Patrón’s Applbaum joins medical marijuana startup

Lee Applbaum, the former chief marketing officer for Patrón Tequila and Grey Goose vodka, has joined Atlanta-based cannabis firm Surterra Wellness as its CMO.

Patrón’s Lee Applbaum has made the move from super-premium spirits to the fast-growing cannabis wellness industry

Medical marijuana startup Surterra Wellness is one of America’s fastest-growing wellness companies offering a variety of cannabis-based products, from vapourizer pens and tinctures to oral sprays, creams, patches and gels.

Applbaum left his role at Patrón and Grey Goose at the end of last month and will work with Surterra’s leadership team to “build iconic cannabis brands” that “improve the wellbeing of consumers”.

Reporting to CEO William ‘Beau’ Wrigley, who sold his family’s chewing gum empire to Mars Inc in 2008 for US$23 billion, Applbaum will lead the group’s global marketing, product innovation, retail and sales initiatives.

There are Surterra Wellness centres in Florida, California and Nevada

“Lee is one of the most extraordinary brand builders in the business and having him join our executive leadership team is a big win for Surterra,” said Wrigley.

“As an accomplished senior marketing expert, Lee is exceptional at branding products in ways consumers connect with authentically, engaging with consumers at the right moments, and making the complex simple – all critically important in the cannabis business.

“Lee also shares our consumer-first mindset and our aim to be the gold standard in the business,” he added.

“Surterra is creating the blueprint for leadership in the cannabis space based on a strong ethos, which I immediately identified with having come from brands with a heritage of ethos.

“I’m excited to make the leap from luxury spirits to the dynamic cannabis industry because of Beau Wrigley’s vision for Surterra and the industry,” said Applbaum.

“I’m honoured to join a team of the most experienced and game-changing leaders of global iconic companies and brands to create innovative cannabis products and authentic brands that will make a big impact on the wellbeing of consumers,” he added.

Applbaum joined Patrón in 2013 from Australian department store chain Target, prior to Bacardi’s acquisition of the Tequila firm in April 2018. He took on the additional position of CMO for Grey Goose vodka last August.

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