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Jun
5
Anne Sprecher
The Serendipitous Cycle
News, Scholarship Recipients
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By Sue Rigler

The Adventure Begins

On September 28, 2014 as I walked out of the restroom at Great Northern Brewery in Whitefish, MT, I noticed a lab across the hallway…beakers, microscope, stir plates, pH meter. My nerdy science-microbiologist inner self resurfaced at this “ah ha” moment, and along with my entrepreneur spirit and love for craft beer, led me to a mid-life career change. I applied to the University of California San Diego Brewing Certification program and was accepted in Spring 2015. I joined Pink Boots Society in 2016, bought myself a 1.5bbl system as a birthday/graduation present August 2017, graduated December 2017 and started my dream job with Krones, Inc. January 2018.

Sue & Alyssa Dunn UCSD classmates & PBS members

I knew zero people in the industry when I started classes and even less about brewing beer. What happened from that moment has been a mere avalanche of serendipitous connections. More than one person has told me I should write a book, or name a brewery, Serendipity. I love to engage in conversations with just about anyone and more times than not, I walk away with a take home message or saying, “OMG, did that really just happen?”

Sue with BJ Anderson & Coworker

Serendipity can also be seen when I reached out to my UCSD instructors for help with my search for a technical sales position. Yuseff Cherney of Cutwater Spirits, suggested I go to Drinktec in Munich for prime networking opportunities. With less than three week’s notice, and Yuseff’s generous help to find accommodations with his German friends, I boarded a plane to Munich. As a result, that is how I got my job with Krones…dropping my personal business card off in the massiveness of Hall B6. It eventually made its way to BJ Anderson, my current boss. Yes, I went all the way to Germany to find my dream job.

Who Knew? Teri Fahrendorf Rides Subways…In Munich!

Serendipity continues on the crowded subway in Munich, after a day at Drinktec. Hundreds of people packed in like sardines. I looked up and said to a woman near me, “Is your name Teri?” That Teri turned out to be our Pink Boots Society founder, Teri Fahrendorf! She looked just like her Facebook profile photo. We talked and walked to Taco Libre where the Munich Chapter was hosting their first meeting. I was graciously greeted by 12 other positive women who live in Germany. We have craft beer as a commonality. It was an amazing and welcoming experience after feeling quite alone in a foreign country. That is the when I truly felt the power of Pink Boots Society and led me to my volunteer position as the Collaboration Brew Day Coordinator. I was happy to assist Emily Engdahl, our Executive Director. Who would not want to work with someone funny, sassy and brilliant? I just wish we lived closer!

Sue Interning at McFate Brewing

From a Subway Ride to Collaboration Brew Day Coordinator

What started with helping Emily pin over 260 participating breweries in 10 countries in Google maps, has now developed into leading an entire team for 2019 Collaboration Brew Day. I can’t believe Emily did this all herself in years past! As I began to collect photos of the brew day, I looked at the consistency of the smiles, teamwork and passion for brewing in every photo. It literally gave me goosebumps and moved me to put together a slide show sharing the global effort of strength, unity and empowerment illustrated by the women of Pink Boots Society. Having gone through the process this year, I’ve documented what worked, some great ideas shared and what could be improved upon. I will make sure it’s available for participating breweries well before Brew Day 2019. I am very honored Emily and the entire Board of PBS put their confidence in me to lead this fun project for next year!

Sue w/ Andrew Fowler, LA Ale Works

A Little Insight Into My Dream Job & the Serendipitous Cycle

Krones has very few females in the field globally. I feel nothing but support and optimism from my Krones family. They are upbeat professionals who encourage me and my participation in Pink Boots Society. My job description is very unique within Krones in the fact that I’m the first hire in the world with the title ‘Sales & Market Segment Analyst’. This newly created job was based on my technical background, brewing knowledge and their need for a business development-type role. My ultimate responsibilities are a hybrid between sales and marketing. To keep my efforts focused, the Krones management team narrowed my day to day activities to breweries in Southern California and Arizona. I collect brewery operations and production data to see if there are noticeable trends and document our strengths and weaknesses in each region.

