical can. The idea for BuzzBallz started when she was poolside grading papers, where the shape of a votive candle by the pool inspired her to create a ready-to-drink cocktail in a spherical container that would revolutionize American cocktail culture. Since 2009, BuzzBallz, LLC/Southern Champion has expanded its brand portfolio with distribution nationwide and international expansion.
Merrilee started the company with no experience in the male-dominated alcoholic beverage industry and attributes her tenacity to life growing up on a Helena, Montana farm. She worked hard making her own way, creating a brand as bold and vibrant as she is. She earned her a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana, and an MBA from Texas Woman’s University. She is a recent alumni of Harvard Business School. She’s the recipient of prestigious awards including: 2022 Women Presidents Organization Women 2 Watch and 2021 DCEO Dallas 500.