Corby names new VP of marketing

Caroline Begley takes over marketing as the company invests in higher-end spirit and wine brands that drive more value.

Caroline Begley has taken the reins as Corby Spirit and Wine’s new VP of marketing as the company looks to grow market share in Canada through investment in its higher-end brands.

Tasked with leading marketing for the full Canadian portfolio, Begley’s mandate includes driving growth of the company’s owned brands, such as J.P. Wiser’s whisky, Ungava gin and Polar Ice vodka, while also building share for brands from parent company Pernod Ricard, such as Absolut, The Glenlivet, Jameson and Havana Club.

Begley, who has worked with Pernod Ricard for 16 years, and was most recently VP of marketing for its wine and champagne portfolio in the U.S., is joining Corby at a time where the brand is performing well financially.

According to Corby’s 2020 annual report, released last week, the brand’s revenue has increased for the third consecutive year, up to $153.4 million, compared to $149.9 million the year prior. Net earnings also improved this year to $26.7 million after plateauing in 2019 and 2018. Revenue from Corby-owned brands also increased from last year by $2 million, primarily due to the performance of J.P. Wiser’s and newly-acquired Ungava Spirit brands.

Corby introduced a new J.P. Wiser’s bottle design this year, a culmination of five years of design changes aimed at improving the brand’s shelf impact.  That’s part of a strategic approach the company has adopted, reorienting  its product portfolio toward higher-end brands, such as Canadian whiskies and Ungava gin and allocating sales and marketing resources to brands that drive the most value, instead of volume.

It has also been focusing on product innovation within these brands, such as launching high-end, ready-to-drink Wiser’s cocktails, as well as pursuing opportunities for Corby brands to expand in international markets.

Begley takes over from Anne Martin, who moved into a new role leading global marketing for Havana Club in July. Though Begley is a Toronto native, throughout her time with the company, she has worked across its different categories in markets including the U.K., China and Sweden.