MINNEAPOLIS — In the ever-mercurial craft beer industry, the need for strong branding and innovation has never been more important. Minnesota alone is home to more than 150 craft breweries, with new taproom doors opening almost daily. Surly Brewing Co. (Surly), the Minneapolis-based independent craft brewery, is facing 2018 head-on with strategic growth, innovative beer styles, and the addition of Bill Manley as the Director of Brand Development.
“When I first met Bill, it was as if craft beer ran through his veins. His expertise and intuition about the market, beer styles, and consumers really resonated with me,” said Omar Ansari, founder, and owner, Surly Brewing Co. “I knew he’d be an incredible addition to the existing talent and restless spirits we have at Surly. We’re honored to have him join our team, and the Surly Nation.”
Who is this Bill Manley guy?
Manley started his professional career as a photojournalist in Illinois and Virginia. This was around the time that his obsession with homebrewing and beer flourished. He pitched stories about beer to his editors constantly and quickly started writing a weekly column that followed the rapidly expanding beer industry. As he continued down a non-traditional path, he found himself at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. with the help of one of those beer columns and was further immersed in the industry with a company he’d long admired as the Communication Manager. Through a string of opportunities, he found himself working on new products and eventually leading their development.
At Surly, Manley will guide new product development and brand positioning. Collaborating with sales, marketing, brewing, and production, his goals and focus will be to streamline processes that get new and innovative brands with strong messaging into the hands of consumers across Surly’s distribution footprint.
“I’m excited to join the Surly team. The brewery has a great attitude—a swagger, really—and strong brand,” said Manley. “There’s such personality, skill, and passion at play every day, and I’m eager to work for a company that is so focused on making great beers and playing an active role in the community—for beer and for everything else. Surly actually does give a damn!”
As an Illinois native, Manley is embracing his Midwest DNA with his family by his side. An avid indoorsman, he’s eager to understand the motivation behind traditional winter activities like ice fishing and Minnesota’s obsession with ice hockey, he’s always looking for the next home project to satiate his DIY curiosity or on an expedition to find the greatest ethnic food (move over Minnesota spice, Manley can handle level-10 heat). The self-proclaimed beer nerd loves to visit not only breweries but also distilleries and wineries, in order to sample the fruits of the dark-arts of fermentation.