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The Team

Jacob Halls

Partner, Compliance, Business Strategy, Marketing& Distribution

Jacob Halls founded Craft Beverage Consultants Group with 17 years of experience in regulatory compliance experience, business strategy, marketing, and, most recently, five years of craft brand management in the distribution tier. Jacob brings a wealth of knowledge and networks to help your business grow.

Beth Halls

Partner, Business Operations, Charity Coordinator

Beth is a co-host of the morning radio talk show “The Tom Bradley Show“, after that each day, she is the Director of Business Operations and Coordinator of Charity operations regarding the festivals and events run by Craft Beverage Consultants; such as the South East Craft Beer Fest, and MO Bacon & Bourbon, among many others.

Rick Laxague

Partner, Sales, Marketing & Distribution

With over 20 years’ experience in the three-tier system: restaurants, distribution, brewery sales and operations — the now-consulting Rick Laxague is very well-known within the industry.

Nick Burg

Creative Director

Nick Burg has an extensive background in graphic design, marketing, branding, website and app design.  He’s created brewery logos and labels in addition to helping design countless promotional items for breweries, on- and off- premises retailers, non-alcohol retailers, and events.

Tara Nurin

Director of Storytelling, Communications & Public Relations

Tara Nurin brings 25 years as a professional journalist and project-based media director to her representation of select public relations clients from around the world. As a former on-air Philadelphia television reporter and longtime global beer, spirits and dining correspondent, Tara intimately understands the needs of news professionals and is optimally positioned to capitalize on the strong working relationships she maintains with a vast array of editors, producers and reporters across the nation and beyond. She has secured coverage from media organizations like CNN International, NBC News and Reuters for entities from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The certified beer judge (BJCP) teaches a for-credit university beer class and presents beer seminars for institutions like the Smithsonian and the Brewers Association.

Stu Burkemper

Brewery Operations & Processes

Stu Burkemper brings over 10 years of craft brewing industry knowledge, with experience in all aspects of brewery operations. Burkemper currently brews at Logboat Brewing Company.

 

Jake Bowlby

Website Design, Lead Generation, SEO & Branding

Jake joined the team in 2020 to help expand the marketing division of Craft Beverage Consultants.  Jake brings with him over a decade developing a research-based marketing strategy and the perfect optimized website or landing page before adding the marketing horsepower to maximize ROI.

Billy Cabral

Front of House Management, Bar & Restaurant Consulting

Billy Cabral is the owner of FOH Consulting and former co-owner of 1839 Tap House. Billy has a wealth of knowledge in the hospitality & bar industry, and can help increase revenue for any tasting room, bar or restaurant. 

Jonathan Steffens

PAID MEDIA, Digital marketing & E-COMMERCE

Jonathan is a resident digital brand builder that excels in strategic brand growth through targeted paid media campaigns and data-backed marketing to build your e-commerce presence through aggressive demand generation.

Jeff Arthur

Values Based Executive Coach

Jeff Arthur is the founder of The Values Conversation, a coaching and consulting company that specializes in facilitating values-based growth for both individuals and businesses.

John Hoyos

Cider Sales, MArketing, Distribution specialist

John Hoyos is a sales, marketing and distribution specialist with a focus on the cider industry. He has a successful track record of building brands through careful planning and execution.

Johnny Eaker

Video Marketing Strategist

Johnny helps brands win with video and social media. From his experiences working in both in-house and external creative agencies, he believes in strategy first followed by engaging, compelling content that drives an audience to action.

Jacob Halls

Founder, Compliance, Business Strategy, Marketing

[email protected]

Jacob Halls founded Craft Beverage Consultants Group with 17 years of experience in regulatory compliance experience, business strategy, marketing, and, most recently, five years of craft brand management in the distribution tier. Jacob brings a wealth of knowledge and networks to help your business grow.

