2013 kicked off with a new chapter in my career. After a 2nd layoff in 4 years in my old industry, I decided to pursue something that I have passion for. ::Insert Legally Blond quote:: “Luckily” Stone Brewing Company took a chance on hiring this geeky beer girl and the rest is history. It has not been an easy year for me. Learning the beer industry is far more challenging on the inside than it appears from the outside looking in. I have battle scars but I have also learned so much. I have had respect for Stone Brewing Co from my very beginnings in San Diego in 2002. Stone was the company that flipped me from a wine drinker to “TheArtofBeer” and that was no easy feat. But wowser this industry is tough! I cut my teeth on amazing craft beer because of Stone and I came to appreciate the heart and soul of the craft brewing industry. I learned so much in 10 years and I developed friendships across the country because of this silly little blog and my life on Twitter. How amazing is it that I ended up working in the industry?
Craft Brewing is not an easy row to hoe and I have respected just how challenging the path is from the very beginning. Now that I have spent a year selling beer, I can honestly say that it is the hardest thing I have ever done. Despite a conviction deeply set in the core of my being, I have had to face the reality that craft is still just a small blip on the screen that is the overall beer market. The masses just haven’t caught on yet. Since passion is something I have always had plenty of, even when selling mundane plumbing/hvac products , this became a very personal mission for me. Game on!
I am most thankful for the amazing wins I have been able to chalk up and I am thankful for some of the great chains that have been patient with me as I navigated my way through this very foreign industry . I have made mistakes but hopefully I have learned from them. I am also thankful for some of my Stone comrades that have helped me make it through some very challenging times. My favorite motto learned “It’s Just Beer” has helped me through some rough days and every win I have made has meant the world to me.
Aside from World Peace, my wish for 2014 is that we are able to get more people to venture into the amazing world of craft beer. As main stream retailers take a chance on bringing craft into their stores, I hope my fellow craft beer drinkers will remember to appreciate the fact that this is how we can expand our share from 8% to 20% and beyond in the coming years. Don’t get caught up in beer snobbery and judging breweries for selling in more places than just our beloved Bottle Shops. For every new consumer that passes by a corporate beer to pick up a Stone Mixed 12 pack or (insert any craft beer package) on the shelf, it’s a win for craft. It paves the road for the tiny new craft breweries that open daily and gives them a path to success. When we expand the base of craft beer drinkers, everyone wins. The larger craft breweries are making it possible for new breweries to have a chance of succeeding. Please remember that.
This year has not been without some personal hardship. As I prepare to walk away from my home, the lesson learned is that home will always be where I make it. Trust me when I say, this is the hardest thing I have ever gone through short of losing my parents, but… I will survive. I also had another good health scare that left me minus some flesh but it’s a blessing that I was given the ability to make a difficult choice before it was too late. My vanity has taken more of a beating but I feel good about the outcome.
Even my closest friends do not know that once again, I exposed my heart and once again I made a bad choice. I guess I have resolved myself to having the worst taste in men EVER — but I blame myself for being a difficult person. At the end of the day, I have to own my faults. As much as I wish I could find love, I am beginning to find peace with being alone. The holidays are always the hardest for me. It has been so long since I have had family, I don’t remember what it even feels like. But I do appreciate the friends that stand by me…no matter how difficult I tend to be.
I am thankful for so many good people in my life. There are too many to name. You know who you are and I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and for putting up with me when I am being a royal pain in the ass. Please forgive me if you are not in the photo montage I did my best to capture as many people as possible but it was impossible to get everyone that matters.
Thanks for putting up with me…World Peace