Behind every beer brand you drink is an impressive team of beer professionals — brewers, barkeeps, bussers, canners, sales reps, CEOs, COOs, lab techs, interns and everyone from marketing and HR teams to warehouse and restaurant workers. “Beer professional” encapsulates a wide variety of jobs and skill sets, and breweries are constantly making moves to secure great employees and industry leaders. Oftentimes, it’s not even a beer pro, but a food or technology wiz that’s needed. Craft breweries and their suppliers and trade associations have many facets and require specialized employees. Here are a few of the big personnel headlines from the craft brewing industry in the last month plus. Send your beer pro news to email@example.com.
Maine’s Allagash Brewing announces new sales director
After more than 14 years of leading and building an exemplary sales team, Sales Director Naomi Neville is moving on from Allagash Brewing Co. Under Naomi’s leadership, the sales function grew from one person (her!) to a 35-person team, and from selling 16,000 barrels of beer annually to over 119,000 bbls in 2023.
To fill the leadership role, Josh Fruchtman, Allagash’s senior national accounts manager, is being promoted to sales director. Fruchtman will guide the field sales and key accounts teams as well as the administrative and operations functions within the team. Neville will remain at Allagash through February 2.
“I met Naomi while she was managing an Irish pub in downtown Portland back in 2009. She started our sales team and has been a true partner, sounding board, and leader from the first day she joined Allagash. Naomi’s contributions over the years are innumerable and we can’t thank her enough for her dedication and service, as she helped our beer reach more people than I could have ever imagined,” said Rob Tod, founder, Allagash. “Naomi has created a robust sales team, and Josh is ready to build upon our strength and momentum. We congratulate him on this well-deserved promotion and look forward to embarking on the next chapter of our brewery with him at the helm of the sales team.”
During her tenure as Allagash Sales Director, Neville continuously moved the beer brand forward to achieve major milestones, including propelling Allagash White to be the No. 3 Craft Belgian Wit in the United States.
“For nearly a decade and a half, Allagash has been my home, and I’m extremely grateful for my time here, all that we’ve been able to accomplish together and the relationships we’ve made with our partners throughout the country,” said Neville. “We have a world-class sales team, steered by a wonderful new leader, who will continue to do great things for this revered beer brand.”
Fruchtman has been with Allagash for nearly a decade, first assuming the role of territory sales manager and soon elevating to senior national accounts manager. He started his beer career at Dogfish Head, where he managed their business with distributor networks across the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Since Fruchtman began to oversee key accounts at Allagash full-time in 2016, the brewery’s chain business has tripled. This includes 3% growth in 2023, a challenging year for craft beer at the retail level.
NA brand Best Day Brewing adds to its executive team
Recently, Best Day Brewing announced strategic appointments to its executive leadership team that will continue to build on its strong momentum and underscore Best Day Brewing’s commitment to national expansion of its premium non-alcoholic beer business.
Jane Armstrong Hockman is Best Day Brewing’s chief operating officer, while Todd Karnig steps into the role of Best Day Brewing’s chief sales officer. Both Armstrong Hockman and Karnig bring a proven track record of growth in the beverage industry to Best Day Brewing.
“Focusing on national expansion and integration across our business will allow Best Day Brewing to do what it does best: provide a premium non-alcoholic beer to this sector’s rapidly expanding consumer base,” said Tate Huffard, CEO and founder of Best Day Brewing. “Our brand momentum strengthened significantly in 2023, and we look forward to deepening our strategy and potential in 2024 and beyond.”
“Tapping into decades of industry expertise, both Jane and Todd have led rapid revenue growth driving value and orchestrated transformative market change. Under their leadership, we anticipate a profound impact on our commitment to long-term growth and profitability,” said Huffard.
Aligning with Best Day Brewing’s next chapter of growth, Armstrong Hockman will lead and scale the company’s growth and national business operations including finance, operations, and commercial and business development. Armstrong Hockman comes from a 17-year tenure at Molson Coors where she led an emerging business unit, managed core and emerging product strategies, and launched new brands in the Molson Coors’ family.
Karnig will lead Best Day Brewing’s sales team to guide them through a robust national expansion strategy. Karnig joins Best Day Brewing from JuneShine, where he served as chief commercial officer. Before that, he served as vice president of sales at Stone Brewing, Co.
In 2023, Best Day Brewing finished as the No. 4 craft non-alcoholic brand despite only launching in 2022. The brand continues to expand its retail presence with several national banners in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Best Day Brewing is available at select retailers including Whole Foods, BevMo, Target, Total Wine, and H.E.B., and nationwide on bestdaybrewing.com and Amazon.
Bent Water Brewing’s Jere Anderson named to Brewers Association Technical Committee
Bent Water Brewing Co., the award-winning craft brewery from Lynn, Massachusetts, this week announced that Jere Anderson, the process engineering manager and technical director for the brewery, has been asked to join the Brewers Association (BA) Technical Committee.
The Technical Committee guides, informs, and supports the work of the BA technical staff and subcommittees, including engineering, quality, and safety, and makes final recommendations to the BA Board of Directors about scope of work and overseeing requests from breweries for BA research funds. Mr. Anderson will join a group of people representing some of the most successful craft breweries in the world, such as Allagash, Boston Beer Company, and Sierra Nevada.
“To say that we’re proud of Jere for this recognition would be a huge understatement,” said Aaron Reames, cofounder and president of Bent Water Brewing. “He’s an incredibly accomplished engineer and inventor and we’re beyond lucky to have him here in such a critical capacity at Bent Water. The BA will benefit from his presence on the committee.”
Anderson has been serving in his capacity as the engineering manager and technical director for Bent Water since 2018, as the brewery made plans to expand its production facility to more than double its capacity at the time.
In addition to overseeing that pivotal project, Anderson has led several quality and efficiency initiatives, such as implementing an innovative approach to the brewery’s carbonation process that maximizes retained aromas while minimizing the time to carbonation completion.
“Because we’re so dedicated to quality and consistency — investing in equipment that you don’t often find in a lot of craft breweries of our size — working with someone with Jere’s level of expertise and experience has been invaluable,” continued Reames.
Despite the large-scale projects that Anderson has helped spearhead during his time at the brewery, it is his commitment to setting an example for the staff around the importance of proper training and procedures that he is most proud of.
“The brewery has been around for eight years, and eventually that means you are starting to balance scaling for growth while ensuring everyone is working efficiently at all times,” commented Anderson. “I’ve stressed the importance of drafting and implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) — not just to provide guidelines for current and future staff, but to help everyone work through the tough job of making sure the machine runs as smoothly as possible.”
Prior to joining Bent Water, Anderson’s formative experience as an engineer was largely in the plastics industry, where he spent 43 years in product and process development. He holds 27 patents with 16 specifically in the US, and has four published studies that have been presented at technical conferences.
In addition, Anderson was the technical lead in the development and commercialization of the 250 ml foam bottle for Dove Body Wash sold in Europe, which uses 10% less plastic than competing packaging.