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].
Beer Institute names 2022 Beer Champions
Last month, the Beer Institute named eight members of the United States Congress as its “2022 Beer Champions” for their leadership in supporting federal policies that aid U.S. brewers, beer importers and beer industry suppliers. The Beer Institute recognized them for fighting for beer industry policy priorities like bringing clarity to the aluminum pricing process, securing permanent excise tax relief for brewers and pushing for a deferment on federal excise taxes on brewers and importers during the pandemic.
“A sincere thank you to our Beer Champions whose ongoing leadership has provided critical support against the challenges our industry is facing,” said Gavin Hattersley, chairman of the Beer Institute and president and CEO of Molson Coors Beverage Co. “The U.S. beer industry contributes $350 billion to the economy and creates more than 2 million jobs. These lawmakers have worked hard to fight against the aluminum pricing process, unfair federal excise tax and other issues that are threatening our industry. We are grateful for their partnership and hope to continue working together in support of the beer industry.”
The eight legislators recognized as 2022 Beer Champions are:
- Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
- Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
- Senator John Hoeven (R-ND)
- Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
- Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
- Representative Ken Buck (R-CO)
- Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL)
- Representative Al Lawson (D-FL)
The beer industry supports millions of well-paying American jobs in a wide range of industries, including farming, manufacturing, construction, retail, the service industry and more.
Stone Brewing names bi-coastal brewery leadership to oversee expanding operations
Stone Brewing is ramping up for major expansion as it undergoes acquisition by Sapporo U.S.A. The No. 1 selling Asian beer in the United States plans to move all of its production for the U.S. market to Stone’s breweries, doubling Stone’s current production. In preparation for the growth, Stone has promoted from within. Nicole Williams (Escondido, Calif.) and Robert Kuntz (Richmond, Va.) will oversee the entire brewing, packaging, maintenance, engineering and water operations of their respective facilities.
“Sapporo was attracted to Stone for our advanced, bi-coastal brewery operations and to adopt our incredible team,” explained Maria Stipp, Stone Brewing CEO. “They will entrust our team with their beers, and we already have the talent they need right here in our breweries. We have big plans to build out physical capacity and meet the production goals of both Sapporo and Stone. We’re thrilled to be promoting from within and to have Nicole Williams and Robert Kuntz leading us into this exciting time.”
Nicole Williams has assumed the role of senior director, brewing operations for Stone Brewing — Escondido. Since joining Stone in 2018, Nicole has been driving reliability, efficiency and capital improvements as a brewery process engineer and most recently as the senior manager, maintenance and engineering. She has been instrumental in the expansion of Stone’s brewery capabilities including the leadership, design and installation of projects to enhance efficiency and improve Stone’s sustainability efforts. Williams is a natural leader with a team-first mentality and a tireless commitment to safety.
Robert Kuntz is now senior director, brewing operations for Stone Brewing — Richmond, Va. In his prior role as head brewer in RVA, Kuntz had a razor-sharp focus on quality and consistency in the brewing process. He joined stone in 2019. In 2021, Kuntz completed his Master Level qualifications from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling to achieve his Master Brewer certification. Stone Brewing — Richmond was built to brew up to 700,000 bbls of beer per year but is not yet built out to full capacity. Kuntz will oversee capital investments as the brewery expands to support Sapporo’s production.
Stone’s bi-coastal director of brewing operations roles are essential in scaling the brewery’s award-winning beers to match the brewery, Tap Room and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens experiences for fans at home. Williams and Kuntz work in partnership with a team of brewers responsible for Stone’s beer development. Stone operates small batch breweries for the purpose of innovation at Stone Brewing — Escondido, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Liberty Station (San Diego) and soon, Stone Brewing — Richmond. In the coming months, Kuntz will lead the installation and management of Stone’s newest small-batch system in Richmond, Va., which will allow Stone’s East Coast team to play a larger role in Stone’s innovation pipeline.
