The amount of change the Craft Brewing industry has witnessed in the last two or three years, and the pace with which it’s changing, is completely unparalleled. The Maine/New Hampshire/Massachusetts market alone is now home to more than 200 breweries and it feels like two more will open before you reach the end of this release. Therefore, feet on the street in the form of brewery sales reps and territory managers are arguably more important now than at any time in the industry’s storied history.
Never one to shy away from growth and innovation, Baxter Brewing Co., New England’s canned craft beer pioneers, are answering the call for increased market representation in a big way! First, with the creation of two new positions: A Territory Sales Manager to cover the distribution footprints of Burke Distributors and Merrimack Valley Distributing Co.; a position which is being filled by beer industry veteran, Jim Curtin. Jim was a sales representative at Burke Distributing from 1999 – 2010 before becoming an area Retail Sales Manager for Pabst Brewing Co. in 2010, where he was responsible for over 100 accounts in the Boston and Cape Cod markets.
The second hire is that of a Territory Sales Manager to cover Baxter’s business in New Hampshire with Bayside Distributors and Amoskeag Beverages. This position is being filled by Pete Maimes, who lives in Milton, NH and worked for Bayside themselves from 2010-2015, before working as a wine sales rep for Pine State Beverage in New Hampshire.
Head west from Jim in Boston for a couple hours to Springfield, MA and you’ll find another industry vet who will soon be donning a newly-pressed Baxter jersey. Clay Merrill has over seven years of customer relations and sales experience; including stints with some of the region’s and country’s heaviest hitters, like Downeast Cider, the Sheehan Family Companies and, most recently, as the Regional Brewery Representative – in Eastern NY, Western MA, NH, VT – for Stone Brewing Company. Clay will be responsible for sales and distribution management in Central and Western, MA with Atlas and Commercial Distributors; in Connecticut with Northeast Beverage; and in Eastern, New York with Craft Beer Guild of NY. This is a position recently vacated by long-time Baxter representative, Woodley Wardell.
Baxter’s own John “Bearded Beer Guy” Bryant, who has been with the brewery for more than 2 years managing the territory in Maine serviced by Pine State Beverage (and in the industry itself for more than 16 years), will also step into a newly-minted role of Regional Sales Manager for Maine, New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts. “I look forward to spreading the passion Maine has for Baxter further south,” says Bryant, “and increasing communication and brand awareness through my new role”.
Lastly, Baxter founder Luke Livingston’s role will be changing slightly too, in order to get the original face of the brewery out into the market more. “Like any good entrepreneur, I’ve surrounded myself with people far smarter and more talented than I am and successfully delegated most of what kept me at the brewery every day,” Explained Livingston. “So it’s time for me to get back to my roots and get out on the road again!”
Luke will still be spending, typically, a couple days a week at Baxter HQ in Lewiston. But will also be taking up a desk at Portland, Maine’s new CloudPort co-working space to serve as a launch pad for wholesale and key account visits across our distribution footprint and as a way to further engage the vibrant startup community in the state.
“These are unprecedented times for the beer industry”, says Livingston. “Change is coming fast and furious. I’m really excited about the crew we’re surrounding ourselves with, as well as the enthusiasm and support of our wholesale partners, and I believe fully that these new positions –and more like them in the near future—will be what keeps us on the map for years to come. Here we go!”