Sharon Bantrup, President
A native of Jefferson City, MO, Sharon graduated from University of Missouri Central. She spent 15 years in a sales and marketing capacity with several Fortune 500 companies including Waste Management Inc., Scott Paper Company, Kimberly-Clark and Johnson & Johnson. Her positions have given her the opportunity to live in many states across the country including Kansas, Texas, Utah, Tennessee and Idaho. In June of 2005 Sharon moved to Boise and purchased BRJ Distributing in November of that year. Since that time she oversees all sales, operations, and portfolio management at BRJ. Her goals include creating a strong organization with a top-notch sales force focused on stellar customer service, and continued growth of a fantastic, unique portfolio of wines, beer and glassware.
Finn Nelson, Sales Manager
Growing up in the mountains of Montana is not normally where one finds inspiration in the world of wine. However, due to his Father's and Grandfather's years living in Europe and subsequently his travels with them in France, Italy and Spain, he gained a great appreciation for wine and food. "Every meal in our house was an exploration of cultures and their influence on what we eat and why."
Finn worked his way through college at a high end hotel with two restaurants in it. After seven years of learning from top sommeliers and chefs, he went into business with a partner that owned a restaurant in downtown Bozeman, MT. In addition to a small inn at the base of Bridger Bowl Ski Hill that Finn and his wife both owned and operated, they also ran several fly fishing retreats.
After the birth of their son they decided on a lark to move to Boise for a change of pace. Finn spent time in the wine bar business, but after the birth of his daughter moved over to the wine distribution side. He spent a couple years with a small start up wine distributor based in Idaho and was blessed to be able to learn the "in's and out's" of the distribution business. Through a series of happy accidents he met Sharon Bantrup who had just purchased the old BRJ Wine Cellars - with one meeting they were off to the races!
"We have had a lot of fun (and a lot of hours toiling) building a great wine and beer program to offer the Idaho market. The beauty of beer and wine is that you never stop learning. I sometimes feel like I have spent my entire life studying and more importantly experiencing the world of wine and food. There seems to be no end in sight and that suits me just fine! Onward and Upward! Cheers!"
A graduate from Caldwell High School, Paul started with BRJ in 2007. Prior to BRJ Paul worked in several positions at Idaho Distributing.
Gina Rodriguez, Sales - Boise
A Boise native, Gina moved over to the Magic Valley shortly after meeting her husband Ryan and lived there for 13 years. In Twin Falls she worked for 6 years as a dental assistant and developed a love for gardening, cooking, and wine. Her love for wine grew and in 2008 she started a boutique wine distribution company. Throughout her time as an owner she had the opportunity to meet some amazing winemakers, importers, and customers. In September, 2011 BRJ Distributing recruited Gina to handle sales in the Boise market and in 2012 she welcomed her son Ronin. Gina has always always enjoyed the outdoor activities Idaho has to offer particularly camping, hiking, and running. "We love raising our family in Boise! It has been a great experience working in the Boise market. I have wonderful customers, an amazing portfolio to represent, and a great team at BRJ."
Corey was born and raised in Boise, ID and graduated from Mountain View High School. He started with BRJ in 2014; beginning his career in the warehouse. After taking an interest in sales he jumped on an opportunity to become a sales representative. He enjoys taking this 2 year-old son outdoors and experiencing all that Idaho has to offer.
Eric was born in Bremerton, WA. His Dad was in the Navy so he was lucky enough to travel all over the country. He graduated high school in St. Mary's, GA., then headed out to Colorado to attend college. After college Eric continued traveling across the country climbing and mountain biking extensively. He lived everywhere from Massachusetts to Alaska. He spent a lengthy time in Mexico, but finally decided to make a home in beautiful Boise, ID.During his studies at Boise State University, Eric accepted his first job in the wine industry. Even after ten years in the same field, his passion and knowledge continue to grow daily. He is happily married living in the Treasure Valley with an awesome boy and his dog named Dashi.
Taylor was born and raised in San Diego, California. She moved to Boise in 2013 to pursue a business degree at Boise State University. Captivated by the charm of the Northwest and its abundance of craft beer, Taylor decided to make the City of Trees her permanent home. She looks forward to jumping into the world of beer and wine and is excited to be part of the BRJ team.
Jeremy Cheney, General Manager - Coeur d'Alene
Jeremy grew up in Southern Oregon and has since lived throughout the Northwest US. He attended Boise State University, graduating with a Bachelor's in Business Management. Jeremy has a background in distribution and warehousing. In his free time he likes to hunt, fish, and snowboard.
