13 June 2016
PORTLAND, OR (June 13, 2016) – Building on its commitment to brewing innovation and excellence, Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. (“CBA”) (Nasdaq:BREW), a leading craft brewing company, today announced that Tom Bleigh has joined the company as Innovation Brewmaster. In this new role for CBA, Bleigh will lead the innovation teams responsible for increasing new beer development and initiatives across the company’s portfolio of award-winning brands, including Kona Brewing Company, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Redhook Brewery, Omission Beer, and Square Mile Cider Company.
Over the past two years, CBA has made significant investments in enhancing its innovation breweries in Hawaii, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Washington, including building a new pilot brewery adjacent to Widmer Brothers’ current 750,000 barrel brewery in Portland, a new high-efficiency Kona brewery in Kailua-Kona, and a new Redhook Brewpub opening in Seattle later this year. In addition to leading innovation and creativity across CBA’s owned breweries, Bleigh will support the integration of new strategic partner breweries.
As the consumer thirst for local craft beers and unique beer flavors continues to grow, CBA’s pioneering craft beer brands are known for developing creative small-batch beers with a strong sense of place. Working closely with CBA’s brand, brewing, and quality teams, Bleigh will increase the focus on driving continuous innovation in beer recipe development and small-batch experimentation within the CBA portfolio.
“In addition to our focus on quality, CBA’s breweries have a long track record of innovation – from Widmer Brothers’ extensive research and development with local hop growers, to Kona’s small-batch Makana Series, which is brewed using unique local ingredients such as cold-smoked Kiawe wood,” said Scott Mennen, Chief Operating Officer for CBA. “Tom’s leadership experience and passion for craft beer will strengthen our innovation initiatives and support our commitment to making the best-tasting, highest-quality beers that bring our brands to life for beer drinkers.“
“I am excited to join CBA and contribute to a larger discussion of craft on local, regional and national levels,” said Bleigh. “CBA has a strong history of being craft leaders and being an active part of innovation. I look forward to this new challenge and being part of an organization with diverse brands and amazing teams already in place.”
Bleigh joins CBA from Hopworks Brewery, where he most recently served as Director of Brewing Operations. Prior to that, Bleigh held a variety of leadership positions, including Lead Brewer, Lead Cellar Operator, Head Brewer and Plant Manager at Portland Brewing, Pyramid Breweries, Independent Brewer’s United and North American Breweries. During his time at Pyramid Breweries, he was recognized by the GABF as the Mid-Size Brewer/Brewery of the Year. He graduated from UC Davis and UW-Madison with an MFA in Fine Arts.