Here at Iron Horse Brewery we’ve had some fine cousins (what we call our employees) over the years. And while we think that giving them free beer will make them stay with us forever, some of them end up leaving to follow their dreams or something. We have a hard time letting go so we’ve decided to reach out to cousins who have been gone for at least a year to see where they are now. Once a cousin, always a cousin.
Name: Regan Rinker
Position at Iron Horse Brewery? I started out in 2006 while attending Central, nannying for the Parkers’ 2 young children, Wyatt and Julian. Wyatt was 6 months at the time and Julian 3-4yrs. Through this, I really got to know the Parker family well, and fell for them almost instantly.. Well, it took a few months, but you get the picture. When the tap room was opening on Prospect Street, the original location where the original brewery was housed, I began beertending in the tap room between classes. I fell for the culture and the people, along with the community. As the brewery grew, new opportunities opened for our small team, at that time. I managed the tap room (s) for a few years, helping open the new Micropub and managing the prospect street location and helping with events. In 2011, I started doing full time regional sales. I covered parts of Washington throughout the state excluding most west side territories, aside from Bellingham, covered Northern Idaho, and from time to time, some new market development. It was amazingly fun, and I put 40-60K on a car yearly, in what felt like no time. I made friends and sold beer, and had a blast working in one of the most fun industries. It rarely felt like work. Truly.
What years did you work at IHB? I worked at Iron Horse officially from 2007, through sometime in late 2014, roughly 7-7.5 years give or take.
What is your favorite IHB beer? My initial favorite was the Locomotive Double Red Ale. It had a beautiful malt body, with just the right amount of hoppy punch and flavor. Plus, coming in at over 7%, it’s a real treat and definitely leaves you feeling nice. When that beer went away and we developed a strong core of year round beers and seasonals, my favorites constantly changed depending on my mood, the weather, and what I was wearing.. ok, maybe not the last part but everything else rings true. The High 5 Hefe remains a go to, for me. Tons of flavor from the honey and ginger, and a wonderful mouthfeel from the wheat body. I don’t even like Hefes, and this one is personal favorite for me. I also love the fresh hops we used to make for special release. They are everything special in a glass.
Where do you work now? I am currently employed at Columbia Distributing in Wenatchee, WA, a locally owned beverage wholesaler.
What do you do at Columbia Distributing? I am the craft brands and cider manager. My job is to manage our craft beer and cider portfolio, primarily working with our amazing suppliers, our sales team that write the orders, and our ordering agent to bring in the correct products for our warehouse and our accounts. I also work with special accounts and events. The great thing is I still get to work with Iron Horse, just on the other side now. So awesome to see them continue to grow and progress. Each year, several new tanks and additions to the brewery, staff, and beer lineup. They are doing great things and I was lucky to be a part of it, and still a part of it in some way on the distribution side.
How are you doing better now that you’ve moved on from IHB? With every new job opportunity comes personal development and new experiences. Iron Horse ruined me, only in the way that it is hard to compare to a culture as great as the one we worked so hard to create. In a land where your co-worker is your cousin, and cousinfests are a thing, and high fives are given out freely, and personal expression is encouraged, I can only hope that more employers think outside the box and remember that life is short, personal time is valuable and makes you a better employee, and the only boxes we put ourselves in are the ones we create. Iron Horse was definitely a proponent of personal expression with safety of course considered, and valued employee contributions and quality of life with a think outside the box approach. I loved most minutes of it.
Is there one thing that working at iron horse brewery helped you to get where you are now? Conversely, how did we ruin things for you? I am sort of blending this question and the previous one… Iron Horse gave me a ton of experience in sales, communication, management of personnel and goods, free thinking and analysis, and strategy and organization. Along with that, I was able to dabble a little in all sorts of processes. It gave me the industry knowledge and understanding of product UPC, Chain stores, on vs off premise, and general industry knowledge and concepts as a whole. While I hadn’t worked on the wholesaler sider, I had the experience of working with 8 different wholesaler companies in my sales tenure. This gave me the knowledge to help plan for seasonals, present to their team on growth goals, and gain a better concept of what I am doing now, which is all on the wholesaler side. Mostly, it gave me a large grasp on this growing industry as a whole. Thanks for that.
What is your favorite mythical creature? If you have to google examples of mythical creatures, it obviously isn’t your thing. I like dragons. They breathe fire and they are super intense.
What is your most memorable moment at IHB? For me, it’s a series of amazing moments that have created a montage of happy memories in my heart. I know it sounds soft, but it is true. I guess one of my favorite things, would be always feeling respected, valued, appreciated, and happy to go to work. Also, that one time Jake and I did the dougie back in 2009 on the brewhouse deck and the 7 times I did the worm at staff parties.
On a scale of 1 to 10.3 how much do you miss working at Iron Horse? 10.4. If you ever get the chance to work there, only be surprised that you most likely won’t want to leave.