man hands a box to another man, a collection of  beverage bottles on a wood table, a sales rep using technology in an on-premise account

Breakthru Beverage Group: Delivering Excellence for Generations

We are a family-owned and operated beverage alcohol wholesaler. At Breakthru, we’re proud of our multigenerational legacy of service, innovation, and expertise.

We focus on three key differentiators that drive our business forward and distinguish us from our competition: our people, portfolio, and platform.

female associate in an account engaging with business rep

People: The Heart of Our Business

Our associates live our values daily — and that’s how we measure success. We treat each other and our partners with respect, celebrating collaboration, relationships, and diversity. Our associates thrive because they’ve been empowered to do so.

Our Culture   ➞
bottles of alcoholic beverages on a wood table

Portfolio: The Brands You Want

We offer a brand for every occasion, thanks to our diverse portfolio of 6,000-plus wine, spirits, and beer brands — plus fine wine, non-alcoholics, and emerging spirits — from the industry’s leading suppliers.

Our Portfolio   ➞
salesman with a tablet talks with a customer at a liquor store

Platform: We Are Future Focused

We meet our customers’ needs through our solid foundation of state-of-the-art facilities, operational excellence, and data insights. And through our strategic planning and investments in technology and e-commerce, we’ll continue to grow — and excel.

Our Footprint   ➞

We are 10,000 associates unified in one mission:

Being the leading beverage company in North America.


Executive Leadership

Breakthru Beverage Group's leadership team supports the company's core operations and strategic vision.


Charles Merinoff


Charles is a principal founder and serves as Co-Chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group.  In that role he sits on the company’s Board of Managers and Operating Committee.

Charles has worked for his family’s beverage distribution business since 1980.  In 1991, Charles was named President of Charmer Industries, the family’s Metro New York beverage business. In 1994, he led the acquisition of Sunbelt Beverage Corporation, then operating distributorships in several Eastern states. Sunbelt continued to expand, and in 1997 the wholesale companies in which the family had an interest became known as the Charmer Sunbelt Group. Charles served most recently as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Charles is very active in a number of charitable organizations. He has been a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation since 1999, and currently serves as Treasurer. He also sits on the Board of Trustees of the Culinary Institute of America and is on the Board of Directors of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. In 2010, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health Systems and sits on the Executive Committee of Lenox Hill Hospital. Charles spearheads the annual Wine and Wishes tasting and auction, which has raised over $4 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York.

He has been honored by the Boys Town of Italy, the Boy Scouts of America and the UJA-Federation of New York. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


Danny Wirtz


As Co-Chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group, Danny Wirtz will serve on the company’s Board of Managers and Operating Committee.  He will work closely with the CEO on integration, strategic planning and supplier relations.  A skilled leader with a proven track record of success, Danny leads with passion and a commitment to the future of the organization.

As a fourth-generation family leader, Danny assumes this position from President & CEO of Wirtz Beverage Group where he oversaw day-to-day leadership of the company’s domestic and international businesses. He has served in a variety of roles for Wirtz Beverage including oversight of the company’s commercial teams, corporate strategy and supplier relations.

Danny is an active leader in the community and in the trade. He sits on the boards of several Chicago-based civic organizations and also serves on the Executive Committee of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America.

Danny holds a vested interest in Wirtz Corporation and led the launch of Banner Collective, a creative content agency in 2013.  He also provides strategic counsel to all Wirtz Corporation’s diversified holdings which include the Chicago Blackhawks, Wirtz Realty, Wirtz Insurance and banking interests in Illinois and Florida.  Danny serves as a board member of the United Center joint venture.

He is a graduate of Boston College.

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Tom Bené

President & CEO

Tom Bené is President & CEO of Breakthru Beverage Group. He is responsible for advancing the next phase of the company’s evolution focusing on growth and expansion, accelerating technology and innovation and executing with excellence for supplier and customer partners.

Prior to joining Breakthru, he served as the President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association—the Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing the nation’s restaurant and foodservice industry—and CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

Before assuming this role in June 2020, Tom served as Chairman, President & CEO of Sysco Corp., the world’s largest foodservice distributor, where he had previously served as COO, President of Foodservice Operations, and Chief Commercial Officer.

Prior to Sysco, Tom served as President of PepsiCo Foodservice and held a variety of senior leadership roles over his 23-year career with the company, including President of Pepsi-Cola North America and SVP of Sales & Franchise Development.