Born in Mt. Vernon, WA, KaSarah moved to Northern Idaho at age two. Raised in Coeur d'Alene and surrounding areas she started her first restaurant job at age fifteen. From then on she pursued her love of culinary arts at the Le Cordon Bleu campus in Portland, OR, completing her Associate's in Culinary Arts. She later received her Bachelor's in Hospitality and Restaurant Management through Le Cordon Bleu.
KaSarah has spent thirteen years in the restaurant industry working both in the front and back of the house, developing a love for food and wine along the way. In her spare time she teaches cooking classes for children and loves being outdoors with her husband, son, and her dog. She is excited to bring her love of food and wine to the amazing team at BRJ in Northern Idaho.
Kathy has lived most of her life in Pocatello, ID. Graduating from Idaho State University, she started her career in the banking industry. She and her husband Casey have been married for 29 years and have 2 kids; Karlie who recently graduated from Boise State University and is now teaching middle school math in Boise, and Quinton who is a junior in high school. The family's love of sports has filled her time attending tennis matches, volleyball games, football games, and baseball games. When she is not watching sports, Kathy enjoys walking her dog Bella, playing cards, line dancing, and singing in a small church choir. With the kids now grown, she is excited to start a new career with BRJ Distributing.
A Maine native, Johanna moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming from Stowe, Vermont. She quickly fell in love with the other side of the Tetons and now calls Victor, Idaho home. Johanna has spent much of her career in the restaurant and hospitality industry and is excited to be part of the BRJ team!
Johanna enjoys everything Teton Valley has to offer and spends her weekends skiing, hiking, attempting to fly fish and chasing her Border Collie, Addy.
Tara Carson, Sales - Idaho Falls
Tara has a background in the retail and restaurant industries. She was primarily raised in New Mexico, but at a young age her family decided to relocate to Truckee, California in search of a snowier climate. She has now settled down in the Idaho Falls area with her husband, four kids, and loving family dog.
Kristen Andelin, Sales - Island Park
Kristen is originally from the Chicagoland area and grew up being exposed to a variety of ethnic restaurants. This is where she developed her love for food, wine, and cooking. She graduated from the University of Montana's Culinary and Business program in 2009.
She has worked in the restaurant business for thirteen years, the past six spent working in Island Park. She lives with her husband Chris and dog Nacho. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy fly fishing, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing together. Kristen is excited to continue sharing her knowledge about pairing foods and beverages with her future customers.
Sean Strong, Sales - Sun Valley
Spending most of his youth in the Seattle area, Sean eventually moved to Olympia, WA where he attended The Evergreen State College. After graduating, Sean took a volunteer position at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado. This decision soon lead to more opportunities throughout the west and developed his affinity for small mountain towns. His love of skiing ultimately led him to Ketchum, ID. It was here that here that he grew roots.
Sean was working at a local French restaurant when he was introduced to his wife Cody. Sean and Cody enjoy hiking with their dog Sheldon, dining at local restaurants, and taking part in all the wonders surrounding the Wood River Valley.
Sean has gained a wide variety of beer and wine knowledge while managing local bars; most recently having worked as a beer and wine purchaser for the Sun Valley Company. He is excited to bring the BRJ portfolio to you and looks forward to developing into a valued resource for the valley.
Phone: 208-377-0017 ext. 1003
Matt Craft was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. With a background in distribution, Matt joined BRJ the Summer of 2014.
Nick grew up in Boise, ID. He attended college in Durango, CO at Fort Lewis College and graduated with a marketing degree. He currently enjoys married life with two daughters in his hometown. During the summer, Nick likes to go whitewater rafting; in the winter he snowboards and plays ice hockey.
Yasha was born in Sonoma County, the heart of California's wine country. Since then he has lived throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as internationally. His travel and dwellings have included locations such as Croatia, Netherlands, India, China, and Thailand.
Yasha has earned a Bachelor's Degree in Digital Technology and Culture from Washington State University. He has many hobbies -- logo design, home-brewing, hiking, biking, traveling of course, writing, and spending time with his wife and two children.
Matt Talbot, Boise Warehouse Operations
Doug Brower, Warehouse Manager - Idaho Falls
Doug has lived in Idaho Falls most of his life. In 2001 he graduated from ISU with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology. He worked for a plumbing wholesale company for 14 years before leaving to help his wife with her restaurant. Together they own Diablas Kitchen in downtown Idaho Falls. Besides awesome brunches on the weekends, they also do a lot of catering. Doug and his wife have 2 children in high school. He loves to go camping, fishing, hiking, and rock climbing.
Back in November 2005 Tim was the very first BRJ employee. He guided the company through tremendous growth while managing the warehouse and handling customer deliveries. Tim was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and passed away on October 22, 2013. Even though he is no longer with us he will always be part of the BRJ Distributing family.