DuClaw Names Simmons as Vice President of Sales

Baltimore-based DuClaw Brewing Company announced today that Brook Simmons has been promoted to Vice President of Sales. Previously, Simmons was sales manager for the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest territories.

Simmons’ connection with DuClaw began in his 20s when he would seek out the rare “Retribution” and “Colossus” barrel-aged releases the brewery had become known for in the late 1990s. 

“In the early 2000s I was working at the Winking Lizard Tavern in Columbus, Ohio. Friends would bring in beers to share that weren’t available in the area, DuClaw being among them. I was always excited for the opportunity to sample esoteric beers and learn about the breweries behind them,” said Simmons. 

“Winking Lizard was the grandfather of the Ohio craft beer bar scene. I have the owner, John Lane, to thank for starting me on my journey in the industry.” Before his move to Baltimore, Simmons worked at The Anderson’s. Now defunct, it was then the eminent retail store for beer in Columbus.

In 2016, Simmons was working as a buyer for The Wine Source, a regional leader in beer, wine, and spirits in Baltimore. It was then that he met Dave Benfield, DuClaw founder and president, at a pivotal point in the brewery’s history. 

At the time, DuClaw’s sales were slowing, so Benfield tapped Simmons for his insight on how the brewery could change. Simmons offered strategic ideas to enhance flavor profiles, update branding, and strengthen the business model overall.  “I wanted to see a comeback story. People usually stay stuck in their ways, so it was refreshing to meet Dave. Although he was an early craft beer pioneer, he kept an open mind to adapt to the quickly changing industry, and maintained an unrelenting drive to perfect his craft,” said Simmons.

In the coming months, Simmons saw these suggestions being implemented and noticed a distinct, positive shift in the company. “Ultimately, he brought back several solid samples, that were modern and relevant, including our now-fan favorite, Strawberry Letter 23. I was really impressed with the turnaround,” said Simmons. Shortly after, Benfield asked Simmons to consider working for him.

“From the moment I began consulting with Brook, it was obvious that he had extensive industry knowledge and a natural intuition for sales strategy. We’re incredibly grateful to have his perspective on board, and he’s been an integral part of helping us grow to where we are today,” said Benfield. 

“DuClaw has always pushed limits, and I’d like to see that continue. We excel at making accessible beers that are still at the forefront of the industry. Between the price of the beer and quality, we’re in a great place, and it’s tough to beat that combo,” said Simmons. “We’re in a great rhythm because people listen to each other here, and we work together.” 

Looking to the future of DuClaw, Simmons is most excited about their barrel program expansion. “DuClaw used to be known for their barrel-aged beers, and I want to get us back to that, while pushing different flavor profiles and styles of beer, especially sours.”

Simmons has a background in art and teaching, graduating from The Ohio State University with his BFA in painting, and his MFA from Pennsylvania State University where he taught after graduating before returning to the beer industry.

Outside of work, he puts his art background to good use by working with local businesses who are interested in featuring art on their buildings. He welcomes neighborhood youth, particularly in disenfranchised neighborhoods, to lend a hand in the beautification process. Most notably, he helped organized a three-day event featuring 150 visual artists to benefit the Loading Dock, a nonprofit organization in Baltimore.

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