Behind every beer brand you drink is an impressive team of beer professionals — brewers, barkeeps, bussers, canners, sales reps, CEOs, COOs, lab techs, interns and everyone from marketing and HR teams to warehouse and restaurant workers. “Beer professional” encapsulates a wide variety of jobs and skill sets, and breweries are constantly making moves to secure great employees and industry leaders. Oftentimes, it’s not even a beer pro, but a food or technology wiz that’s needed. Craft breweries and their suppliers and trade associations have many facets and require specialized employees. Here are a few of the big personnel headlines from the craft brewing industry in the last month plus. Send your beer pro news to [email protected].
Great Lakes Brewing names Steven Pauwels as COO
Great Lakes Brewing Co. (GLBC) recently announced that Steven Pauwels has joined the GLBC team as chief operations officer. During his 22 years at Boulevard Brewing Co. (Missouri), Pauwels has overseen all aspects of brewing, packaging, and quality control as the regional craft brewer’s sales have more than quadrupled. Pauwels is also responsible for more than a dozen additions to Boulevard’s brand lineup, including the critically acclaimed Smokestack Series line of artisanal beers and Quirk Hard Seltzers.
Pauwels grew up steeped in the brewing industry. His first stint in the business came with summer work at his hometown brewery, Eeklo’s Brouwerij Krüger, where his father was employed. After receiving degrees in biochemical engineering from KaHo Sint-Lieven and in business administration from Mercator, both in Ghent, Belgium, he held positions at the Domus brewpub in Louvain and at RIVA brewery in Dentergem.
Pauwels has been a beer judge at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), at the World Beer Cup since 2006, and at several other international competitions. Pauwels has presented several technical talks at the Craft Brewers Conference and Master Brewers of America meetings. The acclaimed brewmaster has received international recognition for his work, including multiple medals at the World Beer Cup and GABF. Pauwels won the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing in 2021.
Pauwels joins the storied regional craft brewery at a pivotal time, as GLBC heads into its 34th year celebrating unprecedented growth resulting from recent brand innovations like Crushworthy Lo-Cal Citrus Wheat, TropiCoastal Tropical IPA, Imperial IPA Series, and its first foray into beyond beer with Agave Twist Ranch Water Hard Seltzer (Black Cherry, Lemon Lime, Blackberry, and Pineapple).
Maui Brewing welcomes a new chief financial officer
Maui Brewing Co. recently announced the addition of Nick Paonessa, the former director of finance at Saint Archer Brewing Co., to the leadership team as chief financial officer effective March 14. As a senior member of the executive team, he will report directly to Maui Brewing’s Cofounder and CEO Garrett Marrero.
Commenting on the appointment, Garrett said, “I’m truly thrilled to add Nick to the team. Beyond the skills he brings to MBC, his fresh look at our group of companies and excitement to be a part of our exciting growth plans will be a great addition to our ‘ohana. Beyond stoked would be how I describe my feelings. We welcome Nick and his family to the MBC ‘Ohana.”
Paonessa brings years of financial oversight and strategic planning to the position. He is a seasoned professional in managing accounting functions, account-level forecasting, and presenting financials to the board of directors. His experience with industry ERP systems will further support MBC as it continues to grow its sustainable and diversified beverage business and in achieving its strategic growth ambitions.
As a senior audit manager at KPMG LLP, Paonessa directed the external audit of public and private companies with revenues in excess of $1B and total assets in excess of $13B across a variety of industries. He has significant experience with SEC requirements and holds Certification as a Public Accountant in two states.
Paonessa stated, “After four years at Saint Archer, it is my absolute pleasure to be joining the Maui Brewing Company family. I’m very aware of the proud legacy that I am becoming part of and fully intend to carry the traditions of the company and department forward. On behalf of myself and my family, it is a great joy to be welcomed into the MBC family.”
Paonessa is a graduate of James Madison University in Virginia where he received both his Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting) and a Master of Science in Accounting. He will be responsible for finance, accounting, business intelligence, human resources, and overall business operations.
Greater Good Imperial Brewing welcomes new Chief Commercial Officer Colleen Quinn
Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co., one of America’s first all-imperial breweries, recently welcomed Colleen Quinn as its new chief commercial officer. Quinn joined Greater Good’s team earlier this year.
“I’m so excited to be working with Greater Good,” Quinn said. “With the brewery’s positioning, there’s a huge opportunity to really break in as the authority in the imperial beer segment and grow from there.”
