BIOS

Simon Burch

CEO

Simon has 20 years of experience in the spirits industry, an MBA from Harvard business school, and multiple executive leadership positions held at Pernod Ricard , Diageo and Moët Hennessy. While at Diageo, Simon led the USA Tequila, Rum and Vodka brand portfolios before transitioning to Global Head of Smirnoff Vodka, the world’s largest Spirits brand. Subsequently Simon joined Moet Hennessy as CMO of Belvedere Vodka. He was excited to join the Green River Spirits Company as CEO in 2017 and lead a dramatic expansion agenda for the organization.

Jacob Call

MASTER DISTILLER

To say Jacob was born with whiskey in his veins might be a stretch, but distilling has been in his family for eight generations, all the way back to the earliest days of bourbon. Jacob has been around bourbon his whole life and some of his first memories are of running around rickhouses with his grandfather. Over time, he learned the ins and outs of whiskey from his father and grandfather, and that great bourbon comes from both the head and the heart. Jacob’s experience is equal parts know-how and a love for the art handed down from his family.

In 2014, Jacob was part of the team that found Owensboro’s storied Green River distillery in ruins. Brick by brick, building by building, they restored the iconic DSP-KY-10 and in 2016, began distilling under the name of O.Z. Tyler. In 2020, under Jacob’s skillful hand, Green River Distilling Co. was resurrected, bringing bourbon pride back to Western Kentucky. Jacob and the team proudly raised the Green River flag on the distillery campus again, beginning the next chapter in Green River’s history. He calls his role in the revival of Green River a “once-in-lifetime experience.”

As Green River’s Master Distiller, eighth-generation Kentuckian Jacob Call oversees all aspects of the distillery’s whiskey production and warehousing.

Jacob Call

MASTER DISTILLER

To say Jacob was born with whiskey in his veins might be a stretch, but distilling has been in his family for eight generations, all the way back to the earliest days of bourbon. Jacob has been around bourbon his whole life and some of his first memories are of running around rickhouses with his grandfather. Over time, he learned the ins and outs of whiskey from his father and grandfather, and that great bourbon comes from both the head and the heart. Jacob’s experience is equal parts know-how and a love for the art handed down from his family.

In 2014, Jacob was part of the team that found Owensboro’s storied Green River distillery in ruins. Brick by brick, building by building, they restored the iconic DSP-KY-10 and in 2016, began distilling under the name of O.Z. Tyler. In 2020, under Jacob’s skillful hand, Green River Distilling Co. was resurrected, bringing bourbon pride back to Western Kentucky. Jacob and the team proudly raised the Green River flag on the distillery campus again, beginning the next chapter in Green River’s history. He calls his role in the revival of Green River a “once-in-lifetime experience.”

As Green River’s Master Distiller, eighth-generation Kentuckian Jacob Call oversees all aspects of the distillery’s whiskey production and warehousing.

Cathy Steen

Chief Commercial Officer

Cathy has over 25 years of experience in the alcohol beverage industry, starting her career with the E&J Gallo Winery. In 1995, Cathy was part of the team that launched Belvedere Vodka. Her marketing and sales contributions helped to scale the business, leading to the brand’s sale to LVMH, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy.

Cathy spent 12 years at Moet Hennessy in executive leadership roles managing a variety of sales teams and brand launches in the United States as well as serving on the Global Leadership Board. Prior to leaving LVMH she returned to Belvedere, focused on the brand’s global growth strategy.

Valerie Lightfoot

Chief Financial Officer

Valerie Lightfoot is Chief Financial Officer at Green River Spirits overseeing all financial functions, legal, and Information Technology.   Lightfoot brings over 25 years of financial leadership expertise across a rich variety of industry sectors including medical manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, entertainment, technology, and software services.  Her career success has focused on building organizations, designing process improvements, driving cost reductions, and improving cashflow within the private, public, and non-profit sectors.  Lightfoot is committed to maximizing long-term profitability and building the financial infrastructure to lead radical growth objectives.

Valerie began her professional life at Baxter International, a $12 billion global healthcare company serving in audit, treasury, and as a group plant controller.  She then joined DXC as Regional Finance Director heading the North American Region for the $20 billion provider of technology enabled business services.  Lightfoot joined Alliant credit Union as CFO where she expanded the credit union from a sole sponsor to both multi sponsors and community sponsorship.  AS CFO for CSI she successfully merged two IT consulting firms to become the leading IT service firm.  While at Belimed her focus on strategy and pricing resulted in positive net income for the US division of Switzerland based Metall Zug.

Valerie holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in finance from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Chuck Lyle

Director, Marketing & Innovation

Chuck joined Green River Spirits after a successful 15 year career in the Craft Beer industry.

He was an integral member of the team that developed and launched category leading national brands including Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Truly Hard Seltzer and Twisted Tea. He brings expertise in Creative Design, Brand Management, Trade Marketing, Communications, Innovation and Product Development. Chuck has a Fine Arts, Design degree and his MBA from Babson College.

Chuck Lyle

Director, Marketing & Innovation

Chuck joined Green River Spirits after a successful 15 year career in the Craft Beer industry.

He was an integral member of the team that developed and launched category leading national brands including Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Truly Hard Seltzer and Twisted Tea. He brings expertise in Creative Design, Brand Management, Trade Marketing, Communications, Innovation and Product Development. Chuck has a Fine Arts, Design degree and his MBA from Babson College.

Renee Evans

Senior Manager, Research & Development

Renee is a Certified Food Scientist with 30 years of product development experience. Ten of those years were spent with Brown-Forman developing and implementing products for Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, and others as Senior Innovation Scientist. Over the course of her career she has also developed products for iconic brands like Starbucks, Lean Cuisine, Krispy Kreme and Clabber Girl, and spent 12 years in the flavor industry.