Stone and Sapporo anticipate brewing a combined approximately 720,000 bbls of beer by the end of 2024. Stone’s total barrelage in 2021 was just over 360,000 bbls. The brewery anticipates an additional $20 to $40 million in capital investment into its Richmond, Va., brewery and $10 to $20 in Escondido, Calif. While taking on the production of Sapporo beers for the United States, Stone will continue brewing its award-winning beers just as before, with the same passionate team.
Cincy’s MadTree Brewing announces VP of experience and impact and VP of revenue
MadTree Brewing Co. recently announced internal promotions to two newly created vice president roles: Rhiannon Hoeweler has been promoted to VP of experience and impact and Justin Wiener has been promoted to VP of revenue. These recent promotions reflect MadTree’s continued efforts to grow and expand — both as a business and as a community partner. As the company develops new roles, it has first looked internally before hiring. MadTree has promoted 17 team members in the past year.
“Kenny and I are very proud of the growth coming out of what has been a very tough two years for businesses. This growth has created many opportunities for internal employee advancement, and we continue to remain confident in the passionate employees who continue to drive growth, including Rhiannon and Justin,” said Cofounder Brady Duncan.
MadTree continues to build a diverse workforce and has a leadership team that is 40 percent women, outpacing the national average. Earlier this year, MadTree was one of 40 local companies that signed the Hamilton County Commission on Women and Girls pay equity commitment, promising to analyze its own hiring, promotional and pay practices, and publicly announce its commitment to closing the gaps.
Hoeweler’s new role will oversee consumer experience, impact, marketing and people strategy. She is responsible for intentionally driving the company’s impact work, brand, consumer and employee experience. Wiener’s new role will oversee MadTree’s Oakley taproom, Alcove — the new bar and restaurant in Over-The-Rhine, private events, merchandise and distribution sales. He is responsible for driving revenue growth across the company’s multiple business lines.
Founders Brady Duncan and Kenny McNutt remain active and committed to driving MadTree’s future success and growth.
“Brady and I aren’t going anywhere. We are just as committed as we were in 2013, our founding year, to becoming a company our kids will be proud of. These moves further signify our commitment to balancing growing our community impact work, employees and business,” said Cofounder Kenny McNutt.
Hoeweler’s previous role at MadTree was director of strategic impact, leading the company’s internal and external impact program. MadTree is a member of 1% for the Planet, contributing one percent of all sales to non-profits through monetary donations and volunteerism. She also led the company’s recent submission to become a B-Corp. Certified B-Corps are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
Hoeweler has been with MadTree for two years after spending over a decade at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, most recently as the VP of Visitor Experience, Strategy and Fun. While at the Cincinnati Zoo, she was responsible for day-to-day operations — creating an enjoyable experience for the millions of annual visitors and nearly 70,000 members. She also led the award-winning program, Zoo Access for All. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards in Cincinnati — the CLIMB award in the area of inclusion from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce & Cincinnati Business Courier, an Unsung Hero Award in 2019, 40 Under 40 2015 honoree, Green Business Award for Education and Outreach from the Cincinnati Business Courier and a Citizen Environmental Award.
Prior to his promotion, Wiener was director of hospitality, overseeing operations of MadTree’s taproom in Oakley, private events, merchandise and sales. Most recently, he led the operational development and opening of MadTree’s new bar and restaurant, Alcove, that opened this March in Over-The-Rhine. Alcove has been celebrated for its warm, inviting spaces, farm-to-table food and house-made craft cocktails and beer.
Wiener has nearly two decades of hospitality management experience from establishments across the country. Prior to MadTree, Wiener was with Cunningham Restaurant Group, Eddie V’s Restaurant Group and Paul Sturkey Restaurant Group. His experience spans into fine dining as well. He managed Tableau in the Tower Suites, the Wynn Las Vegas’s AAA five diamond award and Mobil Diamond Award restaurant and was Sommelier at Sassi Restaurant.
