Brew Talks: Industry Networking and Business Discussions
Dogfish Head presents Brew Talks, Brewbound's industry meet-up series. Engage with like-minded professionals and network with fellow brewers, distributors, retailers
Note: Attendees must register to attend Brew Talks as this event is separate from GABF. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a non-profit organization chosen by Dogfish Head.
Brew Talks Past Speakers
Founder, Dogfish Head
Co-Founder, Firestone Walker
Firestone Walker co-founder David Walker is originally from Devon, a county in southwest England. He relocated to the West Coast in 1991, and established the brewery in Los Olivos, California with his brother-in-law Adam Firestone a few years after that. The company relocated Paso Robles in 2001. Walker makes regular trips home to see his family and check on his beer, which, along with 20 U.S. states, is distributed in the UK.
Former CEO, New Belgium Brewing
Christine Perich serves as the CEO of New Belgium Brewing and is a member of the company’s Board of Directors. At the end of 2012, she guided the company through a 2nd Stage ESOP transaction, which resulted in New Belgium becoming a 100% employee-owned company BCORP. Perich now has oversight of all day to day operations and the construction and integration of the company’s second production facility in Asheville, North Carolina, which is slated for completion in late 2015. Christine has been an integral part of New Belgium’s growth and success. When she started at New Belgium in 2000, the company operated a 165,000 barrelage production facility and distributed its products in 7 states. In 2014, New Belgium will produce more than 970,000 barrels and distribute its products in 37 states and throughout Canada and Sweden.
Co-Founder, Rhinegeist Brewery
Bryant Goulding was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Connecticut. He graduated from UConn with an MA in Economics and wrote his thesis on ‘The Economics & Evolution of the Craft Beer Market.’ Goulding worked as supply chain & marketing analytics consultant while living in SF and would eventually quit the consulting world to work in beer sales at Anderson Valley. He also worked for three years with Dogfish Head, managing 18 wholesalers across five states. He then spent six months at Golden Road in LA as the company’s sales director before co-founding Rhinegeist with Bob Bonder in 2013. Goulding currently serves as the VP of sales & marketing for Rhinegeist, overseeing the creative marketing and sales execution aspects of the business.
Managing Partner, Wormtown Brewery
David Fields is the managing partner and majority owner of Wormtown Brewery in Worcester, Massachusetts. Since joining the business in 2014, Fields has helped the company scale from just 2,700 barrels to an expected 27,000 barrels in 2017. Prior to purchasing a majority stake in the brewery, Fields was the managing partner of Consolidated Beverages, an Anheuser-Busch distributor in Auburn, Massachusetts. As a wholesaler, Fields served as the president of the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts and on the board of the NBWA. He is married with one son.
Co-Founder, Odell Brewing
Wynne Odell is co-founder and CEO of Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins, CO. Starting in 1989 with her husband, Doug, and sister-in-law, Corkie, the trio had no grand plans, but after five years of a draft-only format, bottles were introduced and rapid growth ensued. 26 years later, Odell Brewing Company ranks 34th in size among craft breweries in the U.S. Odell is a Colorado-centric company, with 65% of its sales coming from Colorado. With the addition of Texas in 2014, it now distributes in 11 states. Wynne, Doug and Corkie undertook two transactions in July, 2015 that sold the majority of their stock to a combination of an ESOP and a trio of long-term managers. Having chosen legacy over maximum wealth, the three founders sleep well at night. Wynne, Doug and Corkie, along with 3 of their children, remain active at the brewery. Wynne currently chairs the Colorado Brewers’ Guild Board.
CEO, Pabst Brewing Company
Simon is a seasoned beer industry veteran with a deep understanding of the U.S. beer market. Simon joined Pabst as CEO on December 1, 2016. Before joining PBC, Simon was the President & CEO of Duvel Moortgat USA, where he led the transformation of the company’s U.S. craft brewing business into a respected leader in the craft beer segment. He was instrumental in building the high-end success of Duvel Moortgat’s Brewery Ommegang in Upstate New York, and established Duvel Moortgat’s partnerships with Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, MO and Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, CA. He also led the development of Duvel Moortgat’s import brand portfolio including Duvel, La Chouffe, Liefmans, and Mardesous. Prior to joining Duvel Moortgat, Thorpe led various private equity projects in Europe and was formerly head of strategy, M&A and new markets for InBev and President & CEO of InBev USA. His career has spanned beer, support services, art and stationery, food, and personal care categories in the Americas, Europe and Asia, including senior management positions with Compass, Crayola and Kellogg’s. His early career was with Tambrands and Unilever. Thorpe was born and educated in England and has spent 12 years living in Belgium and 19 years in the USA. He resides in Los Angeles, where Pabst is headquartered, with his wife Kati and son Henry.
Co-Founder & CEO, Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Chris Cramer is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Chris was related to Karl M. Strauss, the company’s original Master Brewer. Chris helped launch Karl Strauss Brewing Company in 1989. For the last 28 years, Chris has held a variety of leadership roles in the company including serving as the company’s President. He currently serves as CEO and is focused on defining long-term strategies for growth and identifying growth opportunities and resources for the company. In addition to his work with Karl Strauss, Chris sits on the board for the California Craft Brewers Association. Chris is a community activist and he personally championed many business and legislative reforms that helped pave the way for San Diego to become the capital of craft beer.
