Goose Island founder to step down as CEO

Goose Island Beer Company founder John Hall will step down as chief executive officer at the end of the year. Hall started Goose Island as a brewpub in 1988 and it grew into a top-producing brewery. He will continue to own two Goose Island brewpubs in Chicago.

Hall sold the company to Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2011. Andy Goeler, who has been with A-B for 30 years, will take over as Goose Island CEO. Goeler recently has been in charge of the fast-growing Shock Top brand.

Anheuser-Busch has significantly expanded Goose Island distribution in the last 18 months, producing much of popular beers at A-B breweries in other states. Goose Island used the space this freed up to make more of high-end beers such as Bourbon County Stout and Matilda. According to the Chicago Tribune:

. . . in a phone conversation Friday, Goeler made clear that his focus is expanding Goose Island nationally with four core beers – 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honker’s Ale, India Pale Ale and a rotating seasonal (Mild Winter, Summertime or Fall Harvest), all of which will largely be brewed at AB plants in Baldwinsville, N.Y. and Ft. Collins, Colo. Starting next week, Goose Island beer will be distributed in all 50 states, making it one of the few craft brands with a true national footprint.

The Tribune also reported, the brewpubs will “maintain their relationships with the AB-owned Goose. Goose will not only continue to produce high-end beers, Goeler said, their output will be expanded with (still more) space for barrel aging. And . . .

(Goeler) said staying true to the company’s history is vital to its expansion, and the fact that the company will continue to be run from Chicago, rather than St. Louis, seems to lend the thought credence.

“The roots of Chicago, to me, are so critical to the long term health off the brand across the country,” Goeler said. “If you lose that connection, you’ve lost the brand.”

Hall will join an “Anheuser-Busch Craft Advisory Board” that will help guide the brand.