Western Region Nominees:
John Cimperman – 42 North Brewing Company
My reasoning for looking to serve is really two-fold. First, as the craft industry and breweries continue to grow in New York State, it is critically important that we continue to be united on a shared vision. There remains plenty of upside through collaboration. The NYSBA plays a critical role here. Second, I would love to bring some of my marketing and event experience to the board to continue to grow the reputation of NYS as a craft beer destination.
John Cimperman has over 30 years of marketing, brand building, and live event experience which includes leading the marketing for four professional sports franchises, owning and operating a full-service marketing agency, and, most recently, following his passion and founding 42 North Brewing Company.
Prior to founding 42 North, Cimperman’s agency, Cenergy, assembled a marquee client list that included sports and entertainment brands in all professional sports leagues, as well as the country’s largest cable provider. Cenergy’s award-winning work and innovative marketing approach has been recognized by Advertising Age, Sports Business Journal, and was named Western New York’s “Fastest Growing Company” in 2005 by Business First.
Cimperman moved to Western New York to serve the dual role of Executive Vice President/ Integrated Marketing for the Buffalo Sabres and Regional Vice President/Sales and Marketing for Adelphia. In the position, Cimperman was responsible for the marketing integration of all of Adelphia’s properties in the Great Lakes region. Cimperman moved into his role with Adelphia and the Sabres after serving as Vice President/ Marketing & Communications with the Los Angeles Kings. With the Kings, Cimperman oversaw all marketing, media and revenue generation for the organization, and was instrumental in the negotiation of the $114 million naming rights deal of the STAPLES Center and over $20 million in annual sponsorship revenue via Founding Partner packages.
While living on the west coast, John discovered his passion for craft beer by being introduced to Sierra Nevada, Bear Republic, and Anchor Steam. As a homebrewer in the early 90’s, John tried, often unsuccessfully, to replicate these recipes. He, however, never lost his attraction to the craft industry and the unbelievable sense of community that it offers.
A native of Cleveland, Cimperman is proud to call Western New York home where he has launched three companies and, most importantly, raised two children.
Jeff Ware – Resurgence Brewing Company
WNY breweries, and NYS breweries as a whole, are doing some incredible things. I am a firm believer that we are stronger together and the association has been a powerful tool to push us forward. The NYSBA has been a true advocate for all of us, and I would be honored to support its continued mission however I can. We have learned quite a bit over the years (often by screwing things up) as our brewery and beer scene have evolved. I believe that experience and knowledge gained would be an asset to the cause.
Jeff Ware is the founder, owner, and President of Resurgence Brewing Company, a production brewery and beer garden in Buffalo, NY focusing on great beer and a great beer experience! Jeff is an entrepreneur with years of experience in sales and management across several industries. He has always had a passion for flavorful beer and returned to Buffalo in 2012 to open Resurgence after working in craft beer sales in Upstate and Metro NY.
Since opening the brewery in 2014, Jeff has been active in the WNY beer scene and a strong advocate for WNY beer. He was a member of the Board of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association for several years and chaired the Buffalo Brewers Festival. He is very active in the WNY community and beer scene. Jeff is a big proponent of the NYSBA and the positive impacts it has on our industry.
Jeff grew up in the Greater Buffalo area. He is a 2004 graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology holding a B.S. in Business Management. He currently resides in downtown Buffalo with his wife, Erin and his 3 children.
Ryan Demler – Community Beer Works
I would be honored to represent the brewers of Western New York on the NYSBA board. As someone who has invested their entire professional career in this industry, who has gotten so much from craft, I feel that I have an obligation to give back.
My experience and position as a worker/maker, manager, and owner allows me perspective on many of the challenges that we face as individual businesses as well as a collective craft beer movement.
The 13 plus years I have spent in craft has allowed me to develop deep relationships around the state and across the country, has afforded me the opportunity to advocate on behalf of of craft and I would love nothing more than to be able to continue that in an official capacity as a board member of the NYSBA.
Like so many in our industry, my love affair with craft beer began with homebrewing. 18 years ago, during my sophomore year in college, some friends and I founded a student-run homebrewing club at the very beginning of the craft beer scene in Montreal. By my 4th year I was brewing 5 gallon partial mash batches 4 times a week and bootlegging 6-packs of homebrew to my fellow students. I kept home-brewing practically non-stop until I was fortunate to be offered a shift position at Olde Saratoga in August of 2008 which pulled me from the world of public school teaching and bartending (gotta pay the bills somehow) and immersed me fully in the world of New York craft beer.
