What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
My current position is marketing director at Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. [in Decorah, Iowa]. I was in college in Decorah when the tiny ½-barrel brewery and taproom quietly opened its doors just down the street. They had me hooked from day one! There was something magical about the way TG founder, Clark Lewey, spoke of his company. So much passion. The work ethic of each TG employee was beyond anything I had ever seen; I wanted to get involved. I have an extensive background in photography, so I started out doing free photo shoots of the beer. From there, I learned all I could about the craft beer industry and about Toppling Goliath. When I contacted Clark about a new marketing research project idea in my final semester of college, he hired me part-time. The very day after graduation, I went to work full-time as marketing director.
What’s new at Toppling Goliath?
So much! First of all, the ½-barrel system didn’t last long. In order to keep up with demand, we now brew at a 10-barrel production facility on the west end of town. There is a long waiting list of establishments craving our beer, and our brewers are working around the clock to make it happen. Second, we just got a label approved for our very popular Golden Nugget IPA. This will be hand bottled on a very small scale. Any Nugget Heads lucky enough to get one will be very happy, indeed.
What’s the best part about being a part of the craft beer community?
All the lovin’! I have never seen an industry with so much passion and heart. Aside from actually talking to people face-to-face, my favorite thing to do is to seek out and discuss ideas with the homebrewers and microbloggers that speak so highly of our beer. There is nothing but love in the craft beer community; these are the greatest people on earth.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I love to travel. I usually find myself immersed in other craft beer communities. I travel to other towns and other breweries to see what’s going on. This September, I will travel with our team to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival and I am stoked! Toppling Goliath won’t be in the festival (this year) so we will have plenty of time to dive in and visit some of the great brewing facilities up there such as Great Divide.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Naughty Temple (our Naughty 90 Oaked IPA aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels) with Mascarpone Semifreddo. No idea what the heck either of those words mean, but daaaang was it good! Had it at a beer dinner at Red’s Alehouse in North Liberty, Iowa. Only 50 gallons of this beer were brewed, and at the rate I’m sampling there won’t be any left for anyone else! It was paired with an almond bacon cookie with whiskey caramel sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Hats off to Chef Shane for finding the perfect food to take with me on my journey to the Naughty Temple.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
The youth dance program I started after my second year in college in the small town of Lanesboro, Minn. We are coming up on our third year and our numbers have more than tripled. The community is so supportive and wonderful. They are amazing kids. There is no better feeling of accomplishment than watching them grow and succeed semester after semester. I love my tiny dancers!
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
New Glarus Spotted Cow. My mom loves it and it reminds me of her.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
New Glarus, Wis. Man, they got it goin’ on. It is family friendly, fun, laid back. They have a courtyard with a stunningly breathtaking view and the brewery is absolutely spotless. I may be a little biased because the trip has sentimental value to me as well, but everything about the town is just lovely.