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 – 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).
Vice 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, and serving as an officer to the Association in the capacity as Secretary. A life long beer enthusiast, Rich and best friend John Liegey founded Greenport Harbor Brewery in 2009 in an old firehouse located in the sea side harbor village of Greenport on the East End of Long Island. Greenport Harbor Brewery holds a Farm Brewing and Micro Brewing license and has two brewing locations on the North Fork that include a restaurant, beer garden and open lawns. Rich and John believe deeply in brewing every drop of their beer on the North Fork of Long Island and protecting the authenticity and integrity of the “Indy Craft” spirit. Greenport beer can be found throughout New York State and Conn. Rich, who is also an attorney, has an extensive background in real estate management and construction experience, having developed several other locally historic properties and architecturally significant sites. Rich also serves on local municipal agencies and other boards of community organizations and has lived with his wife, Ann and their two boys on the East End for more than 25 years.
Treasurer – Ethan Cox, Community Beer Works | Western Region
Ethan is a co-founder and President of Community Beer Works, in Buffalo NY. Ethan began homebrewing as an undergraduate and gained deep experience while earning a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. After moving home to Buffalo in 2006, Ethan began setting the stage to transition from academics to brewing, first by writing and blogging the local craft beer scene for various print and online publications. He honed his brewing and evaluation skills, becoming President of the Niagara Association of Homebrewers & BJCP certified, and ultimately the area’s first certified Cicerone™ and a consultant for North American Breweries. In 2010, Ethan and a group of friends undertook the process of opening a nano-brewery, Community Beer Works, which began selling beer in 2012. The brewery has since won several awards and garnered state-wide and national attention.
As a board member, Ethan endeavors to represent the breweries of WNY and the smallest breweries, state-wide. A proud New Yorker (and an even prouder Buffalonian,) he believes strongly that The Empire State should be the industry leader it historically was, a state abounding in consistent & high-quality beer.
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.
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.
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.
Board Member – Sofia Barbaresco, Industrial Arts | At-large position
Sofia has been with Industrial Arts since day one. As General Manager, she helped grow the company from inception to its first 10,000 BBLs with her hand in a bit of everything including build out, hiring 30 employees, compliance, and SOPs. In an effort to narrow her focus, she took on the role of Brand Director and continues to do all the design and marketing work for Industrial Arts, named the 19th fastest growing brewery in the U.S. last year. In 2019, she produced L.A.B Fest, a one of a kind festival that joined live art experiences with craft beer over a 14-acre historic site. Her past experience as a homebrewer and professional brewer inform her approach to communicating craft beer to a widening audience. Born in Brazil, Sofia holds a degree in Brewing Science from Latin America’s premier brewing school and is working on a book about Brazilian craft beer.
Board Member – 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.
Board Member – 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.
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 – Randy Lacey, Hopshire Farm and Brewery | Central Region
Randy Lacey is the Owner and brewer of Hopshire Farm & Brewery in Freeville, NY. He was a founding board member of the Northeast Hops Alliance (NEHA), drafted early versions of the farm brewery law and with his wife, Diane Gerhart, opened Hopshire as one of the first farm breweries in the state in 2013.
Randy is a licensed professional engineer and was employed by Cornell University for nearly 40 years before retirement to concentrate on Hopshire. During the last 18 years of his work at Cornell he was Director of Facilities Engineering.
Board Member – Kristen Lyons, Binghamton Brewing | At-large position
Kristen Lyons is the founder and owner of Binghamton Brewing Co, a micro and farm brewery that opened in 2014. Binghamton Brewing = Beer + People + Love. Located in a century old fire station it boasts a cozy tap room that is the perfect place to relax with friends and order a pint from the diverse, ever changing line up. Over the past two years she has designed and implemented a vision of providing outstanding customer service through delicious beer.
Kristen returned to NY after attending the Air Force Academy and serving in the Air Force. She utilizes her training in leadership, education in Industrial & Systems engineering, and work experience in supply chain management to successfully guide her business. She appreciates the enthusiastic craft drinkers in New York, the collaborative members of the craft beer industry, and the valuable efforts of the New York State Brewer’s Association and is excited to serve as a member of the board and represent the best interests of NY breweries.
Executive Director – Paul Leone
Paul began his career as a multi-media producer for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He soon moved on to editing, shooting, and producing several series for cable television and later worked in the studio, agency, and advertising industry. As a TV producer, he wrote and developed several television pilots on American craft beer, the first few hosted by Dogfish Heads Sam Calagione. Although they were never picked up, he discovered his passion for craft beer, and knew what he wanted to do as a career moving forward.
After living in several parts of the country, he moved back home to New York State in 2012 and was hired as the first Executive Director in 2013. Since then, he has seen New York’s brewing industry double in size, many new laws passed, and has had the honor to have met hundreds of incredible and passionate brewers all over the state and country. According to Paul, working for the brewers of New York State and the incredible Board of Directors guiding the industry every day, has been a true privilege to say the least.
Head of Partnerships – Meghan Connolly Haupt
Meghan joined the NYSBA in 2016 after relocating to upstate New York. She has worked in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors as senior management with a focus on communications, marketing and strategy. Meghan played a key role in producing the inaugural San Jose Grand Prix, the largest event ever to take place in Central California drawing a crowd of 150,000 attendees. She currently heads up the sponsoring partnership program, allied membership and merchandising. Meghan is passionate about making “New York State” synonymous with “craft beer” nationwide. She believes that craft beer is a conduit for conversation and conversations build community.
Membership and Events Manager – Jen Meyers
Jen’s love of craft beer began in 2005. After graduating with a degree in Fine Arts from University of Buffalo, she set out to follow her passion. In no time, Jen landed a position as a Craft Beer Specialist with Wright Beverage Distributing in Rochester, NY. Her determination helped her to land a marketing position with CB Craft Brewers in Honeoye Falls, NY. Her next job was with Naked Dove where Jen worked the front of the house, held a cellerman positon, was involved in the brewing process, did on-premise sales, as well as many other things in-between. Jen earned a reputation for being dedicated and hardworking and was offered a Head Brewer position at Bottomless Brewing in Geneva, NY which was followed by a Co-head Brewer position at War Horse Brewing.
During the thirteen years Jen has been immersed in the craft beer industry, one thing has remained the same: her love for the craft beer. Her goal is and has been to put NYS craft beer on the map and help bring awareness to the NYS Craft beer industry. With all the roles Jen has played thus far in her career, she most certainly has a unique approach and understanding of the craft beer world and is honored to help promote the amazing craft beer produced in this awesome state!
Communications Coordinator – Chloe Kay
Chloe is an enthusiast of craft beer, art, science, and entrepreneurship. Soon after graduating S.U.N.Y. Delhi’s Veterinary Sciences Program, she launched her own web-based business, BossDogsco. Her craft beer journey began at one of Rochester’s oldest craft breweries, CB Craft Brewers. It was at CB that both her love for craft beer and career in the industry blossomed. During Chloe’s 3 years at CB as the Director of Marketing and Events Coordinator she rebranded and designed the brewery’s packaging, coordinated and promoted hundreds of events, and played a key role in strategizing and executing company goals.
Chloe appreciates and embraces all that New York State has to offer, especially it’s fine crafted beer! She is excited to spread her love, enthusiasm, and pride for NY craft beer throughout the state and is honored to assist our team in facilitating the growth and success of the industry.