Tom earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and currently serves as a member of the University of Kansas’ Business School Advisory Board. He is Past Chair of the American Beverage Association and has served on the Executive Committee of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

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Joseph Bruhin

EVP, Chief Information Officer

Joseph Bruhin serves as EVP, Chief Information Officer for Breakthru Beverage Group. In this role, Joe is responsible for overseeing the implementation and execution of a wholistic IT Strategic Plan, driving Breakthru’s increased focus on digital transformation and developing a world class IT organization.

Joe is a transformational leader with nearly 30 years of progressive experience identifying and implementing innovative technology to drive growth. Throughout his career, Joe has fostered a reputation as the “go-to” leader for aligning organizations to the right IT strategic imperatives, creating engaged IT teams and empowering both IT and non-IT employees to succeed.

Prior to joining Breakthru, Joe served as the Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Constellation Brands Inc, responsible for all aspects of people, process, technology, and business leadership for Information Technology across the Globe. Joe’s prior experience also includes senior-level positions for Diageo’s North American and Australian business where he developed technology vision, strategy and business process and systems solutions.

Joe serves as Treasurer on the Society for Information Management National Board of Directors, the largest international network of senior IT leaders, and is a long-standing member of the SIM Advanced Practices Council which focuses on research related to emerging technologies and IT practices.

Joe earned his undergraduate and MBA degrees from the University of Connecticut.

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Melissa Calderwood

EVP, Chief Financial Officer

In her role as EVP, Chief Financial Officer, Melissa Calderwood has financial oversight for Breakthru Beverage and its business interests in 16 North American markets, including Canada. She has 25 years of diverse financial experience across multiple functions, industries, and countries that she leverages in shaping and growing Breakthru’s business. She is responsible for maintaining financial integrity, strategic growth plans, and best-in-class performance.

Melissa previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at iHeart Media, a media & entertainment company, where she had financial and strategic oversight for five operational businesses including National Sales, the syndicated Networks and the Live Events.

Previously, Melissa spent five years at Diageo in various roles including Finance Director for the Catalyst Division, where she owned the financial responsibility for a portfolio of 27 brands generating $250 million in sales value, and as the North American Business Development lead within the Global Business Strategy Group. Prior to Diageo, she has held management roles at the General Motors Treasurer’s Office and at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Melissa, a Sydney, Australia native, is a graduate of the University of Sydney and received an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is an avid traveler, having lived in Thailand, the U.K., and the U.S., and is a member of Chief, an organization that helps executive women ascend to the C-suite ranks.

Melissa and her husband live in New York City, which they have considered home for the past 16 years.


Arthur Wirtz

EVP, Operations

Arthur Wirtz serves as EVP of Operations for Breakthru Beverage Group. Leveraging his leadership skills and tenured industry experience, his responsibilities include overseeing state operations for the $6 billion company.  Art’s focus is on delivering the most efficient, cost-effective and seamless operations and systems for Breakthru Beverage.

Art was raised in the family business and worked for 25 years in numerous positions with Wirtz Beverage Group.  Most recently, he led the company as Chief Operating Officer overseeing corporate operations throughout the company’s North American footprint.

He also served as Executive Vice President for the company, directing supply chain efforts including national operations and IT initiatives.  He was instrumental in the capital planning, construction and integration of numerous state facilities including the company’s Illinois headquarters.  This 600,000 square foot state-of-the-art warehouse, office and training facility has been recognized for its systems and efficiency and served as a model for the development of other distribution centers across the country.

In 2012, he was recognized among more than 3,000 employees with the Arthur M. Wirtz Leadership Award, named after his grandfather and Wirtz Beverage Group founder.

Art received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and is a graduate of Drake University. 

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Stephanie Soto

EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer

Stephanie Soto, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer of Breakthru Beverage Group, is the talent architect for the company, its market distributorships and more than 7,000 associates. She focuses on the continued advancement of Breakthru’s people and culture strategy to ensure the organization remains an employer of choice in the beverage alcohol industry.

Stephanie is responsible for driving business results through fostering a culture that builds associate engagement and demonstrates value for people that is unique, defining and ultimately leaves an indelible mark that sets Breakthru apart. She leads all aspects of HR including our Employee Relations, Learning, Leadership Development, and Corporate Responsibility initiatives across North America, a key component to how Breakthru does business and bring about positive change in communities. Equally important is Stephanie’s partnership with leaders to meaningfully expand the company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion capability to ensure inclusion and equity across all areas of the business.

Stephanie brings more than 25 years’ experience in Human Resources and labor management for multi-billion-dollar, global companies both publicly traded and privately held. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources at United Natural Foods, Inc., where she led the People First strategy in the distribution centers, transformed the company’s talent management strategy and review process, and innovated HR programs to enhance the future of work. Previous roles included human resources leadership for Bell Helicopter and Pitney Bowes. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in human resources management from Syracuse University and a juris doctor, cum laude from Roger Williams University School of Law.

