The Texas Craft Brewers Guild recently launched an Instagram series called #BehindTheBeer featuring the people behind the scenes working hard to bring you excellent Texas craft beers. As you can imagine, in an industry that has a $4.5 billion-dollar impact on the Texas economy, there are a variety of jobs that extend beyond the brewing process including packaging, laboratory technicians, quality assurance, marketing and much more.
Craft Beer Austin has partnered with the Texas Craft Brewers Guild to expand on #BehindTheBeer with a series of articles featuring each highlighted Guild member.
For this installment, meet Janie Ziebell, taproom manager at Oskar Blues Austin.
Tell us just a little bit about your brewery & what your day-to-day looks like?
Oskar Blues ATX opened in 2016. We have a spacious taproom with a stage that features live music every weekend. We just had a shade installed for our outdoor patio this summer so that been our favorite addition this year! We serve our core OB beers and ATX only specials, like our Cashmere If You Can Pale Lager. Even though we have a large production facility we have a pretty small team ~ 30 people. Every employee wears a lot of hats! Just this week I have spent time cleaning beer lines, working on taproom schedules, cleaning, planning events for beer releases, planning events to promote and raise awareness for local non-profits, cleaning, checking out local musicians and booking music for the weekend, getting educated on sensory with our lab team, beer orders, making small repairs inside and outside the taproom, and did I mention cleaning?
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Every day is different, it’s never a dull day. I love our team, even when we are “in the weeds” we enjoy the moment! work hard, play hard.
What did you do before you started working for a brewery? What brought you to this brewery?
I was a full time teacher in Round Rock for 10 years. My husband and I became home brewers in 2010 thinking we could save money by making our own beer. hah. We geeked out and enjoyed checking out local breweries; this is how I ended up at Adelbert’s as a volunteer. From 2012 to 2016 I worked full time as a teacher and moonlighted at the brewery. My husband is originally from Longmont and we spent time at OB on vacation so when Oskar Blues came to town I took a chance and applied.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of today’s craft beer climate what would you say?
I love the growth and appreciation for craft beer in Austin. This is a great time to be part of the craft beer scene, it’s exciting and refreshing! I know there is concern about over saturation but we aren’t even in the same playing field as the big guys. We have to support each other and the uniqueness that each brewery brings to the scene. Everyday we meet people in the taproom that are unaware how the beer laws work in Texas; we need to continue to push awareness to our patrons about the antiquated laws that we have in Texas to help bring change.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your beers?
G’Knight Imperial Red, originally Gordon. Not only is it my go – to beer, it is also a tribute to Gordon Knight, a talented brewer and a pilot who passed away fighting a forest fire near Boulder. The Cashmere has a good story but it is not mine to tell. You gotta ask Michael Harris 😊
What beer other than your own, are you currently drinking the most of?
I love them all! ABW Blood Orange, a blend of Celis White and Raspberry, Pecan Porter, anything Live Oak… I throw my support behind breweries that are passionate about their product, strive to make high quality beer, and support their employees and community.
To keep up with the #BehindTheBeer series on Instagram, simply follow the hashtag and follow the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. If you are a member of the Guild and would like to participate in this series, please check the latest Guild newsletter for details.