Michael LaLonde Promoted to CEO of Deschutes Brewery

Yet another established craft brewery founder has stepped away from day-to-day CEO responsibilities.

Deschutes Brewery founder Gary Fish has turned his CEO position over to Michael LaLonde, who had been serving as the president and chief operating officer for the Bend, Oregon-based craft brewery.

“In reality, Michael has been serving in a CEO capacity for some time now, as he handles many aspects of strategic planning and daily operations of the company,” Fish said via a press release. “The title President and CEO more accurately describes Michael’s role and his guidance will continue to help us fulfill our goals.”

LaLonde has served in “various senior management roles,” since 2005 and played a critical role in developing Deschutes’ plans for an East Coast brewing facility in Roanoke, Virginia, the announcement noted.

Deschutes, which ranked as the 8th largest U.S. craft brewery, grew 8 percent in 2016 and produced more than 374,000 barrels, according to Brewers Association records. However, the company has struggled through the first five months of 2017, down nearly 10 percent through May 14, according to market research firm IRI Worldwide.

Other notable craft brewery founders who stepped back from CEO positions in recent years include Ninkasi’s Nikos Ridge, Bell’s Brewery’s Larry Bell, Lagunitas’ Tony Magee, Stone Brewing’s Greg Koch and New Belgium’s Kim Jordan (who has since returned temporarily after Christine Perich departed earlier this year).

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