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Arlyn Miller

EVP, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary

Arlyn Miller serves as Breakthru Beverage Group’s Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. She is responsible for all company legal and governance matters, as well as for providing counsel and strategic business advice to Breakthru’s senior leadership and its Board of Managers. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Arlyn is integral in the development and execution of the company’s strategy. Her extensive legal and business acumen, strong initiative and more than 30 years of industry expertise make her a trusted advisor and valued business partner. 

Arlyn also serves on the Board of Directors of Kindred Partners, Breakthru’s wholly owned subsidiary providing cannabis brokerage services for the Canadian recreational adult-use market, where she has been vital in developing the business since its 2018 launch. In addition, Arlyn is a founding member and Chairperson of the company’s Compliance Committee, a cross functional group of senior executives dedicated to designing, evolving and overseeing the company’s compliance efforts and fostering a culture of compliance within the organization.

Arlyn began practicing law at Shearman & Sterling before joining Baer Marks & Upham, LLP, where she developed an active securities and M&A practice. Prior to joining Breakthru, she served as EVP, General Counsel for the Charmer Sunbelt Group, where she played a critical role in the company’s national expansion. 

Arlyn holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Binghamton University and a Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School, where she graduated cum laude. 

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Kevin Roberts

EVP, Chief Commercial Officer

Kevin is Chief Commercial Officer with Breakthru Beverage Group. In this role, Kevin is responsible for Breakthru’s organizational commercial strategy, including initiatives that support and enable the supplier and customer selling organizations. He also oversees the company’s digital & eCommerce strategies. This builds on his successful track record of leading Breakthru’s Supplier Business Development team as its EVP, and adds responsibility for the National Accounts selling organization.


Kevin has spent his entire career in the beverage industry, having deep experience with beer, wine and spirits. He is a proven leader with experience across tiers, both supplier and distributor, including positions with Guinness and Diageo. Kevin has been a key leader at Breakthru since its inception, following the 2016 merger of Wirtz Beverage and Charmer Sunbelt Group. He previously served as Executive Vice President of National Sales for Wirtz Beverage after serving in numerous commercial leadership roles for the company. He also led Wirtz Beverage’s Nevada operation as Senior Vice President where he embraced the opportunity for innovation and applied a change leadership approach that elevated and expanded the statewide operations. Attracting new supplier partners, applying cross-functional leadership experience, and managing overall P&L for the TBA business all contributed to the operation’s success. Trade development, national account management and sales and marketing are among his areas of expertise.


Kevin’s innovative thinking and focus on both solutions and opportunities will build on Breakthru’s current successes. He will leverage his deep industry experience and relationships to advance Breakthru’s commercial capabilities and deliver superior performance as part of the company’s ambitious growth agenda. 


Kevin graduated from Western Michigan University with degrees in marketing and accounting. He is passionate about coaching and mentoring those on his team and others within the company and industry, and proudly served as the founding executive champion for Breakthru’s Black Associate Resource Group, V.I.B.E (Voices Invested in Black Equity and Empowerment). Kevin lives in Chicago.  

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Julian Burzynski

EVP, Chief Operating Officer

Julian is the Chief Operating Officer with Breakthru Beverage Group. In this role, Julian oversees Breakthru’s customer-first execution strategy across North America, with oversight of the U.S. and Canadian operations and route-to-consumer efforts. He is focused on delivering a consistent and scalable model across the operational footprint that will foster superior execution, deliver against Breakthru’s performance objectives and support the company’s continued geographic expansion.


Julian is an accomplished, results-oriented leader with more than 30 years of experience within the distribution and supplier tiers of the North American beverage alcohol industry. A longtime industry veteran, his deep relationships with key suppliers and customers make him adept at identifying opportunities that drive growth.


Most recently, Julian served as Breakthru’s Region President, East, where he was responsible for all market execution in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C. as well as Bacchus Imports, the company’s fine wine specialty business. Working closely with the state-level EVPs, he implemented the company’s long-term strategic initiatives to accelerate performance and overall effectiveness and efficiency resulting in impressive year-over-year growth. Prior to that, Julian was Region President, Canada, where he effectively led the organization to higher levels of service and growth across the footprint.


During his tenure with Wirtz Beverage, prior to the 2016 merger with Charmer Sunbelt that created Breakthru Beverage Group, Julian was instrumental in the company’s expansion efforts as Diageo’s Executive Vice President and exclusive broker throughout Canada. He led Wirtz Beverage through the building of new facilities, implementation and integration of new technologies, mergers and acquisitions, the development of new supplier partnerships and the alignment of the company’s route-to-market approach nationwide. Earlier in his career, Julian worked in senior management at Judge & Dolph and the J. Lewis Cooper Company.


