Noted Beer Journalist Leaves Chicago Tribune For Molson Coors

, Noted Beer Journalist Leaves Chicago Tribune For Molson Coors

(Josh Noel / Speilburg Literary Agency)

On January 6, noted Chicago Tribune beer writer, and Author of Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch and How Craft Beer Became Big Business, shocked the beer journalism world by announcing that he was leaving the Chicago Tribune (a pretty legit gig) to be part of the communications team at Molson Coors.

In a blogpost Noel details his decision and paints a less-than-flattering picture of the newspaper and a partial reevaluation of Big Beer entities like Chicago-headquartered Molson Coors.

And because we enjoy his honest and straight-forward writing we have republished an edited version of his post below


This day was always coming and here it is: my last at the Chicago Tribune.

I arrived in 2005 to cover city and suburban news. That became 10 years as travel writer, visiting about 35 states and a dozen countries on the Tribune’s dime (with the privilege of writing about each stop). In 2009, I started covering Chicago’s burgeoning beer scene on the side, but as the industry grew, it became more and more of my job.

By 2017, it became all of my job.

Entering 2020, I told my editor I needed fresh challenge and wanted to tap into my news writing experience to take on coverage of the bar and restaurant industries in addition to the beer industry. The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic made that work much more urgent than anyone expected.

When I arrived, the Tribune was a place where a journalist could spend the rest of his or her career. It feels less like that now, and for me, it became untenable.

I’ve been on a team negotiating a labor contract with Tribune Publishing for more than three years. We’re still negotiating, now with a hedge fund known for slashing and burning its newsrooms. That also came to feel untenable, and it was simply time to move on.

Dozens upon dozens of phenomenally talented journalists continue to stick it out and do wonderful work, and I support them every step of the way. I’ve talked a lot on social media about the need for Tribune Publishing and its hedge fund overlords to invest in their people.

The investment never came for me. But it still must come. Tribune Publishing and Alden Global Capital: invest in your people! It is the only path forward.

But I also need to, you know, send my kids to college and pay for the dentist and vacations and all that. So I got another job. The thing I know and love and which fascinates me is obvious: beer. I wasn’t hellbent on working in beer, but it was certainly an attractive and logical option. And that’s what I’m going to do.

Early in my beer writing career, and as I’ve written, I thought of Big Beer as a monolithic thing that craft beer had developed as a response to.

Over the years I came to appreciate the nuances: the different ways different companies behave in the market, how different companies innovate and what they prioritize. Along the way I developed a lot of admiration for what was long called MillerCoors. Now it’s Molson Coors. And it’s where I’ll be working on the communications team.

The admiration is rooted both in the products — Hamm’s! Pilsner Urquell! High Life! I even developed an appreciation for Miller Lite! — and a company culture that seems to value its employees.

As long as I’ve known people who work for Molson Coors, I’ve been struck by how much they seem to like working there. It sounded like a place I wanted to be, and a worthy and exciting new adventure. I’m eager for it to begin.


Josh Noel has become one of the nation’s most recognizable beer journalists, winning multiple awards from the North American Guild of Beer Writers.

In his goodbye post Noel also said that writing books was what excites him “most these days” and that he’s currently working on a new one.

About is the nations' leading source for the Best Craft Beer News, Reviews, Events and Media.
Scroll To Top