GENEVA — If you’re a college football fan, there’s a newly named bowl game on this season’s slate with a decidedly Geneva flare.
The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl might not have the tradition of the Rose or Sugar bowls, but it’s right there in the lineup along with them, capping what has been a banner 2017 for the local company.
After a successful move from the Technology Farm off Pre-Emption Road to the former Tops building off Route 14A, Cheribundi, the Geneva-based producer of tart cherry juices brought an Olympic gold medalist — gymnast Aly Raisman — on as a brand ambassador earlier this year.
The company is now finishing the year on a high note with two big announcements.
Company CEO Steve Pear recently revealed that Cheribundi has secured the title sponsorship of the bowl game, and he also announced the appointment of two key additions to his leadership team. Beverage and sports industry veteran Michelle Grech is the new chief marketing officer and Bill Brophy, a 30-year food and beverage industry professional, is now chief financial officer.
The Dec. 19 bowl game, which will be televised on ESPN, pits Akron vs. host Florida Atlantic. Pear said Cheribundi is thrilled to be the title sponsor as the game approaches its fourth anniversary.
“Over 200 professional and collegiate sports teams use Cheribundi as part of their training regimen for muscle recovery and rest, so it only makes sense for the brand to sponsor a big national bowl game,” Pear said. “Cheribundi continues to grow 50 percent year over year with national distribution at major retail partners. I know that expanding our leadership team will continue to fuel our success.”
Grech, an award-winning marketer, was most recently president of MELT, a sports, entertainment and lifestyle agency. While at MELT, Grech grew the agency to 100 employees and built out multiple divisions.
Those successful divisions included event and experiential marketing, digital and social media, original content production, retail shopper marketing as well as strategy and creative services.
During Grech’s leadership at MELT, the agency won 2015’s American Business Award, Cynopsis Sports Marketing Agency of the Year, and the EX Award. In 2013, Grech was named a “Game Changer” by the Sports Business Journal.
Pear said Grech is no stranger to integrated beverage marketing. Before joining MELT, she was manager of brand positioning, advertising and sports marketing strategy for Powerade, a Coca-Cola Company brand. Grech also worked extensively with retail category management on Dasani, another brand under the Coca-Cola umbrella.
Brophy brings more than 30 years of senior-level food and beverage experience in finance and accounting to Cheribundi. Brands such as Tropicana, National Beverage and SM Jaleel in the Caribbean are just some of the brands that have counted on his industry expertise.
He most recently served as vice president of the KCM Division of KIK, one of North America’s largest independent manufacturers of consumer packaged goods.