Behind every beer brand you drink is an impressive team of beer professionals — brewers, barkeeps, bussers, canners, sales reps, lab techs 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 announces internal promotions
The Beer Institute, a national trade association for the American brewing industry, announced internal staff changes in early December.
“I am extremely proud of the team we have built at the Beer Institute. Susan, Sandra, Jordan and Alex have been instrumental to our work representing the more than $330 billion beer industry and the more than 2 million jobs it supports,” said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute. “These staff changes will allow our team to serve our members and the beer industry better. I look forward to continuing our work to ensure brewers and beer importers can produce and serve America’s favorite beverage alcohol.”
The Beer Institute is promoting Susan Haney to senior vice president of public affairs, overseeing public affairs, federal affairs and operations teams. She previously served as the Beer Institute’s vice president of operations.
Beer Institute is promoting Sandra Castro to director of operations, where she will continue to oversee Beer Institute’s day-to-day financial and accounting needs and IT and human resources. She previously was the senior manager of operations.
The association is promoting Jordan Zuccarelli to manager of special projects, where she will play an even more integral role in helping the public and federal affairs teams execute strategic projects and third-party relationships. She previously was the Beer Institute’s staff assistant.
Alex Davidson is now the Beer Institute’s director of public affairs, where he will serve as the Beer Institute’s primary point of contact for all public affairs and media activity. He was formerly the Beer Institute’s director of media relations.
BrewDog USA welcomes three new sales managers
BrewDog USA, 2020’s fastest-growing brewery in the United States and world’s only carbon negative beer brand, recently announced it has hired Marc Venegoni as vice president of U.S. sales, Greg Salzenstein as western U.S. sales director and Erika Wojno as U.S. director of marketing.
“We are thrilled to welcome top talent with extensive and varying industry experience to the BrewDog team,” said Jason Block, CEO of BrewDog USA. “Marc, Greg, and Erika each bring strong, unique skillsets that will help BrewDog continue to push the envelope with fresh and creative thinking across our business.”
Marc Venegoni joins BrewDog after nearly four years at Founders Brewing Co., where he was most recently the Vice President of National Accounts. Prior to that, Venegoni spent four years as a Category Manager at MillerCoors (now Molson Coors). He holds an MBA from Northwood University and a Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing from Grand Valley State University. In his new role as vice president of U.S. sales, he will be responsible for conceptualizing and instituting the sales strategies and targets to meet the brewery’s sales goals, as well as establishing and maintaining relationships with BrewDog’s growing distributor footprint in the United States.
Greg Salzenstein came to BrewDog following a two-year stint at Royal Unibrew in Denmark, where he managed all aspects of the multi-category CPG business with various National Grocery and DSD distributor partners covering the brand’s entire U.S. footprint. Prior to that, he spent time at CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective and Anchor Brewers and Distillers, LLC. He graduated with a B.S. in Marketing from San Diego State University. In his role as Western U.S. sales director at BrewDog, Salzenstein is responsible for establishing BrewDog’s Western U.S. sales strategy and distribution network.
Prior to Erika Wojno’s role as U.S. director of marketing at BrewDog, she worked at Goose Island/Anheuser-Busch InBev for nearly a decade, where she led brand strategy, built an innovation series, worked with distributors and more. Wojno received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. In her role as U.S. director of marketing, she is responsible for raising the brand’s awareness in the United States and supporting distribution channel growth.
The hirings are the latest effort in support of BrewDog’s rapid U.S. expansion. In the past year, BrewDog has continued retail expansion with a new opening in New Albany, Ohio, and anticipated openings in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Cleveland.
Missoula’s Highlander Beer elevates Hannah Talbott to president
Highlander Beer, originally founded in Missoula in 1910 and relaunched in 2015, has elevated Hannah Talbott to president. The company’s board of managers announced the promotion after sustained growth in distribution and a new brewery location planned. Talbott has served as the general manager since 2017, and is part owner of the brewery.
