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].
After two years, Erin Jordan becomes the head brewer at Resident Culture Brewing
Resident Culture Brewing has named industry veteran Erin Jordan head brewer of the wildly popular Charlotte brewery. Jordan, who recently celebrated her two-year anniversary with the award-winning brewery, takes over the position of head brewer from cofounder Chris Tropeano, who was in the role until last year when his title changed to director of brewing operations to better reflect the extent of his responsibilities.
“We decided to wait to fill that position out of a desire to make sure we had the right person for such an important role. This meant someone who was not only a great brewer and leader but also embodied our core values,” said Resident Culture CEO and Cofounder Amanda McLamb. “Erin checks all of those boxes and then some.”
Jordan, a native of Buffalo, New York, grew up in Asheville and played soccer at UNC Chapel Hill. After setting her sights on medical school, her path took a few twists and turns, and she found herself homebrewing and handling food fermentation and juice programs at Medea’s Real Food Cafe in Asheville in 2015. When the business suddenly closed, she was introduced to the owners of Archetype Brewing in Asheville. She was named head brewer at Archetype in 2020.
The head brewer position is a natural progression for Jordan at Resident Culture.
“This is the role she has been working towards since joining our team in 2021,” Tropeano said. “It will allow her to grow professionally and personally and challenge herself in new ways. Most importantly, it will also allow her to have more creative control in the recipe creation and brand development processes. I know she will always be a steward to the incredible brand we have created at Resident Culture and will maintain the top-notch quality we expect for the beloved brands we have developed over the years.”
The Resident Culture brewhouse is better for Jordan’s leadership, McLamb said, as she has made improvements to processes and standard operating procedures.
“Our brewhouse is the most cohesive and efficient it has ever been, we are getting the best yields we have ever gotten, our ingredient costs are the lowest they have ever been, and, in my opinion, the quality is as high as it has ever been. Erin has also already created a number of great recipes on her own, including my personal favorite, Legends Never Die West Coast IPA.”
Jordan is the second head brewer — and first woman — in the history of the brewery. She’s among a handful of female head brewers in the country. Only 7.5 percent of breweries in the United States employ even one woman in the role of brewer, according to a 2021 study by the Brewers Association trade group.
“I’m honored to be named head brewer of an organization that embodies values I believe in and honors creativity and diversity,” Jordan said. “As a woman in brewing, I see this as a wonderful opportunity to push women as a whole forward, giving us a greater voice and a larger platform, something I hope will be more prevalent in the industry. We bring something unique to the table, from our experiences to our palates, and I’m proud to be involved with an organization that recognizes that and continues to push for our right to be in the room. I’m excited to continue to make great beer with this amazing team and expand boundaries with Resident Culture.”
Founded in 2017, Resident Culture Brewing Co. has a genuine appreciation for assertive, hop-forward styles and strives to accentuate the character and quality of a farmer’s harvest. The Charlotte, North Carolina, brewery celebrates the concepts of subtlety and nuance, particularly with regards to lager beer, mixed culture and spontaneous offerings. Resident Culture was named a Top 10 new brewery by RateBeer. Additionally, Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine named Resident Culture’s Static God one of it’s top 20 beers of 2021, and the brewery’s Sympathetic won best Wild Beer Mixed Culture and Best of Show at the 2021 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Bears (FoBAB).
NA brand Partake Brewing welcomes incoming president and CCO Evan Cohen
Partake Brewing, the low-calorie category leader in the non-alcoholic craft beer space, just announced the promotion of current Chief Commercial Officer Evan Cohen to president and CCO, overseeing marketing, sales, innovation, brand partnerships, and finance. Ted Fleming will continue as founder and chief operating officer with responsibilities managing operations. Director of Marketing Sara Ross is promoted to vice president of marketing and reporting to Cohen.
Fleming, founder and COO of Partake Brewing said, “We’ve hit an exciting inflection point in our growth and consumer demand. “Elevating Evan to his new role is a reflection of this growth and will most certainly help us achieve our business goals. Sara’s promotion is a recognition of her work leading our marketing efforts and latest rebrand.”
Partake Brewing is now distributed in 22 states and is continuing to rapidly build its sales and marketing teams in the United States and Canada in order to meet the demands of the non-alcoholic beer industry, which now tops over $11 billion.
“I am thrilled for this opportunity and to be part of the Partake team,” said Cohen. “Every once in a while a company comes along that is not only different, but has a team that is inspirational and impressive. I am honored to support Partake and continue the momentum as we build brand awareness, increase distribution, and educate the consumer on deliciously healthier beer choices.”
Cohen is a sales and marketing executive with 25 years of business experience, primarily in beverage alcohol, fast food, and advertising. He has worked at Leo Burnett & Bates USA advertising agencies, The Burger King Corp., Coors Brewing Co., SAB Miller, MillerCoors Brewing Co., 375 Park Avenue Spirits, a division of The Sazerac Co. and most recently as the North American chief commercial officer for Partake Brewing Co.
Ross has been promoted to vice president of marketing. Ross joined Partake in July 2022 as marketing director and has been a crucial member of the senior leadership team, taking the lead on the rebrand project and building out trade marketing strategy and execution.
