Leadership

Board of Directors

The NYSBA is controlled by its members and led by a Board of Directors. The Board members represent every region of the state in both size and location of their breweries. Elections take place in November with rotating seats.

President – Rich Vandenburgh, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company | Long Island Region

Elected to the Board of Directors for the New York State Brewers Association in 2013, Rich is a lifelong beer enthusiast. He and best friend John Liegey founded Greenport Harbor Brewery in 2009 in an old firehouse located in the seaside harbor village of Greenport on the East End of Long Island. Greenport Harbor Brewery has two brewing locations on the North Fork that include a restaurant, beer gardens and expansive lawns. Rich believes in protecting the authenticity and integrity of Independent Craft and the Think NY, Drink NY spirit. Rich, who is also an attorney, has an extensive background in real estate management, construction experience and operations.

He has served as President of the Greenport Village Business Improvement District for more than seven years as well as being active in other community organizations and local municipal agencies. Rich has lived on the East End of Long Island with his wife, Ann and their two boys for more than 30 years.

Vice President – Hutch Kugeman, Brewery at CIA | Hudson Valley Region

Hutch began his brewing career at the award-winning Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, OR. In 2002, he moved across the country to take a position at Great Adirondack Brewing Company in Lake Placid, NY. While at Great Adirondack he received several GABF, World Beer Cup, North American Beer Awards, and TAP NY medals and was featured in Beer Advocate Magazine. After 8 years at Great Adirondack and a stint at Ithaca Beer Company Hutch moved to the Hudson Valley in 2010 as founding brewer at Crossroads Brewing Company in Athens, NY. During his 5 years at Crossroads the brewery was recognized with multiple medals at GABF and World Beer Cup as well as the Matthew Vassar Cup for Best Brewery in the Hudson Valley in 2010.  In 2015, Hutch was selected for his current position working with Brooklyn Brewery and the Culinary Institute of America at the newly built Brewery at the CIA, a combination production and educational facility. At the CIA, Hutch works with culinary students to create beers for the restaurants and student commons of the campus that reflect the high standards of the school while teaching the students more about brewing and the world of craft beer.

Treasurer – Chris Spinelli, ROC Brewing Company | West Central Region

Chris is the co-founder and CEO of Roc Brewing Co. located in Rochester, NY.  Roc Brewing opened in 2011 with a small 1BBL system with a brewpub and flagships contracted. In 2014 Roc scaled up to a 7BBL brew house with all production in house and now employees 10 people with canning and draft accounts in five cities across NYS. Locally, Chris helped to found the 585Brewers group, which is a monthly meeting of local brewers building a community through common experience.  He has worked with the NYWCC to help build and promote NYS beers at the center.

Secretary – Kevin Mullen, Rare Form Brewing | Capital District Region

Kevin Mullen is the owner and head brewer at Rare Form Brewing Company, a farm brewery in Troy, New York. Kevin started in the industry as a bartender for a craft beer-focused bar in Colorado in 1998. Since then he has lived and breathed the craft beer culture working with brewers in Colorado, Washington, and New York. With more than seven years of nonprofit administration experience, Kevin has started three nonprofits, currently sits on the board of two, and did post-graduate work on the effectiveness of nonprofit boards. Since Rare Form has opened, Kevin has been a part of numerous NYSBA events and lobbied at the capital to represent the needs of all breweries in New York.

1st Past President – Chris Ericson, Lake Placid Pub & Brewery | Northeast Region

Christopher Ericson is the founder, owner, and brewmaster of The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery as well Big Slide Brewery & Public House and The Lake Placid Craft Brewing Company.  The Pub opened in 1996 and continues as one of the most popular restaurants in Lake Placid, serving hungry customers and brewing almost a half-million pints of beer annually.  Big Slide Brewery opened in 2016 and serves 10 house drafts and a farm-to-table menu. The Lake Placid Craft Brewing Company was founded in 2001, and is the distribution wing of the company, selling beer throughout New York State and several other eastern US states. The brewery has twice been selected as The Best Craft Brewery In New York State and individual beers have won awards at beer festivals across the United States and internationally.

Christopher is a past two-year chairman of the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau (ROOST), serving on the board for nine years, and was chairman of the Lake Placid branding project. He is also a founding officer in the New York State Craft Brewers Association. Prior to opening the Pub twenty-four years ago, he brewed for The Shed Restaurant & Brewery in Stowe, VT and Federal Jack’s Brewpub in Kennebunkport, Maine. He has been married to his wife, Catherine, for almost 20 years and they have a daughter, Grace (14), and a son, CJ (10).

Co-Founder & President Emeritus – David Katleski, Empire Brewing Company

David Katleski is the founder and president of Empire Brewing Company and currently President Emeritus of the New York State Brewers Association, both of which have distinguished themselves by, respectively, the quality of its products and the effectiveness of its advocacy for small brewers and the many ways in which they can fairly and artfully be presented to their customers.