“In an increasingly competitive market, Hannah has positioned Highlander to be one of the fastest growing breweries in Montana,” said Marc Pierce, board chairman of Highlander Beer. “Even through a global pandemic, Hannah’s leadership has led to steady growth, including plans to open a second location in Salmon, Idaho next year and expanded distribution of the fan favorite ‘Strange Haze’ and other canned beers into the Idaho market.”
Talbott attended the Siebel Institute in Chicago in 2012, where she completed the World Brewing Academy (WBA) Brewing Technology Program. She then received a Masters in Business Administration at Colorado State University in 2015. In 2016, Talbott became a Certified Cicerone. She went on to serve as brewer and CEO of a brewpub outside of Minneapolis before being hired by Highlander. A headshot of Talbott is attached to this email.
Highlander currently employs 35 team members. The brewery has 12 beers on tap at the taproom and five different beers that are packaged and sold as 6-packs in grocery stores and convenience stores all throughout the state of Montana. In addition to the taproom and restaurant, Highlander built a 200+ person outdoor event pavilion in 2018 to host private events such as weddings, graduation parties and non-profit events.
Asheville’s Archetype Brewing hires new COO Gaines Myer
Archetype Brewing recently announced its first-ever chief operating officer — Gaines Myer.
Myer is excited to join the A-Team: “It is beyond a dream to be offered this opportunity to join the A-Team at Archetype Brewing. I have been in the Asheville beer business for years and witnessed so much of the growth in our industry; To now have the good fortune to take the helm at a brewery I have so much respect for is incredible.”
Myer is a fourth generation Ashevillian and has been in the beer and brewing industry for the last 21 years. During his time inside one of Asheville’s most iconic industries, he has worked almost every role – from driving delivery trucks, to bartending, to sales and marketing and in various levels of leadership as a general manager, a director of operations, and most recently as a packaging manager at Burial Beer Co. Myer is currently the president of the Asheville Brewers Alliance board, serving alongside Archetype owner, Brad Cassanova.
From new the COO: “I am excited to be able to share the knowledge and skills that I have gained with the already amazing team at Archetype and look forward to being part of the growth of the brewery and brand.”
From Archetype owner Casanova: “I am thrilled to bring Gaines into the Archetype family. We’ve worked together on the board of the Asheville Brewers Alliance for the last few years, so I’ve seen him in action first hand. He’s a skilled leader and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. He’s also just a great guy to know and be around, and that was a huge factor in bringing him in as a Chief Operating Officer. I trust him taking the reins with my Archetype family and look forward to seeing him lead us in the coming years.”
Archetype Brewing was founded in 2017, serving up American and Belgian-style beers with a focus on creating complex, mindful, living beer. Archetype beer can be found at restaurants and taprooms throughout the Asheville area, and packaged beers can be found in select craft beer retailers throughout the state.
Hidden Moon Brewing hires Mike Robinson as brewmaster
Hidden Moon Brewing announced the appointment of Mike Robinson as brewmaster. Robinson brings 24 years of amateur and professional experience to the company and has been honored with numerous awards including winning a Bronze in the 2016 World Cup of Beer in the Belgian-Style Witbier category, the 2009 Samuel Adams Longshot Homebrew Contest, being named New England Homebrewer of the Year, winning nineteen medals in the Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing Championships as well as placing first in over 100+ competitions nationwide. Robinson began his brewing career at Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, N.H., followed by brewmaster at The Newburyport Brewing Co., and most recently as head brewer at Great North Aleworks.
“We are going to make world class beer, that’s sold here at our destination location in Pittsfield, New Hampshire.” said Michael Fairbrother, visionary of Over The Moon Farmstead and founder of Moonlight Meadery and Hidden Moon Brewing. “Since first brewing with Mike, through New Hampshire’s oldest homebrew club, Brew Free or Die, I can say that he is one of the best and most creative brewers I know. He has deservedly won award after award, as he is an artist with a deep understanding on what is needed to make amazing beer.”