I have dedicated my life to craft beer, from learning to brew as a teenager in college, through my humble beginnings as a second shift brewer, lead hand at a Canadian production brewery, running the brewery at The Albany Pump Station, and now as Director of Brewing Operations for Community Beer Works. In the early winter months of 2020 I became a minority owner in my family’s New York Farm brewery, Bound By Fate of Schuylerville, NY, my hometown. Over my time in craft I’ve invested not only in my development as a brewer, but in building relationships across the industry, involving myself in organization and lobbying efforts from knocking on legislative office doors in Albany to founding New York’s first “interdisciplinary” craft-beverage marketing organization, the Capital Craft Beverage Trail.
I moved to Buffalo in the summer of 2016 because I love Western New York and in particular the Queen City. For as far back as my memories go my family would spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in Kenmore, we’d run in the Turkey Trot and go skating at Fountain Plaza, and since then I’ve wanted to settle out here. Every day I feel fortunate to be able to work in an industry that has inspired me for nearly 2 decades and in a city that I adore.
Andrew Hardin – Thin Man Brewery
E-Central Region Nominees:
Fred Matt – FX Matt Brewing Company
Since our Family Brewery was founded in 1888, we have seen the NYS brewery community thrive, shrink to near extinction, and now thrive again with over 400 breweries in NYS today. Despite this tremendous growth, NYS brewers’ share is still only approximately 7% of the total NYS craft market, and well below the national average.
Throughout my career and in my role as past President of the NYS Brewers Association, I have worked to build awareness of NYS craft beer. In New York State, we have successfully lobbied and won franchise reform, production tax credits, the ability to sell pints in our tasting rooms, and are working to bring more realistic usage rates to the farm brewers’ license. While we have had many successes in NYS, there is lots of work to be done.
Going forward, there are plenty of opportunities to build our share and awareness that great beer is “made right here.” I am asking for your vote to continue my work in helping to build a stronger craft beer market in New York State, and a future where NYS Brewers’ share is over 30% of NYS beer sales!
Fred Matt is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, the oldest Brewery in the State of New York, and second oldest Brewery in the United States. Fred is the fourth generation of the Matt Family to serve the Company. As a key member of the management team, he has been successful in leading the Brewery into new areas of growth and the development of the Company brands. Instrumental in expanding the distributor network, Fred has successfully rebuilt the sales and marketing organization in order to support the growth of the Saranac brand and other new products. He also helped create the
‘Saranac Thursdays’ and ‘Saranac Concert Series’ held at the Brewery. These events have been the driving force in revitalizing the West Utica area of Varick and Court Streets and have helped attract new local businesses. Proceeds from the events help the local United Way.
In addition to his many contributions to the success of the Brewery, Fred serves on the Brewers Association Board of Directors, Co-chair of the Brewers Association’s Market Development Committee, and as the President of the NYS Brewers Association Board. Fred is also Chairman of the Boilermaker Road Race.
In the past, Fred has served on the Governing Board of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the Regional Advisory Board, the Board of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital (Finance Chair), the United Way Board (campaign chair – raising $3.6M – the most money ever) and the Syracuse Chiefs Board of Directors.
Fred and his wife Carrie live in Clinton, NY and have three children.
Kristen Lyons – Binghamton Brewing Company
After serving as an At-Large Board Member for 4 years, it would be an honor to serve as a direct representative of our region. A region that continues to see growth in the numbers and types of breweries and an area that I know well.
As the owner of a small brewery that boot-strapped our way into existence and is in the middle of expanding to seven times our size, I have hard-won experience and I continue to learn and evolve with the industry. As your representative I will speak up for the interests of breweries of all sizes and be a voice for the small breweries that have driven the unprecedented growth in NYS.
As chair of the Farm Brewery Committee, I was able to work with fellow Farm Brewers, and NY Malt and Hop Producers to coalesce our vision into legislation that allows members to remain competitive through innovative styles while continuing to increase demand for New York grown ingredients.
