USA: One of the fastest growing craft breweries finds new president after 1 year search

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a brewery from Milton, Delaware, which ranks amongst the 15 largest craft breweries in the United States, has named George Pastrana as the brewery’s new president and COO. The position had been idle for more than one year after Nick Benz departed the company in October 201, a role he performed for only two years. In the meantime Sam Calagione, who had founded the company in 1995, took over as interim CEO.

Pastrana has an intense marketing background and has worked in the last 15 years in leading positions for several companies selling such diverse products as CIBA Vision contact lenses, Durex condoms, Scholl foot care and footwear, Mazola and Capullo cooking oils, Karo corn syrup, Argo corn starch, Patak’s Indian cuisine, Fleischmann’s yeast brand and Kingsford baking powder, among others.

It needs to be seen if Pastrana is more lucky on the new job than Benz, who started in 2003 as chief financial officer, was promoted to COO in 2006 and to CEO in 2014. Until that time the functions as a  CEO was performed by Calagione, who wanted to step back from day-to-day business and to focus more on a role as ambassador of the brand, on product development and his various activities around beer, including documentaries, Discovery’s “Brew Masters” TV series and even non-doc movie appearances like 2011’s The Dish & The Spoon (he played a brewery manager).

Up to today Dogfish Head Brewing is one of the fastest growing breweries in the United States. The brewery installed a new canning line and gradually expanded its sales territory in recent years. Another success factor is the introduction of a line of fast-growing distilled beverages. Last year the brewery increased volume sales by nearly 15%.

Dogfish Head had seen a slower rate of growth in the years before as the company stayed with one brewery in Milton as other craft brewers in the west opened plants in the East. The company also resisted the urge to discount its brews or depend too much on its most popular offerings, such as its 60-minute IPA.

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