Houlihan and Jones bring over fifty years of experience from all areas of the beverage alcohol industry, building and guiding major brands from startup to leadership to exit. Houlihan is the visionary and hard-driving developer who bootstrapped Barefoot Wine to its leading position and subsequent sale to E&J Gallo. Jones has shaped and led some of the most successful beverage companies in the world, including major subsidiaries of Hiram Walker and Allied Domecq. In early 2010, they entered into a partnership with VinoPRO, a subsidiary of Provino Inc., and began to develop best practice management and sales leadership in the rapidly growing direct to consumer wine market. From that early stage, H&J's contribution has helped build VinoPRO into one of the most successful new wine companies in America. In 2013-15 VinoPRO was recognized as an Inc. Fastest Growing Company, as well as "One of the Best Places to Work" by the North Bay Business Journal.

Their contacts, knowledge and insights drive ideas beyond plans to execution. Understanding where to commit valuable resources for the greatest effect maximizes potential and minimizes reactive behavior.

Houlihan and Jones are operating specialists with the ability to transition an organization through uncharted territory to a position of competitive advantage. They step into a business, identify needs, develop a corrective action plan, and help the owners implement it.

Their experience enables them to concentrate on those areas representing the greatest challenge to developing beverage alcohol companies:

  • Validating the Business Purpose and Proposition: Businesses succeed because they satisfy needs better than their competition does. They do this by offering well-differentiated goods and services, keeping them cutting edge and relevant.  
  • Quantifying Capital Requirements: Understanding the amount of capital necessary to meet goals requires a comprehensive insight and knowledge of the industry. Many early stage ventures invest heavily in infrastructure and product development. They often establish the brand in a limited number of markets, but underestimate the time and resources required to become self-funding.  
  • Strengthening Management Skills: All companies, regardless of size, have access to the complete range of management skills required to be competitive. Strategic and tactical proficiency can be efficiently acquired to support important functions such as resource allocation, branding, and sales execution.  
  • Evaluating Market Access and Developing Sales Strategies: Identifying the best routes to market for the business, then building a sales plan that attracts, motivates and retains exceptional employees and trade partners is vital to the brand building process.  
  • Strengthening Personnel Practices: Organizational effectiveness, roles and responsibilities, compensation programs and selection techniques must be aligned with the overall business direction.  
  • Evaluating and Measuring Returns: Utilizing the correct forms of cost accounting, margin management, ROI and ROA to effectively guide the business is critical to delivering optimal performance and the right balance between short term profit generation and long term value creation.
  • Maximizing Enterprise Value: Managing a business towards sale or merger begins with day-to-day operations. Direct experience in leading multiple sales, acquisitions and mergers provides clients with deep understanding for how the market gauges value and what wineries can do to invite opportunity.
  • Expert Witness Services: Working with attorneys and their clients on commercial litigation involving distribution, marketing and operating agreements.

defining competitive advantage