“I’m just looking around at different career opportunities to do along with music,” he said. “I think beer is great, and it’s healthy. As a music student, beer is a big part of what I do.”
He came to the right place on Tuesday. About 130 students attended “Careers in Beer” presented by the University of Colorado Denver Career Center in the Tivoli Turnhalle. The panel discussion featured about a dozen craft brewers, sales managers and a beer journalist who shared stories about how they got started in Colorado’s burgeoning beer industry.
“Colorado as a whole is experiencing exponential growth with breweries,” said Sarah Trzeciak, MS, interim director of the Career Center. “They have the potential to employ a lot of people, and we know students are interested in it as a career. However, getting into the field can feel elusive. These panelists helped demonstrate how students can pursue this as a career path.”
Each panelist followed a different path into the industry. Some were home brewers. One panelist got his start in radio. Another spent summers home from college working on the bottling line at Great Divide Brewing in Denver.
“It was just a way to get a foot in the door,” said Charlie Berger, co-founder of Denver Beer Co. “Everybody on this panel will tell you that packaging beer is labor intensive and it takes a lot of folks working really hard to just get finished beer into a can, a bottle, or a keg and send it out the door.”
Matt Cutter, founder of Upslope Brewing Company in Boulder, worked a day job in the high-tech industry until the time was right to dust off a microbrewery business plan he created back in college. “I took out a second mortgage on my house, god bless my wife,” he said. “We started carving out 2,200 square feet into a brewery.”
John Turk is Colorado sales manager for Epic Brewing Co. He said his first love out of college was radio, and he began his broadcasting career with Clear Channel. He has since merged his passion for beer with his interest in radio by hosting the Colorado Craft Beer Show. “I got into (the beer industry) a little bit differently, but it’s a great industry,” Turk said. “The people in this industry are some of the greatest that you’ll meet.”
After the panel, students enjoyed an opportunity to chat one-on-one with the brewery representatives during an informal “Meet & Greet.”
Be sure to stop by the Career Center in Tivoli Room 267 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, for a “Dream Big! Ice Cream Social and Career Jenga.” The informal event is a chance to talk about your career and educational aspirations.
(Photo: Representatives from about a dozen Colorado breweries took part in the “Careers in Beer” panel discussion presented by the CU Denver Career Center on March 4).