Have you ever traveled out of town and ordered a beer from your favorite hometown brewery, only to find that it doesn’t taste the same as it does back home? You might be surprised to learn that quality control extends far beyond the bottling line. We’ve always aimed to offer fresh and consistent beer to our customers in each of our markets, making our quality control team a key part of our daily operations, from lab testing to draught quality.
With fresh, consistent, quality beer in mind, GLBC hired Bridget Gauntner as a Field Quality Specialist several years ago, and recently Bridget joined the prestigious Brewer’s Association Draught Quality Subcommittee. We caught up with her to learn more about the new role, how it relates to her position at GLBC, and the importance of field quality.
How did you get started in the craft beer industry?
I have always been interested in trying everything new, so naturally I fell in love with craft beer. My first craft beer was a Great Lakes Burning River at a college bar near my University. I was studying biology and I had a great professor who always found a way to incorporate beer into many of our lessons. After graduation, GLBC posted a QA lab position, and here I am five years later.
When and how did you build an interest in draught quality?
There was a time that I didn’t think I liked IPAs. Then I had a fresh, clean IPA and fell in love. It made me realize that people often aren’t given a fair chance to enjoy a particular beer because its freshness has been compromised. About three years ago we started our field quality program, and I seized the opportunity to improve our customers’ experiences.
Why is draught quality so important to craft beer?
The commitment to maintaining quality beer doesn’t end once the beer leaves the brewery, and involves distributors and retailers as well. We work to ensure the beer tastes as the brewer intended. When kegged beer is being served properly, it’s the best way to enjoy a beer outside of the brewery. To steal a line from the Draught Quality Manual, “Even the Mona Lisa would look terrible in a museum with lousy lighting.”
What will you do in your new position on the Brewer’s Association Draught Quality Subcommittee?
I will help maintain draughtquality.org which provides information on maintaining and cleaning draught systems and much more. I’m also working with the rest of the committee on the newest edition of the Draught Quality Manual and will participate in draught quality workshops.
What do you hope to accomplish by becoming involved in the Brewer’s Association?
I want to further field quality research and build upon the information that has been written. I also enjoy educating others on field quality standards while proudly representing GLBC. I also think the strongest aspect of the Draught Quality Subcommittee is the fact that there are members from so many diverse breweries. Although we are all competitors, we’ve united to build quality standards. The more awareness that exists, the better the beer for all.
Life Outside the Lab
Bridget’s job calls for a lot of time on the road and, well, inside. However, one of her favorite pastimes away from the draught lines is spending time in nature. She makes a point of exploring parks in new cities and can be caught enjoying the sounds of Ohio’s many birds, identifying some just by their call. All that time outside keeps her senses keen, and she’s always happy to test them out with a pint fresh from the tap!
To learn more about draught quality and the Brewer’s Association, follow the links below. And remember that a little light reading is best done with a pint of the finest, freshest draft beer in your hand.