Bear Republic Brewing shuffles management at Cloverdale brewery to retool for the future

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Bear Republic Brewing Co. of Cloverdale announced Tuesday the promotion of Peter Kruger to chief operating officer and named Roger Herpst its brewmaster, part of management changes as Richard G. Norgrove takes over the family-owned craft brewery from his father.

Kruger had worked as master brewer for Bear Republic for 12 years and two years as head brewer, while the brewery’s popularity grew largely because of its flagship beer, Racer 5, a hoppy India pale ale. In his new role, Kruger will focus on increasing the brewery’s sustainability and improving the company’s overall operations that include brewpubs in Healdsburg and Rohnert Park.

Herpst will oversee beer production, including brewing, packaging and quality assurance at the brewery and the two brewpubs. Previously, he was the company’s quality assurance manager.

The two management moves come as the younger Norgrove prepares to succeed his father, Richard R. Norgrove Sr. as CEO. The father and son co-founded Bear Republic in 1995 when the local and the national craft beer sectors were much smaller.

“As the industry we serve changes, bold new leadership must adapt and make the critical adjustments necessary to thrive and succeed. I look forward to the continued success of our company under my son’s leadership,” the elder Norgrove said in a prepared statement.

Bear Republic was the 49th-largest craft brewery in the country in 2018, according to the Brewers Association, the trade group that represents independent breweries. That spot represented a drop from the No. 42 ranking in 2017.

The company has faced challenges in recent years, most notably a water shortage led it to pull out of certain East Coast markets in 2015 to manage supply. It also has been a late entrant into canning beers, something that many small and large breweries have embraced.

The younger Norgrove has added a canning line at Bear Republic, along with a lineup of new beers that has enabled the brewery to add distributors to its supply chain.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com.

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