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.

1st Past 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.

Paul Komsic, Ghost Brewing Company | Long Island Region

Meet Paul, a dedicated and passionate advocate for Long Island’s ever-growing brewing community. He began his professional journey at Brickhouse Brewery (Patchogue, NY) where he held a position as a Chef for three years, then honed his brewing skills for the following six years as both an Assistant Brewer and Brewmaster. In early 2019, he began to transition over to Ghost Brewing Co. (Bay Shore, NY) and by December, the doors were open. He is no stranger to sharing his expertise and support, has previously served on the Long Island Brewers Guild, and is always eager to nurture and display his love for the community.

As he vies for a seat to represent Long Island on the New York Brewers Association Board, Paul brings a wealth of experience, a boundless passion for craft beer, and a deep-rooted commitment to fostering both connections and growth within the brewing community. With hopes to shorten the perceived distance between Long Island and the rest of New York State, he intends to continue cultivating relationships to help grow this community together.

Micah Krichinsky, Strangebird Beer | West Central Region

With his formal education in microbiology and biochemistry, Micah brings an astute scientific background to brewing. After interning at the District Chophouse Brewery in Washington, DC during graduate school, he knew he wanted to become a brewer. After grad school, he got a job at Capitol City Brewing Company in Washington, DC. Micah left Cap City to attend the Master Brewer’s program at U.C. Davis. He was recruited to work at Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware, while at U.C. Davis. Micah was a brewer at Dogfish Head for five years. 

The craft beer market is more mature now, forcing craft breweries to step up our game in QAQC. If elected to this position, Micah will use the platform to emphasize the importance of quality to member breweries with an eye towards efficiency and cost savings. Micah will continue to promote the quality beer currently being produced in the W-Central Region.

SecretaryBoard 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.

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.

Paul Mrocka, Paradox Brewery | Northeast Region

Paul Mrocka, at 65 years young, has a life story that reflects his remarkable journey from the skies to the world of craft beer. With a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and a Minor in Marketing, Paul dedicated many years to a distinguished career as a Senior International Pilot at Honeywell International.

In 2013, while still actively working for Honeywell, Paul embarked on a bold entrepreneurial venture by opening Paradox Brewery. What started as a modest 1,400-square-foot brewery has now evolved into a state-of-the-art 25,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant. Simultaneously managing his role at Honeywell and the growth of Paradox Brewery, Paul showcased his remarkable ability to juggle and excel in multiple spheres.

After his retirement from Honeywell in 2020, Paul continued to focus on his role as the President of Paradox Brewery, where he remains the driving force behind its ongoing success.

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 – Kristen Lunkenheimer, Lunkenheimer Craft Brewing Company | Central Region

It is with strong leadership capabilities and passion for the brewing and craft beverage industry (past, present & future) that I seek your vote for the Central Region board position. If elected it is my intent to serve as the unified voice for the region and represent ALL facets of the business through regular collaboration and gatherings (in all geographical areas of the large region) with open discussions on any matters that impact our brewing industry.

A strength of mine has always been the ability to look at complex things objectively with a forward, strategic approach across functions to achieve great things. It is with this approach, my background and experiences, hard work, and partnership/relationships built or to be built with you, that I hope to gain your trust to collectively represent the Central Region and utilize the strength of the NYSBA to encourage greater consumption of fresh, local beer! Cheers!

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.