The Los Angeles-based craft brewery which opened its doors two years ago is on pace to brew more than 15,000 barrels in 2013 and, to help grow its production volumes in 2014, the company will more than double its sales, marketing and communications staff.
“Now that the brewery is generating enough cash, we can reinvest in sales and marketing,” said Meg Gill, the 28-year co-founder and president of Golden Road. “There is momentum behind Golden Road right now and we are in what I call ‘super hiring’ mode.”
In preparation for the company’s stated goal of doubling production in 2014, Gill tapped Phil Jamison, a former Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) director of sales and, most recently, the vice president of Ace Beverage. Jamison joins Golden Road as its new executive vice president. In addition to being tasked with growing the brewery’s sales and marketing divisions, he will build the company’s first official sales and marketing plans.
“Phil was the first one to call me back before we even had a company name,” Gill said. “He has been my top mentor and coach in the industry for almost three years. Given his experience with Anheuser-Busch, he is arguably one of the best candidates we could hire to train new sales people.”
Jamison’s appointment follows a string of new hires for the fast-growing Golden Road brewery. Last August, the company hired ABI alum Paul Burgis as its general manager and CFO. In January, former Drakes Brewing Company head brewer, Jesse Houck, took over as Golden Road’s Brewmaster. Most recently, the company hired yet another former ABI employee, Jon Lerdsuwanrut, as its head brewery engineer.
“It is experience that you can’t find very easily in the craft world,” Gill said of all the recent ABI hires. “As a 28-year old, doing this for five or six years, there is nothing in the world that compares to the ABI training that these guys have. They have had access to resources from the biggest brewer on the planet and you can’t deny that that is something special. They are able to bring that expertise and training to our organization.”
The addition of talented sales and operations personnel has enabled Gill to focus attention on grooming her business at three key LA retail accounts: Costco, Los Angeles International Airport and Dodger Stadium.
Each retail account represents something different for the brand. Costco represents volume and brand awareness, Gill said. The airport account is more about letting travelers know that Golden road is “L.A.’s brand of beer.” It’s a different story entirely for Dodger Stadium.
“It is a melting pot of culture that fits in Dodger Stadium,” she said. “They are the most loyal fans that you can ask for in L.A. and when you are talking about promiscuous craft beer consumers, that is not Dodger Stadium. The loyalty there is remarkable.”
Golden Road beer currently has six placements at Dodger stadium, is sold in 19 Costco outlets and is poured through 30 tap handles at the airport.
Combined, the three accounts currently comprise about 20 percent of Golden Road’s sales, something Gill actually expects to decrease in 2014 as Jamison looks to direct the company’s retailer programming at more independent chains.