Flecha Azul, BSB, Fraser & Thompson, and Aspen Vodka bottles

At WES, we’re passionate about crafting high-quality spirits and empowering our team through employee ownership. By working together, we can create something truly special in the liquor industry. We prioritize collaboration, creativity, and innovation, allowing our team members to build compelling brands that leave a lasting impression with consumers.

Executive Team

Shawn Thurman

CEO

Shawn Thurman
Shawn Thurman

CEO

Shawn Thurman, a spirits industry veteran with over 44 years of experience, is the Chief Executive Officer of Dallas-based WES Brands, a company focused on the development and introduction of world-class spirits brands such as Flecha Azul Tequila and BSB Whiskey.

Shawn’s passion for bringing new and emerging brands to life shines through in every aspect of his role as CEO. Prior to joining the team, he started his career at Gallo Wine and Seagram’s Distillers, followed by 40 years with the largest distributor in the U.S., Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, where he most recently served as Executive Vice President.

Sean Penn

President & COO

Sean Penn
Sean Penn

President & COO

A founding team member and former CEO of WES Brands, Sean moved into the role of President &  COO to more closely align with his passion - growing the people side of the business. Sean brings an entrepreneurial spirit, innovative vision, and passion for people to his position. He was naturally attracted to working with an agile and forward-thinking organization and enjoys the challenge of building global brands while simultaneously developing teams to serve as passionate brand ambassadors.

 

Prior to joining WES Brands in 2019, Sean spent nearly three decades in leadership roles with Diageo North America and Milestone Brands.

Kyle Stein

President

IMG_4320 2
Kyle Stein

President

Kyle spent ten years with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, where he was last a Director of commercial Insights and strategy. While at SGWS, he was selected into the Emerging Leaders Program.

Chris Jebbia

SVP Finance

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Chris Jebbia

SVP Finance

Prior to joining WES Brands, Chris spent a decade with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, where he started as a Financial Analyst and left as a Senior Manager, Commercial Finance.

Lauren
Ryan-Kiyak

SVP Marketing

Lauren Ryan Kiyak
Lauren
Ryan-Kiyak

SVP Marketing

Bringing 15 years of industry marketing experience to the table, Lauren previously held senior roles with notable companies including Charles Jacquin et Cie, Stoli Group USA, Pernod Ricard, and Rémy Cointreau.

Chris Seithel

SVP, Sales

Chris Seithel
Chris Seithel

SVP, Sales

Chris joined WES Brands in 2023, driven by the opportunity to build brands with an entrepreneurial spirit. He’s excited about developing brand equity through sales execution, brand proposition and consumer engagement. Chris has 28 years in the Wine & Spirits business, most recently as the Vice President of National Sales at El Silencio Holdings.

Russel Louis

VP Operations

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Russel Louis

VP Operations

Prior to joining WES Brands, Russel spent nine years at Herman Marshall Whiskey, where he began as a floor sweeper and eventually became CEO, overseeing the production of all internationally acclaimed whiskies.

Board Members

Marshall Watson

Chairman

MMW headshot
Marshall Watson

Chairman

Marshall Watson is the Executive Chairman & Managing Member of WES Brands, a company that develops, markets, and sells innovative brands in the beverage alcohol category. WES is a leader in pairing high-potential spirits brands in expanding categories with celebrity partners to drive awareness. The WES portfolio currently includes BSB Flavored Whiskey, in partnership with Jamie Foxx, and Flecha Azul Tequila, in partnership with Mark Wahlberg. Later this year, WES will launch three additional spirits brands with best-in-class celebrity partners to accelerate growth and awareness. WES Brands was formed after Mr. Watson led the transaction, pursuant to which an investor group acquired Aviation Gin in partnership with actor Ryan Reynolds. In that transaction, Mr. Reynolds acquired an equity stake in the brand and agreed to serve as its Creative Director. Diageo, the world’s largest spirits supplier, agreed to acquire Aviation Gin in 2020.

