Cover Story Notebook: Reaching Outside for Decision Makers

In a ongoing series, Brewer will take a small note from interviews of some of the cover stories it has run and give a small tidbit that didn’t make the issue, but is still worth diving into.


As ​we ​put on the finishing wraps to the next print edition of Brewer​, ​we go back to an interview with then new-CEO of Great Lakes Brewing Company, Bill Boor.

“I wasn’t brought in here to bring disruptive change,” he said during the interview for the May/June 2017 issue. “This is a healthy company with a tremendous culture.

“They had to ask if I fit. I had to ask that question myself. Being sensitive to managing a culture and finding a way to give a longer-term strategy to it. And in those terms I have had those opportunities in other companies.”

Boor left his GLBC position as CEO very recently according to a Cleveland business publication. He was the first CEO the Cleveland-based brewery that recently celebrated 30 years had ever had.​ A search for a new CEO is underway.

In 2016, the​ move to add an “outsider” was fairly new at the time for an executive position in craft beer, but we have seen it more and more in the industry. Those outside of the beer industry see the value of craft beer culture while craft breweries see the need for a better and more knowledgeable business structure. Don’t be afraid to question if a connection outside the norm could be beneficial.

Of course, sudden departures can happen as it did with Great Lakes, but the more than two years of time Boor had with the brewery helped see many positives. The culture did not shift much for Great Lakes, but the veteran brewery continues​ to find growth with the addition of cans, partnerships and innovation. It also looked at expansion locally by purchasing property in the Cleveland area — an important aspect from brothers and co-owners Dan and Pat Conway — and the brewery became an ESOP almost a year ago.

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