Todd Haug resigns from Surly Brewing

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Disc_n_Beer, Oct 19, 2016.

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  1. Disc_n_Beer

    Disc_n_Beer Initiate (66) Mar 20, 2015 Iowa


    Head of Brewing Operations Todd Haug Steps Down At Surly Brewing

    After more than 10 years setting the pace of the craft beer revolution in Minnesota, Surly Brewing Co., Head of Brewing Operations Todd Haug has resigned his position at the Twin Cities Brewery.

    "I'd like to thank our family, friends and fans - Surly Nation - for always believing in our vision. It never gets old to hear people tell you how much they enjoy your beer. Omar 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.”

    Todd earned a reputation for refusing to brew-to-style. He defined the undefinable and brewed beer his way, which was rarely the easy way, earning the brewery gold medals in the process.

    Omar Ansari, Founder and President of Surly Brewing says, “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. His talent is undeniable, and he will always be a huge part of who we are. He will be missed.”

    Todd is stepping down from his role to pursue other opportunities and challenges in the industry that he has worked in for 25 years. The future is bright, and adventure awaits.

    “I leave my brewhouses in the extremely capable hands of our co-lead brewers and the innovative brewing team we’ve mentored together. I eagerly look forward to seeing what the next generation of Surly brewers will create,” says Haug. “This is an opportunity for them to take the torch and continue the legacy we’ve been building for 10 years now.”

    It’s been a hell of a ride with Todd in the front seat, keeping the music loud and the speed fast. He's the wizard, the bitter brewer and the creative genius.

    Surly Nation thanks you.

    Geuzedad and JordonHoltzman like this.
  2. jera1350

    jera1350 Poo-Bah (2,714) Dec 15, 2007 Minnesota

    "Todd is stepping down from his role to pursue other opportunities and challenges in the industry that he has worked in for 25 years."

    Not leaving the industry. Wonder what's next?
    Harrison8 and ZAP like this.
  3. nograz

    nograz Disciple (383) Oct 30, 2013 Minnesota

    It is a bit shocking, but I can't say that I am surprised. With how much Surly has grown and push the button to brew (I know that is not really totally the case), Todd seems like the kind of person who wants a smaller and hands on operation.

    I hope the other opportunities and challenges are opening his own brewery or at least sticking around in the Twin Cities.
    Geuzedad and feloniousmonk like this.
  4. HipHoppin

    HipHoppin Initiate (86) Feb 11, 2015 Minnesota

    My guess is he's still mad about the Furious recipe changing years ago
    Geuzedad, eawolff99 and Prince_Casual like this.
  5. TboneRN

    TboneRN Defender (636) Mar 30, 2014 Minnesota

    Hopefully this means big things will be coming out of surly in the future! I think a new face and new ideas will be good for surly!!!
    eawolff99 likes this.
  6. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    In a related development, Surly announced a change to the name of one of their most highly rated beers. It will now be known as "Todd the Axed Man"... :slight_smile:
  7. AnalogErik

    AnalogErik Initiate (0) Jul 23, 2013 Minnesota

    I hope Todd starts his own brew op, and calls it Burly. His first big beers will be Curious and Fender.
    66jzmstr, HomeBrewed, dcotom and 7 others like this.
  8. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,698) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

  9. JakeJohnson

    JakeJohnson Initiate (158) Jan 30, 2015 Minnesota

    TG might have a new Director of Brewing Operations.
    jwwhitney, tgates, nogophers and 5 others like this.
  10. SudsSavant

    SudsSavant Initiate (167) Jan 9, 2007 Minnesota

    Do you work for Sisyphus down the road? Is your real name Issac? :wink:
    AnalogErik likes this.
  11. nograz

    nograz Disciple (383) Oct 30, 2013 Minnesota

    Geuzedad likes this.
  12. shawnp

    shawnp Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2010 Minnesota

    My opinion would be, left over issues from Linda? Thoughts?
    eppie82 and nogophers like this.

    THANAT0PSIS Champion (815) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    Any more information on these two things?

