SOURCE: Eastside Distilling, Inc.

Eastside Distilling, Inc.

September 15, 2016 08:31 ET

Eastside Distilling Elects Mick Fleming, Trent Davis, Lawrence Hirson and Jay Harkins to Board of Directors

Martin Kunkel and Lenny Gotter Retire from the Board and Continue in Other Roles

PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwired - Sep 15, 2016) - Eastside Distilling, Inc. (OTCQB: ESDI), a producer of award-winning master-crafted spirits, has elected Michael M. Fleming (Mick), Trent D. Davis, Lawrence Hirson and Samuel Jay Harkins (Jay) to its board of directors. Martin Kunkel and Eastside co-founder Lenny Gotter have retired from the board.

Mr. Kunkel will continue to serve as the company's chief marketing officer and Mr. Gotter will serve in a consultative role. Following these changes, the Eastside board is now comprised of six directors, of which four are "independent" as defined by NASDAQ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules.

"We welcome the addition of these four outstanding new board members," said Eastside president and CEO, Steven Earles. "Collectively, these new directors contribute valuable experience, knowledge and expertise in business development and the capital markets as well as with the spirits industry, which we believe will support our efforts to grow Eastside into a significant national supplier of craft spirits."

Eastside's chairman of the board, Grover Wickersham, said "I would like to first thank Steven Earles for his leadership in strengthening the Eastside board which prepares the company for growth both as a business and as a public company. This shows great vision on his part. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Lenny Gotter, co-founder of Eastside, who is leaving the board, but will remain as a consultant."

"In our view," Mr. Wickersham continued, "having the majority of our board be independent directors, especially directors who, in this case, are mostly also shareholders themselves, is a 'best practice' from a corporate governance perspective. Adding this strong group of directors and establishing a majority of independent directors satisfies Nasdaq's corporate governance requirements. This is an important first step towards achieving our goal to 'uplist' our common stock to a national securities market, such as Nasdaq, in the future. Eastside is already a fully compliant SEC reporting company and strengthening our board represents another positive step towards our goal of increasing value for our shareholders."

For additional information, please refer to the company's Current Reports on Form 8-K filed on the SEC website on each of September 6, 2016 and September 14, 2016. These Reports can also be accessed in the Investor Relations section of the company's website (

Michael M. Fleming (Mick) is an attorney with the law firm Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC specializing in real estate, dispute resolution, securities and environmental matters. Mr. Fleming previously was an attorney with the law firm of Lane Powell PC from 2000 to 2013. Mr. Fleming is the chairman of the board of directors of Jones Soda Co., a publicly traded premium beverage company. Mr. Fleming also serves on the board of directors of S&W Seed Co., a publicly traded agricultural products company, where he serves as, lead independent director, chairman of the Audit Committee, and as a member of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Fleming has served on the board of directors of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Puget Sound since 2002 and was chairman of the board of directors for 2008/2009. He has also been the president and owner of Kidcentre, Inc., a company in the business of providing child care services in downtown Seattle, Washington, since 1988. Since 1985, he has also been the president and owner of Fleming Investment Co., an investment company. Mr. Fleming holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Washington and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Trent D. Davis, is currently president and COO of Whitestone Investment Network, Inc., headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and also serves as the lead independent director for Dataram Corporation, a publicly traded corporation. Previously, Mr. Davis was Chief Executive Officer of Paulson Investment Company. Inc., a subsidiary of Paulson Capital Corp, a publicly traded company, from July 2005 until October 2014, until he successfully completed the reverse merger of Paulson with VBI Vaccines, a publicly traded company, where he went on to serve as a member of its board of directors and Audit Committee until May 2016. During his tenure at Paulson, Mr. Davis supervised all operations and over 200 investment representatives overseeing $1.5 billion in client assets. He has extensive experience in capital markets and brokerage operations, and is credited with overseeing the syndication of approximately $600 million for over 50 client companies in both public and private transactions. 

Lawrence Hirson is an accomplished entrepreneur and senior manager with nearly five decades of experience in capital formation, product and corporate development, sales and marketing, and shareholder value creation. Since 2010, he has served CEO of The WATB Group, which offers consultative management expertise to businesses seeking accelerated growth. In this capacity, he currently serves as an advisor to the board of, as well as a number of other privately-held companies. He is also manager of WATB ISA, LLC, which makes select investments in public and private companies, including Eastside Distilling. Since 2008, he has also served as chairman of H&L Russel, Ltd, a UK-based product innovator and distributor of storage and houseware products to UK hospitality chains. In 2000, he co-founded Protect-A-Bed, a worldwide leader in mattress protection, where in eight years as president grew annual revenues to $60 million. He previously served as president of Granton Marketing in conjunction with DS Max, a direct marketing firm with more than 100 offices and 4,000 salespeople in South Africa. Earlier in his career, he was founder and president of Supreme Car & Truck Hire, an industry innovator based in South Africa, as well as was founder and president of Superformance, a franchised auto repair chain headquartered in Southern California.

Samuel Jay Harkins (Jay) is the executive vice president of sales of Eastside Distilling, responsible for implementing sales strategies for the company's full portfolio of spirits and overseeing the expansion of its national rollout campaign. Harkins has more than two decades of experience in the spirits industry, along with expertise in strategic brand and business development, sales and marketing, corporate management and organizational leadership. Previously, he was the founder and the CEO of the Blackheath Beverage Group, a sales and marketing platform for independent spirits brands. Earlier he held various senior roles within the spirits industry, including as vice president of sales for Domaine Select Wine Estates and director of sales for Southern Wine and Spirits. He has also served in sales and management roles with Mystique Brands, Peerless Importers - E&J Gallo division and Cognac Ferrand.

About Eastside Distilling
Eastside Distilling, Inc. (OTCQB: ESDI) is located in Southeast Portland's Distillery Row, and has been producing high-quality, master crafted spirits since 2008. Makers of award winning spirits, the company is unique in the marketplace and distinguished by its highly decorated product lineup that includes Barrel Hitch American Whiskies, Burnside Bourbon, Below Deck Rums, Portland Potato Vodka, and a distinctive line of infused whiskeys. All Eastside spirits are master crafted from natural ingredients for unparalleled quality and taste. The company is publicly traded under the symbol OTCQB: ESDI. For more information visit: or follow the company on Twitter and Facebook.

Important Cautions Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain matters discussed in this press release may be forward-looking statements. Such matters involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the following: changes in economic conditions; general competitive factors; acceptance of the Company's products in the market; the Company's success in obtaining new customers; the Company's success in product development; the Company's ability to execute its business model and strategic plans; the Company's success in integrating acquired entities and assets, and all the risks and related information described from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including the financial statements and related information contained in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and interim Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Examples of forward-looking statements in this release may include statements related to the "uplisting" of Eastside's common stock to a national securities market such as Nasdaq. The Company assumes no obligation to update the cautionary information in this release.

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