By: Dave Altrich, Packaging Manager Published:
In 2014 we became employee-owned. Sounds cool, but what does that mean exactly you ask? This new structure of employee ownership means you can count on Harpoon to stay independent and dedicated to its mission: brewing great beer and sharing unforgettable beer drinking experiences. In order to do that, we have some pretty incredible people working at the brewery. This blog series - The Harpoon Employee-Owner Spotlight - is meant to introduce you to those people. That way, when you see them at the brewery or in your neighborhood, who know who to high-five (or hug).
This month, meet Dave. As Harpoon's Packaging Manager, Dave literally sees every bottle and can that leaves our Boston brewery. No pressure, right?
Name: Dave Altrich
Title/Department: Packaging Manager
How did you get started at Harpoon? I have worked in the manufacturing field for almost 20 years in various industries of manufacturing. After the 1st 15 years of my career I realized it was time to make a change. At that time I was looking for a company where I could feel passionate about the products that were being manufactured. In addition, I was also looking for a company that had an amazing culture where everyone was committed to manufacturing the highest quality product, working as a team, and building customer trust and loyalty. A little over five years ago I began that new job search and it was by no means an easy process. I spent over a year looking for the right opportunity. A little over four years ago, I came across the job posting at Harpoon for a Bottling Line Manager. After a few interviews I was able to get a feel for the culture. I decided to accept the position with Harpoon and since that time I have never looked back. This is truly an amazing organization where everyone is committed to quality, the customers, and working as a team to make a truly amazing product.
What are the different jobs you’ve had? I started with Harpoon as Bottling Line manager over 4 years ago. In the 1st 6 months after coming aboard I was promoted to Packaging Manager.
What’s your favorite part about Harpoon? It’s hard to pick one favorite part…..I work with truly amazing people who work as a team and trust each other. The ownership culture is amazing, my coworkers are like family, and we manufacture truly awesome products! I look forward to coming to work every day. What else can I say other than I have my dream job!
What’s changed, if anything since being ESOP? A lot and a little all at the same time…. I feel becoming an ESOP company has reinforced the sense of pride we all have in the brand. Employee engagement has also increased since becoming employee owned. Folks tend to think more about decisions they make that impact the company as some of those decisions can affect our own bottom line at the end of the day. It’s great to see everyone committed to our customers, the quality of the beer, and our fellow employees all at the same time. Since becoming employee owned we instituted an ideas program where every employee is encouraged to come up with ideas for ways in which they can make a positive impact on the organization. Many innovative ideas from folks at all levels of the organization have really improved efficiency and quality all while lowering operational costs. The great part of this program is no idea is to big or too small. We have found many small nickel and dime ideas add up when an entire organization is working in the same direction.
Favorite beer: Tough one…. My top three in no particular order would be IPA, Take 5, and Summer Beer.
By: The Harpoon Beer Hall Published:
What was January’s X-Night brew? UFO Hazelnut Coffee, UFO French Vanilla Coffee
Who brewed this deliciousness? Harpooners Jaime Schier and Chris Bonacci
What can you tell us about the beers? Both beers pour hazy and golden in color. The aroma and flavor of the UFO French Vanilla Coffee is an explosion of citrus and sweetness with a delicate, subtle coffee aroma, balanced by the Hefeweizen character. The UFO Hazelnut Coffee has a citrusy and roasted nut aroma, with a very subtle coffee aroma. You can taste the chocolate and vanilla in the beer with a hint of coffee. You get a little more of a nutty flavor in the Hazelnut. Both beers finish with a lingering sweetness.
UFO French Vanilla Coffee
Appearance: Hazy, Golden
Aroma: Citrus with some sweetness with a delicate, subtle coffee aroma
Mouth feel: Soft
Taste: Chocolate, vanilla, sweet bread
Finish: Lingering sweetness
UFO Hazelnut Coffee
Appearance: Hazy, Golden
Aroma: Citrus, roasted nut. Subtle coffee aroma
Mouth feel: Soft, effervescent
Taste: Nutty, bready
What inspired you to brew these beer – anything particularly special about them?
These beers presented a unique challenge from a brewer’s perspective because we wanted to produce a fairly delicate, light-colored and light-bodied beer that incorporated flavor and aroma elements from an ingredient that’s typically associated with richness, robustness, and (occasionally) bitterness. It was interesting to find a way to bring those coffee characteristics to the beer in a way that was noticeable without being overwhelming or discordant with the other flavors and aromas of our UFO Hefeweizen. They are kind of a brewing Odd Couple in that they’re nothing alike on the surface, but if paired thoughtfully, produce a fun and unexpected harmony.