Moonlight Meadery and Hidden Moon Brewing is a privately held company, with a focus on making the worlds best possible meads, hard ciders and craft beer. As demonstrated by the dozens of international awards the company has achieved since starting production in 2010. Over The Moon Farmstead is Michael Fairbrother and Berniece Van Der Berg’s dream location in Pittsfield, N.H. This 1753 Farmstead, with its 98.3 acres will eventually house a wedding and events hall, both Moonlight Meadery and Hidden Moon Brewing production facilities, along with wood fire brick oven pizza restaurant, gift shop and tasting rooms.
California’s Anderson Valley Brewing appoints Abby Stoffers as tap room and Beer Park manager
Northern California’s Anderson Valley Brewing Co. (AVBC) recently announced that it has promoted Abby Stoffers to manage operations for the brewery’s Tap Room and new 30-acre Beer Park in Boonville. Under the ownership of the McGee family, AVBC continues to invest in the future of the brewery and its team members.
“For the past three years, Abby has been a dedicated employee at the brewery and quickly became essential to our day-to-day hospitality operations.” said President and CEO Kevin McGee. “Her skill set and welcoming personality make her perfectly suited for the job. She’ll be an effective leader to our Tap Room & Beer Park team and will further develop our visitor experiences and programming at the Beer Park.”
Abby Stoffers takes the reins as AVBC tap room and beer park manager. As a northern California native growing up in Carmel and graduating from Humboldt State University, Stoffers has traveled the state working in food and beverage at top hospitality regions including Big Sur and Lake Tahoe. She began working in the AVBC Tap Room in 2019 and was quickly promoted to lead bartender and assistant manager.
As the new tap room and beer park manager, Stoffers will oversee all hospitality and visitor experiences at AVBC’s Boonville property. She will lead the continued expansion of the new Beer Park with the addition of consumer experiences, including larger scale events, concerts and food services.
Independent Brewers Alliance adds new director of brewer recruiting
The Independent Brewers Alliance (IBA) — craft beer’s only member-owned purchasing cooperative — recently announced the hiring of Laurie Jeffries as its new director of brewer recruiting. Jeffries’s mission is simple. Her role is to make the cooperative even stronger by bringing new U.S. and Canadian breweries of all sizes onboard.
As Matt Hopkins, the IBA’s executive director put it, “Membership is everything. The more members we have the greater our leverage to negotiate new and stronger programs to save member-brewers money. With our current member base of just over 150 brewers we can save the typical brewery tens of thousands each year. Imagine what we could do with twice as many members.”
Laurie Jeffries background includes cofounding the successful and internationally recognized Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Mich. There she helped the brewery gain distribution, open seven restaurants and develop productive relationships with suppliers, distributors and the brewery’s staff,” said Matt, “All that makes Laurie the perfect person to talk to brewers. She knows this business and the challenges involved in starting and growing a successful brewery from the inside.”
Jeffries is equally excited to take on her new role.
“I believe in the IBA’s mission,” she said. “Craft beer is a crazy, wonderful industry, but it’s also extremely competitive and facing all kinds of cost and supply challenges. I can’t think of a better way to support it than by helping breweries drop their cost of goods and gain better access to the materials they need.”
The IBA leverages the combined buying power of its over 150 member-brewers to negotiate long-term savings programs with key industry suppliers. The IBA’s full-time staff creates the savings programs. Members tap into only those programs that are right for their brewery. Programs currently include cans, kegs, chemicals, hops, hose, safety equipment, glassware, all kinds of packaging, office supplies, business insurance and much more. The IBA was founded in 2016 with the goal of helping member-brewers stay strong in the industry’s increasingly competitive environment.
Texas’ Ranch Rider Spirits hires Allison Wetsel as executive vice president of sales
Ranch Rider Spirits Co. Texas’ No. 1 premium spirit-based seltzer, has hired Allison Wetsel as executive vice president of Sales. Wetsel is joining the rapidly growing Ranch Rider Spirits leadership team from The Family Coppola where she served as president of global wholesale sales and operations.
