James Pendegraft, has been the Chief Executive Officer of The Saint Louis Brewery, makers of Schlafly beer, since early 2015. He is an internationally recognized beverage expert with decades of proven results of using consumer insights, data mining and process management to affect organizational behaviors. An economist and statistician by education, a business builder and value creator by trade. James has been on the inside of transformative transactions in the beer industry in his executive roles at Interbrew, InBev and North American Breweries.
James co-founded North American Breweries, which became the 5th largest beer company in the US, and his company lead the industry with product innovation and overall sales growth, setting the industry pace for 4 consecutive years. North American Breweries was created through 4 separate company and brand acquisitions over a 4 year period of time, and upon the successful sale to FIFCO in 2012, was named the “International Exit of the Year” by Private Equity Magazine, achieving a near double digit multiple return for his investors. NAB’s portfolio included brands such as Labatt Blue, Seagram’s Escapes, Magic Hat and Genesee.
Prior to creating NAB, James served as President/CEO of InBev USA. Leading the organization through multiple M&A activities along with developing and marketing premium beer brands, James developed several best practices that were integrated into InBev’s global business model. InBev’s portfolio included brands such as Stella Artois, Bass Ale, Beck’s and Rolling Rock. InBev was successful in the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch in 2008.
Recruited to Interbrew (predecessor to InBev) to launch a category management department in the US, James quickly established credibility to the role through his disarming, but fact based approach to problem solving and business solutions. He assembled a small, yet highly effective team that worked on emerging business opportunities and managed cross-divisional issues, bringing the consumer into the center of decisions. Under his leadership, InBev USA was nationally recognized three consecutive years for leading category management practices by the industry.