Good Beer Hunting

Surly Brewing Co. Head of Brewing Operations Todd Haug Resigns

Todd Haug, the head of brewing operations at Minnesota’s Surly Brewing Co., has resigned from the company he helped build. In a statement posted to the company’s website today, Haug thanked family, friends, and fans of the brewery for “always believing in our vision.” “It never gets old to hear people tell you how much they enjoy your beer,” he added. “Omar [Ansari, co-founder and president] and I set out with the modest goal to build a brewery so we could create a different kind of craft beer—the kind we wanted to drink—and I think we achieved that.”

The company said Haug is leaving to pursue “other opportunities and challenges,” but did not specify what those endeavors might entail.
As for who will fill the role vacated by Haug, it seems, for now, the company may look to promote from within rather than outsource the position. “I leave my brewhouses in the extremely capable hands of our co-lead brewers and the innovative brewing team we’ve mentored together,” Haug said in the statement. “I eagerly look forward to seeing what the next generation of Surly brewers will create. This is an opportunity for them to take the torch and continue the legacy we’ve been building for 10 years now.”
Details as to why Haug is leaving are scarce at the moment, but it’s certainly worth mentioning, as noted by Minneapolis food reporter Jason DeRusha on Twitter, that Haug’s wife, Linda Haug, left the company this past February. Prior to her departure, she had served as the company’s hospitality operations director.
In the statement announcing Haug’s departure, Ansari praised Haug and his past unwavering commit to the brewery.
“Todd has been an incredibly influential part of Surly since the beginning and was instrumental in building the brewery from the ground-up, often with his own two hands; brewing, welding, making connections and forming collaborations to establish the irreverent brand it is today,” he said. “His talent is undeniable, and he will always be a huge part of who we are. He will be missed.”
Surly itself has been expanding fairly rapidly the last few years, which adds a curious wrinkle to this resignation. In 2014, the company opened a $30 million destination brewery that had been nearly five years in the works—and came to fruition after the state passed the so-called “Surly Bill” in 2011, allowing breweries in the state to sell beer from the point of production. Just this past July, the company announced its plans to expand that facility’s fermentation hall to ultimately double brewing capacity at the two-year-old space. At the time, the company said in a statement that Haug himself would be the one to “oversee” the expansion, which was slated to begin in August, with much of the new equipment not expected to come online until 2017.
It's unclear when, exactly, Haug is leaving (if not immediately). But in addition to vacating the role of head brewer, it’s possible Haug is leaving a much larger void than it appears at first glance. And much like Mitch Steele's recent news, it'll be interesting to see what Haug does next.
—Dave Eisenberg
Head of Brewing Operations Todd Haug Steps Down at Surly Brewing [Surly]