By Josh Noel
7:27 AM CST, November 16, 2012
John Hall, who founded Goose Island Beer Company as a small brewpub in 1988 and sold it to Anheuser-Busch as one of the nation’s major craft brands last year, is leaving his post as chief executive officer, the company announced today.
On Jan. 1, 30-year Anheuser-Busch veteran Andy Goeler will take over as Goose Island CEO and president, AB said in a memo to employees. Goeler has most recently served as AB’s vice president of import, craft and specialty brands.
Goeler has worked on Goose Island products for the last year, the company said, and aims for “further expansion of the brand nationally” and “growing the brands the right way.”
“Andy has led the growth of Shock Top from its infancy, while taking established global brands, such as Stella Artois and Beck’s, and bringing them to new levels in the United States, carefully maintaining a consistent, quality brand position,” Anheuser-Busch said in the memo.
Since acquiring Goose Island in 2011 for close to $40 million, Anheuser-Busch has aggressively expanded the label. Earlier this year, it revealed plans to increase Goose Island’s distribution to all 50 states, making it one of the few craft brands with a true national footprint. (Though the Colorado-based Brewers Association doesn’t consider Goose Island a craft brand because of its ownership, the company’s beer and history is consistent with the craft movement.)
Most of Goose’s biggest-selling brands, like 312 Urban Wheat Ale and Honker’s Ale, have been outsourced from its Fulton Street brewery to AB plants in New York and Colorado.
The company’s higher-end products, such as Bourbon County Stout and Matilda, continue to be made exclusively in Chicago.
AB also said Thursday that Goose Island’s Chief Operating Officer, Tony Bowker, is leaving his post. He and Hall will join three Anheuser-Busch employees to form an “Anheuser-Busch Craft Advisory Board” that will help guide the brand.