Our Team

It takes driven people to deliver quality results.

Executive Leadership

Carlos J. Carreras

Chief Executive Officer

Carlos began his career in the Gallo Sales Division of Premier Beverage company in South Florida in 1993. Since then, he has held various roles and positions in The Paddington Corporation, Brown-Forman Beverages and William Grant & Sons. Before joining Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing, Carlos was the VP Sales/National Sales Manager at White Rock Distilleries from 2006-2012 and he held the same position at Western Spirits Company from 2012-2015. He was very active in the development, rollout planning, distributor management and volume growth of brands which included Pinnacle Vodka, Three Olives Vodka, and Bird Dog Bourbon. His experience in brand building, brand volume growth and national distributor relationships is an integral part of the development of all Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing Brands.

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Rene Armas

Vice President of Sales

Rene began his career in the wine and spirits industry in 1993 working in Gallo’s Sales Division of Premier Beverage in South Florida. In 1997 Rene joined Remy Cointreau as South Florida District Manager. Rene rose through the ranks and ultimately became Remy Cointreau’s Florida State Manager. In 2002 Rene joined Pernod Ricard USA as a Regional Manager overseeing Florida and South Carolina. Rene joined White Rock Distilleries in 2008 as their Southeast Division Manager, overseeing 14 states along the Southeast. Rene played a pivotal role in the growth and ultimately the sale of the Pinnacle Vodka Brand. Rene resides in South Florida with his wife and four children.

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Sales & Support Team

Jason Petrides

Director of National Accounts

Jason Petrides began his career in the wine and spirits industry in 2001 with United Distributors Inc. in Atlanta, GA. In 2007, he managed the state of Florida for what at the time was, Fosters Wines Estates at Republic National Distributing Co.(RNDC). In 2010, his father Harry Petrides, Owner and Founder of Grapes to Grain, a Sales and Marketing Agency in Atlanta, GA, called Jason to ask for his help in supporting his portfolio, which included ChocoVine Chocolate wines, among others. Jason was the Southeast Regional Sales Manager, providing sales and marketing expertise as well as establishing new distributor relations for many of their brands. His strengths in brand building, brand volume growth and regional distributor relationships presented him the opportunity of Area Manager for Deep Eddy Vodka in 2012 in Atlanta, GA. In this role, Jason was very active in the development, rollout planning, distributor management and volume growth, which led to a promotion, the Regional Sales Manager role for Heaven Hill Brands in 2015. Jason continued to manage Deep Eddy Vodka brand for GA, SC, AL and MS until joining Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing early 2017 as the Director of National Accounts.

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Paul Doran

National Control States Director

Paul began his career in the beverage industry in 2004 working as a Retail Account Manager in Pennsylvania for Capital Wine & Spirits (Charmer Sunbelt Group). After a short time, his immediate success afforded him multiple opportunities within Diageo North America, where he worked for nearly 5 years. He was later recruited to a Regional Sales Manager role at White Rock Distilleries. Paul was responsible for developing brands such as Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack Rums, which became marketplace leaders during his tenure. After the sale of White Rock Distilleries, Paul accepted a regional role at Western Spirits Beverage Company and was promoted to Control States Sales Director after 18 months. Paul oversaw 9 markets and worked closely with a broker, distributor network on building brands, most notably Bird Dog Flavored Whiskies. Paul lives in the Philadelphia area where he patiently awaits a Super Bowl victory by his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. He has never eaten a cheesesteak from Geno’s.

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Carter Perks

Southeast Regional Manager

Carter Perks represents four generations of hospitality expertise. He spent is adolescent years working in hotels and restaurants. Carter’s extensive knowledge of on premise operations along with his results oriented retail sales execution strategies make him an asset to brands looking to gain traction in the marketplace. Carter began his career in the wine & spirits industry with National Distributing Company (NDC) Georgia in 1999. During his 16-year career at NDC, he achieved several positions, including Vice President of On Premise Georgia. Carter was instrumental in developing launch and market strategies for brands in Georgia across many leading suppliers and independent-craft portfolios. Carter has a passion for brand building and has achieved the Specialist of Spirits (CSS) along with WSET certifications. Carter is a graduate of Florida International University School of Hospitality Management and currently resides in his home state of Florida.

