Sam Kraynek of Fort Bragg’s North Coast Brewing wins one of North Bay Business Journal’s 2017 North Bay CFO Awards.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, St. Francis University
What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?
Have knowledge and understanding of all of the functions within the Company including sales and marketing, production, distribution and technology to assist and interpret the analytics that the systems of the Company provide.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry?
We have seen the international brewing Companies such as lnBev and Molson and Miller Coors and Constellation make major purchases in the craft brewing segment. The growth of the segment has dropped to single digits while new breweries are opening up almost daily.
Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past.
In an effort to keep up with the growth of the Company, we have had to make major capital
investments within the confines of the existing building foot print while continuing to brew product to meet the demand. We have managed to do both.
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
Know your industry and all of the pressure points that make your organization successful and understand the dynamics of the industry so that you can provide support and input to help manage the business
What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment?
Plan, provide support for revenue growth, keep control of expenses and personnel and do not over extend your capacity until you can adequately use it.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
As growth slows, there will be a shake out of smaller, under-funded breweries that will bring challenges and opportunities. Strong brands with good distribution partners will be key to Prospering in the sector.
What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it?
I have found that the food business has many fads and that the ones that you want to align yourself with is the ones that will last. Jumping into one of those fads is a decision that I should not have pursued. It was a short-lived and required another job search.
What is your most memorable business experience?
I feel that the business I am in currently is one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of my fifty year career. Since I have joined the Company, we have nearly doubled capacity, became a “B” Corporation, our products have been certified non-GMO, purchased a farm to utilize our spent grain and sequester carbon and are working our Zero Waste initiative by diverting 98% of our waste out of landfills through recycling and reuse.
What is your greatest business success?
One of the most fulfilling business successes was the position of President and General Manager of Rosarita Mexican Foods. From 1980 to 1984 we doubled the business from $25 million to $50 million while increasing our marketing budget tenfold and doubling profits. One of the enduring
new products that we developed was the vegetarian refried bean that is now the best-selling item in the product line. Unfortunately, the business was taken private by KKR and the Company disassembled in1985.
Chief financial officer
North Coast Brewing Co., Inc.
455 N. Main St., Fort Bragg 95427