Our client for this Senior Director, New Product Development position is an international leading group in wine & spirits. The group is relocating their new product development laboratory to the Stockton / Lodi, CA area.
The company is a bold and consumer-obsessed organization that is constantly searching for what’s next and has built an innovation organization that has a mandate to challenge the status quo with breakthrough premium products and experiences that impact consumer behavior in surprising and delightful ways With this in mind, the Senior Director, New Product Development will be responsible for running their Product Development lab and will lead the team responsible for driving new product development for formulated wine, spirits, beer and emerging alcohol beverage categories. Reporting to the VP of Innovation, this person will be a driver of our new product development processes including prototype development, direct formulation trials, supplier relationship management, stability testing, regulatory reviews, and partnership with cross functional teams through the scale up process. They will operate as the authoritative product development expert and collaborate closely with operations, procurement, marketing, regulatory, and commercial, and ventures groups to set up our innovation agenda for success.
We are ideally looking for a Food Sciences expert (PhD would be a plus), who has done the technical work in the past, who can now lead technical teams and finally who can efficiently interact with other internal stakeholder in finance, strategy, marketing, legal, etc…Background is Wine & Spirits or any kind of beverage is highly preferable.
Job description Technical/New Product Development Activities
Team Leadership and People Management Activities
- Lead the formulation, prototype development, shelf-life testing, and transition for scale up of new products in the area of, but not limited to, flavored wines + spirits, beer, hard seltzers, RTD cocktails, and other emerging beverage alcohol categories
- Interact with Winemaking, Distillers, Innovation and Emerging Categories to determine the appropriate base material(s) to use for prototype products based on project specifications, availability and tax savings opportunities (spirits).
- Support implementation of a new NPD R&D laboratory in coordination with growth and operation leadership. Will include insight on space and equipment requirements to support future NPD initiatives
- Work in close collaboration with other R&D sites to share best practices and to tap into expertise across the organization
- Take a pro-active role in the maintenance and improvement of products based on sensory and/or consumer feedback.
- Direct involvement in development and execution of consumer research to evaluate product performance.
- Collaborate with Marketing and innovation teams to determine appropriate product profile and target specifications.
- Cultivate relationships with key flavor and ingredient suppliers and academic institutions so that a steady source of innovative and appropriate ingredients and technologies are available for NPD initiatives.
- Monitor trends in the beverage alcohol and associated industries, and collaborate with Insights on collation and distribution of a “Trends” report.
- Manage a team of product developers providing guidance, support, and expertise to develop a positive and collaborative team culture while also delivering on business objective
- Lead the ongoing prioritization of projects to help focus resources and capabilities
- Set the vision for the product development team to best align the team’s work with the
- long term vision of the company
- Collaborate with cross functional leadership to identify process improvements to improve
- the efficiency and impact of innovation
- Serve as product development lead in cross functional leadership team meetings.
- Collaborate with the Legal department to ensure compliance and thorough understanding of product development possibilities for new innovation initiatives
- Support product formula filings with TTB and develop accurate FDA labels for applicable products
- Master’s degree in FoodScience required (ideally a PhD
- 10+ years in product development for the consumer product industry
- Exceptional people manager with a minimum 5 years of management experience, who looks to win as a team and has a proven track record of successfully developing, mentoring, and coaching teams to drive clarity in times of ambiguity and complexity
- Curious and passionate about the world of food and beverage; able to distill marketplace trends and happenings into a progressive, innovative approach to product development
- Experience in designing and supporting the build out of new laboratory/R&D space would be ideal
- Ability to maintain an innovators mindset asking ‘why not’ and ‘what would it take’?. while driving technical rigor within teams
- Strong word processing, spreadsheet, database management abilities
- Strong communication skills, both verbal and written
- Ability to multi-task and maintain a professional demeanor working with internal and external customers
- Goal oriented individual with track record of executional excellence
- Highly motivated problem solver with a clear track record of results to deliver objectives in a complex environment.
- A desire to learn new skills in the area of laboratory management, sensory evaluation, product development, etc
- Previous appreciated experience: Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Moet Hennessy, Remy Cointreau, Bacardi, E&J Gallo, Constellation Brands, Trinchero Family Estates, Treasury Wine Estate, The Wine Group, Bronco Wine Company, Accolade Wines. But also: Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, Monster Energy Drink…
- Previous appreciated titles: Director of Product Development, VP of Business Development