Name: Irem Eren
Occupation & Company: Head of Business Development at BevZero
Tell me about your current role?
I work as Head of Business Development and Sales in BevZero, for the EMEA region.
BevZero is specialized in beverage services, equipment, and innovative solutions, from no and low alcohol wines, and beers to cannabis-infused drinks. I had different roles in different areas in the drinks industry such as on-trade, wine producer, importer, and distributor in the past 12 years.
My passion for innovation and diversity brought me to the ever-growing trend in low/no alcohol wine, which I believe this sector is a unique way to contribute to the growth of the wine industry through the engagement of young consumers.
Besides that, I also work as Wine Educator at a WSET school in Barcelona: Rack and Return.
How did you first get into the drinks industry?
My journey in the drinks industry started back in 2011, in New York City, where I worked as the Marketing Manager for a wine bar in Manhattan. I was lucky enough to train with the head sommelier, in addition to my job role.
Then, within 2.5 years, I became responsible for both the Marketing and Wine Program of several locations. Tasting, selecting, buying the wines, carrying private wine tasting events and working with renowned chefs in NYC to match the wines for the tasting menus.
Following that, I have covered several roles in the drinks industry; marketing, brand management, wine distribution, business development and education. Currently, I am a Master of Wine, Stage 2 student.
What is your favourite part about working in the industry?
Dynamism. The wine & spirits industry is very dynamic. It is one of the unique industries where the tradition meets innovation in a constantly changing environment.
We’re meeting up for a wee drink after work – what are you having?
Bubbles. Bubbles work for each day of the week, for each theme and mood: Monday Blues after work, Tuesday Tapas after work, Wine Wednesday’s after work, Thursday, almost weekend after work, TGIF after work. And to be exact: Rose Champagne would be my go-to bubble.
You can only have one drink for the rest of your life, what’s in your glass?
Riesling – even after an entire week at Master of Wine, Stage 2 Seminar in Pfalz, Germany, back in April, after being saturated to all shades of Riesling. Although it is an underrated variety, Riesling has it all. From dry, steely to lusciously, sweet wines. From still to sparkling. From young versions for immediate consumption, to beautifully aged for 50 years, complex yet vibrant and dynamic ones. Riesling can give a whole lifetime of experiences in one glass, with all its shades.
It’s Saturday night, what restaurant are you going to?
Chez Irem J. I like to dine out on Thursday or Friday nights. However, on Saturday nights my preference is to stay in for a nice meal at home, cooking for myself or friends. Welcome to your late 30s!
I am originally from Istanbul, so my special dishes are Turkish meals with Mediterranean influence. My speciality is leeks with prunes, and I’d pair it with Italian whites, such as Gavi, Soave or a Cru Beaujolais like Morgon. For adventurers, I’d do a Turkish red, Karasakiz.
Is there a bucket list drink you want to try, or a dream drinks destination you’d love to visit?
Loire Valley. It must be the hunting ground of wine lovers with all the different styles available. From Muscadet & oysters to Quarts de Chaume & blue cheese and anything in between!
The most memorable experience of your career?
Being announced as IWSC’s 2022 Emerging Talent in Wine winner.
Having a career in the wine industry is like “no day is the same” full of memorable experiences, however winning IWSC’s Emerging Talent award has been the most memorable so far. Being nominated and following that being shortlisted was already a great achievement, and winning the award for my determination, passion and hunger in the wine industry was the cherry on top.
One thing you’d like to see more of in the drinks industry?
Accessibility. By all means making the drinks industry being more accessible to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the drinks industry regardless of their age, gender, race, colour, religion, or ethnicity.
Accessibility for all consumers: from young, newcomer, mainstream consumers to adventurist, educated consumers, especially in the wine industry.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in the industry?
Be motivated and believe in yourself, while being modest! Having a career in the drinks industry is a constant learning experience. Therefore I’d advise anyone who wants to get in, to embrace this path with modesty and to share the knowledge with others.
You can follow Irem’s journey on the links below