CINCINNATI, Ohio — Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, a Cincinnati-based branded beer company, announced a new leadership team led by former marketing and advertising executives.
Beer industry veteran and current CEO of Cincinnati-based Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. Greg Hardman announced the key management additions. “In order to capitalize on new and emerging trends in the beverage industry and catapult our brands to an unprecedented, next level, I’m excited to announce the collaboration with three exceptional individuals, forming a new and impressive management team at Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.”
Jay Woffington, former Global President of POSSIBLE, a global digital marketing and advertising agency, will become the new Chief Executive Officer. Woffington will be joined by Michael Graham, Chief Financial Officer, and Jodi Woffington, Chief Marketing Officer. The three worked together at POSSIBLE, growing the company from $5MM to over $100MM, culminating in a sale to UK-based WPP, plc., a publicly traded advertising holding company.
Hardman will stay on as Founder, Chief Market Development Officer focused on expanding brand distribution. “We have some amazing brands and, with the addition of this team, we are now poised to capitalize on their untapped potential.” Hardman has a long tenure in the beer industry including President and CEO of Warsteiner Importers Agency. During his tenure at Warsteiner, Hardman led his team to the industries Hot Brand Award multiple times between 1997 and 2004 in the import category. He then founded the new Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. in 2004 by purchasing all the brand assets previously owned by the late great Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co., a top 10 US brewery in the 1990’s.
Currently, Woffington is the Executive Director of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company where he led the design, funding and execution of the $17.5 million construction of the Otto M. Budig Theater. The Company has tripled under his leadership and was recently voted the #1 Theater in Cincinnati. Woffington will leave his position at the theater in January to pursue this venture full-time. “Jay has been a huge catalyst for growth and stability at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Fortunately, he has institutionalized his business acumen throughout the organization. We look forward to seeing him have the same impact at another Cincinnati institution,” said Tayfun Tuzun, CFO of Fifth Third Bank and Board Chair of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.
At POSSIBLE, Graham was the Global Chief Operating Officer while Jodi Woffington was the Chief Client Officer and led all global consumer packaged good clients, including P&G, Smuckers, ConAgra, and Abbott. Graham and Jay Woffington met during a stint at P&G where they co-led the $2.3 billion acquisition of The Iams Company. “Having the opportunity to put the band back together again is quite exciting,” said Jay Woffington. “We have a proven track record, we work well together, and we have a lot of fun doing it,” said Graham, who was also the COO of DotLoop, a Cincinnati real estate software company that sold to Zillow in 2015.
In addition to Christian Moerlein itself, the Company also sells Hudepohl, Burger and Little Kings. However, the opportunity on Little Kings is what brought the team together. “I’ve always known the power of the Little Kings brand. In the early ‘90s it was sold in 48 states. We still get requests for the beer from all over the US. We want to bring Little Kings to a new generation of consumers. And so I put the team together that could do it,” said Hardman.
The Little Kings brand is well-positioned to take advantage of consumer trends. “People are looking for lighter, sessionable beers with natural ingredients and lower calories. Little Kings meets all these needs,” said Jodi Woffington. “The iconic 7oz bottle is a bonus.” The new team has big plans for the brand, including a brand re-stage and the introduction of fruit-flavored line extensions, the fastest growing segment of the beer market. In the spring, Little Kings will launch two new varieties — Little Kings Agave Lime and Little Kings Blood Orange.
The new leadership team has made an equity investment in the Company to begin the Little Kings expansion.
“With solid brands, an experienced leadership team, a legacy in the beer business and funding to provide the rocket fuel, we’ve got all the ingredients to make a mark on the industry,” said Jay Woffington.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN MOERLEIN BREWING COMPANY
German immigrant Christian Moerlein established his brewery in 1853 in the Brewery District of Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati. It grew to be a world-renowned brewery that helped put American brewing on the map in the late 1800s.
Jump forward to the modern era, and Christian Moerlein was the first American beer to pass the German Beer Purity Law of 1516 known as the Reinheitsgebot. Relaunched in 1981, Christian Moerlein is one of the pioneer craft beers of today’s craft beer movement.
Purchased in 2004 by Greater Cincinnati resident Gregory Hardman, Moerlein continues the grand tradition of brewing excellence started in 1853 at its production facility and taproom in Over-the-Rhine and at the world-class Moerlein Lager House in Cincinnati’s Smale Riverfront Park on the Ohio River. The Christian Moerlein brewing team has proudly brought back Cincinnati’s brewing heritage and legacy beer brands like Hudepohl, Little Kings and Burger.