 

Craft Beverage Consultants Group is a company that helps to: market new and existing brands, assist with locating to new markets, conduct launch parties and marketing campaigns, and negotiate import and export contracts for producers and distributors alike. He’s worked with alcohol industry clients in all 50 states and eight different countries. Craft Beverage Consultants also helps companies grow from the first idea of opening a winery, brewery or distillery to forming the business, gaining a federal and state permit and maintaining compliance in production, distribution, marketing and business transactions, as well as expanding the market, strategic growth of the brand, sustaining market velocity and brand innovation. Jacob also has five years of experience as Craft Brand Manager for N.H. Scheppers Distributing in Columbia, Missouri. There he coordinated a sales team and brand activities at area restaurants, bars, grocery and convenience stores for the company’s portfolio of high-end brands, as well as expanding the high-end craft portfolio. At N.H. Scheppers Jacob helped his lead his team to winning the 2016 Distributor of the Year award from New Belgium and a nomination for the Brewers Association’s Distributor of the Year award.

 

Additionally, Jacob is also the founder and director of the South East Craft Beer Fest/Sampling & Educational Conference, a beer festival and conference weekend that has made its mark in not only celebrating the regional breweries but in helping breweries that have no distribution in the state of Missouri be able to come in legally for the festival and test the waters for potential market expansion, as well as giving the local consumer base a unique experience different from majority of other beer festivals. The conference portion has greatly enhanced the knowledge of the consumer and retail buyer at both on and off premises channels in regard to craft beer and how to monetize and capitalize on the ever-expanding market.

 

Jacob has been a regular speaker at industry trade shows and conferences around the country and has also spoken at several academic institutions regarding regulatory compliance issues, marketing and general business topics for breweries, distilleries, wineries, bar owners, and retailers.

Beth Halls

Partner, Business Operations, Charity Coordinator

[email protected]

Beth Halls is a co-host of the morning radio talk show “The Tom Bradley Show,“ on 93.1 JACKFM, home of the alcohol-based Food Fest Fridays. Each day after that, she is the Director of Business Operations and Coordinator of Charity operations for the festivals and events run by Craft Beverage Consultants, such as the South East Craft Beer Fest and Missouri Bacon & Bourbon, among many others.

Beth helped found Craft Beverage Consultants Group as the Director of Business Operations and the Coordinator of Charity Operations for the festivals and events run by CBC and its clients. Beth spent 13 years in the medical world before switching gears and adding morning talk-radio host to her resume.

Rick Laxague

Partner, Sales, Marketing & Distribution

[email protected]

With over 20 years’ experience in the three-tier system: restaurants, distribution, brewery sales and operations — the now-consulting Rick Laxague is very well-known within the industry.

 

Sales, sales training, chain accounts, IRI data analysis, marketing, brand building and in-depth understanding of distribution are some of the topics Rick can help you with to grow your brand.

 

“I have worn many hats and thrown in my time.” He spent 11 years at Crescent Crown Distributing, a 20 million annual CE beer distributorship, selling, teaching, coaching and leading a sales team to be nationally recognized. After his time in Arizona, he helped take a local/regional brewery national and move it from 30,000 cases to over 300K cases in two years. Two key pillars to his success are his focus on distributorships and building relationships with key retailers across all channels.

Nick Burg

Creative Director

[email protected]

Nick Burg has an extensive background in graphic design, marketing, branding, website and app design.  He’s created brewery logos and labels in addition to helping design countless promotional items for breweries, on- and off- premises retailers, non-alcohol retailers, and events. With a background in painting, Nick quickly learned that he did not want to be just a “starving artist” the rest of his life. A self-taught graphic designer, he likes to think outside of the box, both figuratively and literally! Nick has worked in both e-commerce and brick and mortar environments, had a custom designer collection of clawfoot bathtubs and has bartended for the better part of 10 years in bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.

 

Nick understands and fluently speaks the languages of digital, web, and print design, making it easier for him to keep continuity throughout branding companies. His love of organization helps make it easier for clients to get the files they need, faster and with less hassle and frustration.

Tara Nurin

Director of Storytelling, Communications & Public Relations

[email protected]

Tara Nurin brings 25 years as a professional journalist and project-based media director to her representation of select public relations clients from around the world. As a former on-air Philadelphia television reporter and longtime global beer, spirits and dining correspondent, Tara intimately understands the needs of news professionals and is optimally positioned to capitalize on the strong working relationships she maintains with a vast array of editors, producers and reporters across the nation and beyond. She has secured coverage from media organizations like CNN International, NBC News and Reuters for entities from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The certified beer judge (BJCP) teaches a for-credit university beer class and presents beer seminars for institutions like the Smithsonian and the Brewers Association.

