Veteran Spirits Executive Ami-Lynn Bakshi Joins Company as CEO
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Elevated Spirits Company, producer of the 100% natural, additive-free Cierto Tequila portfolio, is pleased to announce the appointment of its senior leadership team of seasoned industry executives, with decades of collective experience leading premium global beverage businesses.
Ami-Lynn Bakshi, a 28-year spirits industry veteran with extensive senior executive experience in both the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors, will join as Chief Executive Officer of Elevated Spirits. Bakshi, a 21-year Diageo alumna, brings a depth of experience within premium agave spirits. As Vice President of Marketing for Tequila, she led the world’s largest tequila trademarks to breakthrough growth within a highly competitive and rapidly growing segment. As Vice President of Innovation for North America, she led the development and delivery of Diageo’s robust multi-year innovation platform. Most recently, Bakshi co-founded and led two successful new ventures in beverage alcohol, introducing unique products and disruptive business models to the market.
Bakshi will be charged with spearheading the continued expansion of Cierto, the Most Awarded Tequila in History, which recently became the first tequila to exceed the unprecedented milestone of 750 international accolades, with 762 medals and awards to date (and counting).
“In all my years in the business, I’ve never tasted a product as exceptional and as universally praised as Cierto,” says Bakshi. “Additive-free and handcrafted in an authentic manner that respects the natural beauty of the agave plant, Cierto is a pure, natural, luxury tequila. I can’t wait to leverage my experience, relationships and passion for brand-building to drive the continued growth and success of Cierto in the years ahead.”
Rounding out the experienced leadership team are Jim Ruane – Chief Growth Officer, a former Diageo Vice President who spent 10 years leading some of the world’s largest, best-known and fastest-growing premium spirits brands, in addition to serving as a venture-brand board member; Laurence Wolfe – Chief Operating Officer, who led end-to-end supply chain operations for Heineken USA as Chief Supply Chain Officer and for Pernod Ricard Americas as Head of Supply Chain, before joining Acreage Holdings as Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain; Neal Simons – Chief Financial Officer, who led Glanbia Performance Nutrition’s North America finance function as well as corporate transformation initiatives as Vice President; Tony Spinelli – Head of Sales, whose 24-year beverage career includes 16 years with Diageo, most recently leading programming and relationships with its largest customers as Vice President of Strategic Accounts; Richard Booth – Head of Distribution, who led one of Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits’ top markets as Vice President, General Manager South Florida for 35 years and also served as President of Drake’s Organic Spirits Company; and Ken Ruff – Head of Strategic Accounts, On-Premise, who held several executive sales and strategic positions with Beam Suntory during his 35-year tenure, most recently the Vice President of National Accounts, On-Premise.
“I’m incredibly proud of the exceptional team we have at Elevated Spirits,” said Todd Chaffee – Chairman and Co-founder of Elevated Spirits. “With the appointment of Ami-Lynn and the rest of the senior leadership team, we have assembled a remarkably talented group of seasoned experts to drive the growth of Cierto in the years ahead.”
In addition to surpassing the 750 award threshold, Cierto has received a vast array of signature awards and accolades, World’s Best Tequila and Best Extra Añejo at the World Tequila Awards; Tequila Distillery of the Year, Reposado of the Year and four Double Gold Medals at the New York International Spirits Competition; Best of Class and seven Double Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition; Best Tequila, Best Añejo and two Platinum Medals at the L.A. Spirits Awards; Chairman’s Trophy at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge; Agave Spirits Producer of the Year and Chairman’s Trophy at the International Spirits Challenge; Best of Class, seven Platinum Medals and fifteen Double Gold Medals at the SIP Awards; Best of Show, Best of Class and seven Double Gold Medals at the Singapore World Spirits Competition; Best of Class at the Sunset International Spirits Competition; Best in Show and two Platinum Medals at the Las Vegas Global Spirits Awards; Distillery of the Year, Tequila of the Year and twelve Double Gold Medals at the Global Spirits Competition; Distiller of the Year and Tequila of the Year at the Asia International Beverage Competition; Distiller of the Year, Best Extra Añejo and four Double Gold Medals at the San Diego International Wine & Spirts Challenge; Best in Class, Best Extra Añejo and two Double Gold Medals at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition; Best of Class and four Double Gold Medals at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition; Distiller of the Year at the Melbourne International Spirits Competition; Best of Class at the Sante International Spirits Competition; Best Extra Añejo and two Double Gold Medals at the Los Angeles Invitational Spirits Challenge; Best Tequila and Best Reposado at the Craft Distillers Spirits Competition; Distiller of the Year, Spirit of the Year, Best Tequila, seven Platinum Medals and four Double Gold Medals at the Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition; and Distiller of the Year, Tequila of the Year and two Double Gold Medals at the Berlin International Beverage Competition.
In addition, Cierto has received unprecedented praise from leading trade and luxury lifestyle publications. Forbes called Cierto the “World’s Best Tequila,” “the stuff of legends” and “silky and smooth, with impressive depth of flavor”; Robb Report recognized Cierto as the “Tequila of the Year,” “Best of the Best” and “truly the gold standard”; Food & Wine highlighted it as “next level tequila”; Uproxx said, “it’s pretty astounding” and “one of the finest tequilas you will ever taste”; Drinkhacker called Cierto “a delicious, complex sipping tequila” that’s “difficult to put down”; InsideHook praised it as “pure agave beauty” and “a standout”; Man of Many recognized Cierto as “an absolute masterpiece of craftsmanship”; The Tasting Panel said Cierto is “exceptionally smooth and excellent tequila”; Sunset Magazine deemed Cierto “best in class, classic and seamless”; Luxatic said, “Cierto is a home run, simply divine”; and Haute Living observed that “Cierto is the hottest name in spirits.”
Cierto has also received exceptionally high ratings from tequila connoisseurs and experts, such as a 98 point rating from The Tasting Panel, 97 points from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 97 points from the Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition, 97 points from Cigar & Spirits Magazine, 97 points from the Los Angeles Invitational Spirits Challenge, 96 points from the Sommelier Challenge International Spirits Competition; 96 points from the Asia International Beverage Competition, 96 points from the New York International Spirits Competition, 96 points from Sunset Magazine and 95 points from the San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge.
Cierto Tequila is available for purchase where luxury tequilas are sold. Elevated Spirits invites drinkers to savor Cierto slowly and celebrate responsibly.
About Cierto Tequila and Elevated Spirits
Elevated Spirits is the producer of Cierto Tequila – authentic, 100% natural, additive-free, luxury tequila made in Jalisco, Mexico. Cierto means “True,” the perfect word to describe this remarkable award-winning family of tequilas – patiently crafted expressions of pure Highlands agave, harvested by fourth and fifth generation agaveros at peak maturity. The Elevated Spirits portfolio includes the Cierto Private Collection Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo, as well as the Cierto Reserve Collection Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo. Due to their character, complexity and luxuriously smooth taste, these eight agave expressions are widely acknowledged by tequila connoisseurs as “The World’s Finest Tequila” and some of the best tequilas ever made. Cierto recently became the first tequila brand to surpass 750 international medals and awards, making it “The Most Awarded Tequila in History.”
Learn more: cierto.com.