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Good Beer Hunting

Feb 18, 2023

When I’m doing prep for the interviews you hear on this podcast, I try to look across digital footprints for insights that help me gauge a person, their personality, and the kinds of questions I should ask. It’s all based on instinct and hope that my own impression from a distance gives me enough to offer you a meaningful conversation that introduces someone new or helps you gain a deeper appreciation for someone who’s familiar.

Sometimes, the idea of a person I’m researching matches exactly who they are in our conversation, and that’s the case with Jesse Valenciana. As you’ll hear right away, the trail of breadcrumbs he leaves on social media and with his professional connections make it clear he cares deeply for his loved ones and his heritage.

Jesse most recently worked as director of marketing for Kentucky’s Against the Grain Brewery—his time there ended after we recorded this podcast as part of budget cuts at the brewery. So, if you hear us talking about Against the Grain in the present tense in this conversation, that’s why. Jesse says it’s onward and upward for him and his career, however, which also includes a varied skill set: he’s also a food and beverage journalist, author, cook, and a person who seems to always consider how his past connects to his present in these roles.

In this conversation, you’ll learn about all this, from his childhood visiting family in Mexico to how those roots shaped his personality and relationships, including the way his history and culture helps him view America’s craft beer industry. After years of working in beer, Jesse shares the way he’s been shaped by his own passions, microaggressions from others, and why it matters to the way he does his job now and in the future.