Tara is the beer and spirits contributor to Forbes and a writer for publications like Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, Vice Munchies, VinePair, SevenFifty Daily and THCNet, a B-to-B website covering the legal cannabis industry. The former broadcast news reporter and beer TV show co-host has won two first place awards from the North American Guild of Beer Writers, founded NJ’s original beer education group for women and volunteers as the archivist for the Pink Boots Society for women in the beer industry. She’s currently writing a book about the history of women in beer for publication in spring 2021.

As Director of Storytelling, Content and Public Relations for Craft Beverage Consultants, Tara helps breweries, wineries, distilleries, bars and restaurants develop their messaging and find the best channels to get that message out to the public. From writing a simple press release to mounting an internet video series designed to appeal to targeted markets, Tara digs deep into the soul of your business to reveal and promote its most unique and meaningful qualities.   

Stu Burkemper

Independent Brewery Consultant

[email protected]

Stu Burkemper brings over 10 years of craft brewing industry knowledge, with experience in all aspects of brewery operations. Burkemper got his start as an intern at O’Fallon Brewery in O’Fallon, Missouri, working his way up to assistant brewer. After graduating from the Siebel Institute and the World Brewing Academy, he returned to O’Fallon to work as a brewer until 2012, when he was hired as Brewmaster at Rock Bridge Brewing Company in Columbia. After five years heading the brewing operations there, Burkemper now brews brewer at Logboat Brewing in Columbiaand consults for Craft Beverage Consultants.

Billy Cabral

Front of House Management, Bar & Restaurant Consulting

Front of House consultant Billy Cabral, former owner of , has a wealth of knowledge in the bar industry as well as in craft beer. His ability to monetize any beverage situation an establishment is in has helped with not only his success but the success of each of his clients. He works with businesses starting from the ground floor, as well as business owners looking to recover from setbacks and get their business where they aspire to be.

Billy helps businesses with inventory and ordering structure, food and beverage menu construction, staffing and scheduling, events, and more. He is a one-stop service provider for all things bar, restaurant, and brewery tap room.

Jonathan Steffens

Paid Media, Digital Marketing Strategy, E-Commerce

[email protected]

Jonathan is a resident digital brand builder that excels in strategic brand growth through targeted paid media campaigns and data-backed marketing to build your e-commerce presence through aggressive demand generation. Supporting SMB to Fortune 500 companies, Jonathan is a data-driven marketing & digital media leader with over a decade of experience spanning Product Marketing, Direct-To-Consumer E-Commerce, Technical SEO, and Paid Media management. 

Jeff Arthur

Values Based Executive Coach

[email protected]

Jeff Arthur is the founder of The Values Conversation, a coaching and consulting company that specializes in facilitating values-based growth for both individuals and businesses. Jeff is also a sought-after keynote speaker and is seen as one of the nation’s preeminent authorities on leadership, team building and executive coaching. He has been identified by Small Business Monthly Magazine as one of the “Top 100 People to Know in Business in St. Louis,” and he is one of the former co-hosts of “The Smart Biz Show,” a nationally syndicated radio show.

 

Jeff loves working with businesses to help team members thrive though a better understanding of their personal, team and overall organizational values. He works with Fortune 500 companies and CEO’s as well as owners of small- to medium-sized businesses. Organizations that engage with Jeff thrive and see dramatic improvements in productivity, revenue, turnover and internal morale.

John Hoyos

Cider Specialist

[email protected]

John Hoyos is a sales, marketing and distribution specialist with a focus on the cider industry. He has a successful track record of building brands through careful planning and execution. John has worked over a decade with a variety of small businesses in cider, beer and spirits to use distribution as a vehicle for sales growth and blending that in to an overall sales strategy. In listening to producer challenges in various markets, he understands the idiosyncrasies within markets and relishes solving them.

In his spare time, John attempts to raise his two daughters, practice yoga and play chess.

