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The Team

Jacob Halls

Founder, Compliance, Business Strategy, Marketing

Jacob Halls is the president of Craft Beverage Consultants Group, a company that helps to market new and existing brands, assist with to locating new markets, conduct launch parties and marketing campaigns, negotiate import and export contracts for producers and distributors alike.

Beth Halls

Partner, Business Operations, Charity Coordinator

Beth Halls helped found Craft Beverage Consultants Group as the Director of Business Operations and the Coordinator of Charity operations regarding the festivals and events run by Convergence and its clients.

Rick Laxague

Partner, Sales, Marketing & Distribution

Rick can explain, show and practice basic sales steps and techniques to gain the business and close the sale. He has a great vision of perspective from consumer, salesman, supplier and retailer.

Nick Burg

Creative Director

Nick Burg joins the team and brings with him his background in graphic design, marketing, and branding, website and app design.

Tara Nurin

Director of Storytelling, Communications & Public Relations

Rick can explain, show and practice basic sales steps and techniques to gain the business and close the sale. He has a great vision of perspective from consumer, salesman, supplier and retailer.

Stu Burkemper

Independent Brewery Consultant

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.

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 bar industry as well as craft beer.

Jason Gregory

On-Premise Programing, Event Organization & Management

Jason will be bringing with him several years of event organization and management experience, through events such as Brew Skies Music Festival.

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 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 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.

Jonathan Steffens

Digital Marketing Strategy, E-Commerce, SEO & All Things Web

Jonathan will be heading up the division of E-commerce & marketing, ERP integration, SEO, mobile apps, fulfillment systems for clients with online merchandise and alcohol sales.

Jacob Halls

Founder, Compliance, Business Strategy, Marketing

[email protected]

Jacob Halls is the president of Craft Beverage Consultants Group, a company that helps to market new and existing brands, assist with to locating new markets, conduct launch parties and marketing campaigns, negotiate import and export contracts for producers and distributors alike. He’s worked in all 50 states and 8 different countries with clients in the alcohol industry. Craft Beverage Consultants also assists companies grow from the idea of opening a winery, brewery or distillery, to forming the business, gaining a federal and state permit, to 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 is the Craft Brand Manager for N.H. Scheppers Distributing Company, a premium beverage distributor with offices in Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri. There he coordinates works with a sales team and coordinates 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 NH Scheppers Jacob helped his lead his team to winning the 2016 Distributor of the Year award from New Belgium and nomination to 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 & 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 for the festival legally, 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 the on and off premises 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 the 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 helped found Craft Beverage Consultants Group as the Director of Business Operations and the Coordinator of Charity operations regarding the festivals and events run by Convergence and its clients. Beth spent 13 years in the medical world before switching gears and has added talk radio host to her resume as well as she is now also the co-host of a morning talk radio show.

Rick Laxague

Partner, Sales, Marketing & Distribution

[email protected]

With over 20 years experience in the Three-Tier System: Restaurants, Distribution, Brewery Sales and Operations — now consulting Rick Laxague is known within the industry.

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

“I have worn many hats and thrown many of cases in my time.” He spent 11 years at Crescent Crown Distributing- a 20million+ CE annually 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 from 30,000 cases to over 300k in two years. Building relationships with key retailers across all channels and distributorship focus were two of the key pillars to his success.

Today Rick wants to share his knowledge and experience to those that need help growing to the next level.

Nick Burg

Creative Director

[email protected]

For years we have assisted with labels across all categories for years, and the process has become much quicker, and in many ways easier as companies become more familiar with the process. Many times, we had people ask us if we could just make the changes needed, but we never had a graphics person on staff to assist.

That has all changed now! Nick Burg joins the team and brings with him his background in graphic design, marketing, and branding, website and app design. So now, not only can we correct any labels in house, we can also assist with the design from concept to approval.

Tara Nurin

Director of Storytelling, Communications & Public Relations

www.taranurin.com

In addition to writing monthly beer and spirits content for Forbes.com, BJCP-certified freelance journalist Tara Nurin co-hosts a weekly beer radio show in the Philadelphia market called “What’s on Tap.” Named Writer of the Year by the Philly Beer School, the Camden, NJ, homeowner also contributes to publications like Food & Wine, Vice Munchies, Vine Pair and Philadelphia magazine. When she’s not writing or providing expert beer commentary and education, she runs interactive beer-and-chocolate pairing workshops, volunteers as historian for the Pink Boots Society and sets up events through Beer for Babes, the beer education group she founded for women.

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 working as a brewer until 2012 when he was hired on at Rock Bridge Brewing Company in Columbia, Missouri as Brew Master. After 5 years heading the brewing operations there, Burkemper is currently a brewer at Logboat Brewing in Columbia, MO and at Craft Beverage Consulting as a consultant.

Billy Cabral

Front of House Management, Bar & Restaurant Consulting

[email protected]

Front of House Consultant Billy, former owner of 1839 Tap House, has a wealth of knowledge in the bar industry as well as 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 businesses 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. They are a one stop service provider for all things bar, restaurant, and brewery tap room.

Jason Gregory

On-Premise Programing, Event Organization & Management

[email protected]

Jason will be bringing with him several years of event organization and management experience, through events such as Brew Skies Music Festival. Jason also brings his on-premises programming expertise, to help bars, restaurants, tasting rooms and tap rooms delve into their full potential of attracting new customers, and inspiring current customers to increase their frequency and duration of the visit, increasing revenue. Jason is also the Missouri Market Manager for Sudwerk Brewing Company.

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.

Jonathan Steffens

Digital Marketing Strategy, E-Commerce, SEO & All Things Web

[email protected]

Jonathan will be heading up the division of E-commerce & marketing, ERP integration, SEO, mobile apps, fulfillment systems for clients with online merchandise and alcohol sales.

Jonathan has been working in IT for many years, for the University of Missouri, Missouri State Government, and most recently with Delta Systems Group. Jonathan also has close ties and a passion for the world of beer, being one of the ownership partners of the local Craft Beer Cellar franchise.