Lagunitas Brewing Company Names New CMO

Lagunitas Brewing Company has named Kelly Murnaghan, the former vice president of marketing at Vans, as its new chief marketing officer.

The Heineken-owned craft brewery announced Murnaghan’s hiring on Thursday afternoon. Murnaghan, who started earlier this week, will join the Petaluma, California-based craft brewery’s leadership team and report directly to CEO Maria Stipp.

In a statement, Stipp called Murnaghan “a natural fit for Lagunitas.”

“She will be an essential part of bringing our unique culture and vibe to new markets as we continue to expand,” she added. “Her past experience with two highly successful lifestyle brands, both of which understand the value of quality and authentic consumer experience, will be invaluable to Lagunitas as she leads our global marketing team.

“Additionally, she has proven experience working with a founder built brand at Vans. Knowing how to carry that magic forward while scaling our marketing capabilities will be paramount.”

Murnaghan supplants Noelle Haley, who departed the company after six years to become vice president of marketing and growth for San Francisco’s Equator Coffees & Teas earlier this year.

More than 200 people applied for the Lagunitas CMO position, according to a job posting on LinkedIn. In the ad, the company called the CMO “Lagunitas’s keeper of the brand,” and the person who “leverages an understanding of the brand identity established by Tony Magee to determine and execute brand positioning, communications strategy, and programming across all forms of media.”

Murnaghan last served as VP of marketing in North America for Vans, where she is credited with building its “North American marketing team from the ground up.” She also worked as director of marketing for Converse.

Murnaghan joins Lagunitas as its portfolio wide dollar sales are roughly flat (+0.5 percent) through mid-June, according to market research firm IRI. However, dollar sales of flagship brand Lagunitas IPA are down 0.8 percent.

Lagunitas crossed the 1-million barrel mark in 2018 for the first time, according to the Brewers Association.

Lagunitas is the third large beer company to name a new CMO in the last seven months. In January, MillerCoors hired Michelle St. Jacques to fill its vacancy. In March, Boston Beer Company tapped Lesya Lysyj to take over its CMO role after an eight-month search.

Boston’s Mass Bay Brewing Company and Michigan’s Founders Brewing are also searching for CMOs.

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