Quinn possesses a plethora of experience in the craft beverage industry. Prior to joining Greater Good, Quinn spent five years at Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) in a variety of roles, including leading strategy, mergers and acquisitions and eventually leading its East Coast business as general manager. After CBA was acquired by Anheuser Busch, Colleen joined as head of strategy for the combined 21-brewery craft business unit. Shortly after, Quinn started her own consulting company, Second Sip Beverage Consulting.
After consulting for Greater Good in late 2021, Quinn saw an opportunity to get back on the brewery side and create a unique brand for Greater Good. The move to Greater Good puts her in direct contact with day-to-day operations for the Worcester-based brewery.
“After consulting, I missed being a part of a team and driving execution of strategy,” Quinn said, “Greater Good has both a great team and a really compelling strategic growth opportunity, so it was an easy decision to join.”
Greater Good sees an opportunity to grow beyond a regional craft brewery with a targeted growth strategy aimed at locations that consume the highest volume of imperial beer in the United States.
“It’s not that we don’t want to dominate the local market and be a huge and compelling leader in the Worcester beer scene,” Quinn continued, “but we don’t want that to prevent us from the broader vision of being not just the leader in Worcester, but being the overall leader in imperial beers.”
Oregon Brewers Guild’s Mashing Barriers Program chooses Jess Hardie as first intern
Earlier this year, the Oregon Brewers Guild announced the launch of its new Mashing Barriers Internship Program, focused on creating better employment access into the Oregon craft brewing industry for underrepresented individuals. Over the past two months, a subcommittee of the Guild’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee has been interviewing applicants and has officially selected their first intern, Jessica “Jess” Hardie.
“It is exciting to finally see the hard work and dedication put forth into creating this program come to fruition and to know that we are doing everything we can to help bring positive and necessary change to our industry,” said Christina LaRue, executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “We had a total of six individuals who interviewed for the internship with Von Ebert, all of which were outstanding candidates, making our decision difficult, but in the end we feel we made the right choice. ”
“We had a very strong pool of applicants for our launch of Mashing Barriers,” stated Madeleine McCarthy, brewer at Von Ebert Brewing and member of the OBG DEI Committee. “I’m thrilled that we garnered so much interest, and I think Jess will be a fantastic representative not only for the Guild, Von Ebert, but the Oregon Craft Beer community as a whole.”
Hardie recently made the decision to leave her high pressure role in the video game tech industry to explore new employment options. She comes to the program with over eight years of homebrewing experience and a true passion for the craft beer industry and community.
“Mashing Barriers spoke to me not just for the program itself and what I’m going to be learning over the next few months, but the community that this is going to build with each new intern selected,” stated Hardie. “Before long we’ll have a group of BIPOC folx in the beer industry, brewing up new ways to open doors that have historically been closed to peoples in our communities.”
“I am so thrilled for Jess as the first Mashing Barriers Internship recipient! She stood out among our candidates and I am so excited to see where her career in beer takes her,” shared Casey Helwig, sales manager at Imperial Yeast and co-chair of the OBG DEI Committee.
Hardie will begin her twelve-week internship this April at Von Ebert Brewing in Portland and will follow a thorough program syllabus, created to offer her training and education across multiple facets within the brewery and craft brewing industry.
“The Mashing Barriers internship is an amazing opportunity that I’m honored to be able to participate in,” shared Jess. “Not only will I be able to get direct hands-on experience with the Von Ebert team, but I’m really looking forward to visiting Crosby Farms, Imperial Yeast and Great Western and speaking to the people whose craft makes it possible to do what I love.”
For more program details or information on how you can support through donation, please visit the website https://www.oregoncraftbeer.org/mashing-barriers.
MobCraft hires Derick Rivera as head brewer for New Curtis Park neighborhood taproom
MobCraft Beer recently announced the hiring of Derick Rivera as the head brewer for its new brewpub and taco restaurant in the Curtis Park neighborhood of Denver. Rivera brings a wealth of experience to the growing brewery. He started his brewing career at Rockyard Brewing Co., where he spent over four years working his way up from cellarman to shift brewer to head brewer. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of the brewing process including recipe development, quality control, inventory management and helped facilitate their entire beer portfolio rebrand in 2018. Rivera has also served as the cellar manager for Upslope Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colo., and the head brewer for Byers Peak Brewery in Winter Park, Colo.
Throughout Rivera’s six years of brewing experience, his teams have earned several prestigious awards including three Great American Beer Fest golds, one World Beer Cup silver and a World Beer Cup gold.
MobCraft Beer’s Cofounder and CEO Henry Schwartz stated: “We could not be more thrilled to have Derick as part of the MobCraft Team. He brings a high level of experience, passion and incredible knowledge for the craft to our new Denver taproom. He felt like an instant fit to our team and we can’t wait to get him brewing and open the doors to the new location.”
