The Spearhead Group Puts Innovation into Practice with Opening of New Innovation Lab and Expansion of Global Robot Fleet

– Led by Robert Catalano, The Spearhead Group delivers a breakthrough customer experience that facilitates access and drives results from product design to manufacturing –

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February 18, 2021 (Yardley, PA) – The Spearhead Group has opened their latest Innovation Lab in Yardley, PA. The new facility delivers a breakthrough customer experience, with enhanced real-time immersion into the packaging and manufacturing R&D process. Clients are able to review 3D simulations of product and equipment prototypes and virtually evaluate packaging performance such as durability, coloration and transit testing at a fraction of the time and cost. In tandem with the opening of the Yardley Innovation Lab, Spearhead has also announced a significant expansion of their Robot Fleet, a program that successfully debuted last year in their Innovation Center in China. The program will expand to six additional robots mobilized in key production centers worldwide and is designed to respond to the reality of remote work while facilitating virtual manufacturing supervision and higher returns on time and investment.

The Innovation Lab and Robot Fleet initiatives are led by Robert Catalano, Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) and Co-founder of The Spearhead Group. Catalano is wholly committed to advancing Innovation in Practice and has been at the forefront of deploying new approaches, with a focus on technology, automation and a corporate culture that fosters growth. Catalano and his team operate under a separate and well-funded Innovation budget, designed to identify the best equipment, talent and partnerships. “Innovation is difficult,” Catalano shares. “People often struggle with being able to see the bigger picture; sometimes the beginning doesn’t look logical and the process can look unusual. If we are continually asking why, challenging the typical, trialing new approaches, while supporting our team’s spirit of invention, then we are always ‘spearheading’ innovation to drive change.”

  • About The Spearhead Group Innovation Lab (Yardley, PA)
    The new Spearhead Innovation Lab in Yardley, PA allows the Spearhead team to build out packaging and Physical Brand Enhancementfrom concept to finished product with the most advanced technology available. Equipped with a new suite of microscopes, spectrophotometers, 3D printers, laser cutters, transit testing, barcode scanners and more, the Innovation Lab allows clients to see and test their products in real-time, eliminating long lead times and enhancing speed-to-market through virtual collaboration. The Innovation Lab reduces production timelines for critical studies such as coloration, rub testing and transit analysis, all while supporting more sustainable business practices. The cost savings are also meaningful. Read more
  • Meet Spearhead’s Robot Fleet
    The Spearhead Group’s team is globally based with operations from Louisville, KY, to China, requiring more remote support than ever before. The expanded Robot Fleet will allow more clients to participate first-hand in critical production decisions through safe, virtual factory tours conducted by trained staff. Specially designed for Physical Brand Enhancement™, the Robot Fleet allows Spearhead to virtually host companies and clients at each stage of the production and assembly process, eliminating the need for physical presence, while delivering considerable time and cost savings. The first Robot prototype, “Scout,” is now fully operational at the China Innovation Center. The Spearhead team has added six new robots to their fleet since 2020, which are deployed at Innovation Labs worldwide and with select Pioneers. Follow us on LinkedIn to learn more.

Click here for photos/video of The Spearhead Group’s Innovation Lab and Robot Fleet

 About The Spearhead Group
A leader in manufacturing innovation and product development for spirits, food, beverage and beauty brands, The Spearhead Group is an immersive partner in the Physical Brand Enhancement™ process from creative brand design to manufacturing that enable clients to stand apart from the competition. Our proven process and global team have set out to revolutionize the industry and redefine how PBETM can deliver a more memorable buyer experience. Founded in 2018 by Heather Fritzsche, CEO, and Robert Catalano, Chief Innovation Officer, the Spearhead team brings more than 50 years of collective experience enriched by Pioneers around the world. The result: a proprietary manufacturing and product development process and unparalleled relationships that ensure the execution of high-value business and brand-building goals for each client. Headquartered in Pennsylvania, The Spearhead Group manages a client-facing Packaging Innovation Center in Louisville and Yardley, and a production center in China. The Spearhead Group is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), member of Women of the Vine & Spirits, and actively supports diversity suppliers. The Spearhead Group is currently building and meeting with Fortune 500 Companies. Connect with us: and @thespearheadgroupinc (LinkedIn and Instagram).

