The Texas Craft Brewers Guild recently launched an Instagram series called #BehindTheBeer featuring the people behind the scenes working hard to bring you excellent Texas craft beers. As you can imagine, in an industry that has a $4.5 billion-dollar impact on the Texas economy, there are a variety of jobs that extend beyond the brewing process including packaging, laboratory technicians, quality assurance, marketing and much more.
Craft Beer Austin has partnered with the Texas Craft Brewers Guild to expand on #BehindTheBeer with a series of articles featuring each highlighted Guild member.
For this installment, meet Erin Stecker, co-founder of 4th Tap Brewing Cooperative.
Tell us just a little bit about your brewery & what your day-to-day looks like:
My job is basically doing everything – except brew the beer. You can usually catch me: behind the bar in the taproom, in the office coordinating events, running reports, on social media responding to your posts and comments, cleaning….always cleaning….forever cleaning, booking bands and food trucks, setting up events with community partners, and out around the city at events.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Each day is a new adventure. I feel so lucky that I get to work with my husband and closest friends. I love that I get to make genuine connections with people. When someone comes in, has one of our beers and loves it, it makes me very emotional. It’s very personal for me. Every beer out of our taproom, every can bought off the shelf and every keg sold to a bar or restaurant, I am so thankful for – it allows me to continue this dream.
What did you do before you started working for a brewery? What brought you to this brewery?
Before 4th Tap, I worked for Target. I started with Target right out of college as an assistant manager and then became a general manager with them. I was at Target for 8 years. I loved the high-paced, operational and team focused environment and learned so much about leadership and business. I loved my time there! The last few years of my Target career, my husband John completed his Master’s degree and after that, decided to start 4th Tap with the rest of the crew. He worked on the business side for about 3 years and then in 2015, we were ready to open. I knew that I wanted to be a part of 4th Tap and had the experience to help. So, I decided I was just crazy enough to quit my job and jump in. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of today’s craft beer climate what would you say?
The beer scene is really competitive which pushes us to be better every day. We love that it pushes us to improve and innovate. Competition is good. So, you know — git gud.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your beers?
Our most recent beer collaboration with House of Torment is probably my most interesting story, personally. It combines the three things that I’m absolutely obsessed with: BEER, MAKEUP and HORROR. Anyone who know me could tell you that’s me in a nutshell. I started working as a Makeup Artist at House of Torment last year and it was a dream for me. I became quickly obsessed with airbrush horror makeup and the culture of the Haunted House. This past year, House of Torment acquired the ability to sell alcohol onsite during the season and I got REAL excited. The staff was all about working towards a collaboration and it happened this year! House of Torment – Pumpkin Ale will be available during the 2018 haunt season for people to enjoy while they are waiting in line to get scared shitless by monsters I helped create. So, that’s pretty cool.
What beer other than your own, are you currently drinking the most of?
Well, since I’m 8 months pregnant – I’m currently drinking a lot of water. However, some of my absolute favorite go-to beers are: Real Ale – Hans Pils, Live Oak – Gold, and Blackstar Co-op – Elba.
To keep up with the #BehindTheBeer series on Instagram, simply follow the hashtag and follow the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. If you are a member of the Guild and would like to participate in this series, please check the latest Guild newsletter for details.