Rahr Corporation COO Jesse Theis to Retire, Darren Smith Appointed

Jesse Theis, COO of Rahr Corporation, will be retiring this year from Rahr Corporation. Jesse began his career with Rahr Malting Co on September 21, 1981. He held a variety of positions in malting operations and continued to advance his career achieving the position of Vice President, Production, Engineering and Plant Maintenance in 1996.

Jesse was named Chief Operating Officer of Rahr Malting Co in 2010 and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer for Rahr Corporation in March of 2014. Jesse’s strong understanding of agriculture and engineering allowed him to contribute to the growth and success of Rahr throughout his tenure.

Jesse was responsible for numerous operating process improvements and product quality and engineering achievements across all of Rahr’s facilities in North America. Some of his engineering successes include the innovative design of malthouse #6, a first in vertical malting operations, award winning renovation of Rahr’s corporate headquarters recognized by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design), and organization of Bushel Boy’s state of the art LED and hydroponics greenhouses in Owatonna, MN and Mason City, IA. Jesse’s focus on product quality and customer service established Rahr as a world leader in the malted barley industry.

There are many who say Jesse Theis is the “best maltster in the world”, and certainly those professional contributions will be sorely missed. But more than his professional contributions are his personal ones; Jesse has been a friend, mentor, and confidant to many of us, and his example of loyalty, work ethic, and care have been a cornerstone of building Rahr’s strong culture.

We sincerely thank him for the role he has played in Rahr’s success!

As we congratulate Jesse Theis on his retirement, we are also pleased to announce the selection of a new Chief Operations Officer for Rahr Corporation. Darren Smith, formerly the President of Processing (malting) at United Malt Group, based out of Vancouver, Washington.

Darren brings extensive operations and leadership experience from the malting industry including Production Supervisor, Production Manager, Director of Sales, Managing Partner, Chief Operating Officer and President with companies including Canada Malting Ltd., Great Western Malting Company, RMI Analytics AG, GrainCorp and United Malt including oversight of Country Malt Group and Brewcraft.

Darren’s knowledge of the malting industry will be extremely valuable as he takes on the role previously held by Jesse Theis. He will reside in Calgary, Alberta with his family and travel regularly to Shakopee and other locations throughout the company supporting leaders and the operations functions.


About Rahr Corporation

Rahr was founded on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1847 by German immigrant and brewer, William Rahr. Over 170 years later, the company is still owned and operated by the Rahr family, now in its 5th and 6th generations.

Rahr’s family of business include Rahr Malting Co., Gambrinus Malting, BSG (Brewers Supply Group), BSG Hops, Bintani, Bevie, Bushel Boy Farms, and Koda Energy.

Our success has been built upon a commitment of quality, integrity and value provided to our customers, and is evidenced by the continuous investment in our people, our facilities and our products. 

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