The sun set over the Karl Strauss Brewery during the last class of the classroom portion of the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program, and about a week later I saw the sun rise over the brewery as I embarked on my first day of my internship with the Karl Strauss Brewing Company. I knew going into the internship portion of the program that I wanted an internship that focused on the business side of the industry and had the opportunity to interview with the marketing team at Karl. I have been immersed in the world of beer marketing now for about eight weeks and I am just coming up for air, excited to share what I have been learning.
My internship started out with an “on-boarding” process that exposed me to all different areas within Karl Strauss. I showed up in brewing clothes on my first day and helped brew a batch of Red Trolley, then changed into business attire for meetings with the Event Team Manager and VP of Marketing – and of course, later realized I still had malt on my face and hair from milling. My favorite part of the on-boarding process was the sales ride-along where I got to visit all of the downtown accounts with the sales rep, and was blown away by how many accounts she visits in a day.
After the on-boarding process, I got down to business with my marketing projects. I have projects that range from helping at events, to building out tasting menus for beer and cheese/chocolate pairings to be featured in the tasting room, evaluating social media platforms for user engagement, and studying beer markets in Northern and Southern California. The projects are aggressive for a 10 week long internship, but I am in the corporate office two full days a week and attending events in my free time.
For one of my projects I got to work a beer and seafood event at the Hotel Del in Coronado and loved getting to talk with people about Karl’s beer. Another project had me attending a beer and food pairing dinner at Barleymash in downtown San Diego, experiencing amazing food and beer combinations, and putting my rusty bartending skills to the test. I learned a lot from Karl’s Brand Ambassador as he followed up the Barleymash chef, describing the pairing and the specific attributes of each beer.
On my days off I frequent Venissimo Cheese and Eclipse Chocolate, searching for the perfect combination to pair with my cheese and chocolate presentation to the marketing team. I am learning how a pairing can be turned into a marketing tool in the tasting room.
These are the glamorous aspects I dreamed of in the brewing industry – instagram worthy – but the marketing team also works extremely hard doing the behind the scenes tasks, hours spent on the computer researching beer markets, price points, sending marketing emails, and wearing just about every other hat needed. I have been graciously taken out to lunch by everyone on the marketing team and learned about their projects and roles within the company. I was very excited to meet the Creative Services Manager who does all of Karl’s graphic design and wore a Peanut Butter Porter shirt he designed out to lunch.
My internship has been an incredible learning experience and I am extremely grateful that I got to do my internship at Karl Strauss. I am looking forward to my future in the beer industry and encourage those who are passionate about beer to check out the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program and to also look into the scholarship opportunity offered by Karl Strauss!