The brewery was founded in 1994 and has shown what it takes to survive and flourish in a crowded field, not only through top quality but also by progressive business practice. With 10 Great American Beer Festival and 3 World Beer Cup medals the quality of the beer is evident. In addition, it’s a Slow Food Snail of Approval award-winning business, partners with 60 local farmers for the production of the foods on its menu, and purchases 100% New York State renewable energy.  It’s also been named one of the 20 best brewpubs in America, by both Beer Advocate and The New Brewer and the Thrillist recently named it “Top 15 Restaurants in NYS not in NYC”.The New York State Brewers Association began in 2003 with 38 breweries. The guild now works with over 190 NYS breweries and has forged an alliance with lawmakers and state wholesalers. Over the past decade Katleski has advocated for and won a myriad of reform, which include the first franchise reform legislation in the U.S. These efforts awarded him the prestigious and national Brewers Association Defense of the Industry Award in 2013.

Fred Matt, Saranac/FX Matt Brewing Company | East Central Region

Fred Matt is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, the second oldest brewery in the State of New York, and second oldest family owned Brewery in the United States. Fred is the 4th generation of the Matt Family to serve the Company, and has been with the brewery since 1989. He has successfully lead the Brewery into new areas of growth and the development of the Saranac brands. 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.

Fred serves the community on the Regional Advisory Board, and the Governing Board of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, as well as the Boilermaker Road Race. He is also a past Board Member of United Way, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and the Syracuse Chiefs.

Board Member – Jason Sahler, Strong Rope Brewery | NYC Region

Jason Sahler is the owner and brewer of Strong Rope Brewery in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Originally from Rochester, New York, Jason has lived in Brooklyn for the last 15 years and graduated from New York University with a degree in Sustainable Development. Jason is dedicated to promoting New York ingredients and travels extensively throughout New York state, working with malt, hop, and beer producers from the Southern Tier, to the Adirondack Region, to Long Island’s North Fork. Strong Rope Brewery recently transitioned to 100% New York ingredients for all their beers.

Board Member – Ian Conboy, Lucky Hare Brewing Company | Central Region

Ian Conboy is a founder of Lucky Hare Brewing Company and has served as Vice President since 2014. Beginning originally as a brewery producing less than 300 barrels per year, Lucky Hare is now operating 2 separate taproom locations and a new production facility in Watkins Glen, NY. Ian has held every position in the brewery and taproom and now focuses on sales and marketing throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. Ian was a Marine Biologist until leaving that career to focus entirely on producing delicious farm brewed beer here in the Finger Lakes. He has been a guest lecturer for Cornell University, Experience the FLX, The Schuyler County Historical Society, and the Sciencenter of Ithaca. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Ian now lives in Watkins Glen with his wife Denise and two-year-old son Wolfgang Xavier.

Board Member – Jeff Ware, Resurgence Brewing Company | Western Region

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.

Board Member – Laura Dierks, Interboro Spirits and Ales | At-large position

Laura Is the CEO /Cofounder of Interboro Spirits and Ales in Brooklyn, NYC’s only craft brewery and distillery under one roof, where the goal is to engage, inspire, and bring people together. With over 20 years of experience leading teams in the tech sector and academia, she served five years as a Montessori school board president, the VP of Communications for the NYC Project Management Institute’s Chapter board, and now serves on the board of Wide Horizons for Children. Interboro has always looked for ways to serve the community, and with the start of the COVID crisis, Laura pivoted Interboro into FDA approvals and hand sanitizer production to meet this new need. Her goal is to make Interboro not only a leader in great products, but a good employer providing opportunities to all who seek to be part of our team. Born in New York, she’s happy to be living in Brooklyn with her husband and their three children. With many interests, a BS in Geology/ Geophysics, experience in construction and technology project management, she’s always looking for more things to learn about.

Board Member – Dawn Schulz, Prison City Pub & Brewery | At-large position

Dawn Schulz is co-owner and CEO of Prison City Brewing, in Auburn, NY.  She & her husband Marc, opened Prison City Pub & Brewery in 2014, and recently expanded with a second location that operates as a production brewery, taproom, & event space. 

Dawn has a BS in Business Management & Economics.  She is a BJCP Beer Judge & Certified Cicerone®, she runs a GPO Chapter in Auburn, a member of CNY Women Ties, Craft Beer B&B, and serves on the Pink Boots Society scholarship committee.

For Dawn, opening Prison City Brewing was about building a community with which to share her love of craft beer, and the culture & experiences of the craft beer industry. Through countless events, educational workshops, beer clubs, and tasting opportunities, both the OG pub & new taproom are serving to fulfill that mission. 

Prison City Brewing has produced hundreds of different varieties of beer from traditional styles to experimental styles.  The brewery has garnered many awards including 3 GABF medals, several NYSBA competition medals, & the Governor’s Cup for best beer in NY State with Wham Whams, a barrel aged Imperial Stout with toasted coconut & vanilla beans.

She serves as President of the City of Auburn Business Improvement District and is actively involved in many local organizations.  Dawn has lived in Auburn, NY with her husband and their three children, for 20+ years.