After graduating with a B.B.A. degree in marketing from Western Michigan University, John Utter began his career at Land O’ Lakes as an entry level sales representative. While there, Utter held various sales positions and won a national contest for the “Most Creative Cheese Display,” awarded by the National Dairy Board.
Utter left Land O’ Lakes and returned to his hometown St. Clair Shores as the district sales manager for the Beck’s Brewery of Bremen, Germany. During his seven years with Beck’s, Utter held various sales management positions including regional sales manager in Denver and vice president of national accounts at the corporate offices in Greenwich. As the regional sales manager responsible for the southwestern United States, Utter was selected “Sales Manager of the Year 1989.”
Utter left Beck’s to join Barton Beers of Chicago as the vice president of national accounts on-premise. Barton was the importer of Corona Extra and several other fine beers such as St. Pauli Girl from Germany and Tsingtao from China. He was responsible for the sales and marketing of the Barton Beers portfolio to multi-unit restaurant operators, national branded hotel companies and national concessionaires. Utter received several awards including the following:
- 2002 Supplier Partner of the Year Marriott Hotels
- 2004 Constellation College Sr. Management Development Recipient
- 2005 Barton Inc. Presidents Award
In 2007, the ownership structure of Barton Beers changed to form a new joint venture between Grupo Modelo of Mexico City and Constellation Brands of Rochester, NY. The newly formed company was named Crown Imports and Utter was promoted to senior vice president on-premise where he oversaw all the sales and marketing plans to on-premise accounts including the company’s draft beer sales, national account sales, ethnic market sales and all on-premise business development.
In 2011, Utter accepted a new position with Crown as the senior vice president, central business unit. He is now responsible for all revenue and profit for Crown for 15 states in the central United States—from Colorado to Ohio and from Kentucky to the Canadian border. The business unit comprises of 38 individuals with responsibility in sales, marketing, finance and operations. The Crown Imports portfolio includes Corona Extra, Corona Light, Victoria, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial, Pacifico and Tsingtao. In June of 2013, Crown Imports became a wholly owned subsidiary of Constellation Brands of Rochester.