Instructors

We have assembled instructors and guest speakers from across the US and Canada, with expertise in the craft beer industry to guide each of our courses. Many of these individuals work for breweries or distributors, while others represent leading consultants and law firms that specialize in this industry.

Marketing and Branding Your Brewery Instructors

Joel Hueston, M.B.A.

Director of Commercial Strategy, First Key Consulting Inc., Vancouver B.C.

Joel has 30+ years of experience in the brewing industry, including 20+ years with Molson Canada and Coors Canada. Currently he leads the Commercial Strategy division for First Key Consulting, a major beer consulting firm. His recent brewery projects include over sixty craft start-ups with a focus on market assessment and analysis, volume projections and development of comprehensive business plans.

Michael Kallenberger, M.A. (Economics)

Brand and Commercial Strategy Consultant

Mike has over 30 years of experience in the beer business, with almost three decades at Miller Brewing Company followed by the last eight years as an independent consultant. An economist by training, Mike has spent most of his career in marketing, specializing in brand positioning and strategy, consumer insights, situation analysis, marketplace assessment, and interpretation of cultural and consumer trends. He’s a six-time speaker at the Craft Brewers Conference and he’s written seventeen articles for The New Brewer, the magazine of the Brewers Association. He has also taught Consumer Behavior at the University of Wisconsin.

Bob Russell

Co-Founder and President of Collective Arts

Bob Russell is a co-founder and president of Collective Arts, a purpose driven brewery, distillery and cannabis beverage producer located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. As co-founder Bob leads the brand strategy and creative development for Collective Arts. Collective Arts discovers, curates and promotes emerging artists from all over the world and features the works of these artists on the innovative products they produce, and on social media and events. Collective Arts products are sold in over 20 countries outside the US and Canada. Prior to Collective Arts, Bob owned a brand strategy and design consultancy with offices in both Canada and the USA, his firm led branding and product development projects for Fortune 1000 companies across a wide spectrum of businesses including technology, healthcare, consumer package goods, entertainment, hospitality, beer and spirits. Bob is an entrepreneur driven by creative thinking and design.

Brewery Finance and Accounting Instructors

Audra Gaiziunas, M.B.A.

Owner, Brewed For Her Ledger, LLC

Audra is the Owner of Brewed For Her Ledger, LLC, an Asheville NC-based management consultancy firm focused on providing financial guidance to the craft alcoholic beverage community. She currently serves as head of finance for Crooked Stave (Denver, CO) has served as a contracted CEO of Bhramari Brewing Company in Asheville, NC (2016-2020) and Tin Roof Brewing Company in Baton Rouge, LA (2016). Since her current company’s inception in 2013, over 300 breweries and brewpubs have been clients. She was previously CFO of Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, NC and Controller of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, DE.

A graduate from Kenan-Flagler’s OneMBA program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2008), Audra possesses over a decade and a half of experience in senior leadership roles in craft brewing, manufacturing, services, non-profits and startups. She earned her undergraduate degree in accounting and business management from Loras College (Dubuque, IA) in 1997.

Audra is a frequent speaker at craft beverage conferences, including NanoCon, the Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference, and various state brewers’ guild annual meetings. She currently sits on the Brewers Association’s Finance Committee, writes for the Brewers Association’s The New Brewer and is a nanobrewing columnist for Brew Your Own Magazine. She also teaches multiple courses through the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College’s Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast, and through CDFI Mountain BizWorks.

Joshua Lance, CPA, CGMA

Founder and Managing Director of Lance CPA Group

Joshua Lance is the founder and Managing Director of Lance CPA Group, a virtual CPA firm that focuses on providing accounting and consulting services to craft breweries. A licensed Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant, Josh is also a family man who calls Chicago home. Before venturing on his own with a mission to help small businesses, Josh spent his early career at Crowe LLP before working as a Controller at an ultra-high net worth family office. Josh is also an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL teaching accounting in the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and McCormick School of Engineering. He enjoys making wine and beer at home, cooking, traveling, and cheering on his favorite football and soccer teams. Josh was honored by being selected to the 2017 class of the AICPA Leadership Academy and was named as one of the 40 under 40 in 2017, 2018, and 2019 by CPA Practice Advisor. Josh was recently appointed to the Illinois CPA Society Board of Directors and the AICPA PCPS Executive Committee.

Digital Marketing and Social Media Promotion in Craft Beer Instructors

Mathiew J. Medeiros, M.B.A.

