If there’s such thing as an over-qualified head brewer, it’s Eric Harper. (Don’t tell him. We want to keep him.) Eric has an unbelievable resume, including many years honing his craft at other breweries as well as a prestigious diploma from London’s Institute of Brewing and Distilling (yes, that’s a thing). In spite of all that, when asked why he’s so awesome at his job, his answer is: “I love beer.” That passion, skill, and experience shows up in every sip. The team says they hit the trifecta with Eric, whom they describe as a chef, food scientist, and cool guy all rolled into one.
That smiling face you see when you walk into the Fernweh taproom? It’s Kelsey Bomgaars. (Okay, it could be just about anyone. There are a lot of smiling faces at Fernweh, because we brew really good beer that makes people happy.) But Kelsey’s a huge reason they’re all so happy. She loves coming to work every day, and it shows: Kelsey makes everyone who crosses her path feel like royalty—staff and customers alike.
Kelsey’s responsible for managing staff and making sure everything runs smoothly in the taproom, and she also had her hand in designing the taproom. She can do just about everything, aside from picking her favorite Utepils beer. She says that’s like picking a favorite child.
Don’t let Dan’s self-deprecating humor fool you—he knows he has a good thing going here. “I was a total nerd in high school,” he says. “Now I get to live this big adventure.” His title might be president, but his real job is professional people person. Dan’s specialty: “Find really great people to do the work I don’t know how to do, and support them in their roles.” It’s working. If you ask his team, Dan’s gift for vision and leadership makes him the Pied Piper of beer. People just want to be part of what he’s doing. (It doesn’t hurt that what he’s doing is creating delicious beer.)
Before starting Utepils, Dan honed his brewing chops as co-owner and president of Vine Park Brewing. He also served on the board of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, including a stint as president. So he’s still a nerd, but now he’s a super social beer nerd with a really cool job.
How often do you see a CFO hang sheetrock? It’s all in a day’s work for Jim Moore. Jim has serious financial credentials, including 20+ years in corporate banking and multiple gigs as a financial assassin for high-growth companies. Still, he’s best suited to the all-hands-on-deck philosophy at Utepils. In fact, it’s his favorite thing about his job. “Since joining Utepils, I’ve used every skill set that I’ve accumulated in my entire life,” he beams. Jim isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, but he keeps the books clean as a whistle.
With Jim on the job, no one has to worry about the numbers. And that means we can all spend more time with the beer.
Director of Operations is the ultimate catch-all title, which means Jeff wears more hats than a Dr. Seuss character. He handles everything from general maintenance to running special events and working with the distributor. Fortunately, no one is better at juggling a heavy, complex workload. “There’s not a lot of gray area in my life,” Jeff says. “I make quick decisions and I’m willing to take on anything and see it through to completion.”
He’s not kidding. In his former life as an event manager, Jeff once had a tornado decimate an event just prior to airing on national television, and he rebuilt everything before anyone could blink an eye. And then he cracked a beer.