A chapter of a family legacy will come to an end, with another beginning in a legendary Chippewa Falls business.
Dick Leinenkugel, who brought his family-founded Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company to drinking audiences across the country via the massive hit Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, will retire at the end of 2022 after serving as chairman of the brewery for eight years.
Leinenkugel, 64, will hand over to his nephew and sixth-generation Leinenkugel, Tony Bugher, who will lead the 155-year-old Chippewa Falls, Wisc.-based brewery into its next chapter.
“I am delighted that another descendant of Jacob Leinenkugel is now running our brewery,” Leinenkugel said in a press release. “The more family members we can have in this business, the better. Working with the Molson and Coors families has been a blessing, especially when it comes to understanding the value of heritage in a business.
Bugher, 45, joined Molson Coors at the behest of his uncle in 2014 and has held several positions within the company, including Director of Crafts and Imports, Director of Marketing in the field and Senior Director of Distributor Sales. He recently took over as Associate Marketing Director for Leinenkugel’s, where he works on distributor sales and engagement and brand partnerships and oversees the installation of a new pilot brewery in Chippewa Falls that is slated to be commissioned. online this spring.
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Bugher, whose mother Kate was Leinenkugel’s first tour guide when the brewery opened in 1967, aims to carry on the legacy left by previous generations of Leinenkugel leaders while pushing “constant evolution”. of the brewery and its brands to modernize and connect with a new generation of drinkers.
“Each generation of Leinenkugel leaders has had a significant positive impact throughout our 155-year brewing history,” Bugher said. “It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to carry on the legacy alongside my Uncle John and my cousins Katie and Matt Leinenkugel. I appreciate everything I have learned from Dick at past eight years and look forward to the future of our family’s legendary brand that we love so much.
Bugher will spend the rest of 2022 alongside Dick Leinenkugel, touring the country on Leinenkugel’s 155th Anniversary Appreciation Tour. The tour will visit major distribution markets throughout the year, with Tony officially taking the helm on January 1, 2023.
“I’m grateful to be able to work with some really great people and be in the market to represent our family and sell our family’s beer with our distributor partners and sales team partners,” Leinenkugel said. “Just seeing the love drinkers have for a brand that’s been around for 155 years – when you stop to think about it, how cool is it that I got to represent my family and be a part of it?”
We are Family: annual Leinenkugel meeting in 2017