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The Project FAQs
Devon A. Ponds, CPA
Mr. Ponds was born in Houston, TX and moved to Austin in 2002 to attend the University of Texas. There he obtained his BBA and MPA from The McCombs School of Business. The accounting department at McCombs was then and is now, the highest ranking undergraduate and graduate accounting program in the nation.
Following his graduation, Devon moved to San Francisco and accepted a position at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, arguably the most distinguished accounting firm in the world. He audited publicly traded investment funds, private hedge funds, retail companies, nonprofit organizations, and municipal entities. While in the service of PwC LLP, he obtained his CPA license which he currently holds in the State of Texas. Mr. Ponds continued to homebrew and reveled in the variety of beers available in the Bay Area.
Devon resigned from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP after accumulating substantial experience and a desire to pursue his own path. He joined his then girlfriend, now wife, Jessica Wilson for a 9,000 mile bicycle trip from the northern coast of Alaska to the Panama Canal. With minimal cycling experience they planned, budgeted, publicized and executed this challenging endeavor with few problems. They built and maintained an impressive digital presence which received tens of thousands of hits. Throughout the trip Devon visited five breweries where he interviewed founders and upper management regarding operations. He also reviewed numerous beers including many of the surprising craft beers of Mexico.
Mr. Ponds returned to Austin after his trip and immediately immersed himself in the growing craft beer industry. He joined The South Austin Brewing Company in May of 2011 while the brewery was still in the early construction phase. For the next eight months he assisted in bookkeeping, raising capital, operational planning, label and brand development, tax reporting requirements, capital and raw materials procurement, extensive manual labor, and finally brewhouse construction. After South Austin Brewing Company opened for business Devon acted as assistant brewer, performed sales functions, won new accounts, communicated with current accounts, delivered product, and represented the brewery at festivals and other promotional events. Devon continued to perform the bookkeeping and was responsible for satisfying the onerous reporting requirements for the sale of alcohol. He also had an active role in negotiations with South Austin Brewing Company’s distributor, potential business partners and suppliers of raw materials.
After a year and three months with South Austin Brewing Company, Mr. Ponds accepted the position of Financial Manager at Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey. As Financial Manager Mr. Ponds has facilitated Port Brewing’s growth from approximately 10,000 to 15,000 barrels of annual production over two years. Mr. Ponds has provided the financial and project management skills necessary to open a new distribution center, invest over $750k in fixed assets and expand the high margin barrel ageing program by over 50%. Mr. Ponds has spearheaded the development of a second tasting room from initial permitting and community engagement to the start of business planned for Summer 2014
At the same time Mr. Ponds has implemented financial and organizational controls across the brewery. These serve to reduce both loss and liability. He has lowered costs through negotiations with vendors and better inventory management. He has developed sales and production reports which are used by all department leaders. Finally, he has brought Port Brewing into compliance with TTB and ABC requirements by updating brewer’s permits, reporting production volumes, and applying for label approvals.
In April of 2014 Mr. Ponds presented a seminar entitled Adding Value as a Financial Professional in the Brewery to several hundred peers and brewery owners at the Craft Brewer’s Convention. This is the largest annual gathering of industry professionals in the United States. His presentation covered the ways in which a financial professional can support all departments of the brewery and lead strategic initiatives.
This background has furnished Mr. Ponds with an unmatched set of experiences. His familiarity with the challenges inherent to brewery planning and construction combined with experience managing the growth of an established brewery are incredible assets.
Devon’s combination of brewery start-up experience and financial management expertise provides unparalleled core competence necessary to develop and operate a successful craft brewery.
After interviewing several Head Brewer candidates during a search of the dense and talented San Diego brewing community, MasterCraft Beverage LLC has chosen a supervising brewer from one of the largest and most renowned breweries in the county. The Head Brewer (HB) brings incredible value to this position with a strong commercial brewing background, proven leadership ability, and a passion for the opportunity. Out of respect for and protection of HB’s current employment, MasterCraft has chosen to leave the HB’s identity anonymous until at which time enough funds have been raised to mitigate the risk of exposure.
HB has been employed as a professional brewer for over three years. He has advanced quickly from an Assistant Brewer at a brewery in New Zealand to Brewing Supervisor at his current brewery. As Brewing Supervisor he manages six direct reports and schedules over 25 employees. He has extensive experience performing and supervising all aspects of the brewing and cellaring process at that facility, which is renowned for producing some of the best Imperial Pale Ales and other hop forward beers in the nation. IPAs are the most popular craft beer style with 22.6% market share and rising. Bringing a brewer from a leader in the industry, with a famous portfolio, will allow us to tell a compelling story as we enter the market. HB also holds a Brewing Science and Engineering Degree from the American Brewing Institute as well as previously earned Associates of Arts degree in Business Management and has a relevant sales and mechanical background.
As a native Texan, HB is excited about the opportunity to bring his unique technical knowledge back to his home state. HB brings a competency which will allow us to produce a high quality product from day one and also displays a high growth ceiling with his focus on furthering his own education and developing as a production leader.