For over a decade, Ingrid Best has built a reputation as a marketing guru, representing brands like D’usse, Hennessy, Belvedere Vodka, CÎROC, DeLeon, and Tequila. At D’usse, she was the brand Director at Bacardi where she spearheaded the brand’s international marketing efforts, according to Forbes.
She was instrumental in introducing D’USSE XO to the global market by developing a digital-first brand strategy. She also launched the brand for the first time in South Africa, including identifying and hiring the brand’s first-ever global mixologist, Forbes noted.
Her career in the spirit world started with her work at Diageo, where she launched a rum brand. She also spent over five years at LVMH working on Hennessy and helping the brand achieve unprecedented year-over-year growth and Belvedere Vodka businesses.
She also served as the Vice President of Global Marketing, Spirits. Best was the only marketing executive to manage both joint venture spirits partnerships for Jay-Z with Bacardi and Sean “Diddy” Combs, she told Forbes.
“One of the blessings in my career is that I have typically worked for brands where the consumer base looks like me,” said Best. “So if I am in the room, I have a seat at the table and we are talking about consumers that look like me, I am going to do the right thing.”
Best is back in South Africa again, this time as a wine entrepreneur, a field typically dominated by men, particularly white men. Nonetheless, she is already changing the face of the industry with her IBest Wines.
“In the spirits world you have the supplier side, the distributor, and the customer – it’s a three-tiered system,” she described. “When I started out, the supply and distributor folks didn’t look like me but our customers did. So that was part of my ambition to really make a difference in an industry that desperately needed diversity.”
Sharing why she chose South Africa, she noted that the country has the potential to become a wine destination. Best added that she wants to transform South Africa into a top destination for wine.
For her wine, the wine négociant partnered with Stellenbosch Vineyard, South Africa’s premier wine-producing area. According to her, she self-funded her wine brand, relying on her savings and retirement plans before getting some Black female investors.
Besides being a player in the wine industry, she also wants to inspire young women across the globe with her company.
“We’re doing it now, you know, by building a Black-owned brand. My hope is that this is really an example not only to our community but to our allies that we’re doing it. We’re doing it at the highest level, with pride and excellence.
“I would say that’s what IBest Wines represents. It’s about collaborating with other wine owners to increase visibility and help each other pay it forward. We have to be bold and bullish about that,” she told Forbes.