Flying Dog beer chief to step aside

CEO Warner leaving after eight years (From Frederick Newspost)

The man who brought Flying Dog beer production to Frederick is leaving the company.
Eric Warner is stepping down as CEO of Flying Dog Brewery, which has been manufacturing its products at a local plant since last year.

Warner said he would be leaving “in search of a fresh, new challange,” according to a prepared statement.

Jim Caruso, chairman of the brewery’s board of directors, became general partner and CEO July 1. Warner will remain as an advisor until Sept. 1.

Although the company is still based in Denver, Warner moved production to the former Frederick Brewing Co. on Wedgewood Boulevard. Seventy percent of the company’s sales are east of the Mississippi.

Flying Dog took over the local site, renaming it Wild Goose Brewery, in May 2006 for $1.8 million. Warner said soaring costs for rent and expenses in Denver, as well as the rising costs of shipping and ingredients to make beer, made the move to Maryland better for business. He termed the lease with Ruppert Properties, which owns the building, “more appealing.”

Warner majored in German in college and traveled often to Europe. He became so impressed with the German art of making beer, he said in an earlier interview, that he switched to the Technical University of Munich. There is became a certified brewmeister in 1990.

Flying Dog was launched as a brew-pub in Aspen in 1990. The brand became recognizable through its colorful artwork on labels and ads created by “Gonzo Artist” Ralph Steadman.

Besides Flying Dog products, the local brewery makes Wild Goose beers and ales, and contracts with Brewer’s Alley in Frederick and Terrapin Beer Co. in Georgia.

New products introduced this year have included a Belgian beer called Cerberus and Garde Dog, based on a French-Belgian formula, that feature extra strength and flavor.