For the Love of Beer

Amy Ellsworth

Being a woman working in the beer industry is still somewhat of a rare occurrence. So people often ask me how I got here. What made me choose craft beer as a profession?

The truth is I love craft beer. I love the mix of art and science. I love the people and the places craft beer has introduced me to. I love the relaxed and breezy vibes, the easy laughter, and the stories it creates. The more experiences I had, the more I wanted to live in the craft beer world. So I learned as much as I could! I sampled, and I read, and I asked questions. I met as many people as I could. I started looking for opportunities by helping out at beer festivals, working part-time sampling beer at grocery stores, writing about and sharing my experiences online to connect with other like-minded people.

And then I quit my job.

I didn’t have anything else lined up; I just quit. After almost a decade in marketing, I decidedto follow my passion and began making thoughtful decisions about where I wanted my life to go. For years (seriously, years!) I thought of changing careers, feeling like I wasn’t reaching my full potential at my current company. Each time I thought of leaving, it just didn’t feel right. I hesitated because I felt like asking for more was asking for too much. After all, I liked my job! I was good at it; I had built friendships with my coworkers; I made good money… I had it made! With so many people facing company layoffs and unemployment, it felt wrong not to just be satisfied with the career I had.

And things didn’t work out right away; I was largely unemployed for almost a year. I worked part-time jobs, waiting tables at beer bars, whatever I could find that was related to craft beer. I told myself that I wouldn’t do anything that didn’t move me closer to my goal in some way.

And I thought about stories. Stories about successful people who had faced struggles before they achieved success. Millionaires who had once gone bankrupt. Movie stars who had once been homeless. The world is filled with stories like that. Surely I could weather the storm for a bit while I found my way.

And it worked out! The right opportunity came along and I stepped up to the challenge. I now work full-time for one of the top 50 largest craft breweries in the country, working everyday with talented people all over NY State! The journey is far from over. But I’m taking this adventure one step at a time, reminding myself that it’s okay to acknowledge my talents and accomplishments and own them without feeling guilty, or that I’m being arrogant or aggressive.

So I wanted to take this opportunity to speak to all the other women out there. Follow your dreams, ladies, whether that’s craft beer or not. Too often we cut each other down; stop doing that. You’re capable of so much more than you know. And you’ve got friends out here… we’re all in this together!