Brewer Magazine Q&A: Alisha Malcolm, Pike Brewing

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the U.S.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.
Alisha Malcolm, Director of Private Events, Pike Brewing — Seattle
BREWER: How do you feel your job has had to adapt in the beer market compared to a few years ago?
MALCOLM: Pike Brewing Company celebrates 30 years this October, and I’ve been with the company for almost ten, so I’ve seen the beer industry evolve significantly in that time. Educating both the mind and the palate will always be relevant, but we’re always working on new ways to do it. It’s great to see guests not just looking for beer servers, but beer ambassadors, and it’s really fun when you engage with someone and open up a whole new world of beer to them. At Pike, education is a huge part of what we do: our staff are all Cicerone certified beer servers, our tours program offers insight on our unique environmentally friendly gravity-flow, steam-operated brewhouse, and our Microbrewery Museum highlights the history of beer.

Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
MALCOLM: My friend, and totally boss business women, Jocelyn Coimbre, Technical Recruiting Manager at Lyft is a role model. When you’re playing a big game in life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or burnt out. Jocelyn’s ability to create a sense of team and generate partnership is definitely something I respect about her and try to bring into my daily life here at Pike. And to keep it fun! The result is explosive.BREWER: Can you share a success story that you are proud of in your job or maybe a story of how you learned from a situation that has altered your thoughts on how you do your job now?
MALCOLM: An annual aspect of my job is producing Pike’s signature events which work to bring together our local food and beverage community and act as fundraisers for local nonprofits. I love producing these events because I love helping create an avenue for our team and our wider community to give back. Women in Beer, for example, celebrates women-owned and -led craft food and beverage producers and is a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands. I’m proud to say Women in Beer has become the biggest event of Seattle Beer Week and an absolute fan favorite. The power of our community coming together to contribute is an incredible experience.BREWER: Can you touch on something your brewery has added lately that’s unique or making your business more successful (it could be equipment, technology or people)?
MALCOLM: Pike is unique because we have two restaurants onsite, The Pike Pub and Tankard & Tun, where visitors can enjoy a pint or a meal, and both restaurants sit directly above our production brewery in downtown Seattle. Given the nature of my job, I’m always interested in optimizing and activating all three floors of our business in creative ways. Using our production space for events is always special because it’s literally the heart of what we do! Our ‘Canniversary’ party last year was a great example—the goal was to celebrate Pike’s 29th anniversary, and also showcase the addition of our new canning line. The event was Pike at its best: We hung the ceiling with hundreds of retro-style pennants decorated with our new brewery logo, catered the event with a selection of beer-infused foods from our restaurants, and drank straight from beer cans fresh off the new line! Founding owner Rose Ann Finkel’s Southern hospitality is an ingrained part of Pike’s culture, so the result was a really inviting feeling of, “this is our home, come on in and let’s hang out over a beer!” Our guests enjoyed the easy, pared-down experience of sitting at a picnic table or standing over a barrel with their beer, and our staff loved showing off a part of the operation usually reserved for brewery tours. There’s no Seattle freeze here!

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
MALCOLM: Strive to be the best, but stay approachable and welcoming. And celebrate the victories of others! There’s a beer for everyone, and room for us all to be fans.

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