Thomas Barris

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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 the marketing and sales director for Barley Mow Brewing Company in Largo, Fla. I got bit by the craft beer bug in 2007 while helping organize the New Times Beerfest in Fort Lauderdale. I was tasked to contact all the breweries and distributors and get the beer for the festival. I slowly became obsessed with these amazing varieties of different beers from around the world. The first two craft beers that got me hooked were Avery’s Redpoint Amber Ale and Saint Somewhere Brewery’s Saison Athene. For the past six years I have worked in the industry in various roles, including bartending in tasting rooms, writing about beer for a few publications, and working as a marketing and sales rep. It’s been amazing to see how this industry has grown and evolved over the years. I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold.

What’s new at Barley Mow?

We recently bottled our Dark Track Imperial Milk Stout aged on whole Madagascar vanilla beans, and released our Americana Golden Ale and Quackalope IPA in cans.

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

After all the long hours and traveling, it’s still one of the best industries to be a part of. The people I meet on a daily basis make it all worthwhile. Our team at the brewery includes some of the best people I have had the privilege of working with. Craft beer people are good people.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

One of my all-time favorite beer and food parings is for the inner glutton in me. There’s nothing better than a Belgian-style quad and bread pudding. Goes well with naps and food comas.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

My biggest accomplishment is my three-month-old daughter Penelope. She reminds me every day to take everything in stride and not take myself too seriously.

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

Is there time away from the brewery? I like to unwind and watch all the movies I’ve been missing. I also try to visit friends and family as much as possible.

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

My favorite beer (at the moment) is Wookey Jack by Firestone Walker. It just hits on all cylinders for me. Also if they see this I hope to get at least a case sent to the house, since we don’t get it here in Florida.

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

The best memory I have is when I was on my honeymoon in Greece on the island of Santorini. We enjoyed a few bottles of Yellow Donkey from Santorini Brewing Company with freshly grilled octopus looking over the Aegean. It was definitely one of those “this is it” moments.

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