Barry Elwonger

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What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?

While I wear many hats at Motorworks Brewing [in Bradenton, Fla.], my official title is marketing director. Before jumping head first into the craft beer industry, I was a project manager for a national engineering firm. I also own a marketing company that focuses on digital advertising. As a huge beer nerd, I used what little free time I had to blog about beer and do some freelance graphic design for a few startup breweries. I traveled around the country a lot with the engineering firm and was constantly taking clients out to different local breweries. The hobby turned into a passion, and when I saw what the founders of Motorworks Brewing were building and the brewer they had behind the project, I knew I had to make the career jump.

What’s new at Motorworks?

2016 is set to be a huge year for Motorworks Brewing. We recently started canning and our distribution has been increasing at an incredible rate. We are on pace to easily triple our 2015 production and have plans to add additional fermenters later this year.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?

The people. Our community grows stronger every day and the vast majority of people involved in the scene treat it like a brotherhood. I truly believe in a co-opetition mentality; while we compete for tap handles and shelf space, it’s not so cutthroat like other industries. I think people understand that our collective segment still has a lot of room for growth and if we continue to create great beer and educate consumers, the pie gets bigger for all of us.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

I am originally from Key West and grew up eating Cuban food that happens to pair excellently with Vienna lagers. Lucky for me the Tampa area has fantastic Cuban restaurants. You can’t go wrong with a Cuban sandwich or Ropa Vieja alongside a Vienna lager, preferably (shameless plug) our V Twin Vienna Lager.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

I am a goal-driven person who strives to constantly grow in experiences. I wrote a bucket list about five years ago and every year I try to knock off a few items. The most recent big accomplishments include completing a triathlon and a half marathon, and becoming a Certified Cicerone . One of the fun goals that is still on the list is to have a beer in every state. I have 22 states left!

What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?

This is always a tough question with so much great beer out there right now. If picking one other locally made beer I would have to give the nod to Reef Donkey from Tampa Bay Brewing Company. One that’s a bit farther away but never disappoints would be Supplication from Russian River.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?

I enjoy traveling to new places, live music, riding bikes, and visiting other breweries.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?

This past year I took a beercation in Europe. Drinking lambics in Brussels and enjoying Oktoberfest opening day in the Lowenbrau tent will forever remain some of the best days of my life.

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