man hands a box to another man, a collection of  beverage bottles on a wood table. a salesman using a tablet in a retail store

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 mixologist pours alcohol into a jigger at a bartop with juices, alcohols, fruits, vegetables and glassware

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 7,000 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.

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W. Rockwell Wirtz


Rocky Wirtz is a third-generation family leader and is a principal founder and Co-Chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group.

Rocky has led the family’s beverage business, Wirtz Beverage Group, where his strategic vision, commitment to investment and time-honored focus on running a value-driven business helped the company grow and expand its partnerships.

Rocky also serves as Chairman of Wirtz Corporation, one of the largest privately-held and family-owned companies in the United States. Wirtz Corporation interests extend to a vast array of businesses including Wirtz Realty, Wirtz Insurance, The Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Team and banking operations in Illinois and Florida.

Rocky is a past Chairman of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, a member of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, a trustee of Chicago’s Field Museum and a trustee of his alma mater Northwestern University. He is also the Co-Chairman of the Executive Committee of the United Center and co-owner of the facility, for which the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls call home.

Rocky has been a recipient of the Chicago Innovation Award, Wholesaler of the Year and other industry accolades for Wirtz Beverage Group’s North American holdings.

Rocky’s charitable endeavors include support for numerous civic and charitable organizations.  Significant efforts are facilitated through Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, which donates annually to dozens of organizations focusing on youth programs, health and wellness, education and housing.  He has also established the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Endowment for Visiting Artists at Northwestern University in honor of his grandmother. 


Danny Wirtz


As Vice-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.


E. Lloyd Sobel

EVP, Chief Commercial Officer

E. Lloyd Sobel serves as Chief Commercial Officer for Breakthru Beverage Group. In this role he is focused on advancing Breakthru’s commercial agenda and has oversight for the bulk of North American Sales and Supplier Development activities as well as responsibility for National Accounts, Government and Regulatory Affairs and Customer Care functions.

Lloyd leads Breakthru’s focus on execution, driving results for all stakeholders and in establishing consistent standards of excellence and accountability throughout Breakthru’s U.S. and Canadian markets.

Lloyd came to Breakthru from New York’s Empire Merchants, the state’s leading wine and spirits distributor, where he served as CEO and President following the merger of Charmer Industries and Peerless Importers in 2006. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President for Charmer Industries from 1994 through January 2005 and then President of Charmer Industries-Metro NY in February 2005.

He began his career in the wine and spirits industry in 1978 as a Market Research Analyst at Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. His responsibilities included positions in sales, marketing and administration. Lloyd’s last position at Seagram was Vice President, Eastern Division Manager, based in Lake Success, NY.

Lloyd holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Marketing from SUNY Fredonia.


Maggie Lapcewich

EVP, Chief Growth Officer

Maggie Lapcewich serves as Chief Growth Officer for Breakthru Beverage Group. In this role, Maggie leads the company-wide strategic agenda to achieve Breakthru’s long-term vision, define and implement critical initiatives and focus resources on new pathways to growth. Her responsibilities include Breakthru’s corporate and M&A strategy, as well advancing the company’s business platforms tools and solutions, analytics and insights, digital eCommerce strategy, and communications platform.

Maggie is an accomplished senior executive that brings extensive industry and cross-functional experience to the company. With over 30 years of progressive leadership, she has achieved a distinguished career across all facets of the Beverage Alcohol industry, holding executive level positions in both Supplier and Distributor tiers of the business. At Breakthru, Maggie previously served as Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Communications and EVP Integration driving the implementation of the company’s goals and strategic vision during the merger between Wirtz Beverage and Charmer Sunbelt Group.

Prior to joining Breakthru Beverage, Maggie served in numerous executive roles for Diageo including President Diageo Canada, President Global Tequilas and President U.S. National Accounts. Additionally, as a Diageo General Manager she led a number of markets and regions across the United States.

Her industry experience started with E&J Gallo Winery and career began with Playtex Family Products.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Iowa and she attended the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Born and raised in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, Maggie currently resides in Chicago where she enjoys running, swimming, triathlons and golf, and volunteers in the community.

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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. 


Ann Giambusso

EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer
Ann Giambusso, 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.

Ann brings in-depth experience in the fields of human resources and employment law.  She advises on strategic initiatives, leads talent acquisition and ensures all the major HR systems, policies and programs run efficiently and effectively. Ann is a leader in change management and employee engagement, demonstrating outstanding negotiation skills and expertise in employment, labor, compensation and benefits.  

Ann served most recently as Executive Vice President, Human Resources for The Charmer Sunbelt Group.  During her 28 year industry tenure, Ann has developed and implemented a broad range of HR policies and programs, such as talent development, rewards and recognition, career transition, as well as retention, career support and resourcing programs. Prior to joining The Charmer Sunbelt Group in 2002, she served as the Senior Human Resources Executive for Joseph E. Seagram &Sons, and a U.S. division of Vivendi Universal.

Ann is a member of the New York Bar and was the recipient of the 1994 YWCA’s Salute to Women Achievers Award. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Juris Doctor degree from New York University. In addition, she attended the Columbia School of Business in New York.

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Arlyn Miller

EVP, Chief Legal Officer

Arlyn Miller serves as Chief Legal Officer of Breakthru Beverage Group. In this role, she is responsible for all Company legal matters, as well as for providing counsel and strategic business advice to the Company’s senior executives and 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 year industry expertise has made 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 Co-Chairperson of the Company’s Compliance Committee, a cross functional group of senior executives dedicated to designing, evolving, overseeing and challenging the Company’s compliance efforts and fostering a culture of compliance within the organization.