Owner, No-Li Brewhouse
John Bryant is the owner of No-Li Brewhouse in Spokane, Washington (USA). No-Li is an internationally-recognized and award-winning craft brewing organization built on a foundation of people, world-class craft beers, and community. John has a 30-year industry track record that began at The Rainer Brewery in Seattle. Previous industry experience includes roles as the president of Oskar Blues Brewery; chief operating officer of Odell Brewing; vice president of sales and marketing at Deschutes Brewery and national brand manager of Henry Weinhard’s. John is currently the vice president of the Washington Brewers Guild. He previously served on the board of the Association of Brewers and the board of the Brewers Association of America. He is a past president of the Inland N.W. Craft Brewers Association and received the 2011 Colorado Brewers Guild Director's Award. No-Li Brewhouse was awarded the 2015 National Brewery Partner of the Year by the NBWA and named the 2016 Washington Brewery of the Year. The company has earned 23 international brewing medals.
COO, Devils Backbone
Hayes Humphreys serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Virginia's largest craft brewery. His interest in Craft Beer was spawned by a visit to the always irreverent Magic Hat Brewery as a teenager and his first legal-age love was Pete’s Wicked Ale. Beer and brewing turned from passion and hobby to profession when faced with a slate of soul-sapping job prospects upon his graduation from the Darden School of Business. He joined the team at Devils Backbone in 2011 and has been awed each day since by the talent, intelligence and personality in the beer industry. As Chief Operating Officer, Hayes helps to develop the strategic direction for the company and oversees management of Operation, Sales, Marketing and Hospitality.
Leah Wong Ashburn
Family Owner, President, Highland Brewing
Leah is a second-generation family owner of Highland Brewing Company. Her father, Oscar Wong, founded the company in the sleepy town of Asheville in 1994, when Leah was two years out of school. After being turned down by her father for a job, she found a career in the printing industry in Charlotte, always with an eye on Highland and a drop of ownership. She turned down the same brewery job years later, as she enjoyed city life and financial success. But life priorities change, and in 2011, fleeing the nice income and abundant free time, she joined the family business. Leah began at Highland as a sales representative and board member, eventually moving into Marketing and Administrative leadership. Today she serves as President, living happily in Asheville with her husband Brock with occasional visits from her two terrific stepdaughters.
Co-Founder, Night Shift Brewing
Rob is part of a trio of friends who left their day jobs to follow their passion for brewing. Rob graduated from college with a strong love for craft beer. Post-college Rob worked for 6 plus years in the technology industry in Boston. In early 2012 Rob and his two other Co-Founders launched Night Shift Brewing in Everett, MA. For the past 5+ years Rob has lead the brewing team at Night Shift pushing for innovation and the creation of unique world class beers. In the fall of 2016 Rob and his Co-Founders launched a second business venture, Night Shift Distributing. Rob now leads this disruptive beer wholesale operation. Rob also serves as a the President of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Brewers Guild where he works to protect and promote the state's brewing industry.
Senior Director of Finance, Great Divide Brewing Company
Bryan Slekes is the senior director of finance for Great Divide Brewing Company. In this role, Bryan oversees finance, HR, and national sales. Prior to joining Great Divide, Bryan’s background and experience stems from private and public finance, commercial real estate development and sales. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys biking, skiing, and spending time with his family.
Director of Sustainability & Strategy, New Belgium Brewing
From bottling line to CFO and COO, Jenn’s roles have evolved since her start at New Belgium in 1993. As a B Corporation, New Belgium makes decisions that incorporate impact on planet and people as well as profit and invests in a sustainability team to drive that effort. Jenn leads the team developing and implementing the sustainability management system, corporate responsibility reporting, greenhouse gas accounting, natural resource management, legislative advocacy, and philanthropy. She has a special interest in the intersection of environment, economics, and policy, such as ecosystem services, carbon and water credit markets.
COO, Left Hand Brewing Company
Chris Lennert is the Chief Operating Officer for Left Hand Brewing Company. Starting in 2005, he has guided the brewery into one of the Top 50 breweries in the U.S. Building & leading strong teams within the brewery is a passion of Chris’ – with over 125 employees at the brewery, effective communication and ‘One Team’ is critical to the brewery’s success. He also is the Captain of Team Left Hand, a network of teams across 6 states with over 500 employees & friend that has raised over $2.2 million for Multiple Sclerosis since 2008. On a person side, Chris has been married to his wife, Heather, for 19 years and has two rough-n-tumble boys, Noah & Evan. He’s worked tirelessly with non-profits for the last decade and a half, from Bike MS to the VP of the Colorado Brewers Guild.
General Manager, Massachusetts Beverage Alliance
Brian has 15 years of beer and beverage experience. He began working for Coca-Cola Enterprises after graduating college in 1997, and joined Burke Distributing in 1999 as an on-premise merchandising sales representative. During 12-plus years at Burke Distributing, Brian served in many roles including: General Division Sales Supervisor; On Premise Sales Manager; Spirits Category Manager; and Craft and Specialty Import Beer Category Manager. Brian serves as a liaison between existing and prospective Craft and Specialty Import Breweries and Suppliers and the wholesalers’ network that make up the alliance in order to achieve statewide sales and distribution objectives and secure new brand acquisitions. He became a Certified Cicerone® in August, 2012 and is a proud member of the NBWA, Brewer’s Association and American Homebrewers Association. Brian graduated from Bentley College (now Bentley University) in Waltham in 1997 with a BS in Business Marketing.
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