WES BRANDS, a leading spirits incubator, proudly announces the appointment of Chester Brandes, Jonathan Bonchick, and Johnny Manuel to its advisory board. The announcement follows early successes in Canada, Mexico, and Australia and the recent addition of Aspen Vodka to the WES portfolio. The appointments underscore WES Brands’ commitment to expanding its global presence.


Chester Brandes, a spirits industry executive with over 40 years of experience, brings a rich history of leadership roles across key global markets. His track record includes being President & CEO at Sobieski Vodka, Finlandia Vodka Worldwide, and launching Stoli Vodka at Monsieur Henri Wines (PepsiCo). His leadership highlights Chester’s extensive expertise in the vodka category and the rapid expansion and strategic positioning of Finlandia and Sobieski Vodkas internationally.


Jonathan Bonchick is the Vice President of Spirits & Wine at Duty-Free Americas, a powerhouse player in super-premium spirits retailing, operating over 250 stores in the United States and internationally at major airports, seaports, and borders. Mr. Bonchick brings a wealth of industry knowledge and insights into duty-free operations, drawing from his tenure at Duty-Free Americas and UETA Inc. of Panama, Innovative Liquors LLC, and Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide.


Johnny Manuel most recently served as Director of Sales for Brown Forman in the U.S. and Canada. During his tenure, he oversaw a remarkable surge in North American portfolio sales, which soared by $410 million from 2012 to 2022, including an impressive 27% growth in the U.S. market alone. Mr. Manuel will assist the team at WES in optimizing sales strategy, driving revenue growth, and building strategic partnerships.


“I am honored to join the WES Brands’ advisory board, focusing on charting new territories for the company’s brands,” remarks Brandes on his appointment. “The global landscape presents tremendous opportunities for the company’s portfolio.”


Shelly Stein, the former President of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, and the Chairman of the WES Brands’ Advisory Board, said, “The appointment of these gentlemen could not have come at a better time. Given our recent traction in key international markets, I believe their knowledge and contacts will be put to great use.”