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Sebastopol wine executive takes helm of North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg

Sonoma County wine executive Jeffrey Ottoboni has moved into the beer sector as chief executive officer of North Coast Brewing Co., the highly regarded Fort Bragg brewery known for its wide array of award-?winning craft beers such as Red Seal amber ale and Brother Thelonious Belgian abbey ale.

Ottoboni took over last week from Sam Kraynek, who had led the company on an interim basis for six months. Kraynek, the former chief operating officer, had replaced Mark Reudrich, co-founder and legendary brewmaster of the brewery founded in 1988. Reudrich serves as president emeritus.

“I’m honored to lead the brewery into its next chapter, continuing not only its reputation for producing quality, award-winning beers, but also its positive impact on the community and planet,” Ottoboni said in a statement.

Kraynek held the CEO position during a transition period for the brewery to allow it to find a new long-term leader, a North Coast spokeswoman said Tuesday. He will stay with North Coast until Feb. 15.

“Jeff is an excellent coach and facilitator, with a special expertise in developing personnel and teams,” Kraynek said in a statement about the company’s new leader Ottoboni.

Ottoboni worked for more than 30 years in the wine industry, most recently as chief financial officer for Paul Hobbs Winery in Sebastopol. He also worked as vice president of Wilson Daniels in St. Helena and Premier Pacific Vineyards in Napa.

North Coast is an independently owned brewery and a Type B Corporation, certified as meeting high standards for its environmental commitment, treatment of workers, business governance and relationship with the local community. It’s also been noted for its philanthropic efforts, such as helping marine mammal research.

In an interview, Ottoboni said he was still too new in the job to talk about the direction North Coast will take, with “some uncertainty” in the brewing marketplace as craft beer sales growth has slowed and there has been more brewery consolidation and closings.

Reudrich said in a May statement that the “brewery will continue its independence after my retirement.” North Coast was the No. 46 craft brewery in the country in 2018, according to the Brewers Association trade group.

Ottoboni said he was confident in the brewing company’s prospects given the quality of the beers that North Coast produces. “The product from top to bottom is as good as it gets,” he said.

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