In the beer maker’s latest in a series of recent headlines, Atlanta’s Scofflaw Brewing Co. announced today that it’s bolstered its executive leadership team by taking on a third equity partner. The quickly growing brewery says beer industry veteran Chris McJunkin, who most recently served as chief revenue officer at BrewDog USA before his “career move” to Scofflaw, will bring “corporate-level sales experience and structure” to the business as it looks to deepen its presence in its home market.
Scofflaw co-founder and president Matt Shirah says the company simply doesn’t have the depth of talent or experience at the top level to handle some of the trickier challenges of growing.
“If we don’t get ahead of the game, we’re gonna get behind the curve in dealing with the traditional issues that everybody has to deal with, which is mainly distributor relationships,” Scofflaw co-founder and president Matt Shirah tells GBH. “Having somebody on board that has helped manage distributors, relationships with distributors, and understands the hot buttons, is very valuable to me.”
Prior to working at BrewDog, McJunkin spent nearly three years as vice president of sales at Founders, and has had previous stints at Craft Brew Alliance and Vermont Hard Cider. More than experience, though, the well-traveled industry vet brings established familiarity with Scofflaw to the company. In fact, McJunkin was instrumental in the recent contract brewing partnership struck between his new team at Scofflaw and his most recent bosses at BrewDog.
As Shirah told GBH at the time that partnership was made public: “Chris McJunkin… put James [Watt, BrewDog co-founder] and I together after they had had some conversations about what we were doing, what our brand was, and what our needs were, and I think James saw an opportunity to, you know, help us. It helps him grow his facility, and it helps us grow our brand.”
For Scofflaw, the hire is seemingly another step toward the professionalization of an aggressively growing—and sometimes just plain aggressive—brand. Last fall, in the face of consumer claims of inconsistent quality, Scofflaw posted a photo on Facebook of the entire team flipping off the camera accompanied by a screed from Shirah. That led to some interesting conversations in the months since. Following the contract partnership announcement (which Shirah framed as a way to meet demand and create more jobs), hiring McJunkin is another move that seems to fill a void for the young beer maker.
McJunkin will take an undisclosed equity stake in the company and officially join Scofflaw at the end of the first quarter. He’s currently serving Scofflaw in a consulting capacity. As for why he made the move, though, McJunkin says it’s because he has never before seen “growth or growth potential” like what he has seen at Scofflaw after its first year in business.
“The decision to make the move was an easy one, especially after seeing what these guys were able to do in just one year,” McJunkin says in a statement. “If we can produce enough beer to meet demand inside the perimeter in Atlanta and get any material volume to distribute outside of the perimeter, we will grow substantially in our sophomore year.”
Scofflaw told GBH it would likely finish 2017 having produced about 9,700 barrels. The company is currently in the midst of a 30,000-barrel expansion. In addition to barrelage, Shirah says the company will likely look to bring on more high level talent as the company tries to fill out its presence in Atlanta and surrounding areas.