A quiet Tuesday afternoon was interrupted by multiple online posts regarding a job opening at La Cumbre Brewing. The ad was for a head brewer, which left a lot of folks concerned that Daniel Jaramillo was parting ways with the company. Fear not, Daniel is not going anywhere, it is simply a re-purposing of responsibilities at the award-winning brewery. He will assume the title of Director of Brewery Operations, leaving the position of head brewer open to someone else. To gain some additional clarity, I sat down with owner Jeff Erway over a pint of Witch’s Lit.
“That’s basically it,” Jeff said. “Daniel, believe it or not, after 24 years in this industry, is sore. I haven’t been in the industry nearly as long as he has, but I’m sore, too. It’s not that necessarily the head brewer’s job is the most (physically) demanding job in the world, but it’s a job where you’re up and down flights of stairs all the time, you’re lifting up hoses, you’re bending over, climbing underneath equipment, installing equipment all the time.
“And the fact is that Daniel’s job has become more and more about simply tracking the enormous amount of inventory that we have, both of raw materials and of finished beer. He tracks that, he makes sure that we’re very clear on what we’ve sold on a day-to-day basis, he tracks the sales for making sure that we pay both our federal and state excise taxes. So we need somebody on a day-to-day basis to be back in the brewery at all times, making sure that everybody back there is doing what they need to be doing at the level we need them to be doing it at.”
By giving Daniel a different title, it opens up an additional key position at La Cumbre.
“I’m on the brewhouse once a week, sometimes twice a week,” Jeff said. “Daniel’s back there maybe 20 hours a week. We need somebody back there 45 hours a week, that’s all they’re doing is working at making sure production is going as planned. We’d like them on the brewhouse two or three shifts a week. We’d like them in the cellar two or three shifts a week.”
So Daniel is not going anywhere, Jeff is not going anywhere, and the quality beer at La Cumbre should continue to flow.
“We needed to do this for quite a while,” Jeff added.
If you are an experienced brewer reading this story (hey, it could happen), and are interested in applying, you can find the full job posting here.
Oh, and while I was there, I asked Jeff if anything exciting was coming up. Well, La Cumbre’s fifth anniversary party will be Dec. 10, and once again they will have a special anniversary ale.
“We basically took our 30-barrel Red Ryeot recipe and brewed a 15-barrel batch with it,” Jeff said. “Then we let it sit in Taos Lightning Rye Whiskey barrels for like four months. Recently emptied, Taos Lightning Rye Whiskey barrels. So it’s 11.5-percent (ABV). We’re going to dry-hop it once it leaves the barrels with the same hops we use on the regular Red Ryeot. You’ll still have a fair amount of hop aroma and you’ll actually get it, if you’d done it before the barrels it would be gone.”
Well, that just sounds wonderful. We will see you all at La Cumbre on Dec. 10, if not sooner.