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 first installment, meet Sarah Haney, General Manager of Adelbert’s Brewery.
Tell us just a little bit about your brewery & what your day-to-day looks like:
Adelbert’s is an award-winning microbrewery that produces outstanding beers in Austin, Texas. We started as a Belgian-style brewery, but have recently broken out of that mold introducing a wider array of styles using new yeasts. We have many exciting new beers to come in 2018! One thing I love is we’re a small brewery and each of us wears a lot of hats. As a result, not two days are the same. On any given day, I can be responding to emails, writing distributor orders, posting social media, helping can/bottle, helping with QA on beer, signing up for festivals, booking food trucks, attending events, ordering materials, cleaning, and making lunch. That’s just a Monday.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Free beer, the variety of tasks equaling no two days are alike and high level of involvement we all have here since we’re a small team.
What did you do before you started working for a brewery? What brought you to this brewery?
I worked in marketing and public relations at an agency for several years. After the agency, I went in-house to a local technology company. Unfortunately, I ended up having a terrible manager, which made my time there miserable. I decided it wasn’t worth it and to make a leap into a new career allowing myself a three-month hiatus. During my time off, a friend recommended we come to Adelbert’s as she knew the brewer from college. I had been home brewing for several years and when we came I had a Aha moment realizing this is what should do! I asked if they ever needed help and started serving in the taproom the following Friday. I kept volunteering for anything and everything after that. The rest is history!
If someone asked you to describe the current state of today’s craft beer climate what would you say?
Vibrant and competitive. It’s amazing to see how many breweries have come on the scene in the last 4+ years, creating a lot of variety in the beer scene. There has also been a big shift in consumer preferences towards craft resulting in a shift in how bars/restaurants are designed. The high level of growth has created increased competition in the market. Five years ago, if you made a local beer you had a very good shot of getting it on the shelf/tap anywhere in Texas. Now, being in Austin isn’t local enough to get placements in other markets, such as Houston or DFW, who are experiencing their own local beer booms. I foresee 2018 continuing to a highly competitive year for all local breweries. This will also result in an enhanced focus on one’s taprooms to offer variety and limited beers to keep customers engaged with the brand.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your beers?
Hands down, Naked Nun! Named after Del’s time in Colombia in the Peace Corp. After touring an old cathedral, he decided to walk back to the town he was staying in. It was the 70s and not the safest time. He ended up getting robbed by bandits who took his shoes, clothes, everything! He was left naked on a dirt road. He kept walking and came upon a convent. He didn’t want to offend the sisters with his nudity, so he hid among a flock of sheep as he waived them down. Eventually, they noticed him, took pity on him and gave him a blanket and bus ticket. Naked Gringo didn’t have the same ring to it and Generous Nuns Helping a Guy in Colombia didn’t fit on the label so Naked Nun!
What beer other than your own, are you currently drinking the most of?
St. Elmo Carl Kolsh!
To keep up with the #BehindTheBeer series on Instagram, simply follow the hashtag and follow 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.