Dec 5, 2020
Julia Herz has been a notable figure in craft beer for nearly two decades. Much of that time was spent as the face of the Craft Beer Program at the Brewers Association. Her diminutive stature contrasts with her comparatively monumental influence in the industry: in that role, she was a familiar face at beer festivals and conferences like the Craft Brewers Conference and BeerNow Conference; she helped helm online publications like CraftBeer.com; and even wrote a 2015 book with Gwen Conley titled Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros.
Like the rest of us, Herz was caught off guard by the arrival of COVID-19, and again when she and two dozen other BA employees were laid off in June. But rather than stagnate in what she calls “career, interrupted,” she hit the road to both coasts on a series of Vision Quests, visiting breweries across the United States in a safe (and socially distanced) way.
By navigating that unexpected hard left turn in her work, Herz embarked on a brand-new journey to consult, mentor, and educate through her new LLC, HerzMuses Enterprises. By leveraging her massive network of brewery owners and employees, she says her goal is to “teach and inspire,” as well as provide solutions to brands and causes that move her. From her behind-the-scenes perspective, she’s laying the foundation of her new venture with relationships in mind, and for the first time, on her own. I had the chance to sit down with Julia—masked, outside, and over a pint—at Second Chance Beer Company in San Diego to get the inside scoop on her state of mind before recording this podcast episode.
We talked about her past and future, her work as part of a national team and now as a solo artist, what it’s like to be on the ground during COVID, and how these Vision Quests have shaped her in surprising ways. I got to know what drives her, what changed her, and what she has planned next.
This is Julia Herz. Listen in.