US: Goose Island brewer quitting to form new craft beer firm – report

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Goose Island’s core staff are continuing their exodus with the company set to loose one of its key brewers, according to reports.

John Laffler, “innovation brewer” at the Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned firm, is leaving Goose Island to team up with former Two Brothers employee Dave Bleitner to form Off Color Brewing, the Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday. The new company will be based in Chicago and hopes to release its first beer in March, the report said.

Laffler’s announcement follows news this month that Goose Island founder & CEO John Hall is stepping down from the brewer to help establish a craft beer advisory board at parent company A-B InBev. The Belgium-headquartered brewer acquired Goose Island for US$38.8m in March last year.

Tony Bowker, Goose’s COO, is also leaving to sit on the advisory board. Greg Hall stepped down as brewmaster of Goose Island in May last year, two months after A-B InBev’s takeover. Hall now helms cider maker Virtue Brands.

A study released earlier this week claimed craft beers are taking sales from premium and import beers in the US on-trade.