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 Sheila Garcia, Marketing & Hospitality Manager at Hold Out Brewing and Austin Chapter Co-Leader for Pink Boots Society.
Describe your average week. What are you responsible for?
My job at Hold Out varies weekly with a variety of duties split between serving, managing the floor, and our reservations and walk-up requests, as well as making time to respond to emails and help plan our social media story-telling. I’m also focused on helping market our new brewpub, so responding quickly to press inquiries and partnering with the media to host them for onsite photo shoots, interviews, etc is an important part of my job as well. Regarding Pink Boots leadership, I do my best to focus a couple of hours per week on a specific day. Typically Monday or Tuesday (on my days off from work), I’ll pull up the PBS Austin email and focus on any to-do items that Rebecca (my co-leader) and I have created. Speaking of, Rebecca and I tend to have almost weekly phone conversations focused on PBS planning as our monthly meetings tend to come up quickly on us!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
At Hold Out, we have added to our front-of-house team in the past month, and I love training and watching our team grow. I also LOVE seeing friends come by to pick up beer-to-go or enjoy burgers and beer on our patio. It’s also very rewarding when guests say they feel safe while dining on our patio. My favorite part of co-leading the Austin PBS chapter is connecting with our members. Directly of course would be preferred, but I’m glad we have built a great community of womyn and we’ve held monthly and sometimes weekly Zoom meetings. Being able to connect and chat with our chapter members so we can share our thoughts has been great for all of our sanity.
What challenges have you faced in this or previous roles in the beer industry?
My current biggest challenge is leading in our pandemic world. Typically we would hold meetings in-person at local breweries. A way for us to connect and network and support our fellow Austin craft breweries. However, that is not an option as we navigate thru COVID-19.
How long have you been working in the beer industry? What did you do before this role?
I’ve been in the craft beer industry for 5 years. I worked at Hops & Grain Brewing for 4, leaving as the Chief Communications Officer before joining the opening team at Hold Out Brewing. Before that, I enjoyed 10 years in radio working in the promotion department at Clear Channel Radio in San Antonio and just before craft beer was the Marketing Team Leader at Whole Foods Market in San Antonio and Austin’s Flagship.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of today’s craft beer climate what would you say?
It’s a tough time for craft beer, especially in Texas. The most recent situations (from March to late July) of having to change to a to-go only operation; then move into Phase 2 and allowed to re-open and re-hire bartenders, etc, then having to close back down to to-go only again with a 4-hour notice – then to have the TABC state breweries could re-open their patios with new permitting, then 5 days later be told never mind, that’s not an option – is an insane roller coaster that no business owner, employee, or customer can attempt to hold on to and follow. I will say though, that our craft beer community, the people who work in the industry and our customers who support us, keep the positivity alive, they are truly the best and we’re thankful for their support and voices through this wild time.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you, your company, and/or the industry as a whole?
I hope people truly appreciate the CRAFT in craft beer. It is a labor of love, brewed, created, and packaged by hand. Sometimes customers question the cost of beer when buying direct from the brewery – assuming it should be lower than at retail. But I hope they understand that while they (hopefully) have an easy curbside pick-up of their to-go beer, a LOT of work goes into providing those cans of beer. Thank the people that hand you the beer, verbally and with a kind tip. Anything less than 20% is harsh to swallow at these times. The cost of the beer supports the brewery and the salaried employees, but the tips go to the bartenders and every cent helps pay bills and put food on the table.
Has Pink Boots played a role in your career? If so, how?
I wouldn’t say Pink Boots has played a role in my career, in the way of leading me to my career. But, I found Pink Boots after working in craft beer for a couple of years and was so excited to have an organization and support group of WOMYN that allows us to talk opening and share ideas without judgment. Being voted to co-lead our Austin Chapter, especially in this crazy pandemic time has been an honor. I hope I’m able to help other womyn use Pink Boots to catapult them in their careers.
What question(s) are you tired of answering/getting asked?
I’m tired of being asked, “do I have to wear a mask?”. YUP! I’m tired of being asked, “do we have to make a reservation?” – the answer is no, but if you want a guaranteed table, reserving one is the only way to ensure you have one. I’m tired of being asked, “do you need help with that?” – Don’t worry, I have no problem asking for help if I need it guys 😉
What beer are you currently enjoying the most?
Pale Ales! Which, considering my brewery, Hold Out specializes in them – I’m lucky – Thumb Puncher has been my go-to so far this summer! Suavemente is a close 2nd.