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].
North Coast Brewing promotes Chris Hudson to vice president of sales
In December, North Coast Brewing Co. (NCBC) announced that Chris Hudson had been promoted to the position of vice president of sales. Hudson was hired in March of 2022 as NCBC’s national key accounts director and hit the ground running to build relationships with key accounts across the country. His leadership experience with Deschutes Brewery before coming to NCBC made him the ideal candidate to succeed Marten Compton who recently resigned to pursue other interests.
Hudson’s experience selling North Coast beers started in Portland, Oregon, in the early 1990s at Admiralty Beverage. Red Seal Ale was one of his favorites back then and still has a special place in his heart.
“Aside from their great beer, I was drawn to NCBC’s work as a Certified Benefits Corporation and their efforts to be a good steward of the planet. The work they are doing to fortify the soil at Fortunate Farm, a few miles from the brewery, through composting their spent grain, hops and yeast slurry is something to be proud of,” said Hudson.
Hudson’s experience in strategic thinking, innovation, business planning and territory management and development will be key as he leads his team into the new year to successfully navigate the three-tier system.
“We are eager to see where Chris Hudson will take North Coast Brewing as we continue to come out of the COVID era,” said Jennifer Owen, CEO/CFO of NCBC. “Our beers are consistently ranked at the top of their categories, and I am confident that our great craft beer combined with broad distribution partners and a strong NCBC team will lead us to new growth and opportunities. Congrats, Chris.”
Fred Matt of F.X. Matt Brewing to chair Beer Institute’s inaugural Brewers’ Council
Recently, the Beer Institute, the oldest national trade organization representing the beer industry, announced that its newly formed Brewers’ Council will be chaired by Fred Matt, president and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewing of Utica, New York. The council is designed to increase the constructive and substantive engagement of all brewer members of the Beer Institute, ensuring greater alignment on key policy issues facing the industry. Matt’s appointment followed a nomination period and vote by his brewer peers in the association.
“The Brewers’ Council represents an integral component of the Beer Institute’s mission of promoting and advocating for the $331 billion beer industry and the two million Americans it employs,” said Brian Crawford, president and CEO of the Beer Institute. “There are very few leaders in the beer industry that have more experience and insight than Fred Matt. His family has owned and operated their brewery since 1888, and as such, he is uniquely positioned to drive meaningful results for the Brewers’ Council. We are grateful for Fred’s unwavering commitment to the success of beer and look forward to working with him.”
“I am honored to be elected to the Beer Institute board and look forward to working with my fellow board members to create new energy around beer — America’s favorite alcoholic beverage — for the more than 6,600 breweries in America,” said Matt, president and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewing.
California’s Belching Beaver promotes Thomas Peters to head of production/quality manager
Belching Beaver Brewery, the “Dam Good Time” brewery based in Oceanside, Calif., has promoted Thomas Peters to head of production and quality manager. Peters had been serving as quality manager since August 2022. Cofounder and CEO Tom Vogel made the announcement.
Peters, who joined the brewery as a keg washer and volunteer brewer in 2013, now oversees all beer production at the company’s Oceanside manufacturing facility and three brewery/retail locations. Belching Beaver is distributed to 12 states outside of California, including as far away as Wisconsin and Texas. The three brewery/retail locations are in the northern part of San Diego County — Oceanside Brewhouse and Vista’s Pub980 and Tavern & Grill.
Peters served as head brewer at Pub980 from 2014-2017 and then as head brewer at Tavern & Grill from 2017 until his appointment as quality manager last year. He is a two-time United States Alpha King Challenge champion, an honor given to the head brewer with the most well-balanced and drinkable beer by a panel of judges assembled by competition founders Yakima Chief Hops (Wash.) and 3 Floyds Brewing (Ind.). He won in 2014 for Pound Town Triple IPA and in 2017 for Thizz Is What It Is Double IPA.
“It’s been quite the fulfilling journey since my Belching Beaver beginnings,” said Peters, who recently welcomed his first child Vercin with his wife Heather who also works at the brewery. “I believe wholeheartedly in our beer, and I take so much pride in making sure we are always renewing the love we see from our fans while looking to capture new love from new fans.”
Peters also is a Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Gold and Silver Medal award-winner. In 2021, he won gold for Unfrozen Caveman Lager in the “German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock” category and silver for Jan Quadrupel Vincent 16 in the “Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale” category. In 2020, he won a GABF silver medal for Fresh Hop Ride the Pine in the “Fresh Hop Beer” category.
“When Thomas and Heather became parents, I figured I had him where I wanted him and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” Vogel said. “But on a serious note, after 10 years in the Belching Beaver family, I couldn’t think of a more qualified and deserving candidate to uphold our standard of excellence going forward. No beer leaves our facilities without Thomas’s stamp of approval, and consumers will always remain accustomed to getting our very best product.”