I want to bring my knowledge of regulatory needs as well as the experience of a small Farm Brewery owner to especially help small operators navigating how to grow as an agri-business in NY. I ask for your vote to be your representative for the unique opportunities and challenges we all face. I came into this industry as many of you, as someone who loves the product and the people. Working for you and with NYSBA to further our advancement and growth to almost 500 breweries has been a tremendous opportunity and there is more to do.
Kristen Lyons grew up in rural upstate NY and spread her wings in the Air Force only to come back to this area and her community to make a difference. Kristen got involved early in the Farm Brewery legislation in NY because of her belief that using NY ingredients would fundamentally spur agricultural growth. In the 8 yrs since the Farm Brewery License has passed that vision has been recognized. As the owner of the first farm brewery in Broome County, she credits it with her ability and many other small farm brewery’s ability to open and operate.
Through Binghamton Brewing Co Kristen has built a brewery that always strived to be innovative and inclusive. She has forged relationships with various industry, producers, and legislative leaders to forward the growth of craft in NY. In the 7 yrs since Bing Brew has opened they have expanded to a larger facility and are looking towards the future.
As an Industrial & Systems Engineer and Program Manager, Kristen has enjoyed a career in the Aerospace & Defense industry and takes that knowledge of building and managing large programs and people to her business and the larger industry as a whole. Always willing to listen and provide input and look for common ground to further the most beneficial growth. Having gotten her start in the industry by working festivals and witnessing firsthand the tremendous growth that has happened over the last decade, she is truly excited to see and help guide where the industry goes next.
Jason Sahler – Strong Rope Brewing Company
Jason Sahler is the owner of Strong Rope Brewery, with locations in Gowanus and Red Hook Brooklyn and a seasonal taproom in Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks. Originally from Rochester, New York, Jason has lived in Brooklyn since 2005 and graduated from New York University with a degree in Sustainable Development. Since opening Strong Rope Brewery in 2015, Jason has been dedicated to promoting New York ingredients and travels extensively throughout New York state, working with malt, hop, and beer producers. Strong Rope Brewery uses 100% New York ingredients for all their beers.
As an active member of both the NYC Brewers Guild and New York State Association Farm Brewery Committee I am running for reelection on the NYSBA Board seat which I have held since 2018, to continue to strengthen the relationship between the New York City breweries and the state association. In my time with the board I have worked to strengthen brewers rights with the state and have helped, with the other members of the board, to help get us through the difficult time of COVID with access to direct shipping and delivery. We have a vibrant brewing culture here in NYC with many viewpoints on the challenges of the industry, and I’d like to continue to be your advocate for the diverse breweries of the city to make sure these concerns are being addressed. In addition, I’m an advocate for the overall New York brewing scene, especially when promoting our state malts and hops and work closely with breweries around the state to better understand those ingredients to help make us a leader in the industry as our brewing infrastructure continues to grow.
Kyle Hurst – Big aLICe Brewing Company
Kyle Hurst is an owner and co-founder of Big aLICe Brewing Company, which has a production facility and taproom in Long Island City, Queens (its original location), a barrel-aging location with additional taproom in Industry City, Brooklyn, and recently expanded to New York’s Finger Lakes region adding a production facility and taproom in Geneva, NY. He began homebrewing in the late 1990s while living in his home state of Wisconsin. In 2008, Kyle moved to New York, where he continued his passion for homebrewing. This intense passion for brewing led to the eventual founding of Big aLICe in late 2011, which is one of the first farm breweries in New York City. The brewery began production in 2013, starting out with manufacturing beer only to satisfy subscriber orders in 10-gallon batches with hyper-local ingredients. Kyle has been very active in the New York City brewery scene. He helped organize local breweries for NYC’s first neighborhood brewery tour in LIC and Queens Beer Week. He has also been on the board of the New York City Brewing Guild (NYCBG) since 2015 and served as NYCBG’s Vice President from 2016-2019.
When Big aLICe joined the NYC Brewers Guild in 2014 we were the smallest brewery in the city. It was important to us that the voice of the small brewer be heard and that our unique needs and challenges be represented. Big aLICe has made modest growth in its production and added additional locations since then giving me a unique perspective that represents NYC’s breweries of all sizes. I respectfully request your vote for the NYC seat on the New York State Brewers Association.