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].
Arizona’s Mother Road Brewing names new brewery manager and chief integration officer
Flagstaff’s Mother Road Brewing Co. recently announced a couple of new hires. First off, Peter Kruger is its new chief integration officer. Kruger brings over 25 years of experience in the brewing industry and will oversee all brewing operations for Mother Road.
Michael Marquess, cofounder and CEO shares, “We are excited for Peter to bring his wealth of experience to lead our brew team while we continue our aggressive growth in the southwest market.”
Kruger attended Lewis & Clark College, where he earned a BA in history with minors in both english and anthropology. Kruger began his career as a brewer with Full Sail and then worked for Desert Edge Brewery before accepting a brewing position with Bear Republic Brewing. At Bear Republic, he earned the titles of master brewer and finally chief operating officer while growing the brewery to nearly 80,000 bbls. Kruger has been responsible for the formulation of numerous award-winning, world-class beers throughout his career.
Matching Mother Road’s values, sustainability is key for Kruger — as shown in his service on the Brewer’s Association’s Sustainability Committee. He will continue this sustainability work at Mother Road where water resources are highly valued in the arid southwest.
Mother Road Brewing also recently welcomed Zack Hawkins as its new brewery manager. With over a decade of professional brewing experience, Hawkins is an extremely talented addition to the team. As brewery manager, Hawkins will oversee all aspects of the brewing operations at Mother Road including recipe development, quality control and production management. He will also work closely with the team to ensure that every beer served is of the highest quality.
Team member and Director of Quality at Mother Road Kyle McElhany stated: “Zack embodies the Mother Road values of curiosity and dauntless and has already become an impactful member of our brewing team. We look forward to tapping his brewing knowledge as we install new equipment, design new recipes and improve existing brewing processes.”
Hawkins’ career began when he started to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Alabama. He had taken a semester off, and in doing so fell in love with brewing and began his career. He has worked for numerous reputable breweries including Barrel Culture in North Carolina, Wild Acre in Texas and Druid City Brewing in Alabama.
Hawkins and his wife became familiar with Mother Road after they had taken a road trip to Flagstaff from Ft. Worth in the fall of 2019. The new brewery manager described stopping in Mother Road’s taproom where they experienced radical hospitality along with great beer. Hawkins recalls looking back on the trip and hoping that one day they could call Flagstaff home.
Mother Road Brewing 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 statewide in Arizona with Hensley Beverage Co. and its partners. For further information, visit Motherroadbeer.com.
The Vermont Brewers Association announces Emma Arian as its new association director
The board of directors of the Vermont Brewers Association recently announced that Emma Arian has been named as the new association director — effective April 7. Arian succeeds Melissa Corbin, who has served as the executive director for the past eight years and will leave the association to pursue new opportunities.
“We are thrilled to announce Emma’s promotion from marketing and promotions manager to association director. She will lead the Vermont Brewers Association team into the future,” said Joe Lemnah, Vermont Brewers Association board of directors president. “Emma’s experience in the craft beer industry, combined with her passion for community building, marketing, event planning and advocacy, make her an ideal fit for our organization as we move into a new era.”
As the new association director, Arian will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Vermont Brewers Association, including member relations, legislative advocacy, educational programming and marketing initiatives.
“I am honored and excited to join the Vermont Brewers Association and work alongside such a passionate and dedicated group of brewers and industry professionals,” said Arian. “I look forward to supporting the growth and success of our members while continuing to promote Vermont’s craft beer community locally and nationally.”
The Vermont Brewers Association noted it was grateful for the contributions of outgoing Executive Director Melissa Corbin, who has played a vital role in the organization’s growth and success over the past eight years.
“We want to express our sincere thanks to Melissa for her service to the Vermont Brewers Association,” said Bob Grim, Vermont Brewers Association board of directors vice president. “Under her leadership, the association has expanded its reach and impact, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
Moving forward, the Vermont Brewers Association is committed to building on its past success and focusing on four key pillars: community (member relations), education (tech and education), governance (legislative) and marketing (advocacy).
“These four pillars will guide our work and help us better serve our members and the greater craft beer community as a whole,” said Arian. “We are excited about the future and look forward to continuing to support and promote the incredible craft beer scene here in Vermont.”