Marketing Advisor for Revival Brewing

Mathiew’s marketing career began over 10 years ago helping revive the classic New England beer brand, Narragansett Beer. While at Gansett, he met Sean Larkin from Revival Brewing and became fascinated by beer drinkers’ gravitating towards an IPA from one brewery while ignoring an IPA from another brewery. After finishing his M.B.A. from Johnson & Wales, Mathiew joined NAIL Communications where he analyzes media and behavioral data to understand a brand’s target audience, and plans and develops media, content, and communications’ strategies. He then joined Revival Brewing as marketing advisor to assist in the planning and implementing of the brewery’s marketing strategies. Mathiew currently develops digital marketing plans through sales funnel optimization with the goal of customer acquisition for igus, global manufacturer of high-performance plastic components for automation and motion control systems.

Tim Brady

Strategist for Mondo Mediaworks; Lead Brewer and Co-Owner of Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Tim’s diverse experience runs the gamut from marketing to hospitality, tourism, and most recently, alchemy — enhancing his reputation as a knowledgeable source in every industry he enters.

Tim lives in Brattleboro, Vermont, with his wife, business partner, and fellow beer-lover Amy, and their dog, Thor. When he’s not speaking at conferences or strategizing for Mondo clients, he’s concocting the next batch of beer in his downtown micro-brewery, Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery.

Distribution and Sales in Craft Beer Instructors

Jon Reynolds

President, BrewPlan, Inc.

Jon is a brewing industry veteran, with strong beer marketing and sale credentials. He has over 38 years of consumer packaged goods with beer, wine and craft spirits experience. Jon assisted Abita Brewing to successfully launch in 9 States; supported City Brewery in La Crosse, WI as Director of Marketing & Sales from 1999-2007 and reach annual sales of $70 million.

Currently, Jon is President of BrewPlan, Inc., a consulting firm that provides strategic planning, marketing, sales, production forecasting/logistics, new brand launches, revenue generation and setting up distribution networks for expanding craft breweries, artisan wineries and craft distilleries. Jon is an instructor in the University of Vermont’s Business of Craft Beer Certificate program, and has been with the program for the past two years.

Kary Shumway

Founder, Beer Business Finance

Kary Shumway is the founder of Beer Business Finance and Craft Brewery Finance, online resources for beer industry professionals. Shumway has worked in the beer industry for more than 20 years as a Certified Public Accountant, chief financial officer for a beer distributor, and currently as CFO for Wormtown Brewery in Worcester, MA. Craft Brewery Finance publishes a weekly beer industry finance newsletter, offers guide books on topics such as cash flow planning and basic budgeting, and an online course to improve taproom profits. The newsletter with a free trial, industry guides and resources are available at www.CraftBreweryFinance.com.

Business Operations in Craft Beer Instructors

Becky Lloyd, BESc, P.Eng.

Senior Advisor, Engineering Services, First Key Consulting

Becky Lloyd is a Senior Advisor, Engineering Services at First Key. She specializes in working with clients on brewery capital project planning, process and utilities design, and project management for plant improvement and expansion projects. She is an expert in Aspen HYSYS, and P&ID development, and has extensive experience in procurement, installation, commissioning, and start-up, including the production of process flow drawings, and calculations and compliance with code and technical reviews for breweries. Prior to joining First Key, Becky worked with Labatt Breweries of Canada (AB InBev) where she held various technical and leadership roles including Capital Expenditure Specialist, Utilities and Process Specialist, Assistant Manager Operations Maintenance, Financial Planning and Supply Performance Manager, Manager Canada Special Projects, and Engineering Manager.

Becky has delivered project management, engineering and design for a wide range of brewery improvement projects including a new beer dealcoholization system, centrifuge to reduce waste yeast, the design and installation of a new system to create vodka-based products, and utility reduction projects including water, electricity, and CO2. Becky received her Bachelor of Applied Science, Chemical Engineering Degree from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada and has completed Graduate Studies Courses at the University of Calgary. Outside of First Key, Becky enjoys traveling, running with her dog, playing soccer and having a beer at the cottage with friends and family.

Mark Benzaquen, M.Sc., Dipl. Brew., PMP

Director of Craft Breweries, First Key Consulting

Mark is an accomplished Master Brewer (M.Sc., Brew. Diploma) and Project Manager (PMP). He has led teams of quality, production and packaging technicians in overcoming business challenges to successfully ensure consistent high production and quality standards. In addition to successfully managing all aspects of brewery operations (large scale, microbrewery, brewpub), Mark has used his brewery production and packaging expertise to successfully develop and launch new beers into the market, hire and train staff, implement new quality and environmental programs, optimise brewery processes, and oversee the design, start-up and commissioning of new brewery systems around the world.

Mike Gerhart

Senior Advisor, Technical Services, First Key Consulting

Mike is an accomplished Master Brewer and Operations leader in the brewing industry. He has a strong reputation working with breweries such as Hill Farmstead, Dogfish Head, Otter Creek, Magic Hat, and Coors. Most recently Mike was the Chief Operating Officer at Hill Farmstead Brewery where they consecutively earned the distinction of Best Brewery in the World by RateBeer.com during his tenure. At First Key, Mike works with breweries on quality and process optimization including developing reporting metrics, SOPs, employee optimization initiatives, streamlined retail operations and world-class customer service. Mike works with start-up brewery clients for equipment sourcing and installation, operational procedures, product innovation and the implementation of training programs. Mike obtained his formal brewing education from VLB Berlin.

