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Good Beer Hunting

Jan 20, 2024

People who work in beer arrive from all kinds of professional backgrounds and even different career trajectories. But once they’re in beer, it’s less common to find examples of those who will be true chameleons, working across businesses that make, move, or sell beer, or even for companies that just handle the raw ingredients that go into making it. That’s what makes this conversation particularly special.

Shanleigh Thomson has been a food scientist, brewer, and sales rep for distributors and companies that provide malt and hops. She's worked as a consultant and analyst. She's also a beer fan, which means that this wide range of roles and expertise gives her a unique vantage point for how she does her job, shares well-informed points of view, and applies a variety of education that ranges from advanced degrees in food science to business and brewing. She splits her time between Canada and the U.S., which means the scope of her understanding and work offers us a good perspective, too, all of which she’s combined in the last two years to run her own consultancy business, Shan.Ferments.

In this episode, we’ll talk about all this and how we can learn from what Shanleigh has picked up over the years. But in addition to hearing how her professional life has brought this together, there’s also time in our chat to reflect on the personal impact a changing industry has left on her. Beer in Canada is facing many of the same challenges as the U.S., as prices and competition increase and a camaraderie that was easy to find 10 years ago is harder to come by. For someone who’s spent a career focused on so many different aspects of the business of beer, what happens when the shine wears off? And what’s at stake for us should we lose professionals with an array of ideas and expertise like Shanleigh? Let’s find out.