Meet Melissa Roach, Bur Oak Brewing
How are you currently involved in the craft beer industry?
I am the event and marketing coordinator for Bur Oak Brewing Company. Bur Oak is a microbrewery out of Columbia, Missouri.
What got you started in beer?
I started off as a special events intern for Bur Oak while I was still in undergrad at Mizzou. I was introduced to craft beer from my sister and dad a few years prior, and started to really love craft beer. So when I saw the opportunity for an internship in my field at a brewery, I was stoked. Never did I think that the internship would turn into my career, but I’m definitely happy to be here!
What is your favorite part of being part of this field?
I love how laid back and how cool everyone is. It’s an awesome environment to work in.
What are some challenges you have faced specifically as a woman in beer?
I’m faced, quite frequently, with people (mainly men) either not realizing that I actually work for Bur Oak or not realizing that I actually know about craft beer. One time we had an event at the brewery, and I was standing next to the bar. There was an intoxicated guy sitting at the bar, and he kept asking me “So is that your boyfriend or your brother?” referring to the bartender. I had to tell him repeatedly that he was neither, that he was a coworker, and that I was the event coordinator for the brewery. He asked me multiple times “Well you must be dating or related to some one. How else would you get that job?” It was infuriating. Also, a lot of times random sales people (trying to sell stuff to Bur Oak, i.e. insurance) will come in to the brewery through out the work week, and ask me if they can talk to some one who works here. I’m like, “Hello, I work here, hence why I’m working on my laptop at 10 am on a Monday at the brewery. How can I help you?”
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to any women out there unfamiliar with the beer scene, but looking to get involved?
As with any job, start networking! Go to as many breweries as you can, talk to the people that work there, especially the women. There are plenty of different craft beer clubs that you can join to help network. The more people you meet in the industry, the easier it will be to get involved in the scene.
Do you know an awesome lady who works in the beer industry? Think she should be featured on our blog?
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