What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the social media coordinator/fan liaison for Deschutes Brewery [in Bend, Ore.]. I started off as a tour guide in our tasting room three-and-a-half years ago. After I moved to Bend five years ago, I loved to show off the town to all of my visiting friends and family, so we would eat at Deschutes and tour the brewery, of course, because that’s what you do in Bend. After about 10 tours, I could practically give the tour at that point and was hired part-time to give tours and help fans in the tasting room and gift shop. Finally, after a year of being persistent, I landed the brand ambassador/customer service job. We were constantly getting questions and comments from fans all over the world through our website, so we needed someone to be the “gatekeeper” between the fans and what was going on at the brewery. It worked out perfectly that when we needed to expand our social media efforts and focus on the fans, I took on that role, too. Now I get to interact daily with fans via Facebook and Twitter and love every moment! I also attend brewery events with a camera in hand to share our experiences with our fans.
What’s new at Deschutes?
Expansion, expansion, expansion! We are adding new fermenters and a new tasting room so we can accommodate more fans and make more beer! We can’t seem to make beer fast enough to keep up with the demand for our tasty brews. We are only distributing to 17 U.S. states and British Columbia right now, and would love to get Deschutes beer to our thirsty fans all over the U.S., so this expansion is huge! We have also outgrown our little Bend Public House downtown, so we are expanding there as well. Lots of construction going on, but it will be worth it soon! We’ve also updated our website to be more user-friendly with a new “beer finder” tool that allows our fans to find our beer at bars, restaurants, and stores near them, and it’s mobile friendly.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Beer is the beginning of great conversation! Tell anyone you work for a brewery and their eyes perk up right away, especially other craft brewery employees. We all have a love for beer and love to talk about it. Everyone is excited about trying new products, pushing the envelope to create new products, and it’s just plain fun!
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I love the outdoors, so I have landed in the right place! I love camping, hiking, playing with my pups, snowshoeing, hanging with my friends, Bunco with the girls, and trying out new breweries and brews with my hubby.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
I am a huge dessert fan and love Black Butte XX, XXI, XXII, or XXIII with ice cream (particularly mint chocolate chip). I also love turkey chili with a dark beer like Jubelale, Obsidian Stout, or Black Butte Porter. Recently I started doing a Sunday Facebook post of beer and food recipes. My favorites so far are Beer Cheese Soup with Mirror Pond Pale Ale, and Black Butte Porter Chocolate Chip Pancakes.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Earning a BA in Psychology from UCSB was a big accomplishment and then working in the non-profit world with kids for 10 years was huge. I still keep in contact with some of the kids and it’s amazing to see how they’ve grown and matured since I’ve seen them last. It was definitely fun working with those kids and now I get to work with big kids…who like beer!
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I love anything my husband homebrews. I also love Laurelwood’s Workhorse IPA, Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale, and Oskar Blues’ Ten FIDY. Love those malty brews, can you tell?
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
There are so many, but here are my top three: 1) Headed to NorCal last May and went to Russian River, Bear Republic, and Lagunitas—all very tasty. 2) Went to Glacier National Park last year where we hit up Big Sky Brewing twice. Great beer, sweet gift shop, and the people were super friendly and even traded some “Montana only” beer for some Deschutes. 3) I’d have to say, though, that overall, the Bend Ale Trail takes the cake. Even though I live here, I feel like a tourist when friends and family come to visit. Every time I head to a brewery in Bend there’s new beer to try (and a new brewery to check out), and it keeps getting better and better. We now have 10 breweries in town and soon to be 12, so I will never be at a loss for good beer in Bend!