Collin Graber ’18 Wabash Brewing – This summer has been extremely enlightening and productive working with Wabash Brewing. One of the best parts of this internship is how hands on and involved it can be. Working in a brewery isn’t exactly the typical internship and it can be hard to describe a “normal” day at work just because there are so many different things that have to occur on a daily basis for things to run smoothly at a small business, and especially a microbrewery.
Since I started late May, I have helped with everything from large-scale production and small batch experimental beers to marketing and selling to various restaurants, pubs, and bars. This has helped me gain a new understanding of what it takes to produce a quality product and what it takes to effectively advertise. Effective time management and adaptability – two things I’ve learned at Wabash College that I’ve successfully applied at Wabash Brewing. On days that we brew there are usually several different things occurring all at once and they all require attention simultaneously. For example, on brew days we will have a water profile already prepared and the recipe ready to go, but we will measure out salts, hops, and mill the grain the morning of so everything is as fresh and the highest quality possible. During this time we will also work on cleaning and ensuring various pieces of equipment have been sanitized before any material comes in contact with it. A typical brew day is usually busy for a short amount of time, and then there is a break where you just have to let things happen, and then it will get busy all at once again. The down time, if effectively used and nothing goes wrong, allows for you to get the cleaning and sanitizing done with ease, but it’s a rare occasion that everything works out absolutely perfect from start to finish. Again, this is where the adaptability and ability to stay calm amid a chaotic situation really help. Going through these last couple of weeks has really tested my ability to prioritize and adapt to changing situations and make a decision based on the information I have and what I know needs to happen. In addition to these, when working at this scale, attention to fine details is extremely important because all it takes to ruin a full batch of beer is as simple as not having the right O-ring between two parts.
Knowing and having learned these lessons is going to be extremely beneficial in the next couple of years as I decide exactly what I want to do and whether I decide to open my own business or continue with some form of graduate school. Regardless, this summer has been an incredible opportunity and I would not have been able to do it without help from Career Services at Wabash College and also the help and funding through the Lilly Endowment.