People Moves: Samantha Roth Exits Anheuser-Busch for the NFL; North Coast Brewing Hires New CEO

A-B Corporate Communications Director Leaves for the NFL

Samantha Roth left her post as director of corporate communications for Anheuser-Busch InBev in November to become the vice president of communications for the National Football League.

She is the latest corporate communications executive to depart from the world’s largest beer manufacturer.

Roth joined the maker of Bud Light, Budweiser and Michelob Ultra in February 2016 as global communications manager after a career at various public relations agencies. She was promoted to director of corporate communications in March 2018, holding the role until her exit last month.

This year, at least 10 members of A-B’s communications and government affairs teams have exited the company.

North Coast Names Jeffrey Ottoboni as CEO

North Coast Brewing has hired longtime wine executive Jeffrey Ottoboni as its next CEO. He succeeds interim CEO Sam Kranyek, who will retire in February.

“I’m honored to lead the brewery into its next chapter, continuing not only its reputation for producing quality, award-winning beers, but also its positive impact on the community and planet,” Ottoboni said in a press release.

Kranyek was named interim CEO in May until a permanent replacement could be found, when North Coast co-founder and then-president Mark Ruedrich retired. Prior to that promotion, Kranyek was the company’s chief operating officer; he joined North Coast in 2013.

“His leadership guided the brewery through that transition, and while his retirement was planned, the timing was solidified once North Coast Brewing found the right next fit in Jeffrey Ottoboni,” a North Coast spokeswoman told Brewbound.

Ottoboni, whose first day with North Coast was December 2, has 25 years of experience in corporate leadership roles at wineries. He was most recently the chief financial officer at Paul Hobbs Winery in Sebastopol, California. Prior to that, he served as vice president at wine and spirits company Wilson Daniels Limited and Premier Pacific Vineyards and also spent five years as the CFO at Cuvaison Winery.

“Jeff is an excellent coach and facilitator, with a special expertise in developing personnel and teams,” Kraynek said in the release. “While I am thankful for the past six years I spent at North Coast Brewing, most recently as CEO and president, I look forward to watching it continue to flourish under Jeff’s guidance.”

Last year, the Fort Bragg, California-based craft brewery’s production increased 5%, to 68,125 barrels, making it the 45th-largest craft brewery in the country, according to the Brewers Association (BA).

Wachusett Brewing Promotes Valerie Brock to Director of Fermentation and Cellaring

Westminster, Massachusetts-based Wachusett Brewing has promoted Valerie Brock to director of fermentation and cellaring.

Brock supplants longtime brewmaster Dave Howard, who will step down into a consulting role after 20 years with the craft brewery.

“I could not be more proud to have someone of the caliber of Val to lead us into the future,” Wachusett co-founder and CEO Ned LaFortune said in a press release. “She has consistently been a leader for us since the day she arrived here.”

Brock most recently served as Wachusett’s microbiologist, and has a decade of experience in bacteriology, fermentation science, quality assurance and sensory analysis, according to the release.

Wachusett, which was founded in 1994, produced 69,491 barrels last year, up 8% from 2017, making it the country’s 43rd-largest craft brewery, according to the BA.

Beer Institute Names New Media Relations Director

The Beer Institute (BI), a trade group for the nation’s breweries, announced that it has hired Alex Davidson as its next director of media relations.

Davidson most recently served as the communications director for Rep. Paul Mitchell (R.-Mich.); prior to that, he worked on the staffs of Reps. Blake Farenthold (R.-Tex.) and Mike Bost (R.-Ill.)

“I am pleased to welcome Alex to the Beer Institute and draw on his extensive Capitol Hill experience as we advocate for the more than 2.1 million Americans who owe their jobs to our nation’s beer industry,” BI president and CEO Jim McGreevy said in a press release. “Alex will be an excellent member of the Beer Institute team as we work to extend federal excise tax relief for all American brewers, provide greater transparency to aluminum benchmarking, and talk about the countless occasions where beer is the ideal alcohol beverage.”

Davidson steps in for Ramsey Cox, who departed the organization in October.

David Coors to Oversee Molson Coors’ Emerging Growth Division

David Coors has taken a new role as vice president of Next Generation Beverages, a department in Molson Coors’ North American Emerging Growth division, according to Denver alt-weekly newspaper Westword.

Though a recent restructure resulted in the closing of the company’s Denver office and the moving of all business units to Chicago and Milwaukee, Coors will remain in Golden. He will oversee the AC Golden Brewing pilot brewery, as well the company’s wine, spirits and cannabis ventures.

Thorn Brewing Hires New Sales Director

San Diego-based Thorn Brewing has made several personnel changes in recent months, including the hiring of Taylor Allen as director of sales, according to San Diego, California-based beverage magazine West Coaster.

Allen previously served as sales and distribution manager for Vista, California-based Latitude 33 Brewing.

Head brewer Doug Pominville and sales and brand advocate Jay Jones also departed the company earlier in the fall.

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