With these promotions, MadTree will be adding the role of impact coordinator in the coming months and is currently backfilling the role of hospitality operations director — the job posting is available at www.madtreebrewing.com/jobs.
Virginia’s Selvedge Brewing names Josh Skinner as head brewer
Selvedge Brewing in Charlottesville, Va., recently welcomed Josh Skinner as its new head brewer. Skinner comes to Selvedge from Champion Brewing Co., where he served as head brewer and director of brewing operations.
At Selvedge, Skinner is excited to return to small batch brewing. While he has no shortage of ideas for new styles and new beers, when it comes to Selvedge’s flagship beers, he aims to stay true to the classic styles that have stood the test of time. Quality and innovation have always been paramount to the vision for Selvedge and Skinner looks forward to building on that foundation.
Drinkability is at the core of Skinner’s brewing philosophy, and he relishes in developing beers that invite another sip. With Skinner at the helm, Selvedge customers can look forward to a diverse tap list. He is eager to explore a wide range of lagers, different styles of IPAs, branch out into mixed and wild fermentation and continue to develop Selvedge’s barrel-aging program.
A self-professed “lager nerd,” this is where Skinner’s passion lies — from super pale to just shy of a stout — noting that every step in developing a lager is critical. “With a lager, you can’t hide from mistakes,” he said.
Skinner enjoys incorporating local and regional ingredients into his beers as much as possible. A lover of food himself, he’s energized by the prospect of collaborating with Chef Tucker Yoder who is executive chef at The Wool Factory, which operates both Broadcloth, an ingredient-driven restaurant, and the taproom of Selvedge.
Skinner grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and studied archeology at Radford University. His homebrewing hobby turned into his full-time career in 2012 when he joined the team at Blue Mountain Brewery and enrolled at the Siebel Institute of Technology, a professional brewing program based in Chicago. He made the move to Champion Brewing just as they were beginning a major expansion and played a crucial role in the brewery’s growth for eight years.
Jackson Savarese joins Ceria Brewing as a sales rep, brewery announces fun Spotify ad campaign
Ceria Brewing Co., makers of alcohol-free (AF) THC- and CBD-infused craft beers, has two big news pieces here. First off, it launched a crafty out-of-home marketing campaign in California with a tagline reading, “Legally This Ad Can’t Say Much. But This Playlist Can,” with an accompanying QR code that will connect consumers directly to a unique Spotify playlist. This clever approach to advertising Ceria’s cannabis-infused products comes fresh on the heels of a major refresh of its brand image.
Since cannabis is federally illegal and thus subject to advertising restrictions in many states, Ceria had to get creative to get the word out about its brand. The playlist conceals the brand message inside a Spotify track list by compiling song titles that spell out, in part, “Hello, Hello, Hello, we make alcohol-free beer for people who love getting high.” There are 14 songs in all. See the playlist here: tinyurl.com/craftyceria
The song titles include “For People” by Nick Rosen; “Who,” by David Byrne and St. Vincent; and “Love” by Keyshia Cole.
The campaign, developed by Mother Los Angeles, the brand’s creative advertising agency and investor, was announced by Keith Villa, Ph.D., cofounder and head brewmaster of the Denver-area company he started in January 2018 with his wife and cofounder Jodi Villa, Ceria’s chief executive officer. Dr. Villa is the creator and former brewmaster of Blue Moon beer, developed during his 32 years at MillerCoors.
“Ceria drinkers will get the message — once they link the song titles together — that there are other means to enjoy the pleasurable sensations of cannabis besides smoking or ingesting it,” says Dr. Villa. “We believe consumers will appreciate this cheeky suggestion to enjoy a cannabis-infused beer that is totally alcohol-free.”
Alright back to the people news. Ceria also recently announced the appointment of Jackson Savarese as its California sales representative. Savarese, formerly hospitality manager and operations associate of MedMen, a chain of retail stores and cultivation facilities, will be responsible for the growth of AF infused Ceria Grainwave and Indiewave craft beers in the state.