Nils Weldy

“Rhode Island only had five breweries when we started the guild back in 2013, a  number that had not changed significantly in 20 years,” states Rhode Island Brewers  Guild (RIBG) founding member and past president, Brent Ryan. “Our goal was to grow the state’s local beer scene the way it had been done in so many other states around the country. With an all-volunteer board of brewery owners and no budget, we raised money, worked to lift legislative restrictions, and found ways to promote Rhode Island’s brewers. In 2023, Rhode Island boasts 37 breweries and a guild representing them with paid staff. It’s hard to come up with another trade organization that has had such a huge  impact on Rhode Island in such a small period of time.”  

A big reason for that growth is due to the efforts of the RIBG’s first Executive Director,  Gary Richardson. Over his five years of part-time stewardship, Gary welcomed more than two dozen new breweries to Rhode Island. He advocated for them, shared their news, and championed each new brew. Multiple pieces of legislation were passed making it more possible for breweries in Rhode Island to thrive. He helped introduce the RI Brewery Passport App, a brewery trail app that allows a user to see all of  Rhody’s breweries on one map and to win prizes for visiting. Currently, the Rhode  Island brewing industry has created over 500 jobs and is adding more.  

“We are forever grateful for the years of dedication that Gary Richardson provided as the leader of our Guild. His service to our industry has helped elevate every brewery in our State” said Matt Gray, Owner of Ragged Island Brewing Company, and RI Brewers  Guild President.  

The RIBG expects to grow to 40 breweries in 2023. Supporting those breweries in their marketing, technical and legislative needs will require full-time attention. To that end,  the RIBG Board of Directors is thrilled to announce the hire of Nils Weldy as their new full-time Executive Director. 

As the former Executive Director of the Charlotte Independent Brewers Alliance in  Charlotte, NC, Nils brings with him a wealth of necessary experience. During his tenure in Charlotte, he increased brewery membership from 12 to 44 breweries, added 18  associate members from the craft brewing industry, and created several consumer engagement initiatives. He supported lobbying at the state level for progressive changes in laws to benefit Charlotte-area craft breweries. He is also the founder of the Queen City Brewers Festival which was recognized as a ‘Top 10 Beer Festival in the  U.S.’ by USA Today.  

“Having admired Rhode Island’s emerging brewery scene for years, I am grateful for the opportunity to champion its contributions to the economy, communities, and the quality of life here,” said Barrington, RI native Nils Weldy. “I believe the Rhode Island Brewers  Guild is a tremendous vehicle to bring attention and affection to its craft beverage producers. Getting to know the talented brewery owners here, and their beers of  course, will be crucial to advancing Rhode Island’s brewery industry for the benefit of all  Rhode Islanders.” 

Look for future announcements from Nils as, under his leadership, the craft brewing industry in Rhode Island grows and thrives.  

Do you have your tickets to the 11th Newport Beer Festival Saturday?  On Saturday, April 29th, look forward to 49 breweries pouring over 150 beers at historic  Fort Adams State Park! The Newport Beer Festival is the RIBG’s major annual fundraiser. Come support RI Breweries! This is a tented event. Rain or shine, the beer will flow and the Ravers will jam! A limited number of tickets are still available at: 

Source: Rhode Island Brewers Guild

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