People Moves: Avery Brewing COO Departs; Wormtown Names General Sales Manager

Avery Brewing COO Resigns; Colorado Brewery Lays Off 6 Workers

After being named Avery Brewing Company’s chief operating officer last August, Dustin LeMoine resigned from the Colorado beer company in March, a company spokeswoman told Brewbound.

LeMoine, who served as Avery’s director of sales and marketing prior to being named COO, was credited with helping to grow sales to more than 62,000 barrels and reported directly to brewery founder Adam Avery.

In a press release announcing LeMoine’s promotion last year, Avery referred to him as “the ultimate facilitator, communicator, change agent, project manager and partner.”

“He cares extremely deep for this company and I trust him 100 percent to further propel our vision of Avery Brewing into reality,” Avery said last August.

Three months later, Avery Brewing announced the sale of a 30 percent stake to Mahou San Miguel.

An Avery Brewing spokeswoman told Brewbound that the COO duties “have been absorbed by the team” and the company is “not actively searching for a replacement.”

Following LeMoine’s departure, the company also laid off six production team members in April, according to Denver alt-weekly Westword.

In a statement shared with Brewbound, Avery Brewing said that despite growing sales last year, the company was overstaffed.

“While we did increase sales in 2017, we were staffed for more anticipated growth then we achieved and had to create an environment in which we can continue to progress in this dynamic industry,” the statement read. “The departed employees all made great contributions to our past success and it was a heartbreaking decision to part ways with them.”

Employees were offered severance packages and will be eligible for future employment opportunities, the company added.

Wormtown Hires General Sales Manager

Wortown Brewery today announced the hiring of David Norkus as its general sales manager.

Norkus previously worked with New Belgium Brewing, leading the Colorado-headquartered craft brewery’s Massachusetts rollout in 2017. Prior to an 18-month stint with New Belgium, Norkus spent about nine years as Sierra Nevada’s eastern Massachusetts sales manager. He also spent two years as a sales rep for Burke Distributing in Massachusetts.

In a press release, the Massachusetts-based craft brewery said Norkus would be tasked with overseeing the planning and execution of its sales efforts.

Norkus will also be charged with managing its sales and distribution relationships as the company expands its distribution footprint into New Hampshire, and help the company transition away from a self-distribution in 16 Massachusetts towns when it begins working with Sheehan Family Companies-owned Craft Brewers Guild on June 4.

Heineken USA Forms Sales Operations Team

Heineken USA (HUSA) has appointed John Doolan to lead its newly created sales operations team, the company announced in a memo to wholesalers.

In the memo, HUSA chief sales officer Ray Faust wrote that the sales operations team would lead the company’s efforts in four areas: distributor network development, EOE/commercial capabilities, sales systems and tools, and remote distributor management.

“John is a leader who understands all facets of our business from distributor strategy, to excellent outlet execution, commercial marketing and the interaction with our global colleagues,” Faust wrote of Doolan, a 14-year HUSA veteran.

The company also named Anthony Labrusciano as its northeast regional vice president. Labrusciano comes to Heineken from Diageo, where he was director of sales in the Midwest region. Labrusciano’s first day with HUSA will be July 2.

“I am excited for Anthony to join us and am fully confident that his track record of strong performance for the Diageo brands, leadership of high performing teams and P&L experience are the right combination needed to help drive the Northeast Region’s business forward,” Faust wrote.

Monarch Beverage to Lay Off 100 Employees

Indiana’s largest beer wholesaler, Monarch Beverage, is laying off 100 employees as it prepares to shut down its wine distribution business in September, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Monarch CEO Phil Terry told the outlet that the job losses were due to his business not being allowed to sell hard liquor due to state regulations. As such, Monarch lost its top wine supplier, E&J Gallo Winery, which has a growing portfolio of spirits products that the wholesaler was unable to sell.

“Without Gallo, our wine business is just not sustainable,” Terry told the Star.

Many of the cuts are expected to come from Monarch’s sales team. Terry told the outlet that he hopes the affected employees can find work with St. Paul, Minnesota-headquartered Johnson Brothers, which is taking over some of Monarch’s wine business and plans to open a warehouse in Indianapolis.

Monarch’s beer division, which uses a separate sales team, sells products from MillerCoors, Constellation Brands, Heineken and Pabst as well as several top craft producers, including Lagunitas, New Belgium, Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn Brewery and Bell’s Brewery, among others.

A-B InBev Announces Investor Relations Team Moves

Earlier this month, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that, as of June 1, Lauren Abbott would supplant Henry Rudd as the company’s global vice president of investor relations in New York.

Abbott joined A-B’s global marketing team in 2014 and later became global director of investor relations in 2016.

Rudd, who is retiring, spent eight years working on investor relations for A-B and SABMiller. He spent the majority of his 28-year career in a variety of finance and operational roles with the company.

A-B said it would name a new global director of investor relations at a later date.

First Beverage Names New Managing Partner

Jack Belsito has joined First Beverage Ventures as a managing partner in the firm’s New York office, according to a press release.

Belsito, who boasts more than three decades of experience in the beverage industry, was previously the CEO of Voss of Norway and is credited with helping the firm complete a transaction with PepsiCo.

Read more about Belsito’s hiring on Brewbound’s sister publication, BevNET.

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