What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m currently the packaging manager at Zipline Brewing Company [in Lincoln, Neb.]. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nebraska, and after 10 years in corporate engineering gigs, I was laid off last January. I half-heartedly applied for more corporate positions, but I always knew I was never cut out for the desk world. I’ve had a passion for craft brews ever since college and there just happened to be an open position at my favorite local brewery looking for an engineer-type to assemble and operate their new bottling line. I threw my hat into the ring, interviewed the next day, and have now been here for a year.
What’s new at Zipline Brewing?
The new bottling line I put together is less than a year old, and has a capacity of 3,000 bottles per hour, doubling the capacity of the previous line. We’ve also recently switched to screen-printed large format bottles (750 ml) for a sleeker look for our small batch and barrel aged beers.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The best part is just that: the community. After years in the corporate world, it’s so refreshing to have everyone on your side and all working toward one noble goal’delivering great beer’not only within your brewery, but across breweries, too. It’s amazing.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but when I do indulge I really enjoy a chocolate stout or oatmeal porter with a dessert like a chocolate chip cookie or brownie. The richness just pairs so well.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
I’d have to say earning my degree. It has opened so many doors for me over the years and I’m proud of the work I put in at school to attain it. It’s gotten me where I am today!
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Odell IPA has long been a favorite of mine, and I can’t leave New Belgium’s La Folie out of the conversation.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
London was an interesting experience. A lot of things are on cask in England, with lower carbonation and higher temps, so it gave me a good opportunity to maybe not try wildly differing new beers, but to sample some different delivery methods.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I’m a big snowboarding buff, but being from Nebraska I have to pick and choose my trips to get the most out of them. I’d probably be on the snow 60+ days of the year if I lived by a mountain.