Peters is a Torrey Pines High School and University of California — Riverside alum. In 2017, he worked with Deftones lead singer Chino Moreno to create Phantom Bride IPA, one of the brewery’s first core beers that was named after the Deftones song.
“Thomas started with us almost at the brewery’s inception as a volunteer brewer,” said Brewmaster Troy Smith. “He is truly obsessed with the science of brewing and it shows in his work and dedication to quality.”
“With Troy creating new brews and Thomas overseeing production and quality control, we are really excited for the rest of 2023 and beyond,” said Director of Marketing Haley Smith. “Belching Beaver will have some fun announcements soon as we look to push the edge on new styles.”
In addition to the three brewery/retail locations, Belching Beaver has a tasting room in the North Park neighborhood just outside of downtown San Diego.
Institute of Brewing & Distilling appoints Tom Shelston as new chief executive officer
The Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD), which is based in the United Kingdom, recently announced that Tom Shelston has taken on the role of chief executive officer, starting in the position this past February. Shelston was preceded by Douglas Murray, IBD interim chief executive officer and immediate past president of the institute, who will be continuing in the organization as a trustee of the board.
Shelston brings to the IBD a wealth of experience gained across several sectors helping non-profit and membership organizations implement growth strategies based on member and audience engagement and build high-value partnerships. With expertise in change management, audience insight and segmentation, marketing, operations and strategy, the IBD board of trustees has found in Shelston the perfect fit to help the IBD meet its ambitious plans for growth and members engagement.
Shelston has delivered successful projects for the Royal Horticultural Society and the National Trust among other national and global organizations, increasing their market share and commercial performance on the back of creating highly engaged membership communities.
Shelston’s initial responsibilities will be to scale the IBD’s global reach reinforcing the lifelong value of their qualifications, learning and development portfolios, and membership value proposition to create a well-connected and strong community of professionals in the brewing, distilling and allied industries.
On his appointment, Shelston commented, “I’m delighted to be joining the Institute of Brewing & Distilling and working with the global community of experts to increase the value across the membership base and expand our reach into new industry segments and markets. It is a privilege to be part of the next chapter of an organization like the IBD with such a rich history and relevance to reinforce the membership and learning and development programs, helping professionals and their businesses respond and adapt better to the new challenges that the fast-changing times are bringing.”
Welcoming Shelston, Bhavya Mandanna, president of the IBD, said, “This is an exciting period of change for the IBD, and we are delighted that Tom is joining us to deliver our strategic goal of driving excellence in holistic professional development in an ever-changing and competitive world. Tom brings with him a wealth of experience key to unlocking the future potential of the IBD. I would like to thank Douglas Murray as interim chief executive officer, for his great work in leading the IBD through a period of significant change.”
Over 100,000 industry professionals have received their technical education with the Institute of Brewing & Distilling. The IBD is a global institution with more than 3,000 members across 90 countries. Every year, around 4,000 professionals take its qualifications, providing transformational outcomes both for individuals and their businesses. Learn more at ibd.org.uk.
Brewing equipment expert Ziemann Holvrieka announces Axel Zügel as COO
In January, Axel Zügel took over the management of the operational areas of Ziemann Holvrieka GmbH as COO. In his new function, he relieves Klaus Gehrig, who was both CEO and COO of the company until the end of 2022. As COO, Zügel is responsible for the operational business areas of order processing, purchasing, project management, assembly, logistics and engineering at the Ludwigsburg site.
“We’re delighted that Axel Zügel has taken over this important position,” said CEO Gehrig. “He’s the right man for the job too, because he’s lived Ziemann Holvrieka for the past 19 years.”
Thanks to his long affiliation with the company, Zügel has acquired comprehensive know-how in the brewing, beverages and liquid foods industry — and that knowledge will make it easier for the new COO to continue optimizing internal processes and act as a competent contact person for customers.
Zügel is a trained industrial clerk. After completing his training, he worked for a plant manufacturer for several years before moving to Ziemann Holvrieka GmbH in 2004. After gaining a Master of Science degree in strategic management, he initially held the position of purchasing manager in the company. In this position, he was responsible for ensuring that the supply chain ran smoothly. As director of projects EPC, he was subsequently in charge of the order processing, project management, assembly and logistics divisions at the Ludwigsburg site.
Commenting on his new position as COO, he said: “I’ll continue to be 100 percent committed to strengthening our global capabilities and expanding our worldwide connectivity. My many years of working with our company, employees and partners will contribute to our continued handling of high-quality projects and our punctual adherence to deadlines.”
Ziemann Holvrieka provides tanks and process technology for the beverage, food, chemical and pharmaceutical industry. In addition to process and storage tanks, the range of products includes the entire brewhouse equipment for breweries, from the malt intake to the bright beer tank cellar. Ziemann Holvrieka plans, engineers and automates the process and the cleaning technology in all production areas, including the installation of process pipework and the integration of all required utilities.
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