From local restaurant manager to sales rep at Kunda Beverage, and on to a career with Heineken – the world’s most international beer brand – the Philadelphia beer scene is where Raffel has made his mark.
But it was a long road to his current position at HUSA as a Senior Market Manager. BTW – he had a little help from one of Origlio’s own along the way! In an interview with Heady Times, Raffel reflects on his success and what makes Philadelphia such a special place to sell Heineken.
Heady Times (HT): How did you get your start in the beer business, Jarett?
Jarett Raffel (JR): I was managing a restaurant and became friends with my sales rep from Kunda Beverage, a wholesaler in King of Prussia. Because he enjoyed his job so much, I decided that I wanted to work for a beer wholesaler, too. Kunda hired me and my first job was as a merchandiser, then I worked in the sales department for three years. When a position in sales became available at Heineken USA, I pursued it, and thankfully got the job! I have been working at Heineken USA for close to 18 years now. During that time, I’ve held positions in a few different departments. A special shout out to Gary Chermak from Origlio Beverage – thank you for getting me my first interview at Kunda Beverage. It got me into the beer business!
HT: We can’t talk about HUSA without talking about the legacy of Heineken. What makes Heineken such a special brand?
JR: To me, the quality, consistency and family heritage that brand Heineken represents makes it very special. You can find Heineken in over 170 countries, and no matter where you are in the world, when you drink a Heineken, the amazing quality is consistent. It’s a special brand because of the attention and care that is taken to ensure that every Heineken is consistently excellent.
HT: From Heineken 0.0 to Dos Equis line extensions, HUSA keeps impressing us with innovative products. What’s next on the innovation front?
JR: Heineken 0.0 has been extremely successful for us and it’s fun to sell. It’s the #1 brand in the non-alc category and continues to grow year over year. It’s awesome to see all the new consumers buying this brand in both the on & off-premise.
Additionally, Dos Equis with all its new flavors is really selling well. This year we launched a Dos Equis Lager Variety Pack which includes four Dos Equis flavored lagers (Lime & Salt, Watermelon, Pineapple and Cucumber) each with a refreshing hint of natural fruit flavor and a touch of lime and salt.
We also launched Dos Equis Ranch Water Hard Seltzer, inspired by the original West Texas refreshment. Now, we’re packing on the flavor with a new Dos Equis Ranch Water Variety Pack. Classic Lime, Blood Orange, Mango and Spicy Grapefruit are unique flavors. Anyone looking for crisp refreshment will certainly find something to love.
HT: College football has kicked off another season. Tell us about the 2022 Dos Equis College Football program.
JR: We’re continuing our strong partnership with FOX Big Noon Kickoff, but we’ve added more teams for a total of 15. Our national program is very exciting and will most certainly create buzz at retail. Dos Equis consumers have the chance to win prizes, weekly, leading up to the championship. The grand prize winner will take home an entertainment set that includes a home theater, sofa and smart table. That’s something to cheer about!
HT: Finally, what is it about our beer scene that you particularly enjoy?
JR: Philadelphians are notoriously passionate about their sports teams, but they are even more passionate about their love of great beer! It’s fun to sell beer to retailers who truly appreciate beer and respect a quality product.