When I started writing for CraftBeerAustin.com back in 2015, my first series of articles was about Women in Beer. With inspiration from the ladies of the Austin chapter of the Pink Boots Society, the Women in Beer series has returned. This edition features Jade Leder, Assistant General Manager for St. Elmo Brewing Company.
Describe your average week. What are you responsible for?
Though it still feels so weird to talk about anything normal or “average” right now, it’s fun to reminisce on life from 6 months ago! My average week consisted of typical managerial duties: procuring necessary items for the taproom, counting inventory, writing schedules, answering emails, and supporting the bar. I also help with some event planning, especially those for St. Elmo’s hiking group, The St. Elmo Outsiders. I also helped plan and organize monthly educational staff training and would try to come up with fun ways to keep the staff engaged and learning.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I have always loved that I could truly be myself in this industry. And at St. Elmo, it’s been no different. Since Day 1, everyone has been so welcoming and treated me like family. It’s nice to be asked “How are you?” and know that they’d genuinely want to know how I was doing. Plus everyone makes me laugh–like the really great deep belly laughs. We have fun together. I’ve had experiences where previous jobs felt a bit cliquey. The people at St. Elmo gave me a sense of “belonging” more than any other job I’ve ever had.
What challenges have you faced in this or previous roles in the beer industry?
Mansplaining, or, having a male answer a question for me.
As a mom, of course, I often ask myself: am I not giving enough at work? Or, am I not giving enough at home? I have an incredible amount of responsibility on a daily basis, and I’d be lying if I said it was easy most of the time. It’s TOUGH most of the time. But, having my daughters has made me feel like I could do more than ever, and it’s because being a mom has given me strength and confidence to deal with just about anything.
I’ve also faced self-doubt, which I think is quite normal when we feel a bit vulnerable or we put ourselves out there in the professional world, but I’ve been doing what I can to stop creating excuses and believe the kind things people say to me. Are there days I want to give up? Of course. Are there days that my motivation is bursting at the seams? Definitely. I’ve stopped creating reasons why I can’t do something.
Insecurity early on was a hurdle – and a lot of that had to do with my age, having just started out, not knowing much, and lacking the confidence to ask the questions. I really found my “voice” in the last 4-5 years and it feels good to have come to this place.
How long have you been working in the beer industry? What did you do before this role?
I worked for a brewery/pizzeria starting when I was 16 hosting/serving tables. Eventually, I started working for one of the best breweries in Southern California, Alpine Beer Company. That’s where I discovered my real love and passion for the industry. I learned what a GOOD IPA was. I learned how to fill a growler there. How to properly pour a beer. How to shoot the shit with the beer crowd. I truly built the foundation there. Eventually, I moved on to Societe Brewing Company in San Diego where I spent 5 years. Some of my best memories in beer were there with that staff. I’m now 31 and happily work as the Assistant GM for St. Elmo, where I’ve been for two years. I’ve really only ever been in beer.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of today’s craft beer climate what would you say?
I think we can agree it is always evolving. Craft beer has been forced into a position where some are more socially aware and I love the fact that breweries across the country have formed strong bonds with their community in the ways they have given back. The public has put a tremendous amount of pressure on businesses, breweries included, to be vocal about social issues and I love to see them answering that call. However, we need to be always pushing ourselves to do more, to learn more, to use our platforms for good. We need to listen to each other and help one another. All Together with Other Half, and Black is Beautiful with Weathered Souls were incredible initiatives. For me, it has inspired me to push myself into figuring out ways that I personally can contribute to these developments, and it has pushed me to read, listen, and learn more. I love that the industry has become more than just drinking all the beers with all your friends. There’s also a social responsibility behind it now.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you, your company, and/or the industry as a whole?
The advice I always give to people when they say they don’t like beer or this style is to keep trying. With the incredible amount of options that come with every single style, you are bound to find the right fit for you. What I’m trying to say is.. stay open-minded, stay curious, make it your goal to find what you like. It’s out there.
Whenever we can hang out in groups again, come join the St. Elmo Outsiders Hiking League. We meet once a month, hike a trail, then drink some beer. Hopefully, we can round up some hikers as it starts to cool down in Austin.
Has Pink Boots played a role in your career? If so, how?
I’m happy to say I’ve been more active in Pink Boots since moving to Austin. I’m honored to serve as the Secretary for the Austin chapter! Thank you to those ladies for the opportunity! And additionally, I was recently asked by the amazing Sheila Garcia to step into the developing role of Diversity and Inclusion Liaison for our chapter. I’m honored and can’t wait to frame this out.
What question(s) are you tired of answering/getting asked?
From both men and women: what girly beers do you have? No, that question has not gone away yet.
What beer are you currently enjoying the most?
Louisianna Purchase – St. Elmo, Roxanne – St. Elmo, Green Battles – PHP, Suavemente – Hold Out.