Additions to fast-growing Maryland rye distiller’s team bring deep industry experience and California market expertise


Sagamore Spirit, the award-winning Maryland-style rye that is leading its home state’s whiskey distilling revival, has made two key hires for its recent expansion into California: Nick Jones who will lead sales in Northern California, and Brian Ponzi, who will take on the same role in Southern California.

A native Californian who currently resides in San Francisco, Jones brings more than 15 years of adult beverage experience. His passion for professional bartending blossomed while working with acclaimed restaurants across the country like PABU, a Michael Mina restaurant, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. His innovative work was frequently recognized by influential trade media such as Nation’s Restaurant News, and CHEERS Magazine. He comes to Sagamore Spirit and its Maryland-made state story well-equipped, having spent more than five years in Baltimore.

Ponzi, who also hails from California, has a background rich with sales experience, most recently with the Regal Wine Company where he managed its fine wine portfolio and oversaw merchandising and field sales in San Diego. His taste for fine wine will serve him well as he makes the transition from grape to grain, and introduces whiskey lovers in Southern California to the versatility of Sagamore Spirit’s Maryland-style rye.

“Expanding into California was an important step for our growth, so getting the right people in place was critical – professionals with an infectious passion for Maryland-style rye, and a relentless, never-take-no attitude,” said Brian Treacy, President of Sagamore Spirit. “Nick and Brian are just those kind of guys. Their California roots give a natural appreciation for what goes into crafting finer adult beverages, and they can’t wait to give Californians their first taste of Sagamore Spirit rye.”

Sagamore Spirit is helping reignite interest in Maryland-style rye, which is more versatile, approachable and slightly sweeter than other styles of rye thanks to a mash bill that calls for a generous dose of corn.

To learn more about Sagamore Spirit and find a bottle near you, visit


About Sagamore Spirit

Sagamore Spirit opened its award-winning five-acre waterfront distillery campus in Baltimore in April 2017. Since then, nearly 45,000 guests have visited the campus and tasted the brand’s 18-time award-winning rye whiskies. Each batch of whiskey is made with pure spring-fed Maryland water. The distillation team blends two different rye mash bills – a high rye and a low rye – and then adds limestone-filtered spring water transported 22 miles from Sagamore Farm, to create an 83 proof Maryland-style rye whiskey. 100percent of Sagamore Rye is cut to proof with this distinct water. Sagamore Spirit also offers a Cask Strength whiskey that is 112 – 114 proof. Sagamore Spirit is committed to inspiring a global passion for Maryland Rye Whiskey.

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