I walked into the brewery on a Thursday morning before the tap room opened. Justin, Alyssa, and Casey sat around comfortably in the space, wearing Shebeen gear. They threw ideas back and forth to each other, and it felt more like walking into someone’s living room than a workplace. They asked me if I wanted a beer, and we started talking about all things Shebeen.
I spent nearly two hours talking to the crew about life, beer, and the intersection of both things. What makes this team work so well is a unifying belief in teamwork, beer, and pursuing your dreams.
The Brew Master, Rich has assembled a young and talented team, an A+ Brew Crew, if you will. He talks about them like a proud parent and boasts, “This is the best crew to date that we’ve at Shebeen.” Collectively they run the front and back of the house of the brewery. Although each member has a specific job title, it is clear that the entire team has a “whatever it takes” mentality when it comes to the brewery and they are all happy to jump in and do jobs outside of their official titles to make sure that the beer and the customers and their home, the brewery, are taken care of. It is rare to find a group of people that care so much about their work these days, and this dedication to Shebeen’s success emanates from the top down, the top being the Head Brew Master and owner, Rich Visco. It is even rarer to interview an entire team of workers and have them ALL say good things about their BOSS (even when he’s not around!)
He promotes from within, is willing to take chances on people to cultivate talent, and leads by example by scrubbing the floors, canning the beer, and doing any other job that needs doing.
Title – Tap Room Manager
Favorite Beer – Hadouken
Bio – Casey has been with the team since January. She came to the brewery with a Groupon and left with a job. (Not a bad deal!) She’s the master of schedules, front of the house manager, and in charge of overall crowd control, so if you’re gonna try to get rowdy at Shebeen, she’ll remind you to do it within reason.
Title – Sales Manager
Favorite Beer – Baby Seal Dance Party
Bio – Justin’s been with Shebeen for just over a year. In his time here, he’s worn a bunch of different hats, but his role now centers on making sure that the beer gets to the people it needs to get to (and honestly, it needs to get to all of us!) He manages the sales, invoices, collections, payroll, and still lends a hand to the Brand Ambassador role. He came from a job in insurance, which, shocker, he did not find particularly fulfilling. He recognized that it’s cliché to say, but he loves the “family vibe” of the brewery.
Title – Events and Marketing Manager
Favorite Beer – Cucumber Wasabi
Bio – Alyssa was looking to get her foot in the door of the brewery world. She loved the vibe and like many other members of the Shebeen Team (and the world) she was feeling pretty uninspired and overstressed by her current job. She started volunteering in the tap room and since Rich fiercely believes in promoting from within and giving folks chances to learn, she starting learning the trade and moving up. She does everything from booking events, to running the social media, to getting the Brewery into some of the best beer fests in CT, to promoting International Women’s day with a specially brewed beer to promote women in the brewing industry.
Luis (Lou) Vega
Title – Head Brewer
Favorite Beer – CT Pilsner, JavaPig Stout, Hadouken (the man likes beer!)
Bio – From vet tech to head brewery, Lou’s story is just like Cinderella’s if Cinderella was brave AF and left a secure job, with brand new baby twins, to pursue a passion of brewing beer full time. Lou went from home brewing to volunteering with Shebeen, to apprentice brewer under Rich and the (at the time) head brewer, Matt Miller, to becoming the head brewer himself. Now he’s even got a beer created in his hardworking, martial arts fighting, ponytail wearing image. See kids! Dreams do come true!
Title – Apprentice Brewer
Favorite Beer – Baby Seal Dance Party
Bio – Nick started out managing the tap room, but his real passion is in the craft of brewing the beer. He’s in the process now of learning the art of brewing, from the loads of cleaning, to the familiarity with all the equipment to the careful composition of the recipes. Nick notes that it’s not about boo-coo bucks as an apprentice brewer, but more about the “happiness and fulfillment” that the job provides. Baby Seal Dance Party (originally named Baby Seal Clubbing which needed to be changed for obvious reasons) is his recipe, and if you want to see a man beam with pride over their first born, ask Nick about this beer.
Title – Fulfillment Manager and Assistant Brewer
Favorite Beer – Double Cit-Mo
Bio – Matt’s got a degree in Bio-Chemistry and came from a career in public education. While he loved the kids, let’s just say he loved the idea of opening and running his own brewery one day more, so he jumped at the chance to learn the business from Rich and the rest of the team. He recognizes that leaving his job to pursue his dream came with a big pay cut, but it also provided a huge stress cut too. And now he can (legally) drink beer at work!
Over and over the team reiterated their love and passion for the business and for each other. I asked Alyssa to name her favorite co-worker, and with a big smile, she beamed, “I can’t! I love them all!” It’s a bold move, to leave a steady, stable job and jump into a lifelong dream, but the Shebeen Team is all in. These guys are working insanely hard to make their beer, market their beer, sell their beer, and provide their customers with an unparalleled beer drinking experience. From the moment you walk in the door, you’ll pick up on that laid back vide. It’s a group of people you want to drink with who happen to make delicious beer that you want to drink.