Spearhead Family Profiles: Vianney Becerril, Senior Product Development Manager

Our Spearhead Family continues to inspire and innovate. This month, we are highlighting Vianney Becerril, Senior Product Development Manager, for our Spearhead Family Profile. Vianney has been with The Spearhead Group since the launch in 2018. We asked her to share with us more about her journey, sustainability practices, and how she incorporates The Spearhead Group’s Core Values into her life.

Tell us about why and when you joined The Spearhead Group.
Vianney: I joined The Spearhead Group in April of 2018, but I had the tremendous joy of working with the great team involved in this new venture years before. When asked to join the team, I could not let the opportunity pass to collaborate on a new chapter with one of my biggest career mentors – Heather Fritzsche, and the talented and respected group of professionals involved.

The Spearhead Group has given me the opportunity to work with incredible teams and global Pioneers. We have worked to develop innovative products, continuously improve products, and built robust supply chain solutions, without forgetting to go the extra mile to deliver best-in-class Physical Brand Enhancements™ to our customers’ product portfolios.

Your beliefs in sustainability, how do they transition to your home life?
Vianney: I am pleasantly surprised to see how our society is becoming more aware and involved in the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and living an eco-friendlier life. At home, I’ve put great efforts into eliminating the use of single-use plastic bags by replacing them with reusable bags, as well as working to repurpose packaging as much as I can.

I am also a true believer that clothing and shoes can be repurposed to find a second use or new home. We should avoid throwing these items away, as much as possible. I was shocked to hear how much of our clothing goes to landfills or can’t be recycled due to all the material blends. As a family, we try to promote the idea of repurposing or donating, but never dispose.

The Spearhead Group has 5 core values (1. Focus on Sustainability and Diversity; 2. Innovative Thinking; 3. Do the Right Thing; 4. Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues and Suppliers; 5. Go the Extra Mile. Can do attitude. Entrepreneurial Spirit). How do you practice these values?
Vianney: Each of the core values of the Spearhead Group are incorporated into my daily life. My approach and commitment while leading projects I support is to take complete ownership, be involved from the early stages and understand the end-to-end process. I think this streamlines and expedites the process and proactively anticipates any potential questions coming from our customers and suppliers. In our journey and mission to make clients/customers Physical Brand Enhancement™ or product launch experience easier, I am a strong advocate for collaboration and teamwork, ensuring any teammate gets the necessary support to deliver a successful project. I am constantly evaluating the marketplace for any new and innovative materials, especially those with a strong focus on sustainability to find ways to enhance the customers’ experience. It is so exciting to see how the products we help our clients design and execute come to life.


We’re Expanding Our Innovation Capabilities!

In the continuous building and expansion of our hands-on immersion into packaging R&D, we’re excited to share the news of our new Innovation Lab in Yardley, PA.

Complete with microscopes, spectrophotometers, 3D printers, laser cutters, transit testing, barcode scanners, and more, the Innovation Lab will allow our team to build out packaging and Physical Brand Enhancement™ from concept to finished product in Yardley, PA. Clients will be able to see and test their products in real-time, without having to wait for typical production or long parcel lead times. Bringing this new program in will help minimize the time spent back and forth with packaging development and will ultimately expedite our speed to market.

Equipment in the lab will allow Spearhead’s multiple, global innovation labs to interface for coloration studies, client collaboration, rub testing, and more. The Yardley Innovation Lab will also allow the team to focus on ship testing and being able to address transit issues in the early stages with partners and clients. The new equipment will continually build out the innovative concepts that The Spearhead Team can bring to the table, including the ability to achieve new sustainability practices.

“Our goal is to proactively evaluate packaging and structures to provide our clients with world-class brand enhancements,” said Tom Harney, Quality & Compliance Manager. “I have spent 30 years in the lab industry and my contributions to The Spearhead Group have been to grow that dynamic business model for our partners and clients. The Yardley Innovation Lab is a new pillar that will continue providing that recognized innovation, creativity, and economic strategy that the Spearhead Group has become known for.”

The Yardley Innovation lab is an investment in more production innovation, development, exclusive partnerships, and IP for brand new categories. We globally recognize that innovation and new to world ideas are what truly bring about change in industries. Please reach out today to schedule a video-call to see the newly equipped Innovation Lab in Yardley, PA!


