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].
Boston Beer announces Diego Reynoso as its new chief financial officer and treasure
The Boston Beer Co. just announced the appointment of Diego Reynoso as its chief financial officer and treasurer, effective September 5. Reynoso will lead all Boston Beer’s finance, treasury and IT and will report directly to Chief Executive Officer David A. Burwick.
Reynoso has more than 25 years of experience in finance and operations in the alcoholic beverage and food industries. He most recently served as the chief financial officer of the Prepared Foods division of Tyson Foods, a multinational food manufacturer, based out of its Chicago office, from 2021 to 2023. He was previously the senior vice president and chief financial officer of the $5 billion beer division at Constellation Brands and held various senior financial and operational roles at spirits company Beam Suntory Inc. Earlier in his career, he held roles at Allied-Domecq, Danone, and Procter & Gamble. Reynoso is a member of the board of directors of SunOpta Inc. — a natural food and mineral company, and currently serves as a member of SunOpta’s Audit Committee.
“Diego is a highly accomplished leader with extensive alcoholic beverage expertise and a proven track record of driving transformational business strategies,” said Burwick. “His operating experience and financial acumen make him the right leader to help The Boston Beer Company grow and achieve our long-term financial goals.”
With Reynoso’s appointment, Matt Murphy, who has served as interim chief financial officer, will resume his role of vice president, finance and chief accounting officer, reporting to Reynoso.
“I would like to thank Matt for his exceptional leadership during this period when he assumed all CFO responsibilities in Finance, Investor Relations and IT while continuing to perform his Chief Accounting Officer duties,” said Burwick. “We are very fortunate to have Matt as a senior finance leader and look forward to him playing a larger role in contributing to our future success.”
Dust Bowl Brewing hires Kevin Riddiough as director of national accounts
Dust Bowl Brewing Co. hires Kevin Riddiough as the director of national accounts. In this newly created position, Riddiough will manage national and regional chain business in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma. Riddiough will work closely with the sales and marketing team, and Dust Bowl’s network of wholesalers to further develop the northern California brewery’s chain business.
Riddiough brings over 25 years of experience in the beer business to Dust Bowl Brewing. Riddiough most recently worked at Firestone Walker Brewing Co. for four years as a national account manager. He has also worked on national accounts with Gambrinus and Karl Strauss.
“One of our key initiatives has been to grow our chain business, which led us to this new position within our sales organization,” shared Marc Jalbert, director of marketing and sales. “We are confident that Kevin will build upon our existing chain presence and help us take this important sales sector to the next level. The breadth of experience he brings will certainly add immediate value and help us reach our future goals.”
Dust Bowl Brewing has distribution in California, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Based on 2022 Brewers Association production statistics, Dust Bowl Brewing ranks in the top 2% of independent craft breweries in California (16th out of 758) and in the top 1.7% of independents in the nation (123rd out of 7,325). Craft beer fans can always find Dust Bowl’s latest offerings on tap and in package at Dust Bowl’s growing taproom locations, including Turlock, Monterey, Elk Grove and now in Livermore, California.
Texas’ Siren Rock Brewing taps industry veteran Matt Pennington as as its new head brewer
Siren Rock Brewing Co., based in Rockwall, Texas, recently announced its new head brewer — Matt Pennington. An accomplished head brewer, Pennington has been brewing for more than 10+ years across Dallas-Fort Worth. After beginning his love of craft beer and brewing in college, Pennington began his internship at Armadillo Aleworks in Denton before joining Deep Ellum Brewing Co. as a lead brewer where he led a team of 11 brewers and cellarmen in daily production.
In 2016, Pennington moved to Oak Highlands Brewery as its head brewer, where he was instrumental in recipes that won multiple national awards, including placements at the U.S. Beer Tasting Championship, Great American Beer Fest and the U.S. Open Beer Championship as well as numerous local and regional awards. Pennington left OHB to assist in opening the new concept Windmills Brewery in 2020 as head brewer, where he also won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest in the amber lager category.