Founded in 2017, Partake Brewing has become a leader in non-alcoholic beer in North America, with distribution in major retailers across Canada and the United States.
San Fran’s Fort Point Beer Co. hires industry veteran Chris Sineni as director of sales
Fort Point Beer Co. — San Francisco’s hometown beer company — recently announced the hire of Chris Sineni as director of sales. Bringing with him 25 years of experience in the alcohol industry, Sineni will oversee Fort Point’s sales organization and holistic sales strategy to continue growing the brand in the Bay Area and beyond.
Prior to joining Fort Point, Sineni was with New Belgium and Bell’s where he led Bell’s western U.S. sales team, including strategic market development and expansion, and eventually played a key role in the integration of both sales organizations. Prior to New Belgium and Bell’s, Sineni was part of Tenth and Blake, Molson Coors Craft and Import Division, working with M&A brewery partner Hop Valley to expand its distribution across the western United States.
As director of sales at Fort Point, Sineni will manage strategy and operations for Fort Point’s wholesale channel — driving the business’s goals of scaling focused growth in California with an eye on profitability. In this role, Sineni is directly responsible for managing national accounts, annual business planning, distribution partnerships, pricing and Fort Point’s internal sales team.
“I’ve spent my career scaling beer brands across the country, and since moving to the Bay Area 8 years ago, I’ve always admired Fort Point’s impact on the California craft beer scene,” said Sineni. “I’m energized by the opportunity to lead the sales organization in partnership with our distribution partners and internal sales team. Our beers are distinct and high quality, and we have a powerful brand — I look forward to driving our growth forward.”
Over the past nine years, Fort Point has quickly grown to become a major player in California’s craft beer scene and one of the fastest growing breweries in northern California. Its success can be attributed to its brewing philosophy, visual brand identity, and definitively SF roots — all of which set it apart from other breweries.
“When we launched Fort Point in 2014 we started small, brewing kegs for local restaurants and bars, and since then Fort Point has grown to become the largest independent craft beer company based in SF,” said Fort Point Cofounder and CEO Justin Catalana. “We’re proud to still be focused on growing our business in our own backyard, working with the same local bars and restaurants that helped us get started, while also continuing to expand across California. We’re thrilled to have Chris on board to lead that charge.”
Its flagship beer, a Kölsch Style Ale called KSA, is the No. 2 craft six-pack in the Bay Area, and a crisp, refreshing option in a sea of IPAs. Known for its ability to take familiar styles and put a uniquely Fort Point spin on them, Fort Point is a favorite among beer drinkers, food and beverage leaders, and even people who don’t consider themselves beer drinkers.
Earlier this year Fort Point expanded beyond beer for the first time with a line of dry, nuanced ciders that have quickly seen adoption among drinkers, bars, restaurants, and retailers. In addition to its wholesale business, Fort Point operates two beloved taprooms in San Francisco — a beer garden at the iconic Ferry Building, a flagship beer hall on Valencia Street, and a popup in the Presidio, just down the street from the brewery.
NZ Hops announces Blair Stewart as new CEO, Pip Widdon as chief financial officer
NZ Hops Ltd recently announced Blair Stewart as its new chief executive officer (CEO) for the co-operative.
Maurice Noone, chairperson, said “We are thrilled to appoint Blair to this pivotal role as CEO. His exceptional track record in driving growth and expansion, coupled with his unwavering enthusiasm for the hop industry, has already proved invaluable to the company over the past year.
“In today’s highly competitive global industry, resting on the success of the past is no longer an option. We need visionary leadership with a constant focus on fresh thinking and innovative development, and Blair embodies these qualities wholeheartedly,” continued Noone.
Blair joined NZ Hops just under one year ago as general manager of sales and marketing and has developed a true appreciation for New Zealand-grown hops and their value around the world.
“We have an incredible product, a world-class breeding program, and exceptional growers,” said Stewart. “We want more consumers worldwide to experience the remarkable flavors of our hops, and cement New Zealand’s position at the top of the global hop market. This is no easy task, but with the unwavering dedication of our team, the continuous support of our partners, and the passion driving our collective efforts, I am confident we can achieve this.”
NZ Hops also recently welcomed Pip Widdon to the role of chief financial officer (CFO). Widdon describes herself as an experienced finance professional adept in business partnering and driving decisions that benefit both the organization and its stakeholders.
“I am excited to work with NZ Hops at this pivotal time, providing financial leadership and guidance to the executive team and board of directors. I look forward to contributing to their financial decision-making, their sustainability, and growth,” said Widdon.
Widdon has previously worked at Deloitte, leading projects in budgeting and system transitioning, and before that, as financial planning and commercial manager at Alliance Group working on margin optimization projects. Other roles include financial analyst at both Citycare and PwC.
New Zealand Hops is a co-operative of master growers. The co-op’s 27 master growers dedicate themselves to the cultivation of world-renowned hops with unique aromas in the famed growing region of Nelson Tasman. NZ Hops is committed to both its position as leader in innovation and its mission to supply the world’s most revered hops domestically and to its 17 international markets.