Exciting news: We’re very proud to announce that Chris Herron has accepted the role of CEO at Creature Comforts Brewing Company. Chris left his previous position as Finance Director for the Open States, National Accounts, and Military Spirits and Wines at Diageo on March 4 to begin his journey with the Creature family. We couldn’t be more excited about the talent, love, and passion for craft beer that Chris will bring us. He told us, “I always wanted to start a craft brewery since I got into this industry 13 years ago. But my homebrew let me know early on that if I was to be in the craft industry, it would be on the business side, not the brewing side.”
Chris knew where he wanted to go, but he had to figure out how to get there. The path he thought made the most sense was moving through the big beer companies where he could get great training and experience. (Back then, there were very few opportunities to work for a craft brewery, especially in the Southeast.) On-premise sales, chain-account sales, distributor management, pricing, commercial finance, financial planning and analysis. These are all monumental—and sometimes not so sexy—parts of the brewing business that Chris was able to undertake and master while working for the big boys. With so much work and movement through the industry, you can imagine that the light at the end of the tunnel was not always the brightest. Chris put it best when he said, “Although at times it seemed like it was taking me further away from the place I wanted to be, I stuck to the plan I put in place. It gave me the foundation I needed to start working on a business plan, which led me to Creature Comforts.”
Life Lesson #1
Keep the end in sight and stay the course
Chris’ positive attitude and outlook on life was a sure sign to us that he is going to fit in just fine with the Creature family. We are brewing beer and following our dream. Work, for us, is a passion and a positive experience. Granted, there are challenges and struggles, but also large rewards and an immense amount of satisfaction. We needed a CEO that felt the same way. Luckily, he does:
I have never viewed work negatively. I have always found the positive outlook. I enjoy work because I make sure I am learning and challenging myself. For that reason, I think I have always been seen as a hard worker, because I saw a purpose in what I was doing, a reason to put in the extra effort. Work, for me, has always been an environment for education with people everywhere who can help you and teach you. I am constantly asking for help or advice from others, regardless of their level or status. You never know who has the best advice until you ask them, and the more you humble yourself and seek the opinion of others, the better it will serve you.
Life Lesson #2
Work hard, stay positive, be humble
We had a unique problem in the world of new craft breweries. We had brewmasters with years of professional experience, but not the knowledge to fully say we had the business side locked down. Knowing this, we went searching for the perfect fit, the missing piece to the puzzle, the ultimate warrior. We contacted the beer industry professionals at First Key, and began our search. As fate would have it, within just a few weeks, Chris did exactly the same. We were looking for a cool CEO with monster experience while Chris was looking for the brewmasters with tasty brews.
Immediately, the introduction was made and fate truly showed herself. Adam, David, Blake, and Chris all grew up in Gwinnett County, just mere miles from each other and went to SEC schools. Adam, David, and Blake to UGA, Chris to USC. Chris found his brewmasters, we found our CEO. After a meeting in Athens and a few beers’ worth of discourse, it was apparent the stars had aligned. Chris reached his dream. Chris was going back home. The Creature family was complete.
Life Lesson #3
When fate speaks, listen