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City Brewery ownership change leads to CEO retirement



The top man at City Brewery of La Crosse hangs up his beer-maker hat on Friday. 

George Parke is retiring as the CEO of City, as part of the recent purchase by a group of investors. 

Attorney Parke recalls that he was appointed as the receiver of City Brewery in 2000, when the two men who had just founded the company got into financial trouble.  His job was to liquidate what was left of the former G. Heileman brewery.

“Instead of that, the people that were on site at the time, the old Heileman workers, about 30 of them, convinced me to try to save the brewery, which we were successful in doing,” says Parke, who has been CEO and chair of the board since 2007.

Parke says City has been successful in following industry trends, which have increased production of several brands.  Ross Sannes moves up from chief operating officer to C-E-O.     

City runs production plants in La Crosse, Memphis, and Latrobe, Pennsylvania, with a fourth plant in Irwindale, California brought in as part of the ownership change.

Mayor Tim Kabat has declared April 2nd as “George Parke the 3rd Day,” in honor of Parke’s retirement. 

Parke says the entire brewery deserves the honor, “whether it’s people in the Teamsters, or the pipefitters, the electricians, or the customer service.” He says the investment deal will keep City Brewery in a good position for the future. 

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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