Boston Beer Company, the country’s second-largest craft brewery according to trade group the Brewers Association, today announced that CEO Martin Roper would retire in 2018.
Roper, who has led the company since 2001, said in a press release that he informed the company’s board of directors of his plans to step down “a year in advance” to give the Boston Beer ample time to name a successor and to “assure a very smooth transition.”
“I remain fully engaged and committed to leading the business as CEO until a successor is found and a seamless transition is completed,” he said via the release. “I am incredibly proud of everything that the employees of Boston Beer have accomplished and believe our future is very bright.”
The announcement comes approximately 20 days before Boston Beer Company is scheduled to report its full-year 2016 financial results.
During the third quarter of 2016, the company’s revenue declined 14 percent while shipments dipped 12 percent. Through October 8 of last year, Boston Beer had estimated a depletions decline of six percent from the comparable period in 2015.
Nevertheless, founder and chairman Jim Koch praised Martin Roper’s performance since first joining the company as the vice president of operations in 1994.
“Our performance under Martin’s stewardship has been incredible, and I am very grateful for his leadership, partnership and friendship over the last 22 years, during which the Company has grown eight fold,” Koch said via the release. “With the strong leadership team he has built, we are set up for success, and I am confident we will find a very capable CEO to step into his big shoes and lead Boston Beer into the future.”
Roper is the second notable Boston Beer executive to announce a departure in the last two months. Alan Newman, who had been overseeing the company’s incubator, Alchemy & Science (now A&S Beer), retired at the end of 2016 after five years in that position.
Last month, the company announced a reformulated recipe for one of its most popular flagship brands, Rebel IPA, after sales for the beer dropped 23 percent in 2016.