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One of Charleston’s fastest-growing companies names new leader

Jason Thomas //June 12, 2023//

One of Charleston’s fastest-growing companies names new leader

Jason Thomas //June 12, 2023//

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A Charleston-based company that has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America three years in a row has named a new leader.

Grain & Barrel Spirits recently appointed John Drakeford as the company’s new general manager. An accomplished industry veteran with decades of executive leadership experience, Drakeford will lead Grain & Barrel’s executive team and will play an integral role in growing the company’s portfolio of spirits including Chicken Cock Whiskey, the largest brand within Grain & Barrel’s portfolio and one of the fastest growing ultra premium whiskeys in the United States, the release stated.

Drakeford, who is based in Columbia, joins the team after serving as general manager of multiple regions at Beam Suntory, where he worked since 2006, and a member of the North American Leadership Team, according to the release.

“We’re thrilled to see Grain & Barrel’s national and international presence grow with the help of John Drakeford’s expertise,” said Grain & Barrel Spirits founder and CEO Matti Anttila in the release. “John’s background and wealth of industry experience will be a huge asset for the company as we push towards our goals.”

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Drakeford, who has spent over 38 years in the spirits industry working with Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman and Seagram Americas where he managed 24 states and markets throughout his career, will help drive extensive growth for Grain & Barrel Spirits brands (Chicken Cock Whiskey, Tequila Eterno Verano, Dixie Vodka, Elvis Whiskey, High Goal Gin, See The Elephant Amaro and Virgil Kaine Lowcountry Whiskey), the release stated. Drakeford’s wealth of knowledge will particularly help amplify the growth of Chicken Cock Whiskey, currently the third fastest growing ultra premium whiskey brand in the United States, within the global spirits market, the release stated.

Grain & Barrel Spirits recently appointed John Drakeford as the company‰Ûªs new general manager. (Photo/Provided)“I’m very much looking forward to working with Grain & Barrel Spirits' top-notch portfolio,” Drakeford said in the release. “I see exponential growth for all of the brands, especially Chicken Cock, in the coming months and years.”

Grain & Barrel’s core brands include: Chicken Cock Whiskey, an historically significant whiskey brand established in Paris, Kentucky, in 1856; Dixie Vodka, the leading premium homegrown vodka produced in Charleston; Virgil Kane Lowcountry Whiskey, chef driven, flavor-forward whiskeys inspired by and created in Charleston; High Goal Luxury Gin, a small batch, ultra-premium gin produced in Charleston; Elvis Whiskey, Elvis Presley-inspired whiskeys; and Tequila Eterno Verano, a range of ultra-premium tequilas, the release stated.

Grain & Barrel has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America three years in a row.

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