Ska Brewing yesterday announced that Jason Armstrong, the former national sales director for Stone Brewing, would join the Colorado-headquartered craft brewery as a sales representative in Texas.
Armstrong, who led Stone’s national sales between May 2008 and April 2016, will oversee Ska’s presence in the Lone Star State from his homebase of Houston. The brewery hailed the hire as a way to “help continue to grow sales and increase Ska’s presence in the Texas market,” where the brewery has distributed its beer for eight years.
“In an increasingly competitive market, with more megabrewer buyouts of craft forthcoming, we knew we needed more experienced boots on the ground and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring on Jason, our long-time friend, and ridiculously talented salesperson,” Ska international sales manager Arlo Grammatica said in a press release.
As for Armstrong’s official title, his business card calls him the “godfather,” Grammatica told Brewbound.
“He’s definitely got the potential to grow into a bigger role with us as a company,” Grammatica said, “but for now he’s going to maintain Texas.”
Grammatica noted the difficulties of growing in a market as big as Texas without a rep on the ground, and Armstrong will be tasked with getting more seasonal and one-off Ska beers onto store shelves.
“It was an easy move,” Grammatica said. “He’s managed more people than our whole company. His management skills are there. He’s got ideas. He’s worked through some of the things we haven’t gotten to yet. His wealth of knowledge is invaluable to us.”
According to the press release, Armstrong “left Stone to pursue a career that would allow him to spend more time in Texas.” Armstrong’s connection to Ska dates back to his time at Stone, in 2008, when Stone distributed its beers through Ska in Southwest Colorado.
“We’re thrilled to have Jason’s breadth and depth of craft sales experience help continue our growth in Texas and the surrounding region,” Ska president Dave Thibodeau said in a press release. “He will be a great mentor to the team, and he already embodies Ska’s commitment to the highest level of customer service and focus on the highest level of quality craft brews.”
After Stone, Armstrong worked as the vice president of sales and distribution for Buffalo Bayou Brewing in Houston, Texas, according to his LinkedIn page.
Ska expects to produce about 40,000 barrels of beer in 2016, with a“slow and steady” approach to growth, Grammatica said.
“We don’t need to expand and boom it out,” he said. “We can control it and manage the growth.”