Nick Posloski, M.Sc. (Brew.), Dipl. Brew.

Senior Advisor, Technical Services, First Key Consulting

Nick’s career has led to significant experience in brewing, operations management, product development and quality services with both large and small brewers, as well as overseeing liquid production of sodas and spirits. He has participated as guest speaker in a special panel on modern dry hopping techniques, and has won multiple awards for a variety of beer styles.  Having completed a Brewmaster Diploma (VLB), and Master of Science (Brewing and Distilling) at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, Nick specializes in refining and scaling recipes, optimizing operations, assisting with business planning, developing and implementing quality and operations management systems, and providing technical troubleshooting services within the industry.  He currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia.

Oralee Corbett, B.Sc.

Quality Services

With over ten years of quality systems experience in the food and beverage industry and a degree in Food Science, Oralee has a wealth of knowledge on brewing quality assurance, microbiology, food safety and team leadership. Her career in the brewing industry has included hand’s on experience at many levels, beginning as a lab technician and eventually managing quality assurance laboratories in both craft and large-scale breweries with success. Oralee’s key areas of expertise at First Key include: quality system improvements; quality audits and standards and procedures for Quality Management Systems (QMS); laboratory management; microbiology; HACCP and GMP.

Patrick Greer, M.B.A.

Director of Supply Chain Services, First Key Consulting

Patrick is a strong commercial strategist with a deep level of supply chain and procurement expertise in the brewing industry. With more than 30 years of experience, he has completed supply chain projects and assignments in 26 countries and is a CSCMP Certified “Supply Chain Pro”. With hands-on experience at every echelon of the organization, Pat has had roles ranging from customer service clerk to director of international logistics at Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Phil Leinhart, BSc

Senior Advisor, Technical Services at First Key

Phil Leinhart is a Senior Advisor, Technical Services at First Key. He is an award-winning Master Brewer and leads projects across production, product innovation and quality, ranging from small (1,000 bbl/year) breweries to large-scale breweries. Phil’s experience covers beer, cider, spirits, soft-drinks and malta. Prior to joining First Key, Phil was a Brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang and Process Control System Manager/Brewing & Packaging QA Supervisor/Brewing Group Manager at Anheuser-Busch. Phil completed his Brewing Science and Technology at Doemens Academy (Munich-Grafelfing, Germany) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry/Environmental Science. He received his engineering and technology training at Anheuser-Busch and is a Competition Judge at both the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Phil is an Inductee of the Knights of the Belgian Brewers Guild and in 2016, he was named Mid-size Brewery and Brewmaster of the Year by the World Beer Cup. Outside of First Key, Phil enjoys spending time with his family, playing music and the outdoors.

 

Rod Waite, P.Eng.

Engineering Services Leader, First Key Consulting

Rod leads our Engineering Services group and has over 17 years of experience as an engineering project manager and process design engineer. He has led multi-million dollar capital projects for breweries across North America and has worked with both small and large scale breweries and distilleries. He has worked on engineering projects that include brewing, fermenting/maturation, ventilation, utilities, wastewater treatment, malt/cereals pneumatic transfer, beer de-alcoholization and flavored alcoholic beverages. Rod’s areas of expertise include brewing process and utilities design engineering, project management, procurement, installation, commissioning and start-up for craft to large scale brewery projects. Rod’s passion for brewing has also led him to take on home-brewing of beer and kombucha.

Steve Rockhold, B.A.

Senior Advisor, Technical Services, First Key Consulting

Steve has 20+ years of experience in the brewing industry specializing in procurement and supply chain management. He has held  various management positions from logistics and strategic sourcing of brewing and  packaging materials to more recently the Procurement Director at MillerCoors. At MillerCoors, Steve led a 47-member team sourcing all ingredients for the brewing  process. Steve also has extensive experience in supply management for sourcing local ingredients to support specific brands that use marketing tactics requiring locally grown ingredients and manufacturing for craft brands. With First Key, Steve provides strategic procurement, logistics and operations consulting with an eye towards increasing efficiencies, cost reduction, process improvement and strategic planning.

Business of Craft Beer Facilitators

David Kennedy

David Kennedy grew up in MA and graduated from Lehigh University with a BA in International Business. He spent the next 27 years in finance at a few different investment banks in NYC. That life ran its course and in 2020, he decided to try and turn his passion for craft beer into his next career. He took all 4 classes offered in The Business of Craft Beer program and wrote a business plan for his Capstone Project.

