A key pair of Ballast Point Brewing executives have departed the San Diego-based brewery less than nine months after its $1 billion sale to Constellation Brands, a spokesperson from the larger company confirmed to Brewbound.
Ballast Point president and CEO, Jim Buechler, and chief commercial officer Earl Kight have left Ballast Point to “pursue other interests within the beverage alcohol space,” according to Constellation Brands spokesman Michael McGrew.
In a statement, McGrew said current Constellation Brands president Marty Birkel would immediately assume the role of president for Ballast Point.
“Marty has been with Constellation almost 20 years. He’s a proven leader with extensive experience across beer, wine and spirits, and he’s well-regarded within the beverage alcohol industry,” McGrew wrote. “Marty has an intimate understanding and knowledge of the U.S. beer market, having served as head of sales for our beer business for more than 8 years, from 1998 to 2005. He’s a respected leader who is well-prepared for this role.”
Kight, 50, tendered his resignation on July 12, he told Brewbound.
“The brand is much bigger than me and I hope it succeeds,” he said.
Kight first announced his departure via Facebook on Monday morning, sharing a photo from the brewery’s taproom with the caption, “The final Longfin from my man Zach Borba…all good things must come to an end…my last day at Ballast Point…on to the next project (s).”
Those projects could include a foray into the non-alcoholic beverage segment as well as involvement in the individual spirits labels (like Fugu Vodka and Devil’s Share Whiskey), which were formerly owned by Ballast Point and reportedly not included in the sale to Constellation last November, Kight said.
Kight first began consulting with Ballast Point in 2008 and officially joined the company as the vice president of sales and marketing in 2012. He took over as chief commercial officer in early 2014.
Buechler, meanwhile, had only joined Ballast Point in 2012, serving then as the president and general manager before being promoted to CEO last June.
It’s not all bad news for both Buechler and Kight, however. Both executives owned shares of Ballast Point at the time of its sale to Constellation. Buechler owned 542,500 Class A shares (about 8.3 percent of the company) prior to the sale, according to an SEC filing. Kight owned about 30,000 Class A shares.
Ballast Point products are currently distributed in about 45 states, and will be available in all 50 states before the end of the year, McGrew said, adding that it would be “business as usual” during the executive transition.
“Consistent with our approach when the acquisition was announced last December, we will continue to operate in the same manner, with the leadership team at Ballast Point continuing to run the day-to-day operations and making decisions the team feels are in the best interests of the company and our consumers,” McGrew wrote.
“We’re also committed to maintaining the unique culture, sense of entrepreneurship and spirit of innovation that has made Ballast Point a consumer favorite over the past 20 years,” he added.
Coronado Brewing Appoints 2 Chief Operating Officers
Elsewhere in San Diego, Coronado Brewing has appointed two chief operating officers to individually manage the company’s brewery and retail operations.
Brandon Richards, who currently serves as the vice president of sales and marketing, has been promoted to COO and will oversee brewery operations.
“Brandon has been an important addition to the Coronado Brewing family; his background in a family business combined with his previous tenure in the industry has been tremendously valuable to us,” CEO Ron Chapman said via a press release.
Kasey Chapman, meanwhile, who currently manages the company’s retail facilities — including its original brewpub in Coronado, the brewery and tasting room in San Diego, and a newly opened fast-casual location in Imperial Beach – will serve as COO in charge of retail operations.
“Kasey has been with us from very early on; as we plan for the future, having someone in the family with their head in the business was very important for us,” Ron Chapman added.
Ron Chapman will continue to serve as CEO; Rick Chapman will maintain his role as president and J.D. Douglas will continue as CFO.
Uinta Appoints Former Duvel Marketing Exec as CMO
Uinta Brewing has appointed former Duvel Moortgat USA marketing director Jeremy Ragonese as its chief marketing officer, a newly created position, the Utah-based brewery announced last week.
“This is a strategic appointment and signals the next phase in our evolution as a leader in making some of the best and most sought after beers,” Uinta CEO Steve Mills said via a release. “It will be a pleasure to have such an experienced professional leading this critical part of our business.”
Recall that Mills had also previously served as the chief sales officer for Duvel Moortgat USA and Boulevard Brewing before joining Uinta as its CEO last June.