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Grant Springer

Southwest Regional Manager

Grant began his career in the Retail Wine Division at Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) in North Texas. Over the past 10 years, he has successfully worked the Texas and Florida markets, rising from a sales representative to District Manager. During his time at RNDC, he continued to rise within the company while managing top suppliers such as Constellation, The Wine Group, Sazerac and Remy Cointreau. Grant is a sales leader who enjoys building brands while successfully developing sales professionals in the expanding wine and spirits industry. Grant currently resides in Dallas, TX with his wife and two children.

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Will Staley

Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager

Will graduated from University of South Carolina with a BA in Political Science and a Minor in Business. He began his career in the wine and spirits industry at Ben Arnold/Charmer Sunbelt (now BreakThru Beverage) in 1996. Will held many positions at Ben Arnold, which included: Customer Service, Merchandising, Sales Representative, Coastal District Manager, Area Manager, and Division Manager. He also has extensive experience working for suppliers, which has consisted of: Southeastern Regional Sales Manager for White Rock Distilleries and the Southeastern Regional Sales Manager for Van Gogh Imports representing South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Arkansas in both roles; Director of Sales Southeast Division & Market Manager for Stoli Group USA, where he also managed the South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Colorado markets. Will currently resides in South Carolina with his wife Jennifer, and three children, Emory, Keller, Reid.

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Nick Ziccardi

Northeast Regional Manager

Nick joins Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing from Deep Eddy Vodka, where he spent three years as the Northeast Regional Manager. Prior to Deep Eddy, he spent two years at Western Spirits, three years at White Rock Distilleries and seven years at Empire Merchants selling the E&J Gallo portfolio. Nick is responsible for NY/NJ and will also oversee MA/CT/RI. Nick resides in Metro New York with his wife Ayesha, and son Colin.

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Eddie Varsalona

New Product Development Manager

An industry veteran of over 20 years, Eddie’s experience is diverse. He has owned successful restaurants, worked for 8 years at a large distributor, achieved the Specialist of Spirits (CSS) and Specialist of Wine (CSW) certifications from the Society of Wine Educators, and is a member of the United States Bartenders Guild. With his ear on the street looking for trends, Eddie comes to you with a passion for learning, teaching, hosting and sharing, and is organically drawn to all aspects of the beverage industry. Consistently, it is the connection between food, beverage and the personal relationships that come with the wine and spirits industry that have kept him on this path for so long.

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Jim Byrd

TN/KY/IN Market Manager

Jim began his career in the wine and spirits industry in 1986 in retail at Bud’s Wine and Spirits in Nashville. After 10 years, he moved on to manage Mr. Whiskers Wine and Spirits. In 2005 he worked with the Nashville Wine Auction, L’Ete’ du Vin, benefitting the American Cancer Society. He oversaw all wine donations and organized them for both “The Grand Auction” and “The Friends Auction” each year. In 2008 Jim worked with different stores with startup operations assisting owners with ordering and hiring. He worked as sales representative for Aleksey’s Imports Wine and Spirits Distributors and formed a beer division in 2011. In 2014 he went to work for Western Son Distillery in Texas, representing Tennessee and Georgia. Jim started working with Blue Ridge Spirits and Wine Marketing in May 2016, accumulating 30 years of invaluable experience along the way.

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Sophia Feliciano

FL Market Manager

Sophia began her career in the spirits industry with Leblon Cachaça in 2008. For the past 6 years, she devoted her time Moet Hennessy’s Direct Marketing team as their Brand Ambassador, On-Site Manager, Production Manager, Administrative Assistant and Logistics Manager. She has worked on everything from day-to-day operations to large-scale events both On and Off Premise. Her time with Blue Ridge Spirits and Wine Marketing has given her unique insight into the North Florida region, inner spirit operations and a strong knowledge of the importance of brand building and passion no matter how established a brand may be.