With more than 32 years of legal experience, 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 Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Binghamton University and a Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School, where she graduated cum laude. 


Kevin Roberts

EVP, Supplier Business Development

As Executive Vice President, Supplier Relations for Breakthru Beverage Group, Kevin Roberts oversees sales and marketing efforts for the company’s key business segments. Along with members of the executive team, Kevin drives strategy and long-term planning and innovation.

Kevin joined Breakthru Beverage Group from Executive Vice President of National Sales for Wirtz Beverage Group. He is an innovative thinker whose focus on solutions and opportunity have propelled him through his career.

Previously, he led Wirtz Beverage Group’s Nevada operation as Senior Vice President. In that role, 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, were all critical to the company’s success.

A well-developed leader, Kevin has experience in the beverage alcohol business on both the supplier and distributor sides including positions with Moosehead, Guinness and Diageo. Trade development, national account management and sales and marketing are among his many areas of expertise.

After graduating from Western Michigan University with degrees in marketing and accounting, Kevin began his career in the beverage industry. 


Brian Albenze

EVP, United Division (Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA)

Brian Albenze serves as Executive Vice President, United Division for Breakthru Beverage Group. In this role, Brian leads Breakthru’s Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA business across the company’s footprint, developing and executing innovative national strategies and long-term planning efforts on behalf of the brands. He manages the overall United Division team and supports Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA’s key commercial initiatives while delivering upon the portfolios’ financial plans and goals.

Previously, Brian served as Executive Vice President, Commercial Excellence for Breakthru, leading the company’s commercial platform and capabilities as well as driving strategy for key commercial activities including sales team effectiveness, commercial business strategy, communications and branding initiatives. In partnership with the company’s sales and IT teams, Brian helped bring Breakthru’s premier tools and technologies to market including a digital platform scaled across the company’s footprint to engage customers and drive sales.

Prior to assuming the role of Executive Vice President, Commercial Excellence, Brian held a number of roles at Charmer Sunbelt Group, most recently serving as President of Connecticut Distributors, where he was responsible for the company’s P&L, developing and implementing its annual business plan with a focus on creating long-term corporate strategies. Brian also served as Director of Business Development for Charmer Sunbelt Group’s Diageo/Moët Hennessy portfolio, working closely with these critical suppliers to drive excellence in execution across the organization’s markets. He was also involved in a number of cross-functional teams within the company and played a major role in the development of the Go-to-Market initiative.

During his tenure at the Charmer Sunbelt Group, Brian also served as the General Manager of Beverage Distributors, Charmer Sunbelt Group’s Colorado operation and he oversaw the Diageo/Moët Hennessy business at Washington Wholesale Liquors.

Brian started his career with the E&J Gallo winery, after graduating from John Carroll University with a business degree in logistics.

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Gus Bozzo

EVP, National Accounts

As Executive Vice President, National Accounts of Breakthru Beverage Group, Gus Bozzo leads the organization’s strategy, program development and execution in support of key national, regional and market customers in North America. He is focused on strengthening the value proposition to these essential customers in a consolidating and demand-driven environment, establishing a nimbler and more efficient service model across Breakthru’s footprint. He works closely with the COO and his talented team on driving deeper channel and customer focus, enhanced trade marketing, compliance and pricing management, e-tail capabilities, increased data and robust analytical capabilities. Gus is a skilled and passionate leader with a proven track record of success and a deep commitment to helping supplier partners and customers thrive.

Before joining Breakthru in 2013, Gus served in roles of increasing responsibility at Brown-Forman Beverage, Brown-Forman Wines, Pete’s Brewing Company, Canandaigua Wine Company, NDA Enterprises Group, and E&J Gallo Winery.

He is a graduate of University of the Pacific.

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Joseph Marotta

President, Central-West U.S. Region

Joseph Marotta, Central-West U.S. Region President of Breakthru Beverage Group, oversees the company’s operations in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Previously, Joe served as President and CEO of Beverage Distributors – Charmer Sunbelt Group’s Colorado operation.  The Colorado business has grown and expanded it’s TBA business with an increased focus on the craft category.

Prior to Beverage Distributors, Joe spent 12 years with Charmer Sunbelt’s affiliated operation in Florida: Premier Beverage Company. There he held the positions of General Sales Manager, Managing Director and Executive Vice President.

Joe’s career in the industry spans over 29 years and he has held various positions at multiple companies, which include McKesson Wine and Spirits and E&J Gallo Winery.

Joe has served on the boards of the Las Olas Association, Riverwalk Trust and Florida’s largest annual event, the Winterfest Boat Parade.

Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business from the University of Florida, as well as an Executive Finance degree from Harvard University.

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Julian Burzynski

President, East U.S. Region

As a 30 year veteran of the beverage alcohol industry, Julian Burzynski serves as Breakthru Beverage Group’s President, East U.S. Region.

During his tenure with Breakthru Beverage and previously with Wirtz Beverage Julian held multiple positions most recently serving as President, Canada and prior to that role, served as Executive Vice President for Diageo. He has been instrumental in the company’s international expansion as Diageo’s exclusive broker throughout Canada. He led Wirtz Beverage through the building of new facilities, implementation and integration of new technologies, mergers and acquisitions and the development of new supplier partnerships. Additionally, Julian helped to align the company’s route-to-market approach nationwide and drove the business to impressive year-over-year growth.

Prior to joining the company, Julian worked in senior management at Diageo and the J. Lewis Cooper Company. He is a graduate of Ferris State University.