Local distillery raises $2M, beefs up exec team for expansion plan

Indianapolis-based Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery has beefed up its executive team and raised $2 million from private investors as part of a plan to expand distribution and marketing efforts.

The 4-year-old-company said Tuesday that it has named Alexandra Neff as chief marketing officer, Peter Ritz as chief financial officer, Hilary Barnes as chief legal officer and Allison Hall as chief experience officer.

Hotel Tango said the investment funds will be used for a multistate distribution expansion and strategic brand-marketing support.

"We are ready for this next phase and to bring Hotel Tango to more consumers across the U.S.," said Hotel Tango founder and CEO Travis Barnes in written comments. "We would not be where we are today, or where we are headed, without the loyalty and support of so many Hoosiers. It is high time more people get to enjoy Hotel Tango spirits.”

Neff, the former public relations manager at IU Health, said the company would work to increase distribution in existing markets as well as new territories. She said company expects to announce new markets early in 2019.

Hotel Tango, which makes and distributes artisan gin, vodka, rum, whiskey and liqueurs, already sells bottles of spirits in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas. Last year, the distillery signed a contract to supply U.S. Navy commissaries throughout the country.  

Neff said the expansion will target the Midwest, Southeast and Texas.

The company also plans to increase marketing through traditional advertising and through social media, she said.

Ritz was previously a partner in the consulting firm B2B CFO and had senior finance positions with Orchard Software Corp., the Indianapolis Airport Authority and LDI Ltd.

Hotel Tango also added Dr. Kevin Macadaeg of the Indiana Spine Group to its board of investors, joining existing board members Travis Barnes, Hilary Barnes, Brian Willsey and R. Matthew Neff.

Travis Barnes, a U.S. Marine veteran who served multiple tours in Iraq, founded Hotel Tango to take advantage of a 2013 change in Indiana law that made craft distilling feasible as a business.

The company operates from a 107-year-old former carriage house in the Fletcher Place neighborhood. It was the first craft distillery in Indianapolis and the first service-disabled veteran-owned distillery in the country.

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