Johnny Eaker

Video Marketing Strategist

[email protected]
Cofounder – Cosmic Sauce

Johnny helps brands win with video and social media. From his experiences working in both in-house and external creative agencies, he believes in strategy first followed by engaging, compelling content which drives an audience to action.

We're Here to Help

Dear friends in the alcoholic beverage industry,

As we as an industry, nation and planet collectively try to navigate this unprecedented period the coronavirus has brought us, I’d like you to know that we at Craft Beverage Consultants (the other CBC!) are here to answer any question you may have (or not know you have) about not just surviving this time but positioning yourself to thrive as soon as social distancing measures allow your business to function at full capacity again.

If you schedule a free 60-minute phone or video conferencing consultation with me or any of my 11 highly specialized colleagues, we’ll help you figure out any of your immediate and/or longterm business needs, or “everything but the staffing,” as we like to say. We’re not high-pressure sales kind of people, especially these days, so you don’t have to worry about fending off annoying pitches. Make an appointment on our website or Facebook page, or just call us the old-fashioned way at 314-768-0220.

Our experts have a combined 150 years in the alcoholic beverage industry, with deep knowledge in everything from sales and distribution, production, and regulatory compliance to marketing, package design, event planning, IT, (social) media, hospitality, and even values-based executive coaching. 

For example, I can coach you through this season when chain accounts have canceled their spring resets and distributors have drastically cut orders. Our director of business strategy and compliance can save you money – now – on excise taxes, caution you to avoid naming your beers in ways that risk alienating your buyers (Wuhan Wheat? Coronavirus Cream Ale? Groan. No.), and secure TTB approval for the tastefully named beers you do make. Our creative director and web team can get your e-commerce site up and running and launch a social media campaign that keeps you top of mind for current and future customers. Our director of storytelling can put you in front of the press so you can tell your story to your community. 

Once you’re ready, we can look forward together. Now is the time to talk about post-virus. We all suspect the legal landscape to look different. But how? And how do you prepare yourself in a way that positions you to charge out of the gate ready to maximize the potential and profit of whatever the “new normal” turns out to be? Please get in touch so we can talk about it. 

And if you’d like to feel us out beforehand, join me as I answer all of your questions about sales and distro during my free “Ask Me Anything” presentation May 5 at  — p.m. Central on the Craft Beer Professionals Facebook page. Also, at 11 a.m. Central on April 28 Director of Storytelling, Communications and Public Relations Tara Nurin appears as a special guest of “Ask Me Anything” to share unique – and free – ways to use the media to your advantage now and going forward.

CBC’s roster includes local and regional clients like Epic Brewing, Logboat Brewing, Piney River Brewing, SudWerk Brewing and Common Cider Company.  The agency was founded in 2014 by Jacob and Beth Halls; I, Rick Laxague, joined as a partner in charge of sales, marketing and distribution consulting in 2019. 

I have close to 20 years of experience, a bulk of which was with Crescent Crown Distributing in Arizona. My last role there was Area Sales Manager for the dedicated craft beer division, coaching and leading a sales team to be nationally recognized. In early 2014 I helped take a regional brewery national as their Director of National Accounts and increase that segment of their business from 30,000 cases to almost 300,000 cases in two years, an increase that equates to $4.8 million in IRI dollar sales. 

Co-founder Jacob Halls brings 17 years of experience in regulatory compliance, business strategy, marketing and craft brand management to the company. In his former position as craft brand manager for the N.H. Scheppers Distributing Company in Columbia, Missouri, Jacob helped lead his team to winning the 2016 Distributor of the Year award from New Belgium and to a nomination for the Brewers Association’s Distributor of the Year award. Jacob is also the founder and director of the South East Craft Beer Fest/Sampling & Educational Conference. Beth Halls is Director of Business Operations and Coordinator of Charity Operations for the festivals and events run by CBC, such as the South East Craft Beer Fest, MO Bacon & Bourbon, and many more. 

Again, please reach out to me or my partners for anything. I’m at [email protected] and CBC can be reached at (314) 768-0220 or at craftbeverageconsultants.com.

I look forward to meeting/talking soon.

Sincerely,

Rick Laxague