Blaze Life Holdings (BLH) has named Anheuser-Busch veteran Shreyas Balakrishnan as CEO. 

Balakrishnan's nearly 20-year career at Anheuser-Busch spanned leadership positions across brewing and distillery operations, distribution, sales and M&A. Since 2019, Balakrishnan has served as president of Cutwater Spirits, acquired by Anheuser-Busch in 2019. Prior to Cutwater, Balakrishnan served Elysian Brewing Co. as president and general manager, where he took a regional brand based in Seattle and orchestrated its national expansion.

"Shreyas' proven track record driving long-term brand and category growth through operational leadership will accelerate our momentum and grow the cannabis beverage category overall," said Paul Burgis BLH co-founder. "Having managed Anheuser-Busch distribution operations in the two largest U.S. metropolitan markets, New York City and Los Angeles, his expertise in navigating the route to market in complex environments is the sophistication we need as we enter our next growth phase."

BLH says its renewed focus on distribution comes at a critical inflection point in the California cannabis market. BLH is modeling its route to market operations more off the regulated alcohol industry and three-tier system than the fragmented supply chain of the current cannabis industry.

"I am grateful for the invaluable experiences and skills gained over the last two decades at Anheuser-Busch," Balakrishnan said. "The deeply ingrained culture of ownership and not taking shortcuts carry over to my journey into the dynamic cannabis industry and my role in scaling the companies of Blaze Life Holdings. I'm extremely excited to be helping lead and shape the future of cannabis beverages alongside the incredible team at BLH."

BLH's Delta Bev co-packing facility is scheduled to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2023. As part of its efforts to optimize the supply chain, BLH's distribution arm, SuLo Distro, will operate out of the Canoga Park facility, solving for first-mile movement and reducing warehousing costs.