Gizmo Announces Additions to Leadership Team

Beverage industry veterans join beverage maker

Published in CSP Daily News

LOS ANGELES -- Gizmo Beverages, which makes beverages in the functional and all-natural categories--has announced the addition of beverage industry veteran Mark Weslar to its leadership team as chief marketing officer.

Gizmo holds the patent on the Gizmo Closure & Delivery System, a pressurized bottle cap design that infuses and instantly mixes a drink with fresh, preservative-free liquid ingredients upon opening. The first application of this technology, Tea of a Kind, has already proven itself a high performer in the category, winning the Best Ready-to-Drink Tea Beverage at the 2012 Interbev Awards; Best Iced Tea at the 2013 North American Tea Championships, and most recently received a SELF Magazine Healthy Food Award for Best Iced Tea.

Weslar is a seasoned consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketer having held brand leadership roles at major companies including MillerCoors, Coors Brewing, Kraft Foods and Nabisco. He comes to Gizmo from MillerCoors, where he worked for Coors Light. As brand director, he defined the brand's positioning of Rocky Mountain Cold Refreshment and successfully launched many package innovations, including cold-activated bottles and cans.

Partnering with Southern Wines & Spirits--the largest privately held beverage wholesaler in the country--Gizmo has experienced early success in Tea of a Kind's first four markets: California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. Weslar will develop campaigns to increase consumer awareness of Tea of a Kind's unique proposition and the "powered by Gizmo" experience it delivers. Beyond Tea of a Kind, Weslar will champion Gizmo's next two projects using the patented closure on a functional water brand and a ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail brand, both launching in 2014. Additionally, Weslar will lead efforts to secure future licensing agreements for the Gizmo closure and enhance equity in the "powered by Gizmo" brand as it extends into new food and beverage applications.

In 2012, senior vice president of sales Brad Foster, joined the company with more than 20 years of experience, having held senior level positions at Silver Eagle Distributors, MillerCoors and Miller Brewing.

With his sales leadership, Tea of a Kind has secured distribution in dozens of retail chain accounts. The brand has also secured distribution in thousands of on-premise accounts.

"I have been a part of some very successful brand launches in my career, including Bud Light Lime-A-Rita, Bud Light Platinum, Corona Light and MGD 64, but I had yet to experience excitement from retailers like I have from Tea of a Kind," Foster said. "Retailers love that this is true innovation and not simply another line extension. They really appreciate our potential and how we bring incremental sales to their category."

Company president and co-founder Walter Apodaca, leads the team. As a former executive with Coca-Cola, Coors Brewing and MillerCoors, he has been involved in hundreds of practical innovations in the beverage sector. Apodaca co-founded Los Angeles-based Gizmo with Don Park in 2011 after seeing the Gizmo function in its early incarnation.