He recently joined the cellar team at Upslope Brewing in Boulder, CO and is thrilled to also now join the Business of Craft Beer team and help the next wave of students follow their own passion for craft beer! He currently lives in Denver, CO with his wife, 2 kids and tries to get into the mountains whenever possible.

Michelle Forster

Michelle Forster recently returned to her home state of Wyoming after leaving a diverse career in Opera and Title Insurance in Los Angeles. While in LA, she also worked as a brand ambassador and back office consultant for various LA breweries. She completed her professional certificate in the Business of Craft Beer from the University of Vermont in 2016 and has been a Course Facilitator for the same program ever since.
Michelle is a Certified Cicerone® and the Executive Director of both the Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild and Wyoming Distillers Guild where she proudly represents the collective voice of all breweries and distilleries in the Cowboy State. When she’s not desperately trying to understand the ins and outs of WY liquor laws or drumming up exciting new promotions for WY breweries, she can be found cross-country skiing, hiking or fishing in the beautiful Big Horn Mountains.

Previous Industry Guest Speakers

Adam Beauchamp
Brewmaster & Co-Founder, Creature Comforts Brewing (GA)Anthony Whalen
Senior Accountant, Oskar Blues (CO)Bart Watson
Chief Economist, Brewers Association (CO)Brook Bristow
Owner/Founder, Bristow Beverage Law (SC)Carol Waggener
Founder, Bold Missy Brewery (NC)Charles Willett
Controller, NoDa Brewing Company (NC)Chris Herron
CEO, Creature Comforts Brewing Company (GA)Dan Herron
Controller, Creature Comforts Brewing Company (GA)Dani Hoyler
Director of Sales, 3 Floyds Brewing (IN)Derek Fernholz
Co-founder & Brewer, Fernson Brewing (SD)

Devin Kelly
Co-Owner, Managing Partner, Isle Brewers Guild (RI)

Drew Brosseau
Founder & President, Mayflower Brewing Company (MA)

Hilary Cocalis
Vice President of Marketing, Ballast Point (CA & VA)Michael Mooney
Director of Operations, Firestone Walker (CA)Jamie Smith
Brand Marketing Director, Firestone-Walker (CA)Jeff Nowicki
Chief Strategy Officer, Bump Williams Consulting (CT)Lester Jones
Chief Economist, National Beer Wholesalers Association (VA)Mark Boelman
Director of Finance and Administration, Left Hand Brewing (CO)Matt McComish
Supply Chain Manager, Highland Brewing (NC)Matt Pope
Controller, Russian River Brewing Company (CA)Rich Ackerman
Director of HR, Harpoon Brewing (MA)Rob Burns
Co-founder, Night Shift Brewing (MA)

Steve Gagner
Founder/President, 14th Star Brewery (VT)

Val Lang
Head of Finance, Singlecut Beersmiths (NY)

Warren Dibble
CFO, Harpoon Brewery (VT & MA)

Adam Beauchamp
Brewmaster & Co-Founder, Creature Comforts Brewing (GA)
Anthony Whalen
Senior Accountant, Oskar Blues (CO)
Bart Watson
Chief Economist, Brewers Association (CO)
Brook Bristow
Owner/Founder, Bristow Beverage Law (SC)
Carol Waggener
Founder, Bold Missy Brewery (NC)
Charles Willett
Controller, NoDa Brewing Company (NC)Chris Herron
CEO, Creature Comforts Brewing Company (GA)Dan Herron
Controller, Creature Comforts Brewing Company (GA)Dani Hoyler
Director of Sales, 3 Floyds Brewing (IN)Derek Fernholz
Co-founder & Brewer, Fernson Brewing (SD)Devin Kelly
Co-Owner, Managing Partner, Isle Brewers Guild (RI)Drew Brosseau
Founder & President, Mayflower Brewing Company (MA)Hilary Cocalis
Vice President of Marketing, Ballast Point (CA & VA)Michael Mooney
Director of Operations, Firestone Walker (CA)Jamie Smith
Brand Marketing Director, Firestone-Walker (CA)Jeff Nowicki
Chief Strategy Officer, Bump Williams Consulting (CT)

Lester Jones
Chief Economist, National Beer Wholesalers Association (VA)

Mark Boelman
Director of Finance and Administration, Left Hand Brewing (CO)

Matt McComish
Supply Chain Manager, Highland Brewing (NC)

Matt Pope
Controller, Russian River Brewing Company (CA)

Mike McGovern
Co-Founder, Austin Beerworks (TX)

Rich Ackerman
Director of HR, Harpoon Brewing (MA)

Rob Burns
Co-founder, Night Shift Brewing (MA)

Steve Gagner
Founder/President, 14th Star Brewery (VT)

Val Lang
Head of Finance, Singlecut Beersmiths (NY)

Warren Dibble
CFO, Harpoon Brewery (VT & MA)