Former Fifty West Brewing director of sales Del Hall has left the Cincinnati craft brewery to join 16 Lots Brewing Company’s management team as chief commercial officer, starting July 6.
Hall will also receive equity in the Mason, Ohio-based craft brewery, which he told Brewbound amounts to a minority stake in the business.
Hall told Brewbound that he had no plans of leaving fast-growing Fifty West, a company that increased production from 2,949 barrels when he joined in 2017 to 7,543 barrels in 2019, according to the Brewers Association. The company had projections of 10,000 barrels this year. Hall said plans changed when Fifty West’s management asked him to take a pay cut due to the financial strains of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business, a request that hasn’t been uncommon over the past three-plus months.
With the loss of on-premise sales, and thus reduced commissions, Hall said he began to weigh his options and test the market as a free agent. Hall said he received interest immediately from 15 national and regional breweries and ended up with six offers on the table. A major factor in his decision to join 16 Lots was the equity offer.
“I think in the long game, having skin in the game and being a co-owner was kind of where I wanted to be,” he said.
Hall will be joining a much smaller operation at 16 Lots, which Mike Burton and Jeff Cosgrove founded in 2016 and opened in the fall of 2017. In 2019, 16 Lots brewed 488 barrels of beer.
Nevertheless, Hall said the new role checked all of the boxes of what he was looking for, from the ownership stake to involvement in the creative process. He added that he wanted to stay in the Cincinnati area too, due to having a daughter with special needs who started high school last year, so work-life balance was important.
His vision is to grow the business into “a solid regional brewery,” producing between 10,000 and 15,000 barrels annually, with distribution limited to the Midwest. Hall’s vision includes making 16 Lots’ brewpub a destination, with an event space, barrel room and cellar, as well as a micro-distillery and possibly an urban brewpub in the city of Cincinnati.
In a press release, 16 Lots co-founder and president Mike Burton called Hall “a transformational hire, which is why the company offered him an ownership stake in the company.
“When we found out Del was making a career change, we saw a great opportunity to accelerate the growth plans we had here at 16 Lots Brewing Company,” he said.
In his new position, Hall will be tasked with driving the brewery’s sales distribution and volume; leading the sales team; identifying and pinning down sponsorship opportunities; creating a merchandising strategy; and providing input into investment and growth opportunities.
Hall will also have input into 16 Lots’ pipeline of new products, including helping develop sour and barrel-aged programs.
Hall said his hope is that 16 Lots is his “last stop” before retirement in the distant future.
“To me, it seems like it’s a blank canvas for me to really leave an indelible mark,” he said.