She rushes onstage midway through the second act, beautiful and barely put-together, apologizes for missing her entrance due to an uncooperative shoe, then launches into a huge, tongue-in-cheek chorus number about her ordinariness. She sings:
I’m your average, ordinary kind of woman: Competent and neat, Making life a treat. Others as nice You meet often, I know. At least once or twice Every decade or so.
This is Catherine from Stephen Schwartz’s musical Pippin. And, truly, she’s anything but ordinary: a widow raising a child and running a farm — two things that couldn’t have been ordinary in the time of Charlemagne but made perfect sense in a 1972 musical comedy.
Also, this is CMBC’s very own Marketing Communications Manager, Alicia Grasso, who played Catherine while pursuing a BFA in Theatre at Montclair University. Like Catherine, Alicia will insist on her ordinariness, but anyone who knows her and works with her will attest to the fact that she’s anything but.
Brewing is a testosterone-heavy industry — there’s really no getting around that. The common concept of a brewer is a big, burly guy with a big, burly beard making big, burly brews. And at CMBC, we’ve got some big, burly guys.
But we also have our fair share of women working at CMBC. And thank goodness! We love our big, burly guys with their big, burly beards, but having a well-diversified gender base at any workplace is certainly a welcome thing.
Our intrepid world traveler and Marketing Guru Alicia Grasso headed down to the University of Kentucky this past weekend for a symposium on craft beer writing.
“It was great!” she tells us. “I learned a lot from some big names in beer writing, and the University of Kentucky is a beautiful campus.”
So many of our favorite breweries were in attendance, including Rhinegeist Brewery in Cincinnati, Blackberry Farm Brewing from Tennessee, and the hometown crowd from Country Boy Brewing in Lexington. In addition, many of the University’s students were in attendance — sounds like college students found out where the beer was! — as well as writers from various other disciplines, eager to learn as much as possible.
Heather Vandenegel from All About Beer and Beer Advocate gave a talk called “Beer as Culture: Witnessing and Writing About the Modern Beer Movement” speaking of the need to find your niche in the world of beer writing. Jeremy Danner from Boulevard Brewing spoke on “Beer Social Media — The Bar That Never Closes,” regarding the social media landscape and its importance to the beer market. Joe Tucker of RateBeer gave a talk called “Sensory Language at RateBeer: Use and Utility,” delineating the various ways sensory language is used to write about beer. Julia Herz of the Brewers Association spoke on “Craft Beer Story Ideas and the State of Beer in the US,” regarding the importance for us little guys to be active on the national level.
John Holl of All About Beer gave a talk called “Don’t Be a Beer Writer” — not quite as fatalistic as it sounds, his talk was about being a beer journalist rather than being a beer writer. Since this is what we try to do at Straight to the Pint — we try to create interesting stories that appeal broadly rather than only report on our latest brew and what it tastes like — it’s good to hear that he thinks we’re doing something right.
The keynote speaker was Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin Brewing. For those who haven’t heard of him, he’s a total rockstar brewer. He owns four companies and is one of the few people on the planet who could be considered a craft beer mogul. His talk was called “The Traveling Brewer,” and he lives this idea to the fullest. Your brewery should reflect your personality and your voice, according to Jeppe, and Evil Twin reflects his rogue, bad boy persona. His talk could basically be summed up with the old Emerson quote: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail.”
While Alicia was there, she got to tour several breweries, including Country Boy Brewing, West 6th Brewing, and Ethereal Brewing while sampling Kentucky’s finest. Alicia is nearly always wearing her marketing hat, so she found it interesting to see how other breweries market their wares.
While there are a lot of similarities in what we do with what everyone else does — after all, we’re all trying to get you to drink our beer — Alicia came away from the day with the understanding that we’re doing things pretty well at CMBC. A recent article in The New Brewer was along the same lines as John Holl’s talk — create stories, not reports. We think that Cape May Brew Co. is on point in following the trends in craft beer writing, but we’ll leave you to be the judge.
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