Sara Nelson

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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 co-founder and owner of Fremont Brewing with my husband Matt Lincecum. I handle external relations and, in addition to my BA board responsibilities, I serve on the BA’s Government Affairs Committee and Political Action Committee. I’m also an active member of the Washington Brewers Guild Government Affairs Committee. I got into the craft brewing industry by marrying a home brewer who bailed out on his career as an attorney to start his own “microbrewery” as they were called way back in 2008. I took a break from my job in local politics to launch our family business and I’ve been a proud and staunch advocate of independent craft beer ever since.

What’s new at Fremont?
We’ve made a lot of changes to comply with new and ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions. We have expanded our outdoor seating capacity and we’re about to replace our tent shelters with permanent, heated wooden structures. We launched online beer sales, reorganized our interior space to facilitate social distancing for to-go sales, and installed contactless toilets and faucets. We’ve spiffed up label designs for some of our core beers and despite taking a major hit in wholesale on-premise sales in 2020, we’re now within the country’s top 50 independent craft breweries in terms of production.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
I can’t pick just one thing! Besides drawing immense inspiration from the passion and creativity that craft brewers dedicate to their art, I love being part of an industry that’s revitalizing local economies and giving back to communities across the nation. We create jobs and provide spaces for people to come together. Although craft brewers come in all political stripes, we tend to share a set of core values: commitment to sustainability, mutual respect, and community engagement – basically just doing the right thing when we can. That means a lot to me. Above all, the craft brewing community makes life more fun.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
Dungeness crab with butter and a fresh hop Pilsner.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Raising two healthy, rambunctious boys, now in their teens. That and earning my PhD in Cultural Anthropology because it helps me understand my fellow humans.

What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. That was the first craft beer I ever tasted, back in 1987 when I was in college at UCSB and my housemate’s friend brought a couple cases down from Chico (along with some other goodies). Maybe it’s part nostalgia, but even with all the craft beers available on the market today, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale remains my old stand-by. Plus, I can get it anywhere. Cheers to craft beer pioneer Ken Grossman!

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Forage for wild mushrooms, backpack, read, and talk politics.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
I have to take a pass on this one since I haven’t traveled to any of the historical beer meccas like Germany, Vienna, or the Czech Republic (except Colorado, of course!).

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