Add Upland Brewing to a growing list of craft breweries plucking top executive talent away from the world’s largest beer companies.
The Indiana-based craft brewery today announced the appointment of Bob Kenney, who will lead Upland’s sales team after most recently serving as the senior director of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s national sales team, where he oversaw Goose Island’s specialty portfolio. Kenney had also previously served as the vice president of sales at Goose Island.
“Bob’s experience and acumen are a perfect pairing with Upland,” said Doug Dayhoff, Upland’s president, in a news release. “We aim to build strong distributor relationships throughout the Midwest to capitalize on the momentum of our core beers.”
Kenney’s hiring comes on the heels of a recent expansion to Upland’s production brewery where it now produces all its ales and lagers, doubling capacity to 75,000 barrels, the company said. Upland is also currently in the process of finalizing plans to expand its original brewery, which has since been converted to focus entirely on Belgian-style sour ales.
The company is projecting sales of 16,000 barrels this year, enough to solidify its position as a regional brewery.
A growing number of executives are leaving behind promising careers at large international beer companies to work for smaller craft breweries, bringing with them many years of knowledge and expertise. Just yesterday, Brewbound reported that former MolsonCoors executive Bill Waters would take over as the new CFO at SweetWater Brewing. And in April, Joe Vanderstelt left a senior finance position with MillerCoors to take over as Craft Brew Alliance’s new CFO.
Some former A-B executives have even opted to launch their own ventures. Tim Schoen, who spent 28 years as A-B’s vice president of global sports and entertainment marketing, launched contract brewing outfit Brew Hub in 2013. And in 2010, a pair of former A-B employees, Florian Kuplent and David Wolfe, launched the Saint Louis-based craft brewery Urban Chestnut.