Julian is a graduate of Ferris State University. He lives in Florida with his wife Ann and enjoys visiting their children and playing golf.

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Cristina Desmond

President, Central U.S. Region

Cristina Desmond has been appointed Regional President, Central U.S. Effective June 1, Cristina will be responsible for all aspects of market and business operations performance, including growth strategies for our supplier and customer partners, for the Central U.S. Region, including Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Cristina is a highly versatile leader with a proven track record in achieving the business objectives of Breakthru’s partners and in challenging and empowering her associates with a focus on their continued growth and development. With more than 20 years of industry experience, Cristina joined Charmer Sunbelt in 2002 and has held various roles with increasing responsibility with a focus in commercial sales, strategic planning, trade marketing and sales execution. Most recently, she served as Market EVP for Breakthru Pennsylvania where she was responsible for all market performance and business operations. Prior to that, Cristina served as Vice President, National Accounts Retail, where she managed a large team of national account directors to develop and execute growth strategies with supplier partners and customers, driving deeper channel and customer focus, along with enhanced trade marketing, pricing management and e-tailing while leveraging increased data and analytics. She also held the role of Vice President, Marketing, Retail Sales & Promotions from 2013-2019, leading commercial retail sales, marketing, headquarter chain and control sales with great success, outpacing the market channel growth.

Cristina brings her demonstrated passion for people development, culture building and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to bear in all her leadership roles and to the benefit of her team and colleagues.

Cristina received a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Temple University and completed the Women in Leadership Executive Education Program at Columbia Business School. She is a mentor with Breakthru’s Mentorship Program and a longtime supporter of the Central PA Food Bank and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Cristina currently resides in Chester Springs, PA, with her husband and two sons and their chocolate lab, Berger. She and her family will be relocating to Illinois.

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Jeremy Tostrup

President, West U.S. Region

Jeremy Tostrup has been appointed Regional President, West U.S., effective June 1. Jeremy will lead all aspects of market and business operations performance for the company’s new West U.S. Region, including Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and the newest addition to the Breakthru family, California.

Jeremy is a 20-years-plus industry veteran who started in 1999 as a fine wine sales associate with Beverage Distributors, Charmer Sunbelt’s Colorado operation. He then became the Director of Training and Development, implementing key sales systems and product knowledge programs market wide. He was promoted to Division Manager for On Premise and Mountains, followed by Off Premise Division Manager for the company’s United Division. In 2012, Jeremy was promoted to Vice President, Summit Spirits and Beer Division; and in 2016 was appointed to his current role as Executive Vice President, Colorado.

Jeremy has a proven track record of fostering an inclusive work culture and implementing DE&I strategies to drive associate engagement. His leadership capabilities and business operations expertise will serve the region well as he continues to advance Breakthru’s talent agenda by promoting inclusivity and development and serving as a champion for positive change across the region. 

Jeremy attended St. John’s University where he studied Political Science and Philosophy and played football. He is passionate about volunteering and serving his community, currently serving as a Board Member for the Javonte Williams Foundations and a former Board Member for the Emmanuel Sanders Foundation. Jeremy lives in Parker, CO, and has two children.

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Will Fulghom

President, East U.S. Region

Will Fulghom has been appointed Regional President, East U.S. Effective May 1, Will assumes responsibility for all aspects of market and business operations performance, including growth strategies for our supplier and customer partners, for the East U.S. Region, including Maryland/DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.

Will comes to Breakthru from Sysco where most recently he served as Region President for the North Florida Region, the company’s largest region both geographically and in sales revenue ($2 billion+), encompassing three “super colossal” operating sites in a service area that stretched from Naples, FL, to Savannah, GA. Will is a proven leader with vast experience in large-scale business operations, consistently increasing revenue and profitability while expanding territory penetration, improving service levels, driving process optimization, and leading high-performing teams with a keen focus on growth and development. He was recognized with a Sysco GEM Award for his successful efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion, having successfully built out the first DE&I program for his region. Will’s extensive background in the foodservice, distribution, and packaging sectors will be an asset to Breakthru as he assumes leadership of the East Region.

Will received a BBA in Marketing with a Management minor from the University of Mississippi. He lives in Tampa, FL, with his wife Molly of 19 years and their three children, Catherine, Helen and Dean. Will is a longtime supporter of the non-profits Feeding Tampa Bay and Florida Citrus Sports. He is an avid Ole Miss fan and takes every opportunity he can to travel.