People Moves: Changes at A-B, Boston Beer, Mass Bay Brewing, AleSmith and More

A number of members of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s corporate affairs team have left the company since early 2019.

Among the most recent departures include Megan Lagesse and Lisa Derus, who both served on the communications team for the world’s largest beer manufacturer’s craft beer brands.

Lagesse, who served as head of communications for the Brewers Collective, A-B’s craft business unit, departed the company after nearly five years in October to join the international communications team at Starbucks.

In her new role, Lagesse is tasked with supporting the world’s largest coffee chain’s international markets and Global Coffee Alliance partnership with Nestle.

Lagesse was among only three women on her business unit’s leadership team at A-B, according to a PR Week 40 Under 40 profile. She started as a senior communications specialist at Goose Island, A-B’s top craft brand, in February 2015. Her accomplishments at A-B include launching Elevate, a program focused on diversity and inclusion through internal programming at the Brewers Collective and external facing initiatives, including an award-winning diversity stock photo program.

Meanwhile, Derus, who served as communications manager for Brewers Collective members on the East Coast and in the Midwest, departed the company after six years in August.

Derus recently relocated to Illinois, where she is working as a communications consultant for CPG and beverage companies.Her time at A-B spanned both the St. Louis and New York City offices supporting A-B’s corporate and Brewers Collective communications teams.

Derus, a certified Cicerone, led issues-related communications at A-B.

Other departures include Andrew Baldonado, A-B’s vice president of government affairs, who left the company after more than 21 years to become managing director for state public affairs at Southern California Edison, one of the largest investor-owned utility companies in the U.S.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the beer industry,” Baldonado told Brewbound in an email. “I made a lot of friends, drank a bunch of great beers and had a ton of fun.”

A-B promoted Melissa Ameluxen to replace Baldonado.

In mid-April, Gemma Hart, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of communications and community affairs, left the company after more than three years to become VP of communications and corporate affairs for Danone North America.

Stephanie Walsh, corporate communications manager for digital and social media, followed Hart to Danone in September, to become senior manager of corporate communications — digital and social media.

Aimee Vargas, senior director of corporate communications for U.S. reputation, exited the company in October for resort developer Las Vegas Sands Corporation, where she is now VP of communications and community affairs. And Zachary Hartman, A-B’s director of national affairs, departed the company after more than five years to become chief policy officer at Ducks Unlimited.

Cider Brand Strategist Caitlin Braam Parts Ways with Boston Beer Company

Angry Orchard brand strategist Caitlin Braam announced on LinkedIn last week that she was no longer with Boston Beer Company and had restarted her consulting firm.

“I’m excited for the next chapter in my career. I’ve reopened my consulting business and will be continuing my work in the beverage industry, including the cider category,” she told Brewbound. “Even more so, I’m really looking forward to continuing to help build this amazing community and have a couple projects in the works that can’t wait to share in the new year.”

Her agency, Caitlin Braam Creative, offers services in marketing, branding, strategy and business development, according to its website.

According to Braam, Boston Beer restructured the Angry Orchard team and her position was eliminated. She joined Boston Beer in January 2018 after nearly three years at the Seattle Cider Company, where she served as president and, prior to that, director of marketing and business development.

“We both agree my role is no longer needed in their next chapter as a business,” Braam wrote on LinkedIn.

Earlier this summer, the marketing leaders for the Angry Orchard and Samuel Adams teams switched places, a Boston Beer spokeswoman confirmed. Kelli McCusker is now Angry Orchard’s head of marketing, while Matt Withington is the marketing director for Samuel Adams.

McCusker joined Boston Beer in January 2017 after stints at Campbell’s, Starbucks, and Pepsi, among other companies. Withington joined Boston Beer in May 2017 from the marketing department at Lindt & Sprungli.

Mass Bay Brewing Taps new Digital Director

Mass Bay Brewing Company has hired Megan Baker as its director of digital strategy.