    I'm sad to see him go. Todd was the face of the brand for me. I don't love every Surly beer, but they're very special to me in that I met my fiancée at Darkness Day and spent a whole lot of time seeking out and drinking their beer even before it was locally available. I won't speculate on why he left, but I will be watching closely to see what he does next.
    Geuzedad, ManBearPat and CMLinder like this.
  14. AnalogErik

    AnalogErik Initiate (0) Jul 23, 2013 Minnesota

    P.S. With all due respect to Todd (Axe man is one of my all-time great beers, and BA Darkness last year was probably one of the best BA Stouts ive ever had in my life) - everyone who is suggesting T.G. as a landing place are kinda off base. T.G. has produced AMAZING beer with the people they currently still have. It wouldn't make sense to put an Alpha dog into a shop that already has an established brewing program.
  15. kgraham91

    kgraham91 Initiate (0) May 27, 2016 Minnesota

    *Moves to Decorah*

    But seriously I'm curious to see where the direction of Surly goes.
  16. NickTheGreat

    NickTheGreat Zealot (536) Oct 28, 2010 Iowa

    Sad deal. Hopefully this doesn't spell bad things for Surly. Oddly enough, Surly is one of the easier to get, good breweries I can get in Des Moines.
  17. dave43

    dave43 Initiate (0) Jan 29, 2007 Minnesota

    Todd is salt of the earth. I knew the writing was on the wall when Linda left. He made Surly what it is and will no doubt rock it wherever he ends up. I look forward to following his trail.
    feloniousmonk likes this.
  18. Windvaner

    Windvaner Initiate (54) Nov 7, 2014 Minnesota

    This is sad news whatever way you look at. When you think craft beer in Minnesota and innovation you have to give credit where its due. Todd is at the pinnacle of brewing here and Surly will have a damn hard time finding someone who can fill his shoes.

    Some things jump to mind immediately :

    1 . This really was the last Darkness day .
    2. Most definitely Todd has been hired by another brewery or will be announced as the head brewer of a new start up venture very soon .
    3 .We may be hearing that Surly will be acquired by the big guys soon . Don't think it can't happen....
    4. Surly have lost a lot of good people in the last few months , their Festival & Tour Coordinator left and went to Indeed Brewing this summer too .

    Toppling Goliath, Stone Brewing, and now Surly . There are a lot of head brewers moving on .The Times They Are A-Changin .
  19. MattyG85

    MattyG85 Poo-Bah (3,529) Aug 31, 2010 Minnesota

    Pretty sad but not surprising considering whats been going on this year. His wife gets canned and other brewers have been starting to slowly take over making new beers. Omar and Todd were the pair that made the Twin Cities a craft hotspot. Too bad egos/greed/whatever the issues were got in the way of a great thing. Like someone else mentioned I wouldn't be surprised if Surly becomes one of the next big craft breweries to sell out in the next few years. Ownership seems to be overly focused on growth.

    Hopefully Todd starts up his own brewpub rather than jumping into an already established company. He's such a big name around here that it is pretty sure it would be a big success.
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  20. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (2,082) Jul 2, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I was going to ask if ges the guy who is "surly" and they named it after his personality but i think i got my answer. Good luck to him.
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  21. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (275) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Makes sense. Why make other people money when its your own recipes that made them the money? At a certain point, life happens, and relationships strain. In NM, the craft beer brewing tree is pretty interesting to look at. Many learned early on to go as far as they felt comfortable, and then create their own venture. Lots of successful places that have branched out from the "big boys".

    One always has to have their future and best interest written on the back of your palm, so to speak.

    Just speculation. But it all seems the same anymore. Why give Mr. Todd a raise when his recipes will make so and so company money for years to come. It's a tough game out there. And we're seeing it more than ever before we get too saturated.

    A head brewer, anymore, is replaceable with the addition of nearly 95% computer operated systems. New beer creation is another beast, but most places now a days see immense growth and stability in their core offerings, which have been established for years. As a company makes millions, the true artisan brewer is lost (if he isnt already an owner or co-owner).

    Unless I'm off base here and he had a minority interest in the company or some sort of vested interested, he was always only known as the head brewer? I feel that can wear thin on a person when, again, others are making money off your own sweet and tears.

