Smuttynose Brewing CEO Departs

Rich Lindsay has departed Finestkind Brewing LLC, the operating company behind the Smuttynose Brewing brand, after about 14 months as CEO, Brewbound has confirmed.

Lindsay joined the North Hampton, New Hampshire-based craft brewery after it was acquired by Runnymede Investments in a foreclosure auction last March.

In an email to Brewbound, Smuttynose spokesman Alex Weaver said Christopher Broom Sr., the owner and chairman of the brewery and the man behind Runnymede, would assume the title of CEO.

According to Weaver, Lindsay was hired “for his proven track record in stabilizing companies during periods of financial or institutional transition.”

Before he joined Smuttynose, Lindsay served as the president of Massachusetts’ Night Shift Brewing for about 10 months. Prior to that, Lindsay spent nearly three years as the CEO of Tuthilltown Spirits, and six years at Boston Beer Company in various finance roles, including CFO.

“Leaving the company in excellent standing and with a strong core team in his wake, Richard’s leadership and industry foresight has helped propel Smuttynose back onto a clear path of continued growth, community enrichment, and product innovation,” Weaver wrote.

The company declined to comment on the specific reasons behind his departure, saying only that he was “hired to lead the turnaround effort at Smuttynose.”

Those turnaround efforts included hiring new sales leadership, reengaging beer wholesalers, leading a core package redesign effort, and “bolstering the brewery’s marketing and communications department.”

“We’re very grateful for his leadership and wish him well in his future consultancy,” Weaver wrote.

The company also declined to comment on whether Lindsay’s exit was related to allegations that 35-year-old Christopher Broom Jr. — a manager and owner of Runnymede Investments, who played an active role in the purchase of Smuttynose – raped a 21-year-old woman around July 4, 2018.

In March, Broom was indicted for aggravated felonious sexual assault, according to documents from the Superior Court of New Hampshire. Broom was also previously arrested for driving while intoxicated last December.

Despite the internal strife, Weaver maintained that Smuttynose has rebounded from last year’s financial turmoil.

“Smuttynose has been in full growth mode,” he wrote. “We’re seeing solid sales growth across all New England markets and our internal small-batch brewery, Smuttlabs, has seen incredible year-over-year growth.”

In the coming months, Smuttynose plans to introduce rebranded core beer labels, including new designs for flagships Finestkind IPA and Old Brown Dog Ale, Weaver added.

UPDATE (3:29 p.m., May 10): 

Following publication of this story, Weaver sent Brewbound a statement from Finestkind Brewing LLC owner and CEO Christopher Broom Sr. regarding the charges against his son, Christopher Broom Jr. The full statement is included below:

“My son, Chris Broom Jr., is facing criminal charges in Rockingham County, NH on sexual assault charges related to an incident which occurred last July in Portsmouth, NH. My family and I are convinced of our son’s innocence. We have great faith in our legal system. But I also understand that this may have an impact on Smuttynose Brewing Co., its employees and its partners. For that I am deeply sorry. The Smuttynose Brewing family has been working hard for almost 25 years. I am proud of these efforts. Those who know us know who we are and what we stand for. We are committed to brewing great beer and serving our community. That will continue to be our mission.”

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