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The Scoop: Schlafly announces James Pendegraft as new CEO

February 18th 09:02am, 2015


Editor’s note: This article was updated at 3:15 p.m. Feb. 18 to include comments from Dan Kopman.

Schlafly Beer has a new chief executive officer. The company announced in a statement yesterday, Feb. 17, that James Pendegraft is joining the brewery as CEO.

“After 23 years of continuous growth and establishing Schlafly as a leader in the craft movement, the time is right for an addition to our leadership team in order to fulfill our potential of being the leading craft brewer in the Midwest,” said the company statement.

The change in leadership will posit co-founder Dan Kopman as co-chairman of the board, while he continues to focus on innovation, relationships with partners and consumers, and the brewery’s participation in industry trade associations. Keith Moszczenski will continue as the brewery’s COO and CFO.

Kopman met Pendegraft at a Beer Institute meeting a few years ago when he was head of sales and marketing for North American Breweries, which distributes Labatt, Magic Hat and Genesee beers. When Pendegraft moved back to St. Louis, Kopman set out to recruit him to the Schlafly team. “He has a skill set and an experience that’s different than my experience,” Kopman said. “We can fight through and learn them on our own, or in this case, bring someone into the organization that already has a lot of that experience.”

Hiring Pendegraft continues Schlafly’s ownership succession plan, which the founders crafted a few years ago to ensure the brewery’s future.“While we have continued to grow in our existing trade area, our focus since 2012 has been to build on our ownership succession … and to put in place a senior management team with great talent and experience and a group of young, passionate and talented staff in all areas of the brewery. When I look at where we are today, I am really excited.”

Among the “young, passionate and talented staff” is Schlafly’s quality assurance manager, Emily Parker, 28, a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch Class of 2015.

As co-chair, Kopman said he will be able to return to what he loves. “I will focus on where I started: on the beer side of business,” he said. “I get to spend a lot more time with our younger brewing team.”

The announcement of Schlafly’s new CEO comes weeks after news that James “Otto” Ottolini, Schlafly’s brewmaster and longtime employee was leaving Schlafly to become chief of brewing operations for Chesterfield-based turnkey brewer Brew Hub.






By Ligaya Figueras

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