Seven months after longtime Colorado Brewers Guild director John Carlson stepped down in the midst of a dispute among its brewery members, the nonprofit organization has hired a new leader.
Washington, D.C., attorney Andres Gil Zaldana will take over as executive director of the Guild, which advocates for and represents the interests of more than100 Colorado craft breweries and brewpubs. Gil Zaldana has previously focused on helping trade associations and private clients with finance, tax and regulatory relief.
Gil Zaldana won't be available for comment until Wednesday, the Guild says, but it did release the following statement:
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“We’re extremely pleased that Andres has joined the Guild as its new executive director,” says Guild board chairman and Left Hand Brewing co-founder Eric Wallace. “Andres’ history of advocating for small businesses will be an immediate benefit to us, especially as the Guild works to ensure a business and regulatory climate that benefits all of our members.”
Gil Zaldana will work closely with current staff members Steve Kurowski and Shawnee Adelson on CBG’s priorities, including its legislative agenda, events, and opportunities for member engagement and education.
The CBG has several upcoming priorities and events scheduled including the 4th annual Collaboration Beer Fest on Saturday, March 25th. Collaboration Fest will feature more than 100 beer projects with more than 180 participating breweries. This festival not only celebrates the spirit of Colorado craft beer, it is the signature event for Colorado Craft Beer Week which takes places from March 18th – March 25th.
“I am proud to represent such a dynamic and entrepreneurial industry,” said Gil Zaldana. “You would be hard pressed to find a more collaborative and supportive industry than Colorado craft brewers. I look forward to working with our members and making sure that the Guild continues to protect and support our independent craft brewers.”
Last June, fourteen breweries, including the state's four largest — New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Odell and Left Hand — split off from the Guild to form their own craft-beer organization; the others defectors were Funkwerks, Renegade, Epic Brewing, Great Divide Brewing, Bristol Brewing, Mountain Sun, Grimm Brothers, TRVE Brewing, Four Noses and Wibby. The breweries cited several reasons for their action, including frustration with Carlson's leadership, the continuing presence of Breckenridge Brewery (which was purchased by Budweiser parent company AB InBev in 2015) in the group, and a lack of effective advocacy and transparency.
In July, the Guild voted to cut off voting rights for Breckenridge, which is no longer considered to be a craft brewer, according to the Boulder-based Brewers Association. In August, Carlson stepped down so that the two beer organizations might be able to seek resolution and reunify. That finally happened in November.
In January, the Guild began looking for a new executive director under the leadership of Kim Jordan, co-founder and head of New Belgium Brewing, the fourth-largest craft brewery in the nation.