May 24, 2019
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Rape accusation against Maine man ‘may have an impact on Smuttynose Brewing,’ company owner admits

File | Seacoast Online
File | Seacoast Online
Smuttynose Brewing Co.'s Hampton, New Hampshire, operation is seen in this Seacoast Online file photo.

HAMPTON, New Hampshire — Smuttynose Brewing Co.’s chief executive officer has resigned while the owner’s son is facing a rape allegation.

Richard Lindsay’s last day as CEO was Friday, according to Smuttynose spokesman Alex Weaver. His departure comes about a year and two months after he was hired by Smuttynose’s new owners, the North Hampton-based Runnymede Investments. It also comes after Chris Broom Jr. was indicted on a charge of aggravated felonious sexual assault. Broom Jr. is the son of Smuttynose owner Chris Broom Sr., who is now taking over as CEO.

Broom, 35, of Kittery, Maine, is alleged to have raped a 21-year-old woman in Portsmouth last July 4. His March indictment stated he committed the crime while the victim was “helpless to resist.”

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Lindsay, who previously worked for Boston Beer Company that produces Samuel Adams, declined to speak about why he left, and Weaver said Smuttynose could not speak about Lindsay’s reasons either. Broom’s father, Chris Broom Sr., the owner and chairman of Smuttynose, released a statement last week saying he and his family are convinced his son is innocent and they have “great faith in our legal system.”

“But I also understand that this may have an impact on Smuttynose Brewing Co., its employees and partners,” the statement continued. “For that I am deeply sorry.”

Smuttynose began facing financial difficulties after it opened its new $24 million facility at 105 Towle Farm Road in Hampton in 2014. The brewery’s facility and Hayseed Restaurant were bought by Provident Bank in March 2018 for $8.25 million, then sold to Runnymede Investments.

[Founder, new CEO of Smuttynose open up about sale and future of the company]

The new owners said they loved the brand and wanted to help it survive changes in the craft beer industry that led to its struggles.

Broom Sr. said the Smuttynose Brewing family has been working hard for almost 25 years, and that he is proud of those efforts. At the time of the sale last year, Smuttynose founder Peter Egelston said he felt he was leaving his company in good hands with Runnymede.

“Those who know us know who we are and what we stand for. We’re committed to brewing great beer and serving our community,” Broom Sr. said at the time. “That will continue to be our mission.”

[Craft brewers boost Maine’s economy by $260 million]

Weaver said Lindsay was hired to lead the turnaround effort at Smuttynose and created a strategic plan identifying the business needs to “right the ship.” The brewery has since produced new beers like the IPAs Whole Lotta Lupulin and Mysterious Haze, as well as selling beer in cans, which in recent years overtook bottles in popularity among beer drinkers.

Lindsay’s priorities included hiring new sales leadership, strengthening the sales team and bolstering the brewery’s marketing and communication, according to Weaver. He said Lindsay’s leadership instilled renewed confidence and support from Smuttynose’s wholesaler partners.

“Rich has achieved all of these benchmarks, and more, and has been a key factor in helping the brewery rebound,” said Weaver. “We’re very grateful for his leadership and wish him well in his future consultancy.”

 



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