With more than 110 member companies, we represent more than 90 per cent of all imported beverage alcohol products sold in Ontario, and an ever-increasing array of domestic and locally-produced products.
Employ more than 2,000 full time and part time employees in Ontario.
Have created hundreds of full and part-time jobs in the province over the last two years.
Have tendered more than 300 contracts for services provided by Ontario workers, valued at between $5 million and $10 million.
Our Board of Directors is made up of business leaders in Ontario’s beverage alcohol industry.
Our seven committees are led by Chairs with considerable business experience and product knowledge.
Drinks Ontario Executive Director
Rick brings nearly 30 years’ experience in government relations, communications as well as association management, to the position as Executive Director of Drinks Ontario. Born and raised in Toronto, educated at several Canadian universities including a PhD from McGill in Public Policy, Rick previously acted as head of Federal government relations for Restaurants Canada, on a wide range of policy dossiers including the highly regulated supply management sector. He also brings to Drinks Ontario strong public and media relations skills, having worked in PR in the high-technology sector, and with his own consulting firm for a number of years.
Drinks Ontario President
Before being elected Vice President of Drinks Ontario in 2015, Andrew spent two years as a Board Member and Chair of Drinks Ontario’s Government & Industry Relations Committee where he worked to enhance the Association’s relationship with government decision-makers and the LCBO. Andrew is a sommelier, winner of LCBO Elsie Awards for Partnership and Agent of the Year (Class C) and two-time winner of the Tony Aspler Blind Tasting Award. In addition to remaining as Board Liaison to Drinks Ontario’s Government & Industry Relations, Andrew is the association’s President.
Drinks Ontario Vice President
Jim has served as a Drinks Ontario Board Member since 1998, leading the Specialty Services Committee. Working closely with committee members, Drinks Ontario has achieved a strong relationship with the Specialty Services Team and Senior Management. These relationships play an important role in proactively addressing challenges faced by members and developing opportunities. Over the last two years, the committee worked diligently with the LCBO team to facilitate the implementation of the Elite system – this work is now coming to fruition as the system is bringing improvements to pre-picks, receiving, pick-ups and order processing. Other highlights include enhanced threshold management for all agents; continuous management presence on dock to facilitate improved turnaround time; E-commerce/Products of the World involvement; and improved communication with management to resolve individual agent issues quickly. Communicating on a regular basis with senior management, the Specialty Services Committee and LCBO Management team continue to work together to further develop strategies, resolve issues and strengthen this relationship on behalf of Drinks Ontario Members. Jim was a Drinks Ontario Director in 2015-16.
Drinks Ontario Secretary-Treasurer
Ryan Keery has been a member of the Drinks Ontario Sales and Marketing committee for the past two years and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2017. His Beverage Alcohol career spans 18 years across all categories; Beer, Spirits and Wine with globally and locally recognized brands. In 2014 and 2016, he was awarded the LCBO Partnership Award for Spirits and RTD. Ryan has held progressive roles in sales management at Diageo, PMA, Maxxium and Molson before earning his current role at Beam Suntory Canada. He is an innovative and solutions-oriented sales leader with a proven track record of delivering results through strong commercial acumen and the building & motivating of strong people. His life outside of work is centred around his wife Stephanie of 11 years and his two sons Gavin and Hayden. If you have not seen him in a LCBO or at an on premise promotion, you’ll find him at a rink helping his son’s hockey teams.
Drinks Ontario Director
Craig joined Noble Estates after more than 10 years managing Ontario sales and marketing for Lifford Wine and Spirits. Prior to entering the wine industry, he attended Colgate University and completed his MBA at The Schulich School of Business, where he focused on Wine Marketing and Strategy. He also spent eight years working in the banking industry, living in Zurich, Luxembourg, London, Boston, and Johannesburg. Craig is Board Liaison to Drinks Ontario’s VINTAGES Committee. Craig was a Drinks Ontario Director in 2015-16.
Drinks Ontario Director
Mark has spent more than 25 years in the beverage alcohol industry, starting his career as LCBO Christmas staff while in university. He transitioned to roles in the LCBO’s Quality Assurance, Traffic and VINTAGES departments before joining the agency side in 1999. Over the last few years, Mark has taken on increased responsibility with Drinks Ontario. His extensive wine knowledge, business expertise and familiarity with LCBO’s premium wine buying strategies have been an asset to the association. Mark is Board Liaison to Drinks Ontario’s Merchandising & Marketing Committee. Mark was elected a Drinks Ontario Director in 2015-16.
Kristen Steiner – Director of Sales – Strategy, Arterra Wines Canada
Drinks Ontario Director, Board Liason Retail Operations Committee
Kristen has worked in the beverage alcohol industry for 16 years, all with Arterra Canada (formally Constellation Brands and Vincor Canada). Her first three years were spent in the field working as a sales representative, after which she moved into the strategic accounts side of the business, calling on the LCBO head office buying team as a Key Account Manager. Kristen called on Wines, RTD, Spirits, Cider and oversaw VINTAGES before moving on to, Director of Sales – Execution. This role, which she has held since 2012, is more geared to the ‘street’ in that she manages both Retail and On-Premise sales reps by managing their go-to-market strategy to maximize execution and sales. For the past 2 years she has moved back to strategy as Dir of Sales Strategy where she manages the Key account team who calls on LCBO, Grocery, and On Premise. Kristen has received two LCBO Elsie Partnership Awards in RTD/Spirits and one in Wines. In 2015 year she was a finalist for the Retail Partnership Elsie. Kristen was the first Chair of Drinks Ontario’s Retail Operations Committee and is now Board Liaison to that Committee, as well as the Member Services Committee.
Andrea Backstrom – New Zealand Winegrowers, Canada
Drinks Ontario Director, Board Liaison for the Merchandising & Marketing Committee and Member Services Committee
Andrea Backstrom is a Managing Partner for a consulting company, representing the market development for New Zealand Winegrowers across Canada. She has a strong background in sales and marketing and an in-depth understanding of the Canadian beverage alcohol landscape. She started her career nine years ago at Mark Anthony Brands in Vancouver as a Territory Manager, followed by Key Account Manager, Trade Marketing Manager and National Portfolio Manager. She continued at Lifford Wine & Spirits as their Ontario Sales Director before she started A+M Consulting & Communications with Melissa Stunden in 2017. Andrea has worked closely with the LCBO for many years, and on the winning team for Elsie awards for Best Integrated Marketing Campaign in 2015, and Best Special Event and Best Vintages Event in 2017. She was also a finalist for Spirits Partnership in 2017.