Business of Craft Beer Advisory Board

Key figures in craft beer from the Chicago area serve on the Business of Craft Beer Program advisory board to identify course content, develop curriculum and instruct courses.

John Barley is co-founder and president of Naperville-based Solemn Oath Brewery, with his brother Joe. Barley's passion for the brewery's distinctive Belgian-inspired beers developed after numerous trips to Belgium in college. Solemn Oath launched into the market in 2012 and his since shown double-digit growth each year. In addition to his role at Solemn Oath, Barley is a board member of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.  

Don DiBrita is the President of Craft to Craft Marketing, a marketing company in the Chicago area, which works with clients in North America, South America and Europe. His company specializes in working with small businesses that are struggling to engage their audience and helps them to build communities that convert into sales. Don is also the creator of Beer Dogging which is one of the largest beer clubs in the United States.

Jim Ebel is the co-founder of Two Brothers Brewing Company with his brother Jason. His love of craft beer was formed in Europe, where he was fortunate enough to have studied in college. Upon returning to the United States, he became an avid home brewer and founded The Brewer's Coop, a homebrew shop in 1993. In 1996, Jim and his brother founded Two Brothers Brewing Company, which they started with a 20-HL brewhouse and two dairy tank fermenters. Today the brothers own a craft beer distributor, four restaurants and a small-batch coffee roasting company in addition to the brewery, which distributes in 11 states. Jim was also a licensed architect and maintains his law license in Illinois.

Eric Hobbs is a Certified Cicerone® with 12 years of beer industry sales/marketing experience, most recently with Goose Island and Anheuser-Busch/InBev (ABI). Hobbs left ABI in 2013 to open Penrose Brewing Company in Geneva, Illinois.

Richard Jarman has been a Professor of Chemistry at the College of DuPage since 2003. Prior to joining COD, he spent twenty years in scientific research and development. His interest in brewing dates back to 1974 with the emergence of the Campaign for Real Ales in his native Great Britain, and has naturally continued with the craft beer revolution in America. He is an award-winning home brewer. He is currently interested in incorporating themes of brewing and fermentation into the chemistry curriculum and has developed an experiential credit course called, "Distilling Knowledge: When Chemistry and Humanities Meet Over Drinks."

Arturo Lamas is the co-founder and owner of Soundgrowler Brewing Company in Tinley Park, Illinois. He is also the Vice President of Factory Operations at Skyline Furniture. Arturo studied business at University of Illinois at Chicago and Saint Xavier University. He completed his MBA, Project Management at Saint Xavier University.

Erin Lowder is the general manager of operations at Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, Illinois. Erin went to college for fashion design with the intention of entering the fashion world, but ended up stumbling into the beer world instead. Beginning as a taproom employee, Erin worked her way up the ranks at Solemn Oath Brewery.

Marty Nachel has been following the craft brewing industry for three decades. An award-winning homebrewer and beer writer, Nachel has also been a Certified Beer Judge since 1986. He has written three books on beer including Beer for Dummies and Homebrewing for Dummies. Marty has formerly judged beer at the World Beer Championships in Chicago, the Samuel Adams LongShot finals in Boston and is currently a judge at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beer in Chicago and the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

Dave Olsen has been in the beverage industry for over 35 years. He's had success as a route salesman, a manager of sales reps, a training manager, a sales manager with multiple state and multiple distributor responsibilities, a national account manager calling on chains of all sizes in multiple states, a consultant to large distributor networks in major markets, a brand development consultant working with brewers of all sizes and the owner of a marketing and training corporation. 

Vikki Reid is the head of marketing and events for BuckleDown Brewing. She is a taproom beertender and certified beer server for the brewery located in Lyons, Illinois, and is a familiar face in the Chicago craft beer scene. She has taught English at Lyons Township High School for the past 16 years and holds an MA in curriculum and instruction in secondary education.

Lucy Saunders is the author of five cookbooks about beer and food, most recently Dinner in the Beer Garden, focusing on pairing craft beer with fresh plant-based recipes. As an independent writer and educator, she has more than 20 years' experience specializing in food & beer pairings, cooking with beer, and water conservation in the beer industry. Between 2006 and 2016, she was an instructor at the Siebel Institute on beer cuisine, and volunteer organizer of a conference on water and energy conservation for craft breweries. She is currently working on her master's degree in digital communications at Marquette University and lives in Wisconsin.

Contact Us

To learn more, or if you are interested in teaching or hosting a course at your facility, contact Jenifer Walsh, program manager, at (630) 942-3045 or