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].
Let’s take a look at BrewDog USA’s new organizational structure
BrewDog USA has announced a new sales organizational structure, along with personnel updates and plans for 2024. Highlights from its Wholesaler Summit, hosted at the BrewDog USA headquarters, include a more streamlined sales structure, new account leads and a renewed focus on seasonal and non-alcoholic offerings, in addition to BrewDog’s range of headliner mainstay beers.
Previously, the company operated under a regional sales structure with six regions and now, effective November 1, BrewDog USA will be servicing its bevy of wholesalers through a more streamlined, divisional structure with three divisions based on geography: Central, East and West. Leading the divisions are:
- Mary Wieczerza, director of commercial development, Central Division covering states in the Midwest and the Plains. Previously, Wieczerza was regional sales manager for the Great Lakes region.
- Brian Jones, director of commercial development, East Division which encompasses East Coast states and Southeastern states including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Jones was previously the regional sales manager for the Northeast region.
- Greg Salzenstein, director of commercial development, West Division covering Texas, Oklahoma and West Coast states. Salzenstein previously served as the director of Western U.S. sales.
“Our continued assessment of the marketplace identified an opportunity to create more value with both our wholesaler partners, as well as more effectively manage key retail and retailer partnerships for improved and consistent shared results,” shared Eric Franco, vice president of sales, BrewDog USA. “It is the investment in the future we think will drive shared value for everyone involved.”
Additional personnel announcements include:
- Liz Steinmetz has been named national account executive for national retailers as well as key Central region retailers
- Chase Booth has also been named as a national account executive and will oversee all Southeast and Mid-Atlantic chains
- Matt Bidinger will lead national and regional accounts in the Central and East Division(s) as national account executive.
Lastly, BrewDog unveils strong growth in its non-alcoholic sector along with plans for 2024, with the introduction of seasonal variety packs, a cider variety pack and a low-calorie session tropical IPA.
“Our 2024 Range Plan reflects our approach of analyzing the market, adding continued innovation to our mix as well as aligning to retailer’s needs for incremental growth in the category,” Franco added.
Since 2022, BrewDog has experienced triple-digit growth from its AF (alcohol-free) portfolio and owns the top AF beer variety pack in the country by both sales and volume. Overall, the brewery’s total U.S. volume is growing more than 10 percent and is outpacing the national craft beer average.
Arizona’s Mother Road Brewing names first chief sales officer
Mother Road Brewing Co. recently announced the onboarding of its first chief sales officer. The company welcomes Gordon Penberthy and his 30 years of experience in bar, beverage, and wholesale distribution to the craft consulting team.
This exciting new edition to the Flagstaff Brewery’s craft consulting team said, “I began my career as a bar-back in a country western bar slinging beer and never looked back.”
Since 1994 Penberthy has been learning the ins and outs of the industry while working with Hensley Beverage Co., starting as a merchandiser and working his way up to be a brand manager of varied craft beers, spirits, and non-alcoholic brands.
This Arizona native is passionate when it comes to creating positive experiences through hospitality. Director of Mother Road’s Craft Consulting Stephanie Henderson commented: “At the end of the day, our people are what make Mother Road. Gordon has been a pleasure to work with as a former brand manager and colleague for over a decade. I couldn’t imagine a better fit for Mother Road culturally, and he will play a huge role in our growth and development as a beverage company.”
Mother Road anticipates accelerated on-premise growth from this dedicated and creative CSO. His leadership, experience, market planning, and business development will be brought to bear as Mother Road continues to grow Arizona, Southern Nevada, and enters its third state — New Mexico.
Mother Road Brewing Co. is an Arizona regional brewery located along Route 66 in Flagstaff. Mother Road was John Steinbeck’s name for Route 66 in The Grapes of Wrath. The original brewery on Mikes Pike, the 1926 alignment of Route 66, is dedicated to experimental beers and processes and welcomes guests for pints, conversation, games, merchandise, and tours. The brewery on Butler Avenue brews for distribution in kegs and cans. Mother Road distributes state-wide in Arizona with Hensley Beverage Co. and its partners and in Southern Nevada with Nevada Beverage Co. For further information, visit motherroadbeer.com.