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Tom Hackett

GA Market Manager

Tom began career on the supplier side of the industry with Blue Ridge Spirits and Marketing in 2016. Tom was previously involved in FOH operations for 16 years in some of the highest profile restaurants throughout the city of Atlanta and worked as a Beverage Director, General Manager and Operations Manager. It was in this environment he developed his knowledge for spirits and wine, and felt a natural progression to join the marketing side of the industry as a Brand Ambassador for some of the most exciting new products on the market. He brings exceptional customer relationship skills, tireless work ethic and overall love of the industry to Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing, to continue to build their portfolio and take their brands to the next level. Tom is originally from Long Island, and currently resides in Buckhead, Atlanta with his son.

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Keith Fillmore

MA/CT/RI Market Manager

Keith was born and raised in Rockport, Massachusetts, located along the north shore coast of MA, Rockport and was ironically a “dry” town until very recently. Keith began his career in the wine and spirits industry in 2001 and spent over 15 years working for various incarnations of Jim Beam Brands (Future Brands, Beam Global and now Beam Suntory) in Massachusetts and Rhode Island markets. He started as a sales representative in MA before he was promoted to MA Area Manager. He then became the State Manager in RI, followed by managing territory sales in MA and RI. He was crucial to the growth of premium brands such as, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek and Hornitos Tequila in MA and RI; and successfully worked in both on and off premise channels managing multiple distributors in those states. He currently resides in Tewksbury, just north of Boston with his wife, Roberta and two children, Alexandra and William.

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Buz Dabkowski

Colorado Market Manager

Buz has worked in many aspects of the liquor, beer, and wine industry. He has had experience in restaurant business, retail liquor store sales, and has held roles such as, Wholesale Salesperson, Manager, a Supplier Representative, Market and Regional Manager. Most recently, he has worked for Edrington Group and Sazerac. He is a natural story teller and enjoys hosting trainings, seminars and events that entertain, as well as educate trade and consumers. His excellent people skills and storytelling are assets to the growth of Blue Ridge Spirits and Wine Marketing.

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Mitch McDonald

California Market Manager

Mitch graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Following graduation, he began his career in the wine and spirits industry working for Hyatt Hotels, where he was the Beverage Director for 9 years representing multiple Hyatt properties in three states: California, Colorado and Hawaii. Prior to joining Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing, Mitch contributed to the boost of Martin Miller’s Gin’s sales by 39% in 2015 and 2016. He was the brand’s Brand Ambassador during July 2015 – December 2015; and beginning in January 2016, Mitch was the California State Manager for Martin Miller’s Gin. Mitch will be a vital role in Blue Ridge’s expansion on the west coast in California.

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Olivia Moser

Marketing Brand Manager

Olivia began her career in the wine and spirits industry as a CRUZ Ambassador with CRUZ Tequila in Phoenix, AZ. Before graduating from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA (go bulldogs!) she had a marketing internship with Trinchero Family Estates, which eventually grew into a Public Relations position in 2014. In this role, Olivia managed events, created communications strategies and brand press kits, executed press releases and developed internal communications at Trinchero. In January 2017, she joined Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine and is looking forward to using her passion for wine, spirits and the business through quality brand building and marketing opportunities.

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Kelly Carreras

Finance/ HR Manager

Kelly began her career in the wine & spirits industry at Cape Wine Ventures in 2006. She has worked in several different capacities during her career. Kelly graduated from Kennesaw State University in Georgia with a degree in Marketing. She now lives with her husband and two children in Atlanta, GA.

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Jennifer Aaron

Office Manager

Jennifer began her career in the fashion industry. In 2013 she made the move to the wine & spirits industry. Her former position as Office Manager at Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits entailed Compliance and Administrative support. She now utilizes her skill set at Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing to help further grow the business. She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two boys.

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James Stoops

Operations Manager

Originally from Connecticut, James began his career in manufacturing and warehouse management for a renewable energy company in Vermont. Following that, he worked for a non-profit car-sharing service as their Operations Manager. James was then presented the opportunity to live in Jamaica for a short time and explore the U.S. During his travels, he consulted for a craft coffee roaster based in VT and a custom bag manufacturer in OR. James studied environmental science at the University of Vermont and continued his education learning lean manufacturing, organizational change, leadership and accounting. James’ accounting and organizational skills have been an asset to Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing since he became the Operations Manager in May 2017. Although James’ background is not in the wine and spirits industry, he loves taste testing new products at the Blue Ridge HQ and supporting the business, exploring local Atlanta bars and restaurants.

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