Oakshire Brewing Hires Pabst Veteran, Promotes Lead Brewer

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Oakshire Brewing today announced a pair of key leadership changes.

The Eugene, Oregon-based brewery, which produced around 9,000 barrels of beer last year, has hired Jamie Walker, formerly of Pabst Brewing Company, to lead its sales team. Oakshire, which was founded in 2006, has also placed lead brewer Dan Russo in charge of its seven-person production team.

“We were in a position where we’ve been able to fill a gap internally and then see a need and find a good fit in the market,” Nina Ritchie, Oakshire Brewing’s director of strategic initiatives, told Brewbound.

Walker, who began as Oakshire’s sales director on Monday, brings two decades of experience to the brewery’s sales team. Over the last nine years, he sold the Pabst portfolio in Oregon, serving as an area sales manager and later as a sales director for the company. He previously had stints in Oregon as a district manager for Columbia Distributing, from February 1997 to June 2006, and as an area sales manager for Anheuser-Busch InBev from June 2006 to May 2007.

Walker will be tasked with adding new points of distribution and increasing the velocity of Oakshire brands sold throughout the Pacific Northwest, Ritchie said.

“We’re really looking to lock in our Pacific Northwest footprint in Oregon and Washington,” Oakshire CEO Jeff Althouse added.

One area of the Oakshire portfolio Walker will be focused on growing is its small-batch seasonal six-packs, especially throughout grocery chains such as Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Safeway, New Seasons and Market of Choice, Althouse said.

Oakshire’s beer is currently distributed in Oregon, Washington and northern Idaho as well as in the Denver area of Colorado, parts of Alaska and Vermont.

Meanwhile, Russo, who started with Oakshire in 2013 as manager of its Public House and becaume lead brewer in January 2015, took over the production team on January 30 after longtime Oakshire brewer Tyler West left the company for GoodLife Brewing Company in Bend, Oregon.

Oakshire will not backfill Russo’s lead brewer position, Althouse told Brewbound. Instead, other members of the production team will take on additional brewing and packaging responsibilities.

“We have a lean but efficient team,” Ritchie said. “We were able to give Dan the added responsibility while everyone else is able to manage the production and packaging.”

According to a press release, Russo will be responsible for continuing the “expansion of the Pilot, Vintage and Core Seasonal programs, including the development of a series of fruited Open-fermented American Farmhouse Ales and four different offerings from our ‘kettle-soured’ Sun Made Berliner Weisse line up.”

Russo completed the American Brewers Guild’s Intensive Brewing Sciences and Engineering Program, which led to him joining the brewery’s production team in January 2014 before becoming lead brewer in January 2015.

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