Schlafly Appoints New CEO

pendegraft

James Pendegraft

The Saint Louis Brewery, makers of the popular craft beer Schlafly, has brought on a new chief executive officer.

James Pendegraft, a Saint Louis native and the former vice president of sales & marketing for North American Breweries, a subsidiary of Florida Ice & Farm Co., will take over as Saint Louis Brewery’s CEO. He replaces co-founder Dan Kopman.

Kopman, who founded the company in 1991 with partner and current chairman Tom Schlafly, will become co-chairman of the brewery’s board.

In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kopman cited Pendegraft’s “deep industry knowledge” and experience as the president of Labatt USA (InBev) from 2003 to 2009, saying it would help the Saint Louis Brewery grow.

Pendegraft left North American Breweries last May and had been consulting for the Saint Louis Brewery since September, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

As co-chairman, Kopman said he plans to take a step back from day-to-day operations and “oversee innovation as well as relationships with partners and customers,” the Post-Dispatch said.

The leadership changes come just one month after the Schlafly’s longtime brewmaster, Jim Ottolini, left the company to pursue a new opportunity with The Brew Hub, a contract brewing outfit that is building a production facility in the area.

Recall that in 2012, The Saint Louis Brewery sold 60 percent of the company to local private equity group Sage Capital. Under that agreement, Tom Schlafly retained 20 percent of the business and Kopman kept 10 percent. The remaining 10 percent of the company was sold to a group of employees.

The Saint Louis Brewery made 60,000 barrels of beer in 2014 and is currently searching for a location to build a third production facility. The company plans to invest upwards of $20 million on the expansion and grow capacity to more than 100,000 barrels, the St. Louis Business Journal said.