Smoke Wallin is a highly accomplished CEO, Entrepreneur, thought leader and board member with more than 25 years of success across the consumer products, alcohol beverage, distribution and technology industries. His broad areas of expertise include start-ups, branding, marketing innovation, distribution, transformational leadership, sales and business growth. He has extensive experience in regulated industries at the local, state and federal level.
After studying the legal medical cannabis industry and recognizing the eventual convergence between legal cannabis and the alcohol beverage industry, Smoke sought out the right company to back with the right team and best opportunity to become the market leader. He joined Vertical Companies in January 2018 as a partner and President, overseeing Distribution, Sales and Marketing as well as the company’s Investor relations and capital formation. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp became federally legal in the US. In anticipation of that, Smoke and the Vertical team formed Vertical Wellness, Inc. to pursue the hemp and CBD business globally. He now also serves as President & CEO of Vertical Wellness.
Throughout his entrepreneurial career, Smoke has founded and built multiple companies and brands including Taliera, a strategic brand company that advises, creates, incubates, introduces and grows brands and companies (Beach Whiskey; American Harvest Organic Vodka; Napa Smith Brewery, Sugar Skull Rum and dozens more), and eSkye Solutions, the leading provider of ecommerce solutions and national account pricing solutions to the industry handling millions of price files for Walmart, Walgreens and others for the largest suppliers in the Spirits and Wine. Early on, Smoke helped build National Wine & Spirits(now RNDC/Breakthru Beverage) into one of the largest distributors of beer, wine and spirits in the US with over $1 billion in beverage sales, 1500 employees and 350 trucks serving more than 36,000 retail accounts. Smoke’s clients and partners have included 100s of distribution, wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverage clients globally. He has raised $100s of millions in debt and equity, publicly and privately for his own and client companies. He has acquired, invested in and/or sold dozens of brands and companies and has coached numerous start-ups, CEOs and workout situations to create meaningful value for stakeholders.
Smoke served as Chairman & President of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) and Chairman of the Global Beer Wine & Spirits Network for the Young President Organization and serves on the executive board for the YPO Hospitality Network with over 3,000 CEOs. He also served as Chairman of the Board for Junior Achievement of Indiana and the Experiential Learning & Entrepreneurship Foundation (ELEF). He also served as President of the Vanderbilt University Business School Alumni Board. In addition to being a seasoned Board Member of public and private companies, he has also won several awards, including the EY Entrepreneur Award in 2001, IBJ’s “Forty under 40”, and the Vanderbilt Business “Distinguished Alumni Award” in 1998.
A frequent speaker, he has also spoken at Cornell, Dartmouth, USC, and Vanderbilt. Smoke holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University and a BS in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. He is an Eagle Scout and the father of two Eagle Scout sons and two amazing daughters. He enjoys spending his free time with his four inspiring adult children and his singer songwriter wife Anitra.