Krones Canning Machine

Yes, I get paid to engage in conversations about beer, and sometimes sample the product. I know, right?…as I smile. I was hired to keep the Krones big picture in mind with respect to their product lines and various beverage related market segments. In doing so, then recognize synergistic opportunities that arise out of being present in a conversation. Krones has an extremely large product line, but narrowing it down to the brewing industry, they manufacture brewhouses and tanks from 5bbl on up, canning and bottling lines, automation software and systems integration. I am so fortunate to have landed a job with such a reputable company, work with wildly intelligent people and have a boss who believes in my abilities and wants to see me succeed. I absolutely love what I do.I challenge myself to make change where change is needed, I don’t pass up once-in-a lifetime opportunities and I push myself out of my comfort zone. In doing so, it naturally leads me toward prodigious people who, in turn, challenge me to be a better, stronger person. It’s what I call a serendipitous cycle.

About the Author

Escape from Alcatraz 2018

Sue was destined for the beer industry. At the age of 10, she collected beer cans and wore a Budweiser t-shirt. Originally from Iowa, Sue lives in Manhattan Beach, CA where she raised 4 kids, one still living at home with her. She attended Arizona State University, received a degree in Microbiology and now sits on the LA/ASU Leadership Council. To officially immerse herself in the brewing industry, Sue commuted from LA to San Diego to attend UC San Diego’s Brewing program. Eager to learn how to brew, Sue set up her 1.5 bbl brewhouse in a garage in Tempe, AZ equipped with a walk-in cooler and a mini lab to come full circle with her micro background. When she is not out talking to breweries and crunching data for Krones, pinning Google Maps for Pink Boots, or seeking out a fresh IPA, she can be found in the pool or ocean, on a spin bike or out running along the strand. Sue is a veteran spin instructor of 19 years, and has completed multiple races, including Ironman Arizona and just this month, her second Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

Apr
4
Anne Sprecher
Cold Stuffed with Hops: Beer Stories from Germany
Women In Beer
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By Lauren Lerch

This post originally appeared in craftybeergirls.com, a blog to which Lauren contributes. This is one of several insightful posts Lauren wrote based on her Beer, Brats and Beyond scholarship travels.

Miltenberg, GermanyMiltenberg, Germany

My recent trip to Germany with the Pink Boots Society has blessed me with a plethora of information about which to write a seemingly endless stream of Bavarian-influenced blog posts. As I’ve been writing about the adventures of Zoigl, the breathtaking beauty of The Hops of Hallertau, and the delectable Bamberger Zwiebel, dozens of memories have been popping into my head. In a fit of reminiscence, I’ve recounted some of my most fond moments. May you find them just as silly and memorable as I did.

Cold Stuffed with Hops

“Cold Stuffed With Hops” – Urban Chestnut – Wolnzach, Germany

It was a promising, sunny morning in Wolnzach when our small coach rolled into the parking lot of our first stop of the day. Many of us were just waking up from our coach naps as we unhurriedly stepped and stretched our way out into the morning air. Goats and chickens greeted us through a nearby fence. Actually, they wanted nothing to do with us, but we loved them just the same, and for no reason other than their cuteness.

We had arrived early, or maybe our tour guide was late, but whatever the mixture of circumstances, we had time to relax and soak in some vitamin D over Zwickelbier in the biergarten. From my observation, part of the German rite is drinking beer at any time of day and nobody judges you for it. We took full advantage that AM as we reflected on the previous day’s happenings, the pronunciation of “Willi Becher” glassware, and life in general.

Zwickel Bier

Somewhere between the near end of my first beer and the ponderings of my second, we were ushered into the brewery to begin our tour of Urban Chestnut. After hearing their origin story and wandering the brewery and cellar, we were given the opportunity to taste a few beers. Our tour guide, Simon, was kind enough to speak English for us during the tour. But sometimes phrases get a bit lost in the translation. When describing the way hops were added to a particular beer, Simon said it was, “cold stuffed with hops”. It only took a bit of imagination to realize he was talking about the process of dry hopping – adding hops to beer that has already begun fermenting. We shared a good laugh, and I don’t think any of us will ever think of the process the same again!

Hotel & Brewer Sign

 

The Unexpected Caricature – Zum Riesen – Miltenberg, Germany

Tour-mate Katie, tour guide Tom, and I were the first to arrive at our meeting place in Miltenberg, Germany. The rest of the group was en-route to the small town straight out of a Disney fairytale, and would arrive one by one or in smaller groups throughout the day. The three of us dragged our suitcases from the train station to the hotel, their weight intensified by the burden of jetlag. We got checked in, made comments about the strangeness of the bed linens and toilet buttons, and then were off to explore the town.