In addition to these exciting changes, the Vermont Brewers Association announced that it will be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the world-famous Vermont Brewers Festival on the beautiful waterfront in Burlington, Vermont. The festival, which will take place on July 21-22, will feature 50 of Vermont’s and the region’s finest craft breweries and is expected to draw craft beer enthusiasts worldwide.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Vermont Brewers Festival, which has become an iconic event in the craft beer world,” said Arian. “This year’s festival promises to be better than ever, and we can’t wait to share it with our members and guests.”
Finally, the Vermont Brewers Association announced that it will host its inaugural Vermont Brewers Conference in the fall of 2023 at the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain Hotel at 60 Battery Street, Burlington. The conference, which will take place on November 9-10, will bring together brewers, industry professionals and craft beer enthusiasts for a two-day event featuring keynote speakers, educational programming, networking opportunities, exhibitors and more.
“We are excited to announce a new event to our annual calendar, the Vermont Brewers Conference, which will provide an opportunity for us to further support and grow the craft beer industry here in Vermont,” said Arian. “This conference will be an invaluable resource for brewers and industry professionals alike, and we can’t wait to see it come to life.”
Louis Gimbel, of hop specialist S.S. Steiner, to chair Beer Institute’s inaugural Suppliers’ Council
In March, the Beer Institute, the oldest national trade organization representing the beer industry, announced that its newly formed Suppliers’ Council will be chaired by Louis Gimbel, president and CEO of S.S. Steiner Inc. The council is designed to boost participation for all supplier members of the Beer Institute and ensure close communication on key policy areas affecting the beer industry.
“The creation of the Suppliers’ Council marks a significant milestone for the Beer Institute, empowering supplier members with an amplified voice on critical policy issues that affect our $331 billion industry,” said Brian Crawford, president and CEO of the Beer Institute. “Louis Gimbel, with his exceptional leadership qualities, expertise and a remarkable family legacy of over 170 years of hops production, is the perfect fit as the inaugural chair of the Beer Institute Suppliers’ Council. I am excited to collaborate with Louis to elevate the impact of our advocacy efforts for the betterment of beer suppliers and the industry as a whole.
“I’m pleased to continue on in this new role after many years of participation on the Beer Institute’s Ex Officio board. I will work with brewers and fellow suppliers to help grow beer’s share of the U.S. market,” said Louis Gimbel, president and CEO of S.S. Steiner Inc.
Louis has served as CEO of S.S. Steiner since 2015. Prior to that he held various positions with Hopsteiner in the United States and Europe. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has completed courses in brewing technology at the Siebel Institute, VLB and Doemens Academy.
Beverage insights company BrewLogix expands its sales team with new hires
BrewLogix — a technology solutions company in the beverage hospitality and craft brew industries — recently announced the hiring of several industry veterans, expanding its Performance Platform sales team and adding notable expertise across the country. The hires will serve strategic markets for the burgeoning beverage insights company and are responsible for helping on- and own-premise operators select and adopt technology solutions from the BrewLogix ecosystem.
New sales team members include:
- Andrew Bradley, sales operations and business development manager: Bradley’s beer history dates back to his Scottish roots. He earned his degree in hospitality management from the Glasgow College of Food Technology then went on to successfully operate several high-volume bars and restaurants in the United Kingdom. In the United States, Bradley continued developing his on-premise expertise operating a popular Irish pub in Florida, then helped build several beverage brands including Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Paulaner USA.
- Jackie Tancredi, regional sales manager (Mid-Atlantic): For the last 15 years, Tancredi has successfully opened and operated more than 10 taprooms across the Tri-State area (NY, PA, NJ) for brands such as Goose Island, Other Half Brewing Co. and Workhorse Brewing. She has had P&L responsibility and built expertise in both operations and food and beverage. Tancredi has been a featured workshop speaker at the annual Craft Brewers Conference and holds a master’s in hospitality and marketing from Temple University.
- Stacey Williams, regional sales manager (Southwest): A seventh generation Texan, Williams brings 20 years of experience on the supply side of the beer and wine industries. Spearheading sales and marketing operations across successful brand portfolios, Williams served as VP of marketing and operations for Terra Moretti Trading USA (for wine brands Bellavista, Contadi Castaldi, Petra and Tenuta La Badiola) and national marketing director for The Gambrinus Co. (Shiner, BridgePort and Trumer Pils), boosting annual sales. Williams holds a master’s in international economics and management.