Quality/Cocktails-To-Go (Part 2 of 2)

As a follow-up to part 1 of our blog relating to Safety Considerations with Cocktails-To-Go, we would like to bring some insight to Environmental Considerations when planning and designing innovative Physical Brand Enhancements™.

Single Serve or Multiple Serve Packaging?

Meeting consumer and clients’ needs is the main objective when designing packaging, but how do you ensure that the environmental considerations are addressed? The Spearhead Group continues to push innovation around “creating the cocktail experience” when designing new packaging in this category, but also maintaining an open dialogue of how packaging can be sustainable. The consumer/client “need” is still being evaluated and continues to evolve in the Cocktails-To-Go (CTG) category. Do customers and clients planning for a two-dinner order really want several single serves, or does a double serve offering make more sense? Are the variety of cocktails available more important versus being able to create a small group experience with multiple servings coming from one vessel? Is your venue known for a certain signature cocktail or any ordered cocktail? The opportunity is not only to create the best experiential packaging but lead the new CTG category with an eye for environmental considerations.

Is Sustainability of the Packaging at the Forefront of Development for Cocktails-To-Go?

Some companies may look towards plastic bottles for their disposable convenience; however, they require a lot of energy to manufacture and increases pollution to the environment. The investment in reusable bottles helps the environment, by using fewer resources, emitting less harmful gas, and protecting water resources. Paperboard and corrugated containers are among frequently recycled products. Biodegradable containers offer an eco-friendly solution to packaging customers’ carryout orders or leftovers. All of these eco-friendly take-out containers are designed as green alternatives to more common foam materials that are harmful to the environment. Streamlining your company’s packaging division with eco-friendly and sustainable packaging practices will not only help your company in reducing the environmental footprint but also increase brand loyalty with today’s consumers as well.

As Cocktails-To-Go continues to shape for on and off-premise accounts, let us help you find the sustainable way to develop your next CTG packaging. Reach out to The Spearhead Group to get started.

Proudly Supporting Women-Owned Businesses

Working closely with other women-owned and diverse businesses is one of The Spearhead Group’s core values. By partnering with best-in-class innovators and clients, Spearhead can help to achieve success for customers’ passions and product developments.

The Spearhead Group is proud to support woman-owned business, Locker Lifestyle. Founded by Kat Samardzija in 2016, after realizing that she needed to find a new and innovative way to store her valuables while playing college tennis, the Wrist Locker™ was born. Working together with her mom and a talented seamstress, Kat drew up the plans for the Wrist Locker design and began selling. The Wrist Locker is a Wrist Wallet made to hold your valuables. It is the length of an ID and can fit cash, keys, ID, and even fits a phone, up to an iPhone 10+.

“Without the help and resources of the strong women in my life, my mother and aunt, I would never have been able to start the Locker Lifestyle. They have their own business together and continuing the legacy of a women-owned business is very fulfilling,” said Kat.

In 2019, Kat began working together with The Spearhead Group to be able to find 100% recyclable packing to help improve sustainability practices, costs and find new, innovative solutions for prototyping products to increase the production line. One element that Kat works with The Spearhead Group on is having help in sourcing fabric that is machine-washable and dry-wicking.

“Working with another women-owned business means we are empowering and helping each other scale in our own ways,” said Kat. “The Spearhead Group has been more than a manufacturing partner. We have continued to work together on sourcing, production, product development & so much more. It was a blessing to have met their co-founder just a few short years ago!”

“I met Kat at the 2019 WBENC National Conference and immediately was inspired by the story and passion behind her business,” said Vianney Becerril, The Spearhead Group Senior Product Development Manager. “We offered to collaborate and to develop ways to streamline the Wrist Locker’s Supply Chain. While working together, we have also been able to assist with the development of new product lines and packaging solutions. It has been very gratifying to work with a women-owned company that is so passionate about similar core values, like innovation and sustainability.”

The Spearhead Group looks forward to working with more young entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses like Locker Lifestyle. Reach out to find out how we can work together.

