Michael Houlihan is a highly sought-after business strategist, speaker, consultant, and trainer. As a successful serial entrepreneur, he provides decades of real-world, practical business experience. Using progressive thinking, pay-for-performance, positive culture, channel distribution management, and "Worthy Cause Marketing," he helps start-ups and Fortune 500 corporations increase their sales, profitability and brand equity.
Mr. Houlihan was the co-founder, President, and CEO of Barefoot Cellars, now the largest single label in the premium wine business. He bootstrapped a novelty wine brand into a national mega-brand, selling 600,000 cases per year in 50 states and 28 countries. He has co-authored the New York Times
best seller, “The Barefoot Spirit,” which chronicles its humble beginnings from the laundry room to the board room to demonstrate the business philosophies behind this American success story.
Michael and his team took Barefoot from an obscure label to a mega-brand, and successfully capitalized on its brand equity with a sale to E&J Gallo in 2005. He stayed on with Gallo, acting as an advisor and transitionary ambassador, solidifying brand integrity while broadening consumer exposure and distribution.
Clients benefit from Michael’s expertise:
Early in his career, while working with government and private business, Michael developed expertise in the area of productivity and process improvement. Subsequent work in urban development, as well as entrepreneurial ventures in the retail services sector, combined to form a solid foundation in business management.
He has assisted numerous startups to achieve financing, expand their businesses, and increase brand equity. His articles on business philosophy have been reprinted in TIME, Entrepreneur and numerous other business magazines and trade journals. Michael is an authority on entrepreneurialism, a guest lecturer at business colleges, and continues to be a popular guest on many television and radio shows.
Michael lives in the wine country and is an avid supporter of conservation and humanitarian causes, regularly donating his professional time to local NPOs.
Martin Jones is President of Artisan Source, LLC, a California-based management consulting firm specializing in the alcoholic beverage industry. With more than thirty-five years of sales, marketing and general management experience, he is focused on helping companies define and leverage their competitive advantage. He advises investment bankers, venture capital funds and leading manufacturers in the areas of consumer trends, strategic direction, sales and marketing planning, corporate development, business process re-engineering, organizational planning, acquisitions and US distribution strategy. He has worked on state and federal litigation as an expert witness for many of the leading multi-national beverage corporations.
He is a transitional specialist, skilled at moving operations to a new level. Since establishing Artisan Source, he has worked on extended assignments with various businesses where he provided hands-on support in the fields of marketing, sales, operations, business planning and finance.
As a board member, shareholder and consultant to VinoPRO Wines he has helped define the Company’s expertise in direct to consumer wine marketing, becoming an “Inc. 500” Fast Growth Company.
Working on behalf of international wine and spirits companies he has planned, facilitated and structured various US marketing and distribution partnerships, including Thomas Hine & Company's appointment of Anchor Distilling Company and Mont Gras Winery's appointment of Palm Bay International. His brand development expertise has assisted the rejuvenation of established brands and the refinement of new-to-market entries. His marketing and sales expertise, combined with his knowledge of the US wine industry has helped strengthen leading producers Duck Pond Cellars and Desert Wind Winery.
As an expert witness he has testified in litigation on behalf of leading multi-national beverage alcohol companies, resulting in successful outcomes.
In 2007 Martin was retained by a Napa, CA family winery to direct a Chapter 11 restructuring, refinancing and asset sale plan. A new credit facility was negotiated and the Company was recapitalized, allowing him to manage a successful exit from bankruptcy and the implementation of new operating strategies, leading to the eventual sale of key assets.
He worked with the founders of Barefoot Wine, developing and implementing value enhancement programs for the business. The goal was to position the Company as an attractive acquisition for one of the industry consolidators. The project was successfully completed in 2005 with the sale to E&J Gallo Winery.
He began his career in brand management with Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd., Toronto, progressing through various sales and marketing positions in the US, Canada and overseas markets.
In 1992 Martin was appointed President & CEO of Corby Distilleries, a Canadian public company and the largest producer, marketer and importer of wines and spirits in that country. In this position, he transformed an old-style manufacturing business into a dynamic market driven organization resulting in record growth in shareholder value.
In 1996 he returned to the United States to lead Allied Domecq’s US spirits division. Under his management, Allied’s market share growth outstripped all other major competitors, contributing to double digit increases in operating profit. In 1999, he was chosen “American Beverage Alcohol Industry Executive of the Year” by Shanken Communications and US wholesalers and retailers.
In 2001 he joined Premier Wine & Spirits, a leading New York distributor. In the capacity of General Manager, he concentrated on strengthening sales management and customer service. By improving the Company’s reputation, he was able to position the business as an attractive acquisition for one of the larger multi-state wholesaling enterprises.
Martin grew up in Vancouver, Canada and attended the University of British Columbia. He later completed the Canadian Advertising Institute’s Certified Advertising and Marketing Practitioner's Course at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto. He has also participated in the Wharton Business School Presidents’ Leadership Program and the University of Michigan Executive Financial Management Program.
He has served as a director of various public, private, not-for-profit and beverage alcohol industry organizations. He graduated as a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and is a regular contributor and speaker to wine and spirits industry conferences and seminars. He has served on the Sonoma County Civil Grand Jury and County Pension Reform Committee, and resides in Sonoma County, California.