Talking Rain Beverage Company, the makers of zero sugar Sparkling Ice®, formally announces on September 6, 2018, the appointment of Chris Hall to CEO following a record sales period for the company. With this transition, Talking Rain is also pleased to announce Sarah Gustat as Vice President of Marketing, and Ken Sylvia as Vice President of Sales.
Talking Rain Announces CEO Appointment and Sparkling Ice Sales
Chris Hall, CEO
Having most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer, Chris Hall is a trusted voice at Talking Rain, and was identified by ownership as the individual that would continue to enthusiastically drive the company forward. Through his decade long tenure at Talking Rain Beverage Company, Hall has risen through the ranks by using his sharp analytical skills, approachability, clear vision and passion for collaboration.
Previously, Hall served as the Vice President of Sales for the Midwest and Northeast, where he helped achieve the company’s goal of 100% DSD coverage and distribution. His exemplary leadership skills, stemming from his years as a Submariner in the United States Navy, match his ability to eagerly take on any task.
“I’m incredibly honored by this appointment,” Hall stated. “Having had the opportunity to work with various teams throughout my roles with the company, I’m inspired not only by the confidence that has been placed in me, but also by the creativity and passion of the entire Talking Rain team, who I have come to know well over the past 10 years. I look forward to our continued collaboration as we grow the Talking Rain Beverage Co. family of products.”
Sarah Gustat, Vice President of Marketing
The company is also pleased to announce that former Director of Marketing, Sarah Gustat, has been appointed as Vice President of Marketing at Talking Rain Beverage Company. Gustat brings over a decade of beverage industry experience, having worked to lead marketing operations at Neuro Drinks and First Aid Shot Therapy, in addition to Talking Rain.
Ken Sylvia, Vice President of Sales
Ken Sylvia, former VP of Distribution at the company has been promoted to Vice President of Sales. Sylvia has been an integral part of the Talking Rain team since 2010, and has played a key role in building out Talking Rain’s DSD network in the Northeast and New York City markets. In his new role, Sylvia will oversee all national and international sales, plus all partner brands at the company.
Record Summer Sales
These appointments come on the heels of a tremendous sales period throughout June, July and August, where company records were broken with over 15 million cases of Sparkling Ice shipped throughout the U.S., making it one of Talking Rain Beverage Co.’s most successful summers in history.
“It’s been an exciting summer at Talking Rain, and we are focused to continue our success with a renewed mindset to over deliver for our partners and the consumer,” added Hall. “In the past year, we’ve expanded our internal creative department to be fully self-sufficient, enhanced our digital and social strategies, and put ourselves on a clear path to sustainable success through critical collaboration efforts which have resulted in increased speed to market, supply chain optimization, cross-department collaboration and increased channel observation in the field.”
The company’s recent sales success is attributed in part to a robust summer marketing program where Sparkling Ice’s creative partners including Epsilon, Bread n Butter and 5WPR collaborated on the launch of a Mystery Flavor and contest resulting in 245,000 entries, in addition to a highly targeted digital campaign featuring wacky summer interns “Gary and Ana,” whose ideas, Hall jokes, “Aren’t all that different from some of our lively creative brainstorms here at Sparkling Ice.”
On the CSR side, Talking Rain activated their annual Honor Flight program, for which the Sparkling Ice sales team successfully executed over 850 in-store Honor Flight displays across the country. Talking Rain first began to support the organization several years ago when U.S. Navy Veteran and current CEO, Chris Hall, discovered the organization after stumbling upon a moving Honor Flight departure at the airport. The flight will escort WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans to visit their memorials in DC.
In addition to the record sales results, the company raised over $100,000 for Honor Flight through donations from vendors, retailers and distribution partners, enabling Talking Rain to fully fund an Honor Flight for aging veterans from Seattle, WA to Washington, DC in fall 2018.