People Moves: Modern Times Brewer Departs for Hong Kong; Fifty West Hires Blank Slate Owner

Modern Times Brewer Leaves for Hong Kong

Modern Times’ first head brewer, Matt Walsh, has left the San Diego-based brewery for an upstart craft beer outfit in Hong Kong called Gweilo Beer.

Walsh, who previously brewed at Lost Coast, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers and Karl Strauss, will lead Gweilo’s brewing operations.

“Matt has a proven track record spanning hundreds of highly regarded beers,” Gweilo Beer said in a press release. “We’re excited to welcome Matt to the team and are very much looking forward to the beers we’ll produce together,”

Gweilo Beer is in the midst of constructing its first brewery after two years of producing its beer under contract at Hong Kong Beer Co., the region’s first craft brewery. The company plans to open next summer, and will initially distribute its products throughout Hong Kong. It also intends to export to other markets, according to a press release.

Following Walsh’s departure, Modern Times promoted Tim Kamolz to head brewer at the end of July, company spokesman Dan Reed told Brewbound.

Reed said Kamolz “started with us as a volunteer on the canning line way back in the day and has since been promoted an absurd number of times.”

Fifty West Brewing Hires Ex-Blank Slate Owner

Cincinnati-based Fifty West Brewing has hired Scott LaFollette, the former owner of Blank Slate Brewing, as its new production manager.

“Scott and I grew up in this industry together, and I’ve always admired everything he was able to accomplish,” Fifty West owner Bobby Slattery said in a press release. “For the past five years anytime we sat in a room full of brewers and someone asked who’s making the best beer in the Cincinnati, the room would always point to Scott.”

Last month, LaFollette closed his Cincinnati brewery after a little more than five years in business.

Fifty West has also hired former Mt. Carmel Brewing Company lead brewer Chris Siegman as its head brewer.

“My favorite part about Chris is when he was at Mt. Carmel, after working 50+hour weeks professionally brewing, he would go home and home brew,” Slattery added in the release. “His basement was stock piled with recipes he was crafting on the side.”

Former Sweetwater Sales Director Joins Party Punch Maker

Former Sweetwater Brewing Company northern zone sales director Jeff Chassner has landed at “portable party punch” maker Beatbox Beverages.

Beatbox touted Chassner’s hiring in a press release announcing the close of a $4.7 million Series A funding round.

Chassner had served as Sweetwater’s sales director for its northern zone, which covers Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. He also worked as the company’s director of new market business development. In that role, Chassner helped “fill out” the Atlanta brewery’s southwest footprint and expand into Texas and the company’s northern zone,” according to his LinkedIn page.

Chassner’s industry experience also includes more than a decade in sales with MillerCoors.

Phil Gramaglia now leads Sweetwater’s sales teams in both the northern and southern zones, according to Sweetwater spokeswoman Tucker Berta Sarkisian.

Tin Roof Brewing Hires CEO

Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Tin Roof Brewing has hired Jacob Talley as the company’s first CEO, according to The Advocate.

Talley previously served as a brand manager for Mockler Beverage, where he oversaw the wholesaler’s craft beer portfolio.

Tin Roof co-founder Charles Caldwell told the Advocate that Talley’s hiring comes as the company looks to expand into new markets, including east Texas. Last year, Tin Roof sold about 7,500 barrels of beer last year, according to Brewers Association data.

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