John is the founder and owner of the Brandwerks Group, the full-service brand development firm he started in 2001. John has many roles in the company, but primarily he provides strategic planning, brand development, and account management services to Brandwerks’ clients. He has significant branding, marketing and sales expertise, particularly in food and beverages and is very passionate about creating unique, well-positioned brands.
In corporate sales and marketing positions, he helped create, introduce and market dozens of brands for wine, beer and distilled spirits firms, including the E. & J. Gallo Winery, the Coors Brewing Company, and Hiram Walker/Allied-Domecq. With Gallo, he helped launch and manage the winery’s foodservice sales division. At Hiram Walker, John directed the marketing efforts of Frïs Vodka Skandia, Beefeater Gin and Canadian Club Whisky, a $200M brand. With Brandwerks, John has helped many startup companies get off the ground and has also worked with several national brands, including Zep Commercial, Café Spice, Mulay’s Sausage, and others. Working with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, he and his team were instrumental in helping the Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Association revitalize itself following the 2011 Listeria crisis.
John is originally from Modesto in California’s Central Valley, where he grew up in agriculture helping his family farm walnuts and wine grapes. He has a degree in Economics from U. C. Berkeley and has attended graduate business programs at UCLA and Claremont Graduate School. He serves on the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board Marketing Committee, and previously on the Board of Advisors for Colorado Proud, both of which are Colorado Department of Agriculture programs.
What area(s) of focus would you most like to address with your mentees?
Generally, overall business development, from concept to consumer. Specifically, business strategy, brand positioning, creation and launch, sales and distribution and financial planning/management.
How do you plan to structure your monthly meetings?
Initially, free-flowing conversations to identify needs and goals, then more structured with homework assignments and status updates.
Finally, who would be an ideal mentee for you in this program, given your areas of expertise and experience?
Someone with any number of needs given my broad experience.