Vintage Imports selects The Spearhead Group as their Exclusive Cocktails-to-Go Partner

Vintage Imports, Inc has selected The Spearhead Group as their exclusive cocktails-to-go partner. The Spearhead Group will work with Vintage Imports to develop innovative Physical Brand EnhancementsTM to provide enhanced consumer experiences with cocktails for on and off-premise accounts.

The pandemic has forced many on and off-premise accounts to get creative with crafting, packaging and marketing their cocktails and alcoholic beverages. Legislative rules around the country are still being adopted to allow cocktails-to-go to become a permanent part of the industry for our local restaurants. The overall message is clear, how can we help struggling restaurants and bars find those creative solutions. Bill Mickel, Managing Director of Vintage Imports, Inc, has continued to work on developing opportunities to help restaurants and bars share their alcoholic signatures with their patrons in new innovative ways.

“Vintage Imports is excited to share our cocktail-to-go strategies and solutions with our very important restaurant partners, especially during the current, challenging climate of shut-downs and restrictions. We are equally excited to work exclusively with The Spearhead Group in the development and execution of this platform,’ said Bill Mickel, Managing Director of Vintage Imports, Inc. “Their incredibly knowledgeable, professional and detailed team, paired with their local focus and global experience, offers unique and solution-based cocktail-to-go options. Working with The Spearhead Group, ultimately allows our restaurateurs to deliver unique, delicious craft cocktails to consumers.”

Vintage Imports, Inc, located in Bristol, PA, is an importer and distributor of wines & spirits. They are a ‘niche player’ envisioned to represent small, boutique producers and distribute their wines and spirits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, and nationally, with a particular focus on restaurants.

The Spearhead Group Continues the Evolution of the Pioneer Program

Ray DeCarlo is excited about the opportunities that the continued evolution of The Spearhead Pioneer program brings by expanding relationships with both existing and new pioneer partners.

In order to continually provide innovative Physical Brand Enhancements™ to clients, Spearhead partners with some of the best in class inventors, raw material suppliers, manufacturers and converters in the world. As the Pioneer program grows and expands, everyone benefits from the unique opportunities that come with being a part of Spearhead’s success in reinventing how the industry works together.  Managing this very exclusive Pioneer Program ultimately delivers unparalleled innovation and versatility in brand enhancement options to all of Spearhead’s clients. This is why the market will continue to see the evolution of this Pioneer program into more and more new to world materials, design applications, manufacturing techniques and even exclusive IPs, because at Spearhead we see innovation as fluid, always moving and never, ever static or status quo.

Being a part of the Pioneer program requires those partners to not only be innovative themselves, but they must also share the same core values as The Spearhead Group such as, prioritizing women leadership & diversity, practicing sustainability and being known in the industry as highly ethical and entrepreneurial.

If you are interested in joining the Pioneer Program, reach out to Ray DeCarlo directly at or LinkedIn. To learn more, about our Pioneers during the year, stay tuned to our blog for profiles about them.

The Spearhead Group Announces Robert Catalano’s new role as Chief Innovation Officer (CINO)

The Spearhead Group is proud to announce Robert Catalano’s new role as Chief Innovation Officer (CINO).

The Spearhead Group prides itself on championing new to world Physical Brand Enhancements™ (PBE), and having a CINO role now creates a clear and dedicated organizational structure committed to innovation and R&D.

As CINO, Robert describes himself as one who can continue to shake up the organization by not only driving innovation himself, but by creating and inviting a culture, space, and collaborative spirit for others to innovate. Robert sees a successful CINO as someone that encourages innovative collaboration by creating opportunities to work together with clients and team members.  As an example,  Lana Toler, Marketing & Innovation Manager, is given the R&D resources and tools to create and develop what clients need, delivering manufacturing innovation and PBE development for spirits, food, beverage, and beauty brands.

With a separate and well-funded Innovation budget, equipment, and global resources, Robert and his team are able to ambitiously invest in production innovation, product development, exclusive partnerships, and IP for brand new categories.

“Innovation is difficult. People often struggle with being able to see the bigger picture; sometimes the beginning doesn’t look logical and the process can look unusual. I often think it might look from the outside like connect-the-dots, nonlinear and random, then as the innovation progresses a full picture appears, sort of a surprise to others.  To me that’s how we innovate, without fear, and into the future, said Robert. “If we are continually asking why, challenging the typical, trialing new approaches, allowing and supporting our team to invent, then we are always ‘spearheading’ innovation. Clients are looking for someone that can offer innovation and The Spearhead Group may be one of the few that can actually do it because our structure is literally set up for that task.  We recognize that innovation and new to world ideas are what truly brings about change in industries.”

