Sharad Chadha, the leader of a local investment group that purchased Glendale-based Sprecher Brewing Co. Inc., has ambitious plans for growing the company, including a larger distribution footprint, new products and an additional local location in a highly-visible area.
Chadha, a former executive at GE Healthcare, Samsung Electronics, ABB and Electrolux, will be the chief executive officer of Sprecher Brewing Company.
In an interview today with BizTimes Milwaukee, Chadha said Sprecher's beer sales are not growing due to the highly competitive nature of the craft beer industry. Moving forward, he said the new ownership group plans to leverage Sprecher's brand and expand distribution of its “mainstay” beverages to other states.
“(Those include) our root beer, our craft soda and new sparkling water and hard seltzers,” Chadha said. “Those are the categories that are growing extremely fast.”
The company needs to adapt to the changing tastes of consumers, which appear to be shifting more towards healthier beverages, Chadha said.
“It’s more premium, calorie consciousness, healthy and things like that,” he said.
Although Sprecher products can be found in more than 25 states, the retail and distribution footprint of the brewery is currently limited. The Sprecher brand and product line has a lot of potential, but in order to grow, the brewery will have to increase marketing and sales nationally, Chadha said.
“We don’t actively push, market or sell in those other states,” Chadha said. “We have not focused as much on sales and marketing and I think that’s where (the new ownership group) can help.”
Besides Chadha, other members of the new Sprecher ownership group include Andy Nunemaker, who will serve as chairman of the board; Peter Skanavis, the owner of Homeowner Concept Realtors, who will be a member of the company’s board. Brewing industry veteran and longtime MillerCoors marketing executive Jim Kanter is also part of the investor group and will be part of the company leadership team.
The group bought the business from Randy Sprecher, who established the brewery in 1985.
Chadha wants to maintain the company’s local roots but still capitalize on what Sprecher has built to bring the brewery’s product line within reach of every taste bud, he said.
“We have to be much, much bigger than we are today,” Chadha said. “We’ve got to be nationally distributed and sold and recognized as a craft beverage. Our roots are always going to be premium craft, local, good quality ingredients. But we want to be national if not international.”
Locally, the brewery wants to establish more visibility and is contemplating a secondary local operation closer to “foot traffic,” near “where millennials and the young folks are,” Chadha said.
“There are thoughts that we should have some kind of outlet, if you will, call it a tap room, merchandising, a restaurant, we don’t know what the concept will be,” Chadha said. “Not just here in Glendale, we should be other places too.”