In our recent FOOD volume we spoke to some incredible Girl Bosses in one of the most exciting industries out there: the drinks industry. If you’ve not snagged a print copy of Vol 13 – grab one now for our top 5 Girl Boss drinks brands and wise words from some amazing women. If you have already and you are looking for some more wisdom, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s our interview with Annie Pautsch, founder of the cutest brewery tour around: the Brew Cruz in her hometown of Santa Cruz, California.
HOC: Hey Annie, how on earth did you end up running a brewery tour in Santa Cruz?
Annie: Ultimately it came down to a few key factors: my love for craft beer and wanting to work in or around it, timing, hard work, and no regrets for trying something I’m passionate about. Of course, Santa Cruz itself inspires me with its laid-back vibe and California cool culture.
HOC: What is it about craft breweries that you can’t get enough of?
Annie: The brewers and their unconventional curiosity and creativity. The smell, sound, attention to detail and taste. The environment, ambiance, and vibe– 7 days a week doors are open to everyone without exclusivity, offering a warm, comfortable place to imbibe, converse, relax, connect, and draw inspiration. The history of breweries- their individual stories and legacies.
HOC: When you started out in your career, where did you want it to go? And how does that compare to where you are now?
Annie: My goals for the business have always been in stages, so that I allow myself flexibility when things inevitably go off-course and you have to readjust. Initially I was thrilled just to have passengers on the bus! Now one of the aspects I’m most proud of in my career are the relationships I’ve carefully built and maintained, and the integrity and sincerity with which I’ve run my business. I never set out to expand too quickly, and have definitely made trajectory moves that feel natural and right for maintaining what Brew Cruz ultimately is- a local business.
HOC: What’s it like, being a woman in (what we imagine is) a male dominated industry?
Annie: Powerful. Badass. Natural. The Santa Cruz brewing community, and brewing in general- to its earliest origins, exists because of women. It just so happens a lot of men also enjoy brewing as well.
HOC: Where is your favourite spot in the world for a few beers?
Annie: I have so many favorite breweries, so it ultimately comes down to sharing some of my favorite beers with the most cherished people in my life- family and close friends. Those are the golden moments, and most of them have taken place around a worn kitchen table, in a garage, or on a patio until the late hours of the night. I do a lot of beer-related travel though, and there is a certain unparalleled excitement felt walking into a brewery that’s been on the bucket list for a while!
HOC: In the UK a light stigma around women drinking beer still exists. Is this the case in the US and why is this still a thing?
Annie: Stigmas will exist as long as people allow them to. In the US, I think I see more of an unfounded expectation that if women are going to drink beer, it’s usually something ‘light’. For any new beer-drinkers on my tours (women or men), I try to steer them toward drinking flavor notes they enjoy, period. Forget about how ‘strong’ or ‘dark’ a beer looks or is and just drink what your palate prefers!
HOC: What women are doing great things in the food and drink industry at the moment where you are?
Annie: Emily Thomas of Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is always at the forefront of innovation and growth for the brewing community. I’ve been impressed by the women-owned food trucks in town like Ate3One. The majority of beertenders at our local breweries are women and they are exceptional.
HOC: Can you tell us about a recent ‘Girl Boss Moment’ you had in your work? ie. an experience where you felt proud that you’d totally nailed it
Annie: I feel most like a boss when I’m able to successfully manage wearing all the hats it requires to run my business- reservations, relationships, maintenance, marketing, bookkeeping, bus mechanic, bus driver, tour guide, beer connoisseur, wife, daughter, and friend. If I’ve done my best and can pop a cold one at the end of a long day while enjoying a sunset, boss lady has nailed it.
HOC: How can people follow what you are up to?
Annie: My channels: Instagram @scbrewcruz
And be sure to follow my hometown, where you can get more inspiration: