Interview with Justin Williamson of Badger Hill Brewery | Part One
We went to Badger Hill Brewery a couple of weeks ago to interview Justin Williamson, their new Sales Manager. We were treated to also sitting down with Jen Johnson, their COO! We have a LOT of information and fun facts to share with you all – we will be splitting this blog into 2 so make sure to watch for more from us (and them) next week!
Okay, to start you may have heard about Badger Hill partnering with Finnegans in a partnership known as alternating proprietorship. This is exciting because it means that Badger Hill is increasing the size of their brew house. “We will be sizing up from a 3 vessel 20 bbl brew house to a 4 vessel 30 bbl brewhouse. We will be adding 60 bbl & 90 bbl fermenters and bright tanks as well as upgrading our canning line to increase our through put to 60 cans/minute. As part of the expansion we have already installed a centrifuge, automated keg filler as well as added roughly 3,600 square ft. to our production space,” Justin says.
Don’t worry Badger Hill fans, you’ll still see your favorite styles brewed at the brewery. We are excited for the new year round brews that we can expect to see on shelves:
- Goldy Ale
- Hop Hill
- Traitor IPA
And don’t miss their award winning White IPA that will be released this month. It won a GABF Gold metal and 2 US Beer Open Silver metals.
They will be brewing beer for Valley Fair and Canterbury this year that will be available on-site at those locations and in the Badger Hill Tap Room. Watch for those and other Special Releases on their Facebook Page. We don’t want to give it away but there may even be a special release for Valentine’s Day this week.
Okay – on to Justin. We asked a few (ok, a lot) of questions about him and the industry. Here is the interview with Justin “Juice” Williamson:
Describe your history in the industry. What got you into beer, and how did you end up with this job?
Justin started in the industry as a merchandiser/promotions guy for C&L Distributing in St. Cloud in 2011. He moved into the craft manager position and began commuting to St. Cloud from the cities. He then decided to go to work for Thorpe Distributing out of Rogers and ended his distributor career at Capitol Beverage in September of 2017 when he accepted the position here at Badger Hill. All of the distributors mentioned are (or were) partners of ours. We work together with them to bring many craft brands to our areas, including Badger Hill Brewery.
What is a typical day for you? Give us a breakdown (brief or detailed) of what you do every day.
“Starts off with an email check-in and taking care of events/samplings. I work with Distributor Partners for forecasting, etc.
We meet at the brewery as a team on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and hope to be in the market in the afternoons helping Joel Hergott (our Sales Rep).”
What is your best perk as a brewery rep?
“Honestly – I love my job and it doesn’t feel like work. It’s a passion of mine. I really love beer. And I get to deal with people every day.”
What do you look for in your distribution partners?
“Keyword is PARTNER. We make good beer, you sell good beer, we can be a good partner. We are in it to the end together. We have such a commitment to quality and relationships and we look for these same values in our distribution partners.”
How can a brewery differentiate itself in the growing market?
“Badger Hill does it through our quality and our consistency. We truly focus on this. What sets us apart is our culture. We have good people. People feel comfortable with our brand and our taproom.”
What are you looking forward to in the world of beer?
“I’m looking forward to seeing what the industry does in the next 5-10 yearrs. Badger Hill was registered 37th (you may need to fact check that number) in the state and now there are over 130(ish) breweries!”
Side note – Justin’s nickname is Juice. We wanted to know how he got that nickname. He was named “Juice” back in middle school when buying juice from a la carte as the new kid in school. He would set down his tray and head back to grab his 2 cups of lemonade. Every day he would get 2 cups because it was “so damn good.” Kids would say “There goes a cup of juice,” when they couldn’t remember his name. It has stuck. Everyone in the industry that has a connection to Justin calls him Juice.
Give us a cool fact about yourself!
(In full disclosure, Jen may have spilled the beans on this one.) Juice used to be a Flair Bartender – like the kind in Las Vegas – the ones that flip glasses and booze in the air. And yes, he was good enough to win awards! It all began when Juice worked for TGI Fridays back in college. We may have found some photos of him performing.
Okay – but in all seriousness. We are so grateful to work with Justin as a representative of Badger Hill Brewery. We’ve known and respected his work in different roles and look forward to the growth of this amazing craft brand. Cheers, Badger Hill!