- Scott Russell, regional sales manager (Southeast): A recognized sales and business development leader in the beverage and alcohol community, Russell has held multiple positions within Anheuser Busch and built expertise in supporting and advising the on-premise environment. With significant product knowledge spanning mass, craft, imports and spirits, Russell has called on and supported hundreds of bar and restaurant accounts across the Southeast for nearly 25 years.
“As the BrewLogix Performance Platform sales team expands across the country, it is imperative to fill these roles with people who deeply understand the challenges and pressures facing bar, taproom and restaurant owners and operators today,” said Lori Bolin, president and chief strategy officer, BrewLogix. “In order to be an ideal partner, every person interacting with our on-premise customers must understand what the world looks like through their eyes. The depth of practical industry experience and proven success among our new Performance Platform sales professionals will add value to every customer account, helping them boost margins as they enhance their draft program outcomes using BrewLogix technology.”
The new hires join several recently onboarded regional sales managers including Gary Mutchler (West Coast), who held sales positions at Uber Eats, DoorDash and Amazon Restaurants; Edward Doman (Midwest), formerly with Radeberger Gruppe USA and The Gambrinus Co.; and Brian Mazanti (Rocky Mountain), a sales leader working with top-tier brands, distributors and retailers.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, BrewLogix offers an integrated software ecosystem to help bars, restaurants, taprooms and breweries elevate customer and staff experiences that drive profitability and brand loyalty. Its most recent product, the Performance Platform, is a ground-breaking technology platform for on- and own-premise environments that gives owners and operators visibility and control over their draft programs, from cooler to glass. The software system simplifies day-to-day operations by illuminating easy-to-impact strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — reducing costs, increasing throughput, and maximizing margins.
Online alcohol marketplace Provi hires former Visa and JUUL Labs exec as SVP of strategy and finance
Provi, which claims to be the largest online marketplace for the beverage alcohol industry, recently announced the appointment of Marc Batchan as its senior vice president of strategy and finance. Batchan previously served in executive and leadership roles at JUUL Labs, NVIDIA, Visa and Accenture. He joins Provi with an extensive background in strategy, corporate development and general management.
Most recently, Batchan served in a variety of vice president roles at JUUL Labs, overseeing several business units during his tenure. He was instrumental in the rapid growth of the company through strategic programming and operations. Prior to that, Batchan was director, global corporate strategy and M&A at Visa and a strategy consultant at Accenture. He holds a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Batchan’s experience has given him an in-depth understanding of business operations, market-entry, strategic finance, partnerships, analytics and forecasting. His expertise will help accelerate Provi’s mission of bringing greater efficiency to the beverage alcohol industry and the existing three-tier system.
“The digitization of the beverage alcohol industry has the opportunity to foster significant results across the entire sector,” said Batchan. “I’m excited to join Provi to be part of the positive change and bring my unique perspective to the table.”
Founded in 2016, Provi develops digital and publishing solutions that connect each tier across the beverage alcohol industry. Its suite of solutions, Provi Marketplace, SevenFifty Distributor Portal, Beverage Media Group and SevenFifty Daily aim to make the jobs of retail buyers, distributors and suppliers easier. The company has on-boarded industry experts to facilitate growth for the wider sector. Most recently, the company announced former Beam Suntory and Constellation Executive Bob Robbins, as president and chief operating officer.
In his new role, Batchan will be reporting to Robbins and responsible for corporate and business strategy, sales operations, investor relations, corporate development and strategic partnerships, accounting, treasury and tax. His teams will help align the company-wide priorities, plan for their implementation and execute strategic finance operations.
“We are thrilled to have Marc on board,” said Taylor Katzman, CEO of Provi. “His experience in building successful strategy, planning, analytics and finance teams will be invaluable as we continue to expand our impact to the wider beverage alcohol ecosystem.”
As Provi continues to refine its executive team, the company also announced that Andrew Levy has been promoted to chief corporate affairs officer, reporting to Katzman. In this role, Levy will retain responsibility for legal, industry affairs, partnerships and corporate communications. Levy and his teams will continue to expand the business units to serve as a growth partner for the beverage alcohol and hospitality industries.
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