Walsh, who most recently spent six years as the CEO of Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing Company, joined the company following the abrupt departure of Pittsburgh Brewing’s former CEO, Ed Lozano, in mid-May. Walsh told Brewbound.com that he began interviewing for the position at the end of May.
Walsh said he plans to strengthen the company’s existing reach with core brands like Iron City Beer, IC Light and American Beer, in key markets like Western Penn., West Virginia and Eastern Ohio.
“Once our wholesalers receive the plans and programs in our core markets, we can begin looking at additional expansion markets in the Northeast,” he said.
The company sold over 1 million cases of beer — produced under contract at City Brewing in Latrobe, Penn. — in 2012. Walsh said in a press statement that he hopes to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in supporting local businesses.
“Pittsburgh Brewing Company is poised to benefit from this trend,” he said. “We have great products, a strong organization, authentic and iconic brands and a growing wholesaler network.”
While there are no immediate plans to enter the craft space, Walsh said he isn’t ruling out the possibility.
“The company has been around since 1861,” he said. “The number of recipes that they have is something that we will look at, but for now we are focusing on the core brands.”
Uni-World Capital, L.P., a new York-based private equity firm, purchased the 152-year old Pittsburgh Brewing Company in April, 2011. In looking to hire a new CEO, Walsh said, the group was “looking for someone who had relationships in Pittsburgh Brewing’s core market of western Pennsylvania and who understood the wholesaler side of the beer business.”
Walsh said that after leaving Long Trail in January he had advised a number of smaller beer companies — which could not be named— on distribution and go-to-market strategies. He also consulted for various private equity companies actively engaged on the “buying side of beer activity.”