Pennington has spent his career brewing exceptional craft beer as well as improving production processes by creating and overhauling detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
“Quality and consistency are my main priority in every aspect, and I am excited to continue to grow the great Siren Rock brand,” said Pennington, who has already begun meeting with his new team members. “I believe the growth that Siren Rock has experienced is just the beginning, and I am looking forward to creating new beers, refining our internal processes to see even greater efficiencies, and seeing what else the future holds.”
“Matt brings experience, passion for our brand, and innovative new ideas that we think will make you love Siren Rock more,” according to Cory Cannon, president of Siren Rock. “Along with his continued thirst for knowledge and deep passion for great craft beer, we know he is a fantastic addition to our team.
Siren Rock Brewing is a beautiful 13,000-sq-ft destination brewery featuring a full production area, an inviting taproom experience featuring 25 taps, a full chef-driven kitchen, private event space and two well-appointed beer gardens. Located in the lakeside city of Rockwall, Siren Rock produces seven core and four seasonal beers for distribution into the DFW market as well as a rotating selection of beers and seltzers in the taproom.
Sacred Heart University names new director of its brewing science program
Sacred Heart University has named John Rehm, brewing operations director at Two Roads Brewing Co. in Stratford, Connecticut, director of its brewing science certificate program. Rehm, a SHU brewing science professor since the program’s inception in 2020, is enthusiastic about taking on the new role.
“It’s been a lot of fun and to be able to move into the directorship and shape the future of this program, even more than I already have as an instructor, is pretty awesome,” he said.
Rehm attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he studied integrated science, business and technology (ISBT). After completing courses in biology and chemistry, as well as business plan development and laboratory informatics, he discovered the fermentation process, which led to his passion for brewing. After working for small pubs and breweries, Rehm joined Two Roads Brewing Co. in 2012 and has since watched it grow.
“We’re one of the largest players in the country. It’s been a whirlwind, brewing for almost 20 years now,” he said.
Two Roads Brewing Co.’s longstanding relationship with SHU has matured since the University’s brewing science program began, with some classes even taking place at Two Roads. SHU instructors teach a craft beverage course in the university’s own brewing lab at Two Roads, in an experimental area where beers are developed.
“When SHU started talking about forming a brewing science program, it seemed like a natural fit that [Two Roads Brewing] should be a partner,” Rehm said.
The certificate program comprises classes in sanitation and safety, introduction to brewing ingredients, sensory analysis, beer service and operations and management. Classes are small, with only 14 to 25 students.
“Having such small groups allows you to really be hands-on, which is super important. I think that’s something that really differentiates our program,” said Rehm.
Students consistently tell Rehm they prefer hands-on learning. “Yes, we’re actually making beer. We’re putting the raw materials together and then going through the whole process of making the beer and fermenting it,” said Rehm. “And then we do sampling as a class, with a sensory analysis. We can troubleshoot and evaluate why one beer tastes this way or that way.”
SHU’s brewing science graduates are already making their mark in the business. “We’re only now just starting to see the great impact the course is having on all our students as they percolate out into the industry. I think there are many more people who have, or are planning to, open breweries of their own. I’m really excited to see what happens in the near future.”
Rehm intends to continue the momentum and grow SHU’s program even further. “This is something people pursue, not just as a profession — it’s really passion-driven. And so, you’re going to see people who really care and are just hungry to learn,” he said.
While the program is designed for those with little to no background in brewing science, Rehm wants to expand the course offerings to appeal to other types of students. “Maybe something for people who are already in the industry, have a little background knowledge and just want to continue to develop professionally.” he said.
In his new position, Rehm plans to continue the program’s mission of providing excellently crafted and accessible training for future brewers. “The forward thinking of Sacred Heart to invest in this program is really an amazing thing, and I’m thrilled to be part of it,” he said.
Maine Craft Distilling appoints Joseph Swanson as new CEO
Maine Craft Distilling recently announced that Joseph Swanson has been hired as the company’s new chief executive officer. Swanson succeeds Owner and Founder Luke Davidson in this role, and Davidson will continue to provide creative leadership and operations support.
Swanson is excited to build on the company’s current double-digit growth trends and expand the regional distribution footprint of both its bottled spirits and ready-to-drink canned cocktail offerings.
