We here at Cigar Brief love covering the cigar industry, we also love anytime we can connect the industry to our home state of Arizona. This is one of those stories where we get to do both. General Cigar has recently acquired a new VP of Marketing, Alan Willner. I’ll let the press release tell most of the story, but the connector that has all of Cigar Brief rooting for him is his status as an ASU Alumnus. Most of our staff at Cigar Brief, including myself are graduates of ASU and are proud to welcome Mr. Willner to his new position. We wish him all the best in the days ahead and the following is a press release telling you a little more about Mr. Willner:
Richmond, VA—General Cigar is pleased to announce that Alan Willner has joined the company as vice president of marketing.
A consumer product marketing veteran with 20 years of experience, Willner will play an integral role in increasing the company’s market share. As such, he will oversee General Cigar’s consumer and trade marketing, public relations, CRM, event and innovation platforms, and will also spearhead international sales and marketing initiatives. Additionally, Willner will direct Club Macanudo® in New York City.
“We are thrilled to have someone with Alan’s unique blend of strategic planning, brand building and product development expertise. Alan’s experience and vision will help further define our brands and we look forward to the contributions he will make toward driving deeper market penetration and consumer engagement,” said Dan Carr, president of General Cigar.
Willner joins General Cigar from Starr Hill Brewery where he held the position of president and CEO. Starr Hill is an award-winning, craft brewery and partner of Anheuser-Busch. During his tenure at Starr Hill, Willner dramatically increased distribution and created new products which resulted in Starr Hill becoming one of the fastest growing breweries in the U.S. and one of the largest in the competitive mid-Atlantic region.
Earlier in his career, Alan held leadership positions with the Coors Brewing Company, Diageo and Nabisco.
“As premium cigar smokers increasingly seek connectivity with the brands they enjoy, and as retailers seek new ways to expose consumers to the premium cigar lifestyle, I am excited about the opportunity to work with our team of cigar masters and artisans to bring their passion to life.”
As Vice President of Marketing, Willner will join the company’s management team and will report directly to President Dan Carr.
Willner is a graduate of Arizona State University and also studied at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He previously served as Chapter President for the American Marketing Association.