Previously, Mr. Watson was the President of Direct Holdings Global, LLC (“DHG”), a whollyowned subsidiary of dick clark productions, and a Principal at Mosaic Media Investment Partners (“MMIP”). DHG, a direct-to-consumer marketing and sales company, is best-known for its iconic “Time Life” infomercials featuring compilation collections of classic television, comedy, and music. DHG’s lifestyle products division developed, marketed, and sold kitchen and outdoor products such as the American Bad Ass Grill in partnership with musician Kid Rock, financial planning products such as Financial Security Now with Suze Orman, and Brain Fit Today, a memory improvement system developed in partnership with renowned psychiatrist and brain scientist Dr. Daniel Amen. DHG’s live entertainment division, StarVista Live, produces nearly a dozen music-themed cruises and land-based events ranging from The Soul Train Cruise and The Southern Rock Cruise to Abbey 
Road on the River, a prominent North American Beatles festival. As a Principal at MMIP, Mr. Watson managed the initial acquisition of DHG from Reader’s Digest 
in 2012, as well as the sale of DHG to dick clark productions in 2014. In addition, Mr. Watson managed all MMIP non-control investments in sports, e-sports, gaming, media, and technology.

Mr. Watson began his career as an M&A and private equity lawyer at the global law firm of 
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he represented clients such as One Equity Partners (the private equity arm of JP Morgan), Odyssey Investment Partners, Leonard Green & Partners, and 
Investcorp.

Mr. Watson holds B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Southern California, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert J. Timlin, U.S. District Court, Central District, Eastern Division.

David Edwab

Chairman

David Edwab
David Edwab

Chairman

David Edwab is a seasoned entrepreneurial executive with deep financial and operational experience. He served as an executive, director, or advisor to numerous public and private companies in various sectors, including Men’s Wearhouse, Joseph Abboud, Joseph A. Banks, Aeropostale, Seven For All Mankind, Trans American Auto Parts, Stewart Weitzman, Vitamin Shoppe, Dimensions and Alexandra UK, Moores Retail Group Canada, New York and Company, Mr. Edwab was the principal partner in the formation of Aviation American Gin LLC, and BSB Brown Sugar Blend LLC.

Shelly Stein

Chairman

Shelly Stein
Shelly Stein

Chairman

Sheldon “Shelly” Stein serves as President of Southern Glazer’s. Previously, he served as President and CEO of Glazer’s. Before beginning his tenure with Glazer’s in 2010, Stein had been a Vice Chairman of Global Investment Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch since March 2008. In this role, he served as Glazer’s lead advisor and had worked closely with the Glazer Family and executive team as well as its suppliers on many strategic fronts.

James Bareuther
James Bareuther
James Bareuther

Jim has over 35 years of experience in the beverage alcohol industry and is the retired COO and Executive VP (1994-2010) of Brown-Forman, one of the world’s top ten wine and spirits companies headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.   Prior to joining Brown-Forman, he was Executive VP of Sales and Marketing of Seagram Classics Wine Company in New York and California (1984-1994). 

Rudy Costello
Rudy Costello
Rudy Costello

Rudy has twenty years of experience in the beverage alcohol industry, most recently serving as CEO of Stoli Group, a position he held since May of 2018.  Before joining Stoli Group Rudy spent ten years at Heaven Hill where he held several senior level positions across both finance and sales. Those included Finance Director the the East Region, VP sales for the NY Division, VP, sales for the Florida division, Regional VP for the East Region, and VP, General Manager for the SGWS Region. 

Chester Brandes
Chester Brandes
Chester Brandes

Chester Brandes is a spirits industry veteran with 40 years of experience in both the US domestic and international markets; he has consistently brought passion, creativity and unparalleled commitment to each of his successful business ventures.   Since the sale of Bulldog Gin to Davide Campari S.p.A.in March 2017, Brandes has been doing consulting as well as investing in a number of start-ups in the beverage industry.  

Brandon Weaver
Brandon Weaver
Brandon Weaver

Brandon Weaver is a Global Marketing Executive with experience at Diageo, Carlyle Group, LVMH, UBS and General Electric. Currently General Manager for Sonder, a late stage VC backed tech-enabled travel company reimaging hospitality for the modern traveler.   Served as GM & CMO of Stillhouse Spirits, a subsidiary of Bacardi USA, awarded for its cutting-edge packaging and design. Formerly the CMO & COO of Bonotel Exclusive Travel, a Carlyle-backed $300mn luxury hospitality provider sold to Travel Leaders Group in 2017.

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