“Megan’s had an impressive career that’s spanned a variety of brand categories, but we’re excited to welcome her back to beer and give her a new home at Mass Bay Brewing Company,” chief marketing officer Jon London told Brewbound. “With a strong expertise in digital marketing and a knack for creative, strategic thinking, she will play a valuable role in advancing our digital efforts across all five brands in the year to come.”

Baker was most recently at Honeywell, where she managed social media and public relations for the company’s Xtratuf and the Original Muck Boot Company brands. Before that, she managed social media at the Boston Beer Company for five years and worked on the Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard and Twisted Tea brands.

Mass Bay Brewing is the parent company of Harpoon, Clown Shoes, UFO, Arctic Summer hard seltzer and City Roots cider.

Brandon Richards Joins AleSmith as President; Rick Chapman to Resume CEO Role

Brandon Richards has departed Coronado Brewing to become the president of AleSmith Brewing, according to a post on LinkedIn

“I am making a move to AleSmith Brewing Company, a company I have always admired for making some of the best beers in the world,” Richards wrote.

Coronado co-founder and president Rick Chapman is “hopping back into the role of CEO,” he told Brewbound. Chapman and his co-founder and brother, Ron Chapman, have divided Richards’ responsibilities between them.

“We’re 24 years of work in progress,” Rick Chapman told Brewbound. “We always try to get better and better.”

Jonny Stringer Exits CraftWorks

CraftWorks Holdings manager of beverage operations Jonny Stringer announced that he is taking on consulting projects after leaving the chain retail outfit earlier this fall.

Stringer oversaw beverage operations for CraftWorks Holdings’ beer-centric family of restaurants, including Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant and Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery. A certified Cicerone with a physics degree, Stringer managed menu selection, staff training, and draft operations.

“I’ve been working on several independent consulting projects while I’m looking for my next permanent gig,” Stringer told Brewbound. “I’m looking for a multi-unit where I can take my vast experience doing this to another place.”

CraftWorks Holdings operates 390 restaurants in 40 states. The company’s headquarters is in Nashville, Tennessee, with a restaurant support office in Broomfield, Colorado, where Stringer is based.

Revolution’s Chief Commercial Officer Moves On

Donn Bichsel, Revolution Brewing’s chief commercial officer has departed the Chicago-headquartered craft brewery, according to a report in Forbes.

Bichsel joined Revolution in 2012 as its sales and marketing director and helped to shepherd the then-brewpub to an 85,000-barrel company with distribution in seven states. In 2018, the BA ranked Revolution as the 38th largest craft brewer in the country.

Stephanie Schulte to Depart Garage Brewing Co.

Garage Beer Co. marketing director Stephanie Schulte will exit the Temecula, California-based craft brewery after one year to become the public information officer for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

In her new role, Schulte will work with the media, as well as fire prevention campaigns with children in kindergarten through third grade.

Ekos Hires New CFO After Fundraising Round

Ekos, a craft beverage business management software company, announced last week that it hired Chris Rosbrook as CFO.

Rosbrook’s hiring comes after Ekos raised $8 million last month.

“Chris was an invaluable resource while we were raising our Series A, and we’re excited to bring him onto our growing team,” Ekos CEO Josh McKinney said in a press release.

Rosbrook joins Ekos from MapAnything, where he was CFO and oversaw the company’s acquisition by Salesforce. Ekos, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., plans to hire 40 more people in the next year. The five-year-old company offers software for breweries, cideries, wineries and other craft beverage companies.

Brewers Association Announces Board of Directors Results

The Brewers Association, the national not-for-profit trade organization representing small and independent craft brewers, announced the five candidates elected to its Board of Directors. Each will serve a three-year term that begins February 2020.

New directors who will represent packaging breweries include Sara Nelson of Fremont Brewing in Seattle, Washington, and Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine. Melissa Romano of Lake Anne Brew House in Reston, Virginia, will represent taproom breweries. Sean Casey of Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Jennifer Talley of 1849 Brewing in Grass Valley, California, will represent brewpubs.

The board includes 19 members representing packaging breweries, taprooms, brewpubs and the American Homebrewers Association.

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