Seven active committees – advocating for our members.
Merchandising and Marketing Committee
Committee Chair: Kevin Lynch, Managing Director and Co-Founder of EPIC Wines and Spirits Inc.
Through ongoing collaboration with LCBO’s Sales, Marketing and Insights division, this committee takes a pro-active approach to monitoring operational issues affecting the LCBO’s marketing and retail strategies, product selection and assortment planning, promotional opportunities and other issues affecting product sales. This committee will actively liaise with Drinks Ontario’s Retail Operations.
Kevin Lynch is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of EPIC Wines and Spirits Inc., a Beverage Alcohol Sales & Marketing Agency based in Toronto, Ontario. His main area of focus is in Ontario but also has accountability for other markets like Quebec, Atlantic Canada and British Columbia. Previous to Co-founding EPIC Wines and Spirits, Kevin’s experience in beverage alcohol spans more than 17 years including 9 years with Mark Anthony Brands where he held Executive Positions in Canada in Sales and Marketing. Prior to that, he has held Senior Sales Positions in Canada and the United States with Treasury Wine Estates and Seagram. Kevin started his career in packaged goods with the Frito Lay Company. In 2002, he was the first ever recipient of the LCBO Elsie Award for Retail Partnership Excellence.
Retail Operations Committee
Committee Chair: Clayton Blakeley, Eastern Canada Regional Director, Bacardi
This committee was established to work directly with LCBO’s Retail Operations Division on tactical and strategic issues that arise in its mainstream retail channel, including service levels, implementation of monthly promotions and new product roll-out, store-level inventory, and trade relations. This committee will actively liaise with Drinks Ontario’s Merchandising and Marketing Committee to foster a coordinated effort that addresses all aspects of the in-store experience.
Clayton has a wealth of industry experience in beverage alcohol spanning over 25 years, working with liquor boards from Saskatchewan to Newfoundland and everything in between. Starting his career in beer category with Premier Brands where he held roles from Sales Manager to Operations Manager. Over his career he sold beer, wines, spirits and RTD in both the Retail and On-premise channels, while working for Diageo, Pernod Ricard and current company Bacardi Canada. Clayton has established strong working relationship with all levels within the Liquor industry and at the LCBO from the Category teams, Retail channel and Senior leadership. With Bacardi he has progressed from Ontario Sales Manager overseeing the sales organization, promoted to Regional Director where he ran the Atlantic Canada business, to his current role as Eastern Canada Regional Director responsible for the commercial business in Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes provinces and Newfoundland.
Government & Industry Relations Committee
Committee Chair: John Swan
Through the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, the Ontario beverage alcohol marketplace will soon see more change than it has in nearly one hundred years. This committee is actively engaged in dialogue with decision-makers and is committed to advancing our members’ interests. It also monitors changes in government legislation, regulations, policies, guidelines, rules and procedures that could affect the way industry operates and consumers shop.
John has experience in Europe and Canada, having held management positions with wine and spirit distributors such as Tesco PLC, Rocco Forte and Pieroth GmbH.
In 1984 to 2000 John was President of Hillebrand Trius Estates Winery, developing the winery and opening 50 retail stores in Ontario. As a founding member of VQA and Director of the WCO, John worked closely with the Canadian and Ontario Governments in representing the industry in GATT and NAFTA negotiations. John enjoyed many years working with PMA Canada as Vice President Sales and Industry Relations. John is also past President and Director of Drinks Ontario and Chairman of Spirits Canada.
Member Services Committee
Committee Chair: Marc McDowell, Director of On Premise Sales for Canada, Mark Anthony Wines & Spirits
Enhancing professional, educational and social interaction between members and other industry stakeholders is the main mandate of this committee. It oversees the financial administration of the association and is responsible for ensuring good value for members. The committee organizes member meetings and social events through the year to bolster networking opportunities and foster the positive exchange of information and ideas.
Marc has worked in the hospitality and beverage alcohol industry for over 10 years. His career started with Mark Anthony Brands where he spent time in the field as a Territory Manager growing the LCBO and licensee business in the GTA Core. He then moved into a Key Account Manager role where he managed the LCBO head office business and National On-premise sales. In June 2015, he was the recipient of LCBO Elsie Partnership Award – Spirits and RTD and 2016 was a finalist for the same award. Marc then spent two years as the Ontario Sales Manager with Colio Estate Wines where he was responsible for the sales team and the wholesale business in Ontario. Marc also spent time with Drinks Ontario as the Chair of the Retail Operations committee and is now the Director of On Premise Sales for Canada at Mark Anthony Wines & Spirits.
Specialty Services Committee
Committee Chair: Anne Jasper – Principal, The Vine Agency
Working closely with LCBO’s Specialty Services team, this committee monitors operational issues and helps manage challenges relating to LCBO’s High-Volume, Consignment and Private Ordering programs. It continues to advocate for appropriate warehousing and distribution services, cost-efficient operations and positive customer service.
Committee Chair: Eugene Mlynczyk, Luxury Portfolio Manager, Arterra Wines Canada
VINTAGES is the fine wine and premium spirits business unit of LCBO. With specialized knowledge and practical experience, this committee actively monitors operational, marketing, retailing and customer service issues through this channel. Through regular communication with both LCBO Category and Retail decision-makers, the committee – and members – stay informed of key initiatives and advocate to resolve concerns.
Eugene Mlynczyk’s love of wine began in California while studying at Stanford University, where he earned his BA in Painting and Drawing (and later his MFA in Painting at Indiana University). Eugene started studying wine in earnest in the late 1990s and launched a new career in the wine trade in 2001 as he was also completing his WSET Diploma with Honours. Eugene’s work role is Luxury Portfolio Manager at Arterra Wines Canada (formerly Constellation Brands), where he is responsible for selling a global range of wines to Vintages, the specialty division of the LCBO, and actively supporting Luxury Wine sales across the country. With the support of many, Eugene became a Master of Wine in 2015, one of only five in Canada, and was awarded the Robert Mondavi Winery Award for the most outstanding performance across all the theory papers. His Research Paper topic was on local VQA Sparkling Wines. When not tasting and talking about wine, Eugene focuses on family activities, and can often be found running in the woods competing in his favourite sport, orienteering.
Committee Chair: Terry Johnson, Ontario Sales Manager, Mark Anthony Wine and Spirits
This committee was established to work directly with the Grocers and the LCBO’s Grocery Division to build relationships and education on this emerging channel in Ontario. Working together our goal is to enhance and evolve Communications, Operations, Logistics and Government changes between LCBO, Grocers, and the Trade. This committee will actively liaise with the LCBO and Grocers to foster a coordinated effort that addresses all aspects of the in-store experience.
Terry began his career with E.&J. Gallo Winery in 2010 as a LCBO Sales Representative. He was promoted to a sales management role in 2012 leading the Ontario Off-Premise Sales Team. In 2015 Terry left Alcohol/beverage to launch the Canadian market for a top US Sports Nutrition company. He then was brought back into the industry to lead the launch of wine/beer to the Grocery channel. With over 15 years in CPG, he was a natural fit to lead the channel at Gallo, and now Mark Anthony Wine and Spirits. He has been with MAWS for over a year as the Ontario Sales Manager managing LCBO, Grocery, TBS, and Duty Free.