Please reach out today to schedule a video-call to see the newly equipped Innovation Lab in Yardley, PA!

Meet Ray DeCarlo, Head of Global Sourcing & Pioneer Relations

Ray DeCarlo joined The Spearhead Group in early 2018 as a Strategic Packaging Advisor and Consultant. In June 2020, he took on a new role as Head of Global Sourcing & Pioneer Relations. With almost 40 years’ experience in high-end value-added packaging sales, Ray has leveraged his relationships and knowledge of converting capabilities and trends to guide clients on how best to achieve their graphics and functional targets. As the Strategic Lead of the Spearhead Pioneer Relations, Ray helps to identify industry leaders with an emphasis on capabilities, service, quality, and innovation. The Spearhead Pioneer program is a carefully selected group of best-in-class innovators from around the globe. With the start of the new year, The Spearhead Group is very excited about continuing the evolution of their Pioneer program.

“The Pioneers are an extended family of The Spearhead Group and I am excited to be a part of leading this program into the future. I have had the opportunity, over the years, to interact with many dynamic and innovative partners to help build quality relationships and I look forward to growing that side of The Spearhead Family,’ said Ray. “Spearhead is focused on innovation and bringing Physical Brand Enhancements™ to every aspect of the program. We rely on our global Pioneers to share the latest expertise in every aspect from glass to eco-design and luxury materials.”

The Spearhead Group has set out to revolutionize the industry and redefine how Physical Brand Enhancements™ deliver a more memorable consumer experience. By rethinking the manufacturing process, and refining automation operations, Spearhead saves time and money for clients and delivers a faster, more measurable ROI. Spearhead’s exclusive pioneer partner relationships and international business alliances bring uniquely intelligent solutions clients won’t find anywhere else.

Quality/Cocktails-To-Go (Part 1 of 2)

As Spearhead continues to explore opportunities in the Cocktails-To-Go (CTG) category, Tom Harney, The Spearhead Group’s Quality & Compliance Manager, has assembled safety and environmental considerations to keep in mind when developing CTG packaging.  Although the packaging could look very different for on/off-premise, we wanted to share the quality discussions that are at the forefront of development.

When discussing safety, we highly suggest reviewing quality for brand integrity, on/off-premise processes, consumer interfaces, and shelf life communication.  A question you must ask yourself, “How will every step I take to reflect my brand?”

  1. Product Construction – Always consider how your CTG package is constructed, including double-checking each step for potential negative effects, such as using glue instead of heat for sealing. All items should be made using food/alcohol safe materials as well as proper sealing methods such as tamper-proofing
  2. Sensory Evaluation – make sure your materials have not affected the liquid inside.
  3. Reusable Packaging – Consider if consumers will want to re-use your product packaging.
  4. Lifecycle – What could possibly occur if you think through the life cycle of the product and potential misuses?  What elements might your product go through during transportation and have these been addressed?
  5. On/Off-Premise Processes – You should also consider the different obstacles that you might come across for on-premises vs. off-premises products. What will be those differences and do you need additional training in-house if they are sold on-premises?
  6. Consumer Experience – You always want to ensure that the product made evokes a delightful consumer experience. This includes addressing areas such as appearance, labeling, ease of opening, instructions for use, and more.
  7. Shelf Life – Lastly, you should incorporate different phases of inspections so your quality is always the main focus. Will your CTG be for one-time use or perhaps it will be sold as a four-pack that can be refrigerated for future use? What about an expiration date or large format containers with reseals to ensure freshness?

Cocktails to-go are a creative, continuously reinvented packaging format for suppliers and The Spearhead Group is ready to help you get started. Reach out to our team to start co-developing your next CTG packaging.

Welcome to The Spearhead Group Blog

The Spearhead Group provides Physical Brand Enhancements to clients in the spirits, beauty and personal care industries. Headquartered in Yardley, PA midway between New York City and Philadelphia, The Spearhead Group offers companies a modern, full-service, consultative approach from concept to reality.

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