Jennifer Johnson

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

I am senior brand manager [at Excelsior Brewing Co. in Excelsior, Minn.]. I oversee large-scale brewery events, off-premise event coordination, social media, marketing, brand label registration, and more. I started at a brew-your-own place in St. Paul while working full time in higher education managing college residence halls. Crazy, right?! I then worked part-time in the industry (for Summit and August Schell Brewing Companies) marrying my love for education and beer. In February 2014, I secured a full-time position at Excelsior Brewing Company.

What’s new at Excelsior Brewing?

We are releasing four new seasonals in packaging this year, expanding our production (2,800 bbls in 2014; on track to do 4,500 in 2015), putting on six large-scale tent festivals, and focusing on out-of-the-box styles including a gose and a kettle-soured ale. I’ve been in charge of working on brand label registration, artwork supervision, and ensuring that all four of our new brands go off without a hitch’a big challenge but lots of fun to see us hitting the market in new ways!

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

The education! I get to educate people daily and each day learn something new. You can never know it all, whether it is industry trends, beer styles, individual ingredients, or something else. Every day I get to operate in an amazing community of supporters and other craft breweries in Minnesota. I love geeking out about a new hop hitting the market, giving tours and being able to explain the basics of brewing in an approachable way, and attending guild meetings to see how our small community is growing.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

Samosas with yogurt dill sauce and our XLCR American Pale Ale. I had it at a beer dinner we did a few months back and it was one of those “wow, that hit the nail on the head” pairings.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Getting my master’s degree in higher education. It took a lot of focus, time, and energy while running a college residence hall. I’m sure my parents think it was a waste now that I’m in the beer industry, but I learned valuable skills and knowledge in that process that weren’t necessarily taught in the classroom. It’s great to have a good education experience and work in a booming industry. Being able to pair the two is just the cherry on top.

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

August Schell Zommerfest. With the weather heating up, a good K lsch style beer is the perfect pairing.

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

Whenever my husband, son, and I travel we always try to make it a “brewcation.’ In the last year, we traveled to DC and got a chance to see how their laws differ from Minnesota (being able to pour growlers in liquor stores, for one!) and stop by Atlas Brew Works, DC Brau, and Flying Dog. To be in the nation’s capital and experience the pride that goes along with that’paired with the pride they exhibit (and we all do!) around their craft beer’was awesome.

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