The SCG Team

SCG’s team has experience with craft spirits, small start-ups, big brands, and are leaders in independent brand management. SCG has an integrated service model that allows you to maximize your resources while having access to specialized industry knowledge and skills. Our key executives bring years of experience to your brand.

Susan Mooney

Founder & CEO

Susan has more than twenty-five years of experience with start-up businesses, innovation and product development. She has played a vital role in the strategy, launch and success of new brands, including several start-ups that went on to lucrative exits. In addition to her time spent in global executive positions in Brazil, Europe and China, Ms. Mooney has proven herself by successfully growing outstanding teams, profitable companies and launching distinctive products. As a recognized leader in the spirits industry, Susan regularly publishes industry related articles and has been a featured speaker at numerous wine & spirits events and conferences.

Matthew Baris

VP of Strategy & Brand Innovation

Matthew was at the forefront of the craft spirits movement when he founded one of the first Colorado distilleries, Altitude Spirits, and created his own spirits products. He has overseen the creation and development of liquor brands from concept to shelf, including production, brand development, and marketing and sales strategies. At Altitude Spirits, he created both his own products while simultaneously developing executable strategies for international suppliers entering the U.S. market. He brings this experience to his role at SCG creating viable products, market entry strategies, managing sales through the three-tier system and navigating the U.S. spirits market with new brands. Key competencies include: Product Development, Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management, Production Oversight, Marketing & Branding, Maximizing Operational Efficiency, Importing, Sales Chain Management, Team Planning & Development. Matthew received his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Leilani Vella

National Sales Director

Leilani has a demonstrated track record for growing sales and brand awareness throughout the U.S. marketplace in the design and execution of sales programs, experiential marketing, U.S. tailored brand education, and trade and consumer advocacy programs that generate ongoing sales. While launching Sipsmith as the U.S. Business Manager, she designed and executed phased sales and marketing strategies and growth focused business metrics, including creation of sales data dashboards and had national P&L accountability. Having worked with over 15 distributors in 30 states, she understands each market’s culture and how to activate sales teams for sustainable growth. An expert educator of history of booze and bar culture, the science of distillation, and the art of the cocktail she curates educational programs to establish a brand’s most marketable points of difference.

Shu de Jong

Market Activation Director

Shu began working in the spirits industry as a liaison to brands and celebrities for key nightlife groups and hospitality powerhouses. He created Panache Imports in 2002 and was part of the original team to bring 42 Below Vodka to the U.S. market. Comfortable and connected in any market, he successfully built the brand’s image, identity and national sales before selling the brand rights to Bacardi USA. He then created and sold other innovative brands such as Wódka Vodka and Alibi American Whiskey. After these successes, Shu created Midnight Solutions – a consulting and advisory firm specializing in helping emerging brands prepare for and overcome the challenges to creating brand growth and sales success. Shu joined SCG in 2016 where he utilizes his knowledge of the market to help brand owners effectively execute programs, grow their sales and build iconic brands.

Eugene Didenko

Director of Finance & Accounting

SCG’s Director of Finance & Accounting is a seasoned executive who has developed and managed accounting and financial operations for a variety of food and beverage companies. He has provided valuable and timely support to their executives and staff across all departments including Sales, Operations, and Marketing. Eugene’s career has included time at Goldman Sachs, import companies and independent spirits brands. His expertise is providing financial and operational services to newly formed companies with the goal of properly structuring them for continued growth and expansion. He has operated at the CFO level for companies in the fundraising phase of development to provide and explain key financial information. He is a Certified Public Accountant with a Masters Degree in Finance from Fordham University.