All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Friday, December 4, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Kevin Ruder, President, 901 Silver Tequila

With a career spanning more than 15 years in the industry, DIAB Importer’s President, Kevin Ruder has a diverse background in the beverage business.  Mr. Ruder developed the 901 Silver brand with Justin Timberlake, the brand’s founder, after spending over two years selecting the right distillery, suppliers and manufacturers.  Tequilera Newton was selected under Ruder’s leadership after visiting their Jalisco facility, learning about their passion for ultra premium tequila and rich history in the tequila-making process.

In addition to the selection of Tequilera Newton, Ruder is credited with orchestrating 901’s national partnership with Southern Wine and Spirits. He has launched 901 Silver in seven markets in as many months and anticipates launching 20 additional markets before the brand’s one year anniversary.  In addition to on and off-premise sales and marketing, Ruder oversees the brand’s cocktail strategy and on-premise menu integration, national sponsorships and promotions, and strategic partnership development.

Ruder is responsible for closing the ground-breaking deal naming 901 Silver Tequila the official tequila sponsor of most Live Nation venues throughout the United States, the first deal of this kind in the history of the world’s largest live music company.  The partnership gives the rapidly expanding, ultra premium tequila access to an unparalleled audience of music and entertainment fans, a key segment of the brand’s loyal consumer base.  As part of the package, 901 Silver Tequila also gains access to tickets, in-venue visibility on Live Nation’s in venue video network, as well as signage placement as the official tequila sponsor in Live Nation venues throughout the country. Ruder is also the creative force beyond 901’s The Big Idea promotion, engaging consumers to apply for a job as the EVP of Big Ideas for 901 Silver Tequila, for a chance to win $25,000 and a trip to Las Vegas to the 2010 Justin and friends concert.  Whom You Know has recommended 901

Prior to DIAB Importers, Ruder spent 12 years with Anheuser Busch. During his tenure, he managed the company’s initial entry into the spirits category including tequila, vodka and cordials.  He also oversaw the design and development of all A-B promotional products including wearables and collectibles.  Ruder was accountable for beverage sales throughout the United States Eastern Region with special emphasis on New York, South Carolina, Baltimore and DC. Ruder is credited with helping to make Bud Light the #1 brand in the State of New York.

Ruder managed domestic and international sports properties for the brand including relationships with Major League Soccer, the National Hockey League, the FIFA World Cup, the English Premier League, the U.S. National Soccer Team and the Mexican National Soccer Team.  He spearheaded integrated marketing programs with the Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bills, Washington Capitals, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens. He was also in charge of Anheuser Busch’s entertainment sponsorships including their partnerships with Broadway shows and celebrity relationships including Jay-Z and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

Mr. Ruder holds a BA from University of Dayton. He serves on the Board of SSM Hospital Rehab Foundation. In his spare time, Mr. Ruder enjoys outdoors sports including hockey and golf, and spending quality time with his wife and three sons.   We are so pleased to present him as our latest Mover and Shaker!  

Peachy Deegan interviewed Kevin Ruder for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What inspired you to enter the beverage industry? 
Kevin Ruder:  Is there a better industry.  What industry can you work in where you market, brand, sell and promote your product and then that night go out and see it in action

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 bottles of alcohol, what would they be and why? 
Combier, Bourbon and 901

What should connoisseurs of alcoholic beverages know that most do not know? 
SIP IT STRAIGHT!!!  Before you throw a bunch of mixers in it, sip it straight and find out if you really enjoy it.

What are your favorite bars in Manhattan?
That’s tough, but I like Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club, Brian Miller at Death & Co. and Don Lee at Ssam Bar but I also love neighborhood hangouts like Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Southern Hospitality and WXOU Radio Bar

What is it like to work with Justin Timberlake? 
Great, he’s a pretty smart guy and a hell of a marketer

Do you golf with Justin? 
All of the time, it’s where we get most of our business done

What is your favorite hockey team? 
St. Louis Blues

Has the Stanley Cup ever contained 901 Tequila to your knowledge? 
No, but it will…………….guaranteed

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
My wife, without someone to remind me why I’m doing it and that anything’s possible it would be pretty difficult.

What are you proudest of and why? 
Our recent deal with Live Nation.  Here’s a little old brand called 901 Tequila and we just made a deal with the largest music promoter in the world.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?

At the end of a long day, there is nothing like clearing your head by taking a run along the Hudson River.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
There are several shops in Manhattan that I consider staples. Murray’s - Not only do they have the best selection of cheese in the city but they run cocktails and cheese classes on a regular basis that really should not be missed. Jeffrey – the best clothing (my wife is always pleased when she sees a Jeffrey’s bag enter the house with a little gift for her). Astor Wines – there is no better selection, service or educational program for wines and spirits in the city.
What is your favorite drink? 
The Pepino

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?

There are too many good choices to have one favorite.  I tend to gravitate to neighborhood joints with great cocktail programs as well as incredible chefs/food.  Some of my favorites include Zak Pelaccio’s Fatty Crab, Alain Allegretti’s Allegretti, and Tom Valenti’s West Branch. I would love them even more if they all served 901 Silver cocktails…

What is your favorite Manhattan book?

I am currently reading a book called Netherland by Joseph O’Neill. It is about a man left alone by his wife and son after 9/11. He gets involved in the New York subculture of cricket. It could end up being one of my favorites.

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Playing golf at Winged Foot in the driving rain with some good friends
What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
For me, Manhattan is really about the variety of choices available at any time of day or night and the diversity of people around you to share ideas with at all times.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
I would have to say, that one of my best experiences has been sitting in on a taping of SNL

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here? 
Underrated is the food, overrated – the hospitality, ha ha

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
Peachy’s Picks is my favorite column. I have not been steered wrong yet…

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
If there is one thing that I love it’s waking up every morning ready to introduce the world to 901.  If there is one thing I hate, it’s waking up and realizing the world is hard to reach one by one, but we are a persistent bunch.
How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? contact page

Back to TOP