Taliera was founded in 2006 by industry leader and serial entrepreneur J. Smoke Wallin to create, advise, incubate, acquire, and grow new and existing brands and businesses by combining core brand building expertise, relationships and capabilities with leading edge technologies and innovative business approaches.
The Taliera team has extensive strategic and operational experience through both consulting engagements and in active management across the beverage, CPG, distribution, hospitality and technology industries. Our core advisory practice includes: 1. Company and brand strategy from inception to launch to growth & turn around; 2. Distribution strategy from export or import to wholesale to retail to consumer; 3. Executive search and recruitment; 4. Applying new technologies and business models to existing industries.
J Smoke Wallin - Chairman & Founder
Smoke Wallin is a highly accomplished CEO, entrepreneur, leader and board member and philanthropist with more than 25 years of success across the consumer products, beverage, distribution and technology industries. His broad areas of expertise include strategy and execution, finance, start-ups, branding, marketing innovation, distribution, transformational leadership, sales and business growth. He has extensive experience in regulated industries at the local, state and federal level.
After studying the legal medical cannabis industry and recognizing the eventual convergence between legal cannabis and the alcohol beverage industry, he entered the medical cannabis space with investments in CA, AZ and OH with VertCos - Medical Investor Holdings. Smoke now serves as Chairman & CEO and Co-Founder of Vertical Wellness a leading Hemp & CBD brand company. Smoke also serves on the board of publicly traded cannabis investment firm, Vencanna, which trades on the Canadian Stock Exchange (VENI.CN). He serves as Chairman of Taliera, a company he founded in 2006 to incubate and celebrate iconic brands. He is also a Senior Advisor to STS Capital.
Throughout his entrepreneurial career, Smoke has founded and built multiple companies, teams and brands. Smoke helped build National Wine & Spirits (now partnered with RNDC/Young’s) into one of the largest distributors of beer, wine and spirits in the US with over $1 billion in beverage sales, 1500 employees and 350 trucks serving more than 36,000 retail accounts. Smoke’s clients, partners and companies have included 100s of distribution, wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverage clients globally. He has raised >$500 million in debt and equity, publicly and privately for his companies and created $100s of millions in value for equity holders.
Smoke served as Chairman & President of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) and on the board for 7 years. He served on the Board of the Hemp Roundtable and the Craft Brewer’s Association. He is Chairman of the Global Beer Wine & Spirits Network for the Young President Organization and serves on the executive board for the YPO Hospitality Network with over 3,000 CEOs. He serves as Learning Officer and Board member for YPO’s Pacific One chapter. He founded the Wine Industry Technology Symposium and Wine2.0.
Smoke is Co-Founder of DignityMoves.Org a group of business leaders who came together to help fight the growing homelessness crisis. He also served on the American Freedom Fund’s Board whose mission is “to empower Veterans through athletic, educational, and advocacy programs in Washington, D.C. and across America.”. Passionate about entrepreneurship and economic education, Smoke served as Chairman of the Board for Junior Achievement of Indiana and the Experiential Learning & Entrepreneurship Foundation (ELEF) and on the boards for a combined 17 years. Smoke also served as President of the Vanderbilt University Business School Alumni Board and on the board for 12 years.
He regularly contributes to CNBC’s Fast Money, Closing Bell and Nightly Business Report, Fox Business Varney & CO, CNN’s Headline News, The Street, Yahoo Finance TV, CheddarTV, and in Bloomberg, Forbes, MarketWatch, Politico, the Wall Street Journal and numerous others. He frequently speaks and teaches classes at The Art Center School of Design (Pasadena), Cornell, Dartmouth, Syracuse, USC, and Vanderbilt and, at numerus business keynote functions, investor conferences and seminars. Recognition includes the EY Entrepreneur of The Year Award, IBJ’s “Forty under 40”, and the Vanderbilt Business “Distinguished Alumni Award” and he was named one of the 100 most influential leaders in the cannabis industry by High Times Magazine.
Smoke earned an MBA from Vanderbilt University and a BS in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics a part of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business where is was a wrestler and member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. He is an Eagle Scout and the father of two Eagle Scout sons and two amazing daughters, who all, most importantly, are good humans. He lives with his singer/songwriter wife Anitra in Ventura, CA.