I've had a touch of nostalgic feelings for my pre-baby job lately. It doesn't help that Dennis works for Dogfish Head. For those of you who don't know, I used to be the South East Florida rep for Shipyard Brewing Company. I loved my job, a lot. I was ready to leave at the end, but that had to do more with hauling my bulk in and out of my VW Bug than the job itself. I miss my friends from the establishments I worked with and the people from my distributor desperately, and that includes all the awesome people associated with them as well.
One of the things I miss the most though, is a bit egotistical. I miss walking into a bar cold, asking to see the bar manager and introducing myself. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but the percentage of women in the craft beer industry is pretty small. Add to that the tendency by large distributors to use model types to present the beers rather than knowledgeable representatives, and you've got an even smaller number. So the scenerio usually went like this:
Me: Hi, I'm Amy and I work for Shipyard Brewing Company.
Bar Manager: Unhhh. I guess we should think about adding craft beers. Bar X down the street did, and people keep asking for them... I personally don't like all those fancy beers.
Me: Well, we've got a great portfolio of styles for you to choose from...
Bar Manager (with skeptical look in the eye): What can you tell me about the beers.
At this point, they expect me to pull out a sell sheet and start regurgitating facts from a beer selling seminar. Instead, I'd ask for their menu. This would usually illicit a look of "what are ya gonna do with that?" I'd get the menu and put my 18+ years of restaurant experience to work by pairing beers with their dishes and making wine style to beer style comparisons. Add to that a healthy knowledge of craft beer in general, the fact that Dennis and I home brew and a dash of occasional "tell them just what they want to hear to stroke their ego" bullshit. The result was always the same as if they'd just met a talking cat. Female? Homebrewer? Actually knows her shit? Oh the satisfaction of proving a stereotype wrong. I loved building relationships with new establishments and nurturing previous relationships lovingly handed over by my predecessor...
Despite all the fun I had on that end, the biggest loss with the move and change of occupation to full-time mom is festivals. Those who have not worked beer festivals often think it's just a bunch of drunk shenanigans where you pour some beers and shoot the shit. Mostly... they're right. But for the Malty Mama, it was work, work work.... First, I was pregnant the entire time I had the job. Second, I'm a workaholic. Third, my restaurant training has beaten into my brain that if there's a customer, you man your post! So no drinking for me... but standing there and pouring beers was a blast. I met so many cool people at events and festivals, I got to hang out with all of my work friends at the same time, and I got to talk about my favorite subject all night.
So to go from all the travel (which did suck a good bit, but wasn't completely awful), restaurants, ride-alongs,
and festivals to laundry and dishes and baby joggling was quite the shift. I think I just mostly miss my friends from down south. I don't think I'll ever want to move back to Florida. Visit, yes. Move, noooooo. But if I could transport my buddies here or me there just for an hour or two, it would make me very happy. Add some Plineys, a Creme Brulee Stout and a My Antonia to share amongst us, and it'd be pure bliss.