YAKIMA, Wash. — Yakima Chief – Hopunion, LLC (YCH HOPS), a grower-owned global hop supplier, has hired Kate Ruffing to fulfill the newly created position of Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Communications. She reports directly to Chief Executive Officer Mike Goettl, who was recently appointed in June 2017.
“We’re pleased and excited to welcome Kate to the YCH HOPS family,” says Goettl. “Kate’s terrific experience with world-class food and beverage companies coupled with her knowledge of farming and agriculture make her a great choice to lead our marketing and communication efforts and to be part of our senior leadership team at YCH HOPS.”
Ruffing oversees all global marketing efforts, company-wide communications, brand management, and product innovation. In addition, she will help lead an organizational transformation, as YCH HOPS looks to elevate their brand in international markets and grow their awareness with consumers.
As a well-recognized food and beverage industry veteran, Ruffing brings a new perspective on consumer marketing to a product type that is often just thought of as a brewing ingredient. In an increasingly consumer-driven economy, she is working towards generating awareness of hop products and varieties outside of the brewery, ultimately helping to drive craft beer sales and excitement for hops.
“It is a pivotal period in the beverage industry and the right time to increase consumers’ awareness of how hops contribute to their beer drinking experience, especially with regards to flavor and aroma,” says Ruffing. “With over 5,000 craft brewery brands in the market today, elevated understanding about the high-quality hops used to make their favorite beer will help consumers navigate the category in exciting new ways.”
Ruffing has almost 20 years of experience in marketing, brand management, product innovation and business strategy. She is a former Category Manager at Starbucks Coffee Company where she managed new platforms for the Starbucks bakery business. She is also a former Brand Manager for Kraft Foods where she was involved in the operations, research and development, and marketing of various brands.
As the former Chief Innovation Officer of her own business consulting company, Ruffing also brings with her proven results in identifying opportunities and developing strategies that have accelerated growth and built successful brands. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Life Sciences, with an emphasis in Meat Science and Food Chemistry from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a M.B.A with concentrations in Marketing and Economics from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.
About Yakima Chief – Hopunion
Yakima Chief – Hopunion is a 100% grower-owned, global hop supplier focused on providing premium quality hops and uncompromising service. The team is driven by a profound appreciation for the earth’s natural resources and a heartfelt respect for the communities and customers they serve. This creates a culture of continuous improvement centered on sustainably produced, innovative hop products for beer. From fresh Green Hops, to whole-leaf hops, Cryo Hops, hop pellets and Resinate CO2 hop extract derived products, Yakima Chief – Hopunion is uniquely positioned, and passionate about connecting the world’s finest brewers with family-run hop farms through YCH HOPS.