Upland Brewing Owner to Sell Stake, Depart

Upland Brewing owner and president Doug Dayhoff will sell his minority interest in the company back to existing investors and depart the company at the end of the year, the company announced today.

Speaking to Brewbound, Dayhoff, 47, said the investor group would repurchase his minority interest in the company over the next “1-2 years.”

Upland, meanwhile, has launched search for Dayhoff’s replacement.

His decision to depart Upland – which Dayhoff helped purchase in 2006 – was driven by a desire to explore new entrepreneurial opportunities at a time when he believes the company is the most stable it has been since its launch in 1998.

“The business is doing really well right now and the brewery is growing steadily,” he said. “We have a the best team in place, so for me, this was an opportunity to take a step back at a time when there wasn’t a need for dramatic fixes or changes.

“Some of it was personal,” Dayhoff, added. “We just sent our oldest son off to college and our youngest son is right behind him. It’s one of those introspective moments in time that prompted me to think about things. There are some things I want to explore and do, and this is the right move operationally.”

Under Dayhoff’s leadership, Upland – known for its sour and barrel-aged beers — grew production by nearly 15,000 barrels over the last decade and expanded into six brewery and taproom locations.

Over the last 10 months, the company began distributing its beers in North Carolina, Nashville, Portland, Maine, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.

“We’ve been working with specialty distributors and retailers that know how to do the high-end of the market right,” Dayhoff said.

The company is also planning to launch in California next week, he said.

Dayhoff wouldn’t share details about his next move, but he did hint at the possibility of remaining in the beer space.

“I think there will be some interesting opportunities within beer,” he said. “With the changing landscape of the wholesale business, new models of distribution popping up and new players emerging while older players are consolidating — that is always going to create some white space.”

A press release and a “farewell message,” from Dayhoff have been reprinted below.

Upland Brewing Co. announces upcoming leadership changes

BLOOMINGTON, IN — After 11 years of growth, success, and countless beers shared, Upland Brewing Company announces the departure of President, part owner, and friend Doug Dayhoff.

“After thoughtful consideration, I’m ready to announce that I’m stepping down as President of Upland. I feel confident about leaving the business in the very capable hands of one of the best management teams in independent beer,” said Dayhoff.

“Thanks to all of you who helped build Upland into a great brewery—your encouragement, advice, and the pints you’ve enjoyed with us are part of this story, too.”

Dayhoff’s leadership, mixed with a little elbow grease, helped Upland grow from a small brewpub into a regional brewery that produces more than 50 beers a year. His tenure has been filled with continuous growth—from opening new brewpub and tasting room locations in Broad Ripple, Carmel and Columbus, Indiana to 2016’s sours expansion and the building of the Wood Shop Sour Ale Brewery, which has allowed for wholesale distribution nationwide as well as continued experimentation with small-batch sour beers.

While Dayhoff will step away from day-to-day operations, he will continue to support key initiatives, including sour ale launches in new markets, through the end of the year. Meanwhile, Upland, as a whole, will strategically stay the course and continue to build momentum in all three of the brewery’s three key areas of focus.

“It’s full speed ahead on our growth strategy of regional craft distribution, national sours rollout, and the best brewpub experience in the Midwest. While we’ll miss our partner Doug and wish him success in his next adventure, we are excited about the future and have complete faith in the ability of Upland’s 200+ family members to keep us moving forward without missing a beat,” said David Semmel, for the Upland ownership group.

Upland is launching a search for a new president of the company. Until that person is found, the company’s leadership will be handled by the executive team that has worked alongside Doug over the years. This team consists of Pete Batule who leads brewery and retail operations, Tim Spears who heads finance and human resources, and David Bower, who oversees sales and marketing efforts.

“Doug has certainly set us up for success as we continue to grow,” said Batule. “He will always be part of the Upland family, and we wish him nothing but the best on his next ride.

About Upland Brewing Co.

Located in Bloomington, Indiana, Upland Brewing Co. has an intriguing brewing story that dates back to 1998. Our mission is to brew remarkable beers in remarkable ways, staying true to the artisan, progressive spirit found in our part of the Midwest. Upland is currently the third largest brewery in Indiana and brews more than 50 different styles of beer annually.

A farewell message from Doug Dayhoff

“Go make it happen.”

10+ years ago, we had a vision to grow a fledgling Upland into a strong regional brewery that would thrive for decades into the future. We brought in smart, creative thinkers. We rolled up our sleeves and honed the craft of brewing beers and preparing meals that we were proud to serve. There is still work to do, but the company is positioned for a long, successful run ahead. We’ve made a lot happen.

With that in mind, I decided that it was the right time for me to step down as president. After working with our board to develop a plan over the past few months, we’re now ready to share this news.

I’m leaving the business in the very capable hands of the BEST management team in independent beer who will carry this momentum into the next decade of growth and development. The board will be recruiting a replacement over the next few months. (PM me if you think you might be the one.) Until then, I’ll continue to work on rolling out our sours program and advising the leadership team as they ease into the added responsibilities.

My close friends know how much this company has meant to me. It still does, and I’ll always be its loudest cheerleader. We’ve grown from fewer than 20 people brewing a couple times each week, to employing more than 200 people and selling almost 250,000 cases of beer. I will always have deep pride in what we’ve done and how we’ve gone about doing it. The beers are simply excellent. Our pubs deliver excellence without pretension, and they serve as gathering points for some of the best people on the planet. In a bunch of small but important ways, we’ve made a difference.

I have a couple ideas for my next adventure, but for now, I’m focusing on a smooth transition. Let’s have a beer and talk about it later this fall.

Thanks to all of you who helped make Upland a great brewery—your encouragement, advice, and work in the trenches have been keystones to our success. But I save my biggest thanks to those of you who shared pints with me along the way: that was the best part of it all!