CHIPPEWA FALLS — One of Wisconsin's beer barons is stepping down at the end of the year. Dick Leinenkugel, the president of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company is retiring at the end of 2022, the company announced in a press release. He served eight years as brewery president and helped oversee the launch of the massively popular Summer Shandy.
The long tradition of this brewery being family-operated will continue with the next hire. Tony Bugher, the nephew of Dick Leinenkugel, will take over the 155-year-old Chippewa Falls-based brewery.
“I am just thrilled that another descendant of Jacob Leinenkugel will now lead our brewery,” Dick Leinenkugel said in a statement. “The more family members we can have be part of this business, the better. Working with the Molson and Coors families has been a blessing, especially when it comes to understanding the value of heritage in a business.”
Bugher's mom, Kate, was the first tour guide when the brewery opened for tours in 1967. He also worked in the bottling factory in Chippewa Falls when he was in college. Bugher joined the company in 2014 after his uncle Dick urged him to do so.
The first order of business for Bugher is to opening and managing the new innovation brewery. It's a small-scale brewery designed to create new beers and receive immediate feedback for those that visit the Chippewa Falls brewery.