Liquid Death hires ex-White Claw executive as its first chief commercial officer

Dive Brief:

  • Water and iced tea brand Liquid Death has appointed Stephen Ballard as its first chief commercial officer, the beverage start up said in a press release. Ballard will oversee field sales, distribution, national accounts and international expansion.
  • Ballard previously was senior vice president of sales at the Mike’s Hard Lemonade Company, where he worked with White Claw and other key brands.
  • The addition of the seasoned beverage executive to its C-suite comes as Liquid Death reportedly hired Goldman Sachs last summer to help it with an IPO in 2024.

Dive Insight:

Just a few years after it was launched, Liquid Death is in more than 100,000 doors across the U.S. and U.K. and posting annual sales well over $100 million. As Liquid Death, with its tagline of “Murder your thirst,” aims for further growth, having a seasoned executive with prior experience will be instrumental in helping the brand enter additional retail establishments. Ballard brings more than 25 years of experience in sales, distribution and strategy.

In his prior role at Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Ballard helped quadruple sales to $2 billion and positioned the company as one of the top brands in the hard seltzer category, according to Liquid Death. Ballard’s team transformed Mike’s Hard Lemonade from the 7th largest company to the 4th largest company its category. He’ll be charged with supercharging growth at Liquid Death, which is predominately known only for water.

“We’ve seen explosive growth since we first entered retail three years ago and are thrilled to be bringing in an unmatched leader like Stephen, who will continue to drive scale to our business,” Mike Cessario, the founder and CEO of Liquid Death, said in a statement. “He was instrumental in successfully scaling White Claw into a massive brand at an unprecedented speed.”

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