On February 6th, at our annual company meeting, Brewery Founder and Brewmaster, Bill Cherry announced to us, the employees, that we had just become partners in ownership of the company. Switchback is officially the first 100% employee-owned brewery in Vermont via an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). We could not be any more excited because this means the company will be Vermont-owned forever. It is now up to us, the employees, to carry on with the company's mission to consistently produce quality beer and keep the brewery locally-owned and operated.
So now that we are employee-owned, we are taking this opportunity to dive into the stories of all of our co-owners. We will be delving into each of our worlds and exploring the people that make Switchback, Switchback. Every single employee plays a strong part in our company culture, mission and values.
Next up! Amber.
If you quickly glanced at Amber outside of our brewery walls, your first assumption would not be intimidation. Sitting at 5’2”, she’s got rosy cheeks and a radiantly warm smile. But chat with Amber for just a moment and she’ll roll up her sleeves to reveal her collage of tattoos and probably punch you in the gut for assuming anything about her.
Amber is one of 17 production members here at Switchback who, aside from being an over-all bad ass, mostly focuses on shipping and receiving. She’s strong both physically and mentally, spunky and helps keep our brewers in check.
Amber is a die-hard Vermonter through and through, raised in Bristol, VT. When you ask her why she loves Vermont, she’ll tell you, “I absolutely LOVE this state. From its fresh rainy spring, to long summer days filled with sunshine. From the leaves changing and crinkling underneath you as you walk, to the bright skies filled with stars. The air is crisp and the mountains are covered with snow. It's a beautiful place to live and this is where I will grow old!”
We sat down with Amber to learn more about her favorite things about Switchback and some of her best brewery moments.
What is your favorite music to listen to while working at the brewery? My favorite music to listen while I work would be hip hop. Not today's stuff they call hip hop. I'm talking Wu Tang Clan, Biggie, 2PAC, Nas. The good hip hop! It just gets me pumped on life.,
What is your favorite Switchback brew? My favorite beer is the Switchback Ale. It's just so delicious.
What is your proudest brewery moment? I'm almost a year in and I'd have to say a few proud moments include being able to start up/shut down Freida (our stubborn keg filler & cleaner), C.I.P (clean-in-place) a tank, operate a pallet jack comfortably and to create invoices/schedule pick-ups for our beer.
How did you feel when Bill broke the news of going employee-owned? I was shocked and instantly filled with so much joy! I think that it's wonderful. We're now owners, it's still local and nothing has really changed since. We still operate the same, but everyone has this special glow to them now.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Switchback? My favorite thing about working at switchback is the never ending ability to learn new things. My co-workers, they're all hard workers and we always have so much fun!
Cheers to Amber for kicking butt each and every day and for keeping all of us on our toes!