“Joe is really the ideal person to captain the next chapter of Maine Craft Distilling and grow our brands to new heights. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside him moving forward,” said outgoing CEO Davidson.
Maine Craft Distilling launched its successful line of ready-to-drink craft cocktails in 2018 and the brand continues to show powerful growth focused its core New England Region, where it is the third largest brand in both volume and revenue in the highly competitive grocery channel, currently growing 32% in revenue over last year according to recent Nielsen data.
In his role at Maine Craft Distilling, Swanson will lead the commercial development of Maine Craft’s ready-to-drink cocktails, including the company’s flagship offering, Blueshine Lemonade, an all-natural 7% abv blend of Maine Craft’s Blueshine Liquor with sparkling lemonade. This brand is now the No. 1 brand in dollars per store in New England grocery, and the third largest offering by volume in the category, growing at more than 55% year over year across the company’s full distribution footprint.
Blueshine Lemonade is available in slimline 12-oz cans packaged as four-packs and eight-packs, and in variety packs with the company’s Cranberry Island Cocktail and Maine Mule Cocktail. This core variety pack offering is growing at 60% year over year and stands as the seventh largest variety pack offering by volume in New England grocery.
The company has recently launched a new line of 7% abv no-sugar-added Tasty Beverage offerings, available in variety packs and solid packs featuring unique flavor profiles designed to differentiate in the competitive ready-to-drink segment. The company expects to sell upwards of 120,000 cases of its canned cocktails over the course of the next 12 months, with a current distribution footprint that includes 12 states in the northeast region of the United States.
Previous to his new role at Maine Craft Distilling, Swanson has been professionally involved in the beverage alcohol trade for 20 years. Working as a brewer at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston, Massachusetts, and Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine, Swanson later worked as a distiller for more than a decade in Freeport, Maine, producing Cold River Vodka and Gin. Swanson worked as the national sales and marketing director for Cold River before joining the Martignetti Companies of Taunton, Massachusetts, in 2015 as an east coast regional sales manager for Martignetti’s national import team.
In 2017, he became Martignetti’s national spirits specialist and then the national brand director for the importing division of Martignetti Companies, working with such brands as San Felice, Gordon & MacPhail, the Benromach Distillery, Mayalen Mezcal, Ron Centenario, Ron del Barrilito, and Del Professore Vermouths & Liqueurs. In that role, he led portfolio development, brand development, business planning, and go-to-market strategy.
In 2021, Swanson founded his own consultancy, Symposium Projects, providing an international portfolio of clients with brand development, business planning, commercial direction, sales execution, and consumer engagement services to drive growth in the U.S. market. He worked to launch and build brands including Happy Dad Hard Seltzer, Gordon & MacPhail, the Benromach Distillery, Cream of Kentucky Bourbon & Rye, Hardshore Gin, Rock Rose Gin, and Velvet Cap Irish Whiskey.
BeerBoard names Zarko Bajsanski as sales development executive
BeerBoard, a leader in technology solutions and alcohol management for the on-premise hospitality industry, recently announced it has named Zarko Bajsanski as a sales development executive for the company.
Bajsanski joins BeerBoard with experience as a senior-level sales executive within advertising, healthcare education, marketing and staffing, where his primary focus was on business development, client relationships and account management. In the last 10 years, Bajsanski has produced a multi-million dollar account portfolio and earned numerous company awards for his efforts.
“We are thrilled to welcome Zarko Bajsanski to the BeerBoard team,” said BeerBoard Founder and CEO Mark Young. “He brings diverse sales experience and has a relentless focus on driving client relations and business development. His multifaceted background is the perfect match for our company at this time. Zarko will be instrumental in helping us grow adoption of our cutting-edge technology across the on-premise hospitality industry.”
BeerBoard’s robust client list features high-profile independent groups and major chain operators across North America. Retailers include industry leaders Buffalo Wild Wings, Hooters, Twin Peaks, WingHouse, Mellow Mushroom and Hickory Tavern. BeerBoard also partners with major brewers including Molson Coors, Boston Beer, Constellation Brands, Lagunitas, Heineken, Diageo, Yuengling and Sierra Nevada. To learn more about BeerBoard, visit www.beerboard.com.