Katie and I found lunch and our first beers of the ten day trip at Kalt-Loch Bräustüble. One half liter turned into two, and then talk of finding a third elsewhere made me thankful I had worked on my tolerance before leaving home. We climbed up the hill to a castle, attempted to find an elusive biergarten along the Main River, and eventually ended up at Zum Riesen. We found an empty wooden table and chatted over kellerbier, noting the time we were supposed to return to the hotel to meet the rest of the group. It wasn’t long before the neighboring table of elderly men began questioning us, and asking if we were “sheep”. The town had a few large herds of foreign people being shepherded around by tour guides with microphones. The laughter that ensued was amplified by the fact that we not only got their joke, but that we understood it despite the language barrier.

One man named Oskar joined us at our table while we discussed our interests. He mentioned that he had been born in the house we sat in, and Elvis Presley had frequented the pub in the late 1950s while he was stationed near Miltenberg. His eyes grew big and he smiled wide as he told us that one time, his mother had almost booted Elvis from the pub for not having proper identification. He slapped the table and let out a hearty laugh.

The time for us to join our other tour-mates was nearing, but Oskar insisted that he draw my caricature. Katie set up a screen of menus around Oskars artwork in progress as he sketched my cartoon-self with a beer in one hand and a drumstick in the other. When he was done, the menus were removed and the masterpiece was revealed. Hah! If you had asked me 24 hours earlier what my first evening in Germany would be like, having my caricature drawn by an old Miltenburg resident in a pub that he was born in would not have been my first guess!

Caricature

How To Kiss A Nun – Klosterbrauerei Mallersdorf – Mallersdorf, Germany

The morning was soft and grey when we arrived at Klosterbrauerei Mallersdorf. We were scheduled to meet Sister Doris, a famous female brewer we all looked up to. She had helped pave the way for women brewers, and continued to prove that females were equally as capable as men for the task, even in her old age. Sister Doris walked us through the brewery, occasionally putting the tour on pause to sell bottles of beer to go to those that stopped by. I slowly inspected the brewery, taking note of the different machines and imagining how they operated. The experience reminded me of walking around my grandparents house when I was a child. Everything seemed so old, but all was clean and in good operating condition. I stared extra long at the things I didn’t understand, and left with the resolve that I’d understand when I was older.

Sister Doris & Lauren

Sister Doris was jovial and loved to crack jokes. Our group often laughed at two separate times – the first was those that understood German, and the second was after Tom, our tour guide, translated the wisecrack into English. One such occasion was when we were discussing the bottles and labels they used. Each bottle has a neck label that extends nearly to the top of the bottle lip, at which sits a picture of Sister Doris herself holding some of her delicious beer. She went on to explain that we must drink directly from the bottle, and after a short pause, she grew a long smile and continued with the German translation of, “…because it’s the only way to ‘schmooze’ with a sister!”. She lead the group in laughter with a roaring guffaw as her cheeks turned red. We followed suit and concluded with a hefty swig from the bottle, our lips still slightly pursed from a good chuckle.

Sister Doris Brew

 

About the Author:

Lauren Lerch

Certified Cicerone®

It’s been a long road of waiting tables, pushing retail, and laboring in warehouses, but I finally feel I’ve found a purpose instead of a job. The buzz isn’t just from the beer, either. When everyone around you is happy to be doing what they’re doing – buying beer, making beer, drinking beer – the smiles rub off on you, and then you’re sucked into the business. Of course it can’t all be puppies and sunshine, but that’s what the beer is for, right?

I grew up as an East Coast native sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia. My early adult life was fueled by pizza, Yuengling, marching band percussion and Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. Before finding my place in the beer industry, I wanted to be a nurse (5 years old), a professional breakdancer (10 years old) and a high school music teacher (20 years old). After three years of college, I just wanted to be a traveler. I lived in Oregon, spent a year in Australia and a summer working in Glacier National Park, MT. Landing in Salt Lake City, UT with hopes of riding the seasonal work wave, I landed a not-so-seasonal job at Whiskey Street as a server. It was the first job that exposed me to something more than a casual alcohol menu. Craving more and more booze knowledge, a co-worker turned me onto the Cicerone Certification Program. I dug in an didn’t look back.

Favorites:
Wet Hop Beer
Garden Fresh Caprese Pasta
Jarlsberg Cheese
Traveling
Sharing Beer With Strangers
East Coast Pizza
Sky Appreciation
Camping

You can contact Lauren at  laurenlerch@gmail.com . Or friend her on facebook.

 

About the Crafty Beer Girls:

The Crafty Beer Girls are Utah based missionaries of beer, here to entertain, educate, and encourage the love of the brew. With the help of Red Rock Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, these fine “sisters” will cover the fresh and the new, along with the history of beer and the industry surrounding it. They hope to make a believer out of you!