Eight active committees – advocating for our members.
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.
Committee Chair: Kevin Lynch, Managing Director and Co-Founder of EPIC Wines and Spirits Inc.
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.
Committee Chair: Clayton Blakeley, Eastern Canada Regional Director, Bacardi
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.
Committee Chair: Matthew Pelton, Regional Key Account Manager – Ontario & Atlantic, Sleeman Breweries
This committee was established to work directly with LCBO’s Refreshment Category teams – Beer, Cider and Ready-to-Drink. Our objective is to support the LCBO to be the best-in-class Refreshment retailers in Ontario’s dynamic and ever-changing beverage alcohol marketplace. This committee brings a wealth of knowledge and experience along with a collaborative approach to finding solutions that work for members of the trade, the LCBO and – most importantly – Ontario consumers.
Matthew spent the first 10 years of his career working in the hospitality industry, where he learned to work with dynamic teams and gained a strong customer-centric outlook. He then joined Sleeman Breweries Ltd. in 2010, translating his experience in hospitality to an On-Premise role in downtown Toronto. In 2012 Matthew was promoted to a Key Account role working primarily with the LCBO. His role was expanded in 2016 to include all 4 Atlantic markets. Over his career with Sleeman Breweries Ltd. he has won several internal awards for recognition as a top performer, and has also been recognized for his strong relationships with the LCBO having received 2 Elsie nominations for Beer Partner of the Year.
Member Services Committee
Committee Chair: Susan Stewart, Member Services Coordinator, Drinks Ontario.
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.
Specialty Services Committee
Committee Chair: Nelson Abreu – President, 30.50 Imports
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.
Nelson Abreu is an avid cyclist and snowboarder who once raised an albino shark-fish named RedEye. Inspired by his long-time love of amateur winemaking and staying true to his entrepreneurial passion, Nelson founded 30.50 Imports Inc., an Ontario wine agency dedicated to the marketing and sales of imported wines. He graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours B.A. in Political Science and earned his diploma with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
Retail Operations Committee
Committee Chair: Trevor Dawes, Ontario Sales Manager, Southern Glazers
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.
Trevor has worked in the beverage alcohol industry for over 15 years; with experience in all channels of the business and in a multitude of roles that has developed his understanding of market dynamics. Starting his career in beer category with Molson-Coors before expanding his experience into selling wines, spirits and RTD in both the Retail and On-premise channels, while working for Pernod Ricard/Corby Distilleries, Brown Forman and current company, Southern Glazers. Trevor has established a strong working relationship with the LCBO throughout his career, as well as, his work with charities as he remains active with both Friends of We Care and Camp OOCH. Trevor has spent the last two years as the Ontario Sales Manager with Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits where he is responsible for the sales team and the retail business in Ontario.
Committee Chair: Terry Sauriol, Vice President of Sales, Colio Estate Wines & Thornbury Craft Cider & Beer
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.