    Craft beer isn't so kitten and puppy doll friendly as we envisioned. The ugly side is that many many owners are already millionaires who want to make money at all costs. The craft 'umbrella' is losing its strength. I'm not sure how Surly was structured but just reading aloud, it appears no different than many larger breweries who lose their top man.
    #21 Oktoberfiesta, Oct 20, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  22. Giantspace

    Giantspace Meyvn (1,030) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Never had one of their beers. Always liked the name though. No distro around here amazingly.

  23. nograz

    nograz Disciple (383) Oct 30, 2013 Minnesota

    It could just be that it was time to move on for Todd. I don't know Todd personally and only have talked to him a few times and for very short amount of time (well, and my wife actually asked about what he does for his skin care regiment since she thought he had very nice skin). But, he seems like a real down to earth, hardworking and hands on guy. It could just be that Surly has outgrown Todd. There are stories of him doing a lot of work setting up the original brewery in Brooklyn Park, things like welding and metal work.

    Todd seems like he would be more at home at a smaller operation, where he is do a lot more of the hands on and day-to-day work.
  24. 701beer

    701beer Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2009 North Dakota

    My guess is that he is furious about it. #dadjoke
    Geuzedad, ovaltine and pjeagles like this.
  25. ajchocholousek

    ajchocholousek Initiate (0) Mar 8, 2011 Minnesota

    Maybe Todd sees something coming...

    AB InBev, perhaps?

    The things you hear on the street...
    Geuzedad and SammyJaxxxx like this.
  26. KiddVideo

    KiddVideo Initiate (0) Jun 19, 2015 Minnesota Germany?
  27. KiddVideo

    KiddVideo Initiate (0) Jun 19, 2015 Minnesota

    They were a part of MN movement started by Mark Stutrud, Ted Marti, James Page, Bill Burdick Scott Johnson, and Tom Keim.
    Bunuelian, ovaltine, MN23 and 4 others like this.
  28. ericwo

    ericwo Initiate (79) Aug 21, 2008 Pennsylvania

    This is my guess too.

    THANAT0PSIS Champion (815) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    Man, I could see that, but it would be so disappointing. Surly just seems so opposite to macros with their independent ethos and aggressive beers and branding. That said, Stone gave into investors, so who knows?
  30. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    They make some of my favorite beers. You want to go belly up screw around with Furious, Abrasive, or Darkness. I could survive quite easily on these. A killer trio any brewery would be proud to have in house.
    Geuzedad and TongoRad like this.
  31. Tballz420

    Tballz420 Meyvn (1,114) Mar 4, 2003 Minnesota

    There are rumors in the industry that Omar is looking to sell, and this seems to be an indication of that.

    Don't be surprised is this brewery is swooped up by the King in the coming months
    Geuzedad and nc41 like this.
  32. ericwo

    ericwo Initiate (79) Aug 21, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Ever hear of Lagunitas?
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  33. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    This is the dilemma, you hate smaller breweries to get brought into say the InBev umbrella, but with their financial abilities and distribution network I might expect Furious and Abrasive on my shelves. I wouldn't hate that, and they would from day 1 have a portfolio of great hoppy beers that are definitely legit. They could sell and still manage the day to day. I could see why this is an attractive option for smaller craft brewers in a killer competative market.
  34. TheHopsman

    TheHopsman Defender (664) Apr 7, 2015 Nebraska

    Well, Mitch Steele left Stone Brewing earlier this year too, right? What's the latest word from him? Todd Haug looking into other opportunities within the industry like Mitch said he was. Could this be the joining of Mitch & Todd to start a brewery?
  35. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,531) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

  36. FandHbrewing

    FandHbrewing Initiate (0) May 18, 2016 Colorado

    I thought AB signed something when buying Miller that said more craft investments are going to get more difficult. Not to say that another big guy isn't out there buying but I thought AB was going to have to slow down.
  37. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    The only thing I recall related to buying distributors, but I didn't exactly study the issue....
  38. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,531) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    ABinBev's agreement with the DoJ (which required it to sell SABMiller's share of MillerCoors) said that:
    In theory, they could still approve other purchases of US breweries by ABInBev based on the local market. It had nothing to do with "craft investments" specifically.
    Geuzedad, FonyBones and maximum12 like this.
  39. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,698) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

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