After a seven-month search for a new vice president of sales, Salt Lake City’s Uinta Brewing has hired Brian Curran to lead its sales team.
Curran supplants Steve Kuftinec, who spent 18 years with the Utah craft brewery but departed in June to launch a craft distillery, Highway 101 Spirits, in the San Diego area.
Curran brings two decades of beverage industry sales experience to Uinta, having most recently served as vice president of East Coast sales for wine importer, producer and seller Terlato Wines International.
“We’re thrilled to land a sales leader with Brian’s experience and energy,” Uinta CEO Steve Mills said via a press release. “Uinta will benefit from his diverse background of working with broad wholesaler networks, launching new brands, staff training and development, and building business through national accounts.”
Curran, who will be based in the Boston area, will start on November 1.
“I am excited to get to back to my roots inside of craft beer,” Curran said in a press release. “After spending time with the team at Uinta, I was extremely impressed with their passion and vision for the brand, and knew immediately this would be a great fit.”
Speaking with Brewbound, Mills said having his sales leader based on the East Coast will prove advantageous in gaining insights into how the brand performs outside of its home market.
“We understand what’s happening in Salt Lake,” Mills said. “We know what’s happening in our region because we’re living it every day. But how Uinta is being perceived and the challenges that were facing in the Boston area and beyond is something we need to be attuned to, and having our sales leader there is going to be beneficial.”
Curran will be tasked with driving Uinta’s sales strategy, developing the company’s sales force and building its presence in retail chain stores, which now accounts for 40 percent of the company’s total sales.
“Off-premise chain is leading the growth for Uinta Brewing Company,” Mills said.
Mills attributed the growth of Uinta’s chain business to the addition of several salespeople — the team tasked with developing that portion of the company’s sales has quintupled over the last 30 months. The company is also planning to hire additional chain reps in the future, he added.
“We’ll continue to invest in chain because we’re fortunate that Uinta can travel,” Mills said. “Building on that — and he [Curran] brings a lot of experience there — is really important for Uinta to reach its full potential.”
Curran began his beverage industry sales career in 1999 at the Boston Beer Company, where he worked in several sales roles before becoming a national account manager for the New York market. He left Boston Beer in January 2007 to join Fiji Water, serving as the regional sales manager in New England. In September 2008, he joined Terlato, where he worked in various sales leadership roles over the last nine years.
In another move to shore up its sales force, Uinta has hired Jeremiah Wallis to a newly created role as the company’s national accounts manager in the central part of the U.S.
Wallis, who will be based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, previously worked with Mills and chief marketing officer Jeremy Ragonese during their stints with Kansas City-headquartered Boulevard Brewing Company. He comes to Uinta from Texas-based Lakewood Brewing, where he was the company’s vice president of sales.
“He knows the Midwest really well,” Mills told Brewbound. “He knows those buyers. He knows the retail environment, the market environment there, and the landscape of competition. [Those are] the kind of people we’re looking for. [Ones] who really have their finger on the pulse of the business and know how to move the needle and understand those challenges. Jeremiah is that guy for DFW and beyond.”
Wallis started with the company last week, helping lead Uinta’s rollout in Nebraska — the company’s 44th state — via Johnson Brothers of Nebraska.
Looking ahead, Mills said Uinta is aiming for “strong double-digit growth next year on top of double-digit growth this year.”
To help achieve those goals, the company will begin selling Hop Nosh IPA in 12-packs. The company has also looked into packaging Hop Nosh and Lime Pilsner in 19.2 oz. single-serve cans, Mills said.
“Our growth will come from innovation and firmly on the back of what we call the Hop Nosh family,” he said.
Additional details are available in the press release below.
Uinta Brewing Fills Two Key Sales Positions
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Following a comprehensive search that began in March, Uinta Brewing Company has officially named beverage sales veteran Brian Curran as its new Vice President of Sales. The selection of Curran follows the departure of longtime sales VP, Steve Kuftinec, who left the brewery in June to pursue a new business venture. Curran arrives at Uinta with over 20 years of beverage industry experience, including leadership roles within Boston Beer Company, Fiji Water, and most recently, serving as the vice president of east coast sales for Terlato Wines International.
“We’re thrilled to land a sales leader with Brian’s experience and energy,” said Steve Mills, Uinta’s CEO. “Uinta will benefit from his diverse background of working with broad wholesaler networks, launching new brands, staff training and development, and building business through national accounts. It’s been a great year for the brewery thanks to our outstanding team, and with Brian at the helm, I have no doubt that our future will be even brighter.”
“I am excited to get to back to my roots inside of craft beer,” said Curran, who’s early career included sales management roles at Boston Beer. “After spending time with the team at Uinta I was extremely impressed with their passion and vision for the brand, and knew immediately this would be a great fit.”
Along with the hiring of a new VP, Uinta has added Lakewood Brewing’s former Vice President of Sales, Jeremiah Wallis, to its National Accounts team. Wallis’ tenure coincided with Lakewood’s rapid expansion in their home state of Texas, where his direct involvement with the Guns & Hoses Foundation of North Texas also helped raise over $1M for the families of fallen first responders. He was named to the organization’s board of directors late 2016. Wallis immediately assumes responsibility for Uinta’s chain activity in the central region of the US, and will be based out of Dallas.
About Uinta Brewing Company
Uinta Brewing Company began its journey in 1993 in Salt Lake City, UT. Named after the only major east-west running mountain range located in the continental U.S., Uinta has earned a reputation for crafting exceptional, award-winning beers in a wide variety of styles and flavors. Throughout the brewery’s history, Uinta has been a leader in the use of renewable energy, becoming the first Utah company to rely solely on wind power as early as 2001. Today, Uinta is a Top 50 U.S. craft brewery, with distribution in 45 states. For more information, visit uintabrewing.com.