Rivera’s skills and personality are an ideal match for MobCraft. “I couldn’t be more grateful to join a team where community, collaboration and creativity are at the heart of the brand. I can’t wait to get this thing rolling and have the opportunity to brew some fine beer in the heart of Denver, with my friends and family by my side,” says Rivera.
MobCraft Beer is partnering with Dee Tacko of Pueblo, CO to open a brewpub and taco restaurant in the former Liberati Brewery at 2403 Champa Street in the Curtis Park area of Denver. The taproom bar will have over 25 draft lines, plus offer a full bar including wine, liquor, hard seltzers, hard cider, and a seasonal beergarita — a beverage that combines agua frescas from Dee Tacko and sour ale from MobCraft, served with a shot of tequila.
Renovations of the space are currently underway with the hopes of opening in March of 2022. The taproom will feature two spaces: one for traditional sit-down dining and one with a more casual taproom vibe with high tops, lounge furniture and games. The property also features a 5,000-sq-ft patio with outdoor lounge and dining seating, bocce courts, fire pits, plus a parking lot with 30 spaces for customer parking.
Connecticut’s Dockside Brewery taps Keegan Dombrosky as new brewmaster
Dockside Brewery — an award-winning Milford-based waterfront brewpub — announced hiring a new brewmaster Keegan Dombrosky.
“Keegan’s experience is top-notch, and we’re thrilled to have him on board,” said Bob Chicoine, majority co-owner of Dockside Brewery. “He’s an award-winning brewmaster who has a proven track record on both the craft beer and seltzer fronts. As we continue growing and providing our customers with a high-quality experience on the waterfront, Keegan is a key ingredient to our future success.”
During a college internship, Keegan Dombrosky — a Connecticut native and UCONN grad — got his start in the brewing industry and never looked back. After graduation, Dombrosky spent two years becoming a brewmaster at the esteemed Niagara College in Ontario, Canada.
Dombrosky’s worked at several breweries in the Nutmeg State, including Back East Brewing Co., where he served as the head brewer charged with growing and updating their brand, creating award-winning beers such as Ice Cream Man NEIPA. His latest project — Walt & Whitman’s in Saratoga Springs, New York — included designing and building out a brand new brewery from the ground up that was named a top 10 new brewery in the nation in 2020 and 2021.
“I’m thrilled to be taking on this esteemed role at the fast-growing, waterfront-based Dockside Brewery located in my home state,” said Dombrosky. “I look forward to ensuring their craft brewery and seltzer operation has a customer-friendly approach that fits with both the waterfront views, relaxed atmosphere, and high-quality products that patrons have come to expect.”
Since opening its doors in the spring of 2020, Dockside Brewery has received critical acclaim and national recognition. For example, Resy — an online reservation app used by over 4,000 restaurants in over 200 cities — says that Dockside Brewery is #5 worldwide with the number of daily reservations made.
Two Beers Brewing and Seattle Cider name Felix Madrid as GM
Two Beers Brewing Co. and Seattle Cider Co. have a new general manager — Felix Madrid. No stranger to the Seattle-based cidery and brewery, Madrid first joined the ranks of the Pacific Northwest craft beverage companies as a contractor in 2013 shortly after the launch of Seattle’s first cidery since prohibition. Madrid was quickly brought on full time in early 2014 as Seattle Cider carved a path for what was then a new craft beverage category in the PNW. Now, the well-established and award-winning brands are poised for success with a respected staff veteran at the helm and eye toward the future.
Madrid, most recently operations manager for the sibling companies, brings continuity to the position with his vast institutional knowledge coupled with passion for the industry. Throughout his tenure, Madrid has been instrumental in the growth of the brands in both a literal and figurative sense. He managed a 7,000-sq-ft buildout of the production space, scaling packaging capabilities at the SoDo facility with a secondary canning line and adding capacity to handle larger runs more frequently.
Madrid takes the reigns at Seattle Cider and Two Beers as they come off an impressive year of growth of and changes. In 2021, Madrid oversaw the release of two new year-round products for Seattle Cider, award-winning Odyssey Imperial Cider and Honeycrisp. Additionally, both brands rolled out packaging refreshes which included the complete Seattle Cider lineup and the beginning stages of a beer brand refresh that will continue through 2022.
“It’s a very exciting time to be part of both Seattle Cider and Two Beers,” said Madrid.
As both the beer and cider industries continue to evolve at a rapid pace, Madrid acknowledged the important role a cohesive team and vision play in his new role as GM.