Alamo Beer appoints Jan Matysiak as VP of operations
Brewing expert and Weihenstephan graduate Jan Matysiak is set to bring his two decades of experience in the brewing industry to San Antonio’s Alamo Beer Co. With a background spanning operations management, quality assurance, supply chain, and product innovation, Matysiak has a record of transforming breweries’ bottom line and driving substantial growth and now brings his experience to Alamo Beer Co.
Matysiak, a native of Germany, began his journey at the esteemed brewing program at the Technical University of Munich-Weihenstephan, earning a degree in Brewing Science. His journey in the brewing industry started with a position as QA/QC assistant manager at Memminger Brewery in Bavaria. Matysiak then expanded his horizon and moved to the United States to explore the burgeoning craft brewing sector.
His exploration led him to a leadership role at Sixpoint Brewery, which he described as a “great experience.” His involvement in the launch of dozens of new beers and overseeing production across several facilities earned him a reputation as a rising star in the brewing industry.
This momentum carried him to Big Bend Brewing in 2016, a challenging period following the untimely death of its award-winning founder. Through effective teamwork and a focus on quality, Matysiak led the brewery to win various competitions, including a prestigious gold medal at the 2018 World Beer Cup.
Matysiak now takes on the role of vice president of operations at Alamo Beer. In this new position, he will oversee brewing operations, manage the supply chain, and implement high-quality standards of beer production, while simultaneously fostering innovation.
His experience across a variety of breweries, both large and small, has granted Matysiak a comprehensive perspective on the industry. Alamo Beer’s COO Jessenia McMeans praised his skillset as “crucial” for the future success of the brewery, emphasizing his prowess in ensuring product quality, and business profitability.
On adapting the German-inspired brewing processes at Alamo Beer, Matysiak insisted on adhering to high-quality brewing standards and is confident in Alamo’s ability to produce beers with the highest quality and consistency levels, ultimately bolstering the brewery’s growth.
Eugene Simor, Alamo Beer’s founder and owner, celebrated Matysiak’s arrival, applauding his technical knowledge, practical experience, and business acumen. “He’s a real name in the industry … We’re excited to have this exceptional leader on our team,” he asserted.
Hop supplier BarthHaas names new management duo to take over sales
It was recently announced that Stefanie Kaiser and Hannes Schneeberger will take charge of sales management at BarthHaas. This means the world’s leading provider of hop-related services is relying on a management duo to succeed Thomas Raiser — the long-serving head of sales and marketing. Raiser moved to the BarthHaas management board on August 1.
Kaiser has been on the BarthHaas team since 2014, having previously worked for the family-owned Faber-Castell Group. She has many years of experience in customer service and export management. She has already proved her leadership qualities at BarthHaas in her role as a team leader and has gained practical experience in process optimization and sales strategy. In her new role as head of sales administration, Kaiser will now oversee the sales administrators and coordinators as well as the specialist sales teams.
Schneeberger joined the company as an intern in 2017 and initially became acquainted with sales controlling while in the role of assistant to Raiser. In 2019 he permanently joined BarthHaas as a sales administrator and, soon after, switched to the field force. He gained experience in the international hop business as a sales manager and played a leading part in various sales projects. Most recently, he was the team leader responsible for the Asia & Oceania region. In his new role as head of sales management at BarthHaas, Schneeberger will oversee the sales and key account managers.
Raiser, now a managing director of BarthHaas, knows that sales management is in good hands with his successors: “In Steffi Kaiser and Hannes Schneeberger we have found the right people to lead and shape our sales organization. They have already proved themselves as team leaders in a wide variety of projects and have innovative ideas to contribute, from which we will benefit. I am looking forward to working very closely with them.”
Kaiser and Schneeberger are both eager to assume their new responsibilities: “We’re looking forward to mastering the challenges of the international hop market together with the very capable BarthHaas sales department, and to defending and expanding BarthHaas’s position as world market leader.”