The Brewers Association (BA), the Boulder, Colo.-based not-for-profit trade association dedicated to advocating for small and independent American craft brewers, announced the retirement of president and CEO Bob Pease. After 32 years with the Brewers Association, Pease will step down in early 2025 once his successor is in place.

“After careful consideration, I believe it is time to help this great association transition to new leadership and for me to move on to new endeavors,” Pease stated. “Over the last three decades, I have witnessed the Brewers Association grow from a small, narrowly focused association to one that is now a power player on important issues facing the industry domestically and internationally. Throughout my time at the helm of the Brewers Association, we have helped our members navigate explosive growth and unprecedented challenges. In doing so, we have put the BA on the map as a political force. Representing this iconic community, its brands, and the incredible people who embody passion in their craft has been an absolute honor. I look forward to seeing continued success in the industry.”

Pease joined the Brewers Association in 1993 as a customer service manager and worked his way up to operations director. He was promoted to vice president in 1999, chief operating officer in 2010, and CEO in 2014. During his tenure, he turned around and solidified the organization’s financial standing, from debt servicing to more than $23 million in reserves.

In 2004, Pease established the association’s export development program, building it from the ground up and helping grow the global craft beer revolution for nearly two decades. Since the program’s inception, U.S. craft beer exports have increased from approximately 16,000 barrels to more than 230,000 barrels and from $3,000,000 to more than $71,000,000.

In 2007, Pease worked with members of Congress to create the House and Senate Small Brewers Caucus, which has grown to become one of the largest member caucuses in Congress.

Pease played a key role in devising and executing the strategy to provide federal excise tax relief to craft brewers through the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), which was enacted in 2017 and made permanent in 2020. Among other things, he forged strong relationships with members of Congress and staff on both sides of the aisle, which continues to pay dividends.

“While I am proud of all that we have accomplished, I am particularly proud of the historic excise tax cut that empowered brewers to reinvest in their businesses and resulted in an annual tax savings of more than $80 million. Making the federal excise tax cuts permanent was a two-decades-long effort that finally gained traction when all the leading trade groups, guilds, and member breweries banded together,” Pease said.

In 2017, Pease and the association’s Public Relations and Marketing Committee and staff launched the independent craft brewer seal. To date, nearly 5,000 breweries have adopted this mark, which helps consumers differentiate beer made by small and independent craft brewers.

Many small breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms were devastated by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Pease and his team worked tirelessly to ensure the brewing community was included in federal regulation and relief programs.

“Bob has been an unwavering advocate for small and independent brewers, and his accomplishments will leave a lasting impact on us all,” said Leah Cheston, owner of Right Proper Brewing Co. and chairperson of the Brewers Association Board of Directors. “He spearheaded the organization during a critical time for the industry, growing the craft beer market share to 13% and supplying countless tools to help the craft brewing community thrive, from professional resources and tax savings, to hosting world-class events.”

In 2015 and 2020, BrewboundOpens in new window named Pease the “Beer Industry Person of the Year,” and since 2018, The HillOpens in new window has consistently named Pease one of the top lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

“We thank Bob for his steadfast leadership and look forward to partnering with him to ensure a smooth transition and search for his successor,” Cheston said.

The board has retained Kittleman & Associates to lead the search for Pease’s replacement.