Wetsel has over 25 years in the wine and spirits industry and has spent a majority of her tenure overseeing domestic and international sales teams for The Family Coppola Wines, Great Women Spirits and Mammarella Foods. She holds a B.S. from Cornell University, A WSET Level III Advanced Certificate and is a certified specialist of wine. Wetsel is also a proud member of Women of the Vine & Spirits.
“In my life and career, I’ve always sought belonging to a tribe that was people-first, true to themselves, embraced diversity and was unafraid. This is what drew me to Ranch Rider Spirits, as they are the entire package,” said Wetsel. “Thanks to the vision of founders, Brian Murphy and Quentin Cantu, I am able to embrace these values and am proud to be a part of an employee owned and operated company.”
Ranch Rider Spirits is currently available in 14 states throughout the southern United States, and Wetsel will be tasked with training, hiring the team, and building the distributor partnerships to expand the brand nationally. She will set the vision for Ranch Rider’s retail strategy and approach to on-premise sales.
“Ranch Rider felt like the right fit both professionally and personally and embraces the active, fun and creative lifestyle that Austin, TX truly has a stamp on,” claimed Wetsel. “I am proud to get this opportunity to help drive such a progressive, well-balanced brand in an industry I love.”
“We are excited to have Allison join our rapidly growing team at Ranch Rider Spirits,” said Ranch Rider Spirits CEO, John Scarborough. “Her wealth of experience leading sales teams, her passion for the industry, and her belief in great products, make her the perfect fit for our brand as we expand our team and our distribution across the country.”
BarthHaas owners step back
At the end of this year, BarthHaas will complete the final step in the transition from an owner-managed to an owner-controlled company, which will see the Barth family moving onto a supervisory board and the appointment of two new managing directors. Oliver Bergner and Peter Hintermeier, both long-serving members of the management team, will take over as managing directors of BarthHaas GmbH & Co. KG.
BarthHaas is one of the world’s leading suppliers of hop products and hop-related services. The family-owned company specializes in the creative and efficient use of hops and hop products.
Having led the company as one of the managing partners since 2002, Regine Barth, who has a degree in business administration, will relinquish her executive role and join the newly established supervisory board. There, she will oversee the company together with her two cousins Stephan and Alexander Barth as well as Prof. Dr. Mirja Steinkamp and Dr. Philipp Ramin. Alexander Barth will continue as CEO of the American sister company, John I. Haas, Washington DC.
“Our primary objective is to remain an independent family company with deep experience and a willingness for change to take on the challenges of the future,” stated Regine Barth. “Our new roles in the supervisory board will allow us to continue to contribute to our company in the future in terms of strategy and vision.” At the present time, the succession from within the family is not yet on the agenda.
After serving as a managing partner in the company since 1992, Stephan Barth has already relinquished his executive role at BarthHaas GmbH & Co. KG in July 2021 and moved onto the supervisory board. Since then, Regine Barth assumed the operational responsibilities of the business with the company’s management team and prepared the groundwork for the impending change in leadership.
The company will continue with its dual person leadership model that has served it well. For the first time in its more than 225-year history, the company will be run by two non-family managers.
Oliver Bergner took over Regine Barth’s management duties effective December 1, 2021. Oliver Bergner, who has a degree in business administration, has served BarthHaas in management positions for 25 years and has been the management team member responsible for the finance and administrative side of the business since 2005. He has also been a member of the supervisory board of SUMTEQ GmbH, of which he is now the president, since 2018.
Stephan Barth’s successor as managing director with effect from January 1, 2022, will be Peter Hintermeier. Holding a degree in business and agricultural engineering, he assumed his first management position at BarthHaas 32 years ago and has been the management team member responsible for purchasing since 1998. In addition, Peter Hintermeier has been president of the German hop industry association (DHWV) since 2014, a member of the board of the German Hop Research Society (GfH) since 2015, and vice-president of the International Hop Growers’ Convention since 2005.
“We are delighted that with Oliver Bergner and Peter Hintermeier we have two highly experienced and trusted managers at the top who will preserve what is proven and at the same time drive innovation forward,” said Regine Barth. “In their new roles they will work closely with the established management team to ensure the highest degree of stability and certainty for our company”.