Posted November 22, 2017
Here at Boulevard we obviously take great pride in the beer we produce, but we also strive to ensure an impeccable and memorable experience for brewery visitors. Beer Elf Tyler Kinney is an integral part of those efforts.
With a background in landscaping and concrete sculpture, Tyler joined Boulevard in December 2015 as Grounds Maintenance Technician. Responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining the environment that surrounds and fills our brewery campus, Tyler works hard to make certain that Boulevard as a destination is just as impressive as what we put into a bottle, keg, or can. Whether it’s planting conifer trees for ambiance in the colder months, or hundreds of flowers and potted plants that adorn the balconies of the brewery and Tours & Rec Center, plenty of meticulous planning and labor goes into making Boulevard a visually appealing place to be. He’s also currently in the midst of a project to revamp certain areas of the brewery’s landscape with new installments over these next few months. Don’t worry though, it’s not all work and no play for Tyler; he does take advantage of his time off to enjoy bikes, jam bands and bluegrass.
The next time you come by the Beer Hall for a drink, take a brewery tour, or find yourself in one of our event spaces, take a moment to look around and raise a toast (he prefers The Calling) to the beauty that Tyler helps to create here at Boulevard!
Eric Bessenbacher has seen some things, man. After nearly 24 years at Boulevard, he's one of the brewery’s longest-tenured current employees and has witnessed firsthand a significant amount of progress, growth and change since he started.
Originally brought on board in 1994 to wash kegs, Eric navigated his way through other areas of the brewery as time went on, including the original bottling line and then to filtration and brewing. Come October 2009, Eric became the first full-time scheduler that the brewery has ever had. Scheduling is crucially important here at Boulevard, and a task filled with a myriad of ever-shifting pieces. From ensuring maximum efficiency on a packed brew day (which could include as many as 8-10 brews) to seamless transitions between packaging runs (a busy day could see 630 bbls come through both the keg and bottling lines), Eric’s schedule is the master guide for our production teams.
Asked if there were any particular highlights from his many years at Boulevard, Eric said there weren’t any singular moments or events. Rather, he says it’s been memorable watching the brewery as a whole evolve. Seeing scores of new equipment come through the doors that changed the methods of production, or from selling 14,000 bbls the first year he was employed to exceeding that amount in a single month (23,000+ bbls in March 2017) recently.
And maybe most importantly? “Over the years I’ve met and worked with so many smart and talented people. The people have made it worth it.” (And fortunately for us, Eric is one of those smart and talented people.)
The idea of being encouraged to sample beer each day at work seems like some kind of fantasy for many, but for Abby Zender, it's a key component of ensuring that all Boulevard beer that goes out the door is of the utmost quality. Hailing from Springfield, Missouri, Abby previously worked in food science research and development, specifically with enzyme modified cheeses and flavor formulations.
Fortunately for us, she decided to make a switch from cheese to beer, and these days she works as Boulevard's Quality Sensory Coordinator, managing the daily sensory panels in our quality lab, where employees taste beer to detect any off flavors or quality issues. To better hone her fellow Boulevardians' senses and abilities to pick up on these potential flaws, she also holds periodic sensory training sessions to teach them what to look for, what should cause concern, and how these attributes can be picked up during the brewing process. Abby's magic sliding doors of beer samples are the final stop for making sure our beer tastes as the brewers intended before it hits shelves or taps near you.
If you happen to grab a bottle of Nutcracker with Abby's name on it this year, be sure to take a moment to dedicate a sip to her and all the important work she does making sure EVERY sip tastes just like it's supposed to.