When I started writing for CraftBeerAustin.com back in 2015, my first series of articles was about Women in Beer. I am happy to announce that thanks to the ladies of the Austin chapter of the Pink Boots Society, I am bringing back the Women in Beer series. This edition features Megan Klein, Co-founder and Operations Manager for the Texas Beer Company.
Describe your average week. What are you responsible for?
I handle operations so in a normal week I’m taking inventory, shipping out merchandise orders, coordinating with our distributors on beer pickups, depositing checks and paying bills. Every once in a while I jump on the canning line when someone needs a break or back up the bartenders at the taproom on busy days.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The beer community is a blast – both within the Texas Beer Co family and the industry as a whole. My husband works about 5 feet away from me so it’s fun to get to spend time with him and run some errands together. We dropped in on David and Clare at Bluebonnet the other day with no notice and they very graciously answered my million questions about their amazing mug club even though it was the end of their brew day and I’m sure they were ready to go home.
What challenges have you faced in this or previous roles in the beer industry?
There have been some times that folks have had a hard time accepting me – a sort of soft-spoken woman in her mid 30’s – as an authority figure, mostly at the taproom. We once had a man ask “if there was a man he could speak to” (which we still laugh about). But the guys at our brewery and in the industry are all very welcoming. They don’t treat me any differently than anyone else.
How long have you been working in the beer industry? What did you do before this role?
I’ve been full time at the Beer Co since September 2018. Before this, I worked on political campaigns in Texas and in community relations and nonprofit advocacy. Working with the public and on campaigns is great training for owning a small business – it’s all the same skills. I’ve tried to bring my favorite aspects of that work into this job, like forming a volunteer team to build variety packs with us. We call ourselves a people-powered brewery, and we mean it. Not only our staff team, but we try to engage the public as much as we can.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of today’s craft beer climate what would you say?
It’s the wild, wild west out there right now. There’s a global can shortage so those agreements are changing on a weekly basis. We just made the jump from shrinkwrapped to preprinted cans for our mainstays and they were delayed several months which really threw us off because we had gotten out of the shrinkwrap line. We’re having to order much higher quantities than we had planned for and delivery dates are moving all over the place. But you do what you gotta do, and we’re figuring it out. I’m always a little afraid to answer phone calls from our can suppliers; you don’t know if they’re going to say your cans are coming next week or your cans aren’t coming until 2022.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you, your company, and/or the industry as a whole?
It makes our team so happy when people write in to say they love a certain beer or they had a good experience at an event. We read every email and message that comes in, and I always send them around to our team. There are only about 10 of us who make this whole thing go, so it’s really personal to everyone. When I see a bumper sticker on someone’s car, I still get a little thrill every time.
Has Pink Boots played a role in your career? If so, how?
Pink Boots has been a great support network for me. They held the annual national conference in Austin a couple of years ago and I made some friends there that I still keep in touch with. There are more women in beer than people might think, so it’s cool to have a network we can draw on. I don’t get to go to as many of the Austin events as I’d like since Taylor is a little bit of a drive, but the Austin women in beer are particularly amazing.
What question(s) are you tired of answering/getting asked?
“Do you even like beer?”
What beer are you currently enjoying the most?
My all time fav is Jam Session at Southern Heights. At Texas Beer Co, our most recent new release is the Good Ol’ Lager, a light lager dedicated to our friend and former staffer Josh Hicks who tragically passed away in a fire. We put an illustration of him on the can, and I always reach for my phone to text him when I see it because he would just think it was so cool. I’ve been drinking a lot of that lately.