JOE BARBERIS - HEAD BREWER
What was your first craft beer 'aha' moment? In May of 1985 I journeyed from Kansas to Alaska to work a summer job in Denali National Park. Shortly after arriving I walked to the local store to pick up a six-pack. I was astonished to find prices nearly three times those I paid at home but intrigued by the wide selection of beers that I’d never dreamed existed. Most were European or Australian imports but several offerings from a small, young brewery in Chico, CA were available in medieval-sounding flavors like stout, porter, pale ale and barleywine. They only cost a couple of dollars more than the standard stuff so when I cashed my first paycheck I decided to splurge. As my friends and I drank those bottles, squashing mosquitoes and watching the midnight sun turn from sunset into sunrise on the mountains, I realized that I was never going to go back to regular industrial beer (or Kansas).
Where are you originally from? Kansas City/Atlanta/Baltimore
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? At the moment that I'm writing this that would be skiing deep untracked powder through the trees in the BC backcountry. Honestly though, I'd like to be just about everywhere in the world at least once.
If you could see any band live, which would it be? Jimi Hendrix, Monterrey 1967.
Skiing or snowboarding? Let's just say that if my son chooses to become a snowboarder I'll be very proud of him for making the decision to purchase his own equipment and lift-passes.
ROGER FINGAR - BREWER
What was your first craft beer 'aha' moment? When I first stepped foot through the doors of Dry Dock Brewery in Colorado, when discussing their beer with their employees. They displayed such passion and excitement about their product. I was hooked.
Why did you want to be a brewer? It's my calling.
How did you land in Whitefish? My Family brought me to Whitefish when I was 7 years old. I spent most of my twenties in Denver, but always knew I would be back. In 2015 me, my gal and our 2 pups packed up and moved back home and I started my work with GNBC.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? I'm at a brewery in Whitefish, Montana. Drinking a beer. Doesn't get much better than this.
Hops or Malt? Equally important ingredients, but I find myself having much more fun with hops. I enjoy dreaming up new recipes with all of the new varietals of hops and all of the new technology involved with getting the most hop flavor out of a beer.
Besides brewing beer, what do you do in the Flathead Valley? I enjoy hiking and exploring our awesome state and playing good ol' fashioned rock n roll
If you could see any band live, who would it be? Elvis Presley - Louisiana Hayride - 1954
Skiing or snowboarding? Guitar.
Michael Lott - brewer
What was your first craft beer 'aha' moment? I was putting together a gardening wagon for my mother-in-law and she gave me a New Belgium Fat Tire. I was like, "Whoa! This is good".
Where are you originally from? Snellville, Georgia.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? I'm here already.
If you could see any band live, which would it be? Rush.
Skiing or snowboarding? Skiing, but I want to be good at both.
What was your favorite Nintendo game growing up? Hell, I remember playing Missile Command on the Atari 2600 thinking I was the cat's meow!
THOMAS SIERRA - director OF OPERATIONS
KATIE WILLIAMS - Director of Sales
What was your first craft beer 'aha' moment? While in the military (1994-1998), in the early days of the craft brewing industry, the boys and I often sought out different beers. Back then it was more of an "import" thing where we would fill a basket with a variety of single cans and bottles of various imports, and we made a point to try something new each time. We craved variety, and something new and exciting. That's around the time we heard about a brewery opening up in Raleigh, NC. This was before the time where a brewery can be found on almost every corner it seems today and was truly a unique experience to have a beer that was brewed right there.
If you could see any band or artist live, who would it be? I love a variety of music and right now I am digging Tyler Childers.
How did you land in Montana? I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I visited Whitefish one winter and moved here six months later.
Hops or Malt? Being from the West Coast, I do love my hops.
What is your all-time favorite Great Northern beer? MAN BUN!!!
What do you like to do in the Flathead Valley? I ski in the winter, and I love the outdoors in the summer and enjoy hiking, fishing, jetskiing and camping. A decent hike during the day followed by some music downtown at night with friends sounds like a perfect day.
Skiing or Snowboarding? Skiing.
What is the best advise you’ve ever received? Don’t let life pass you by.
What was your first craft beer 'aha' moment? My first craft beer 'aha' moment was when I was about twenty-two and decided to decompress at a local brewery after finals. Since then, I have found different styles of beer for different occasions and have turned it into a ritual.
Where are you originally from? I hail from the glorious town of Seeley Lake, Montana. Skiing and general merriment moved me to Whitefish, a town which was always part of my childhood. My goal was to get a job at the local brewery to support my ski and socialization addiction, and so began my tenure at the Great Northern Brewing Company.
Hops or Malt? Malt for me, though I appreciate a good lupulin slide as well.
Skiing or snowboarding? Skiing, and not just because I fear my family would excommunicate me otherwise.
If you could see any band live, who would it be? The Beatles in 1964 when they took America by storm.
What is your all-time favorite Great Northern beer? SnowGhost when I need to warm up my frozen ski boot toes, Big Mountain when I just need a shameless satisfying brew and Santo Dios when the day kicked me in the pants.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? In life there is always work to be done, don't forget to have fun along the way.
Ben Pilon - Packaging/Fulfillment Foreman
What was your first craft beer 'aha' moment? I lived in Texas and there was a local brewery in town that everyone said was really good. I booked a tour for my parents and myself to go see and it smelled fantastic. Long story short, I ended up working there for 7 years before moving up beautiful Montana.
How did you land in Whitefish? Born in Southern California and grew up in Wisconsin. Moved to Texas when I was 21 and lived there for 10 years. Been in Montana for about 2 years now.
Skiing or snowboarding? Snowboarding
If you could see any band live, which would it be? Arch Echo, Vitalism, Lamb of God, Plini, Polyphia, any groove metal with an awesome bass player. I'm a 20+ year drummer and a total sucker for the piano. I love it.
What is it that makes you love Great Northern? The small family type atmosphere. It's great accomplishing things as a small team. And the smell. And Man Bun! And when Roger yells " The spaghettis ready!!"
What was your favorite Nintendo game growing up? Zelda, Final Fantasy, or anything with puzzles to solve.
UWE SCHAEFER - Controller
What was your first craft beer 'aha' moment? Discovering Sierra Nevada was my every day regular beer that I just pulled from the cooler without thinking, no matter what else was on sale or cheaper.
Skiing or snowboarding? Skiing.
Hops or Malt? Malt
What is your all-time favorite Great Northern beer? Cadillac Black IPA
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Listen Genuinely
If you could see any band live, which would it be? The Clash or Bob Dylan circa 1975
How did you end up in Montana? Drove.
What do you like to do in the Flathead Valley? Biking and Hiking
MARCUS DUFFEY - GENERAL MANAGER
What was your first craft beer 'aha' moment? I was sitting in my dorm room with a group of buddies drinking Fat Tire. As a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, craft beer was very much a novelty and captured my attention. That night, three beers deep, I held a bottle of amber ale in my hand, took another sip, swirled it around, and from that moment forward it's been a lifelong devotion.
If you could see any band live, which would it be? The Talking Heads live at Pantages Theater, December 1983
How did you end up in Montana? I went to school in the northwest, and my wife is from Whitefish. We moved here to work with Great Northern Brewing in 2008.
Skiing or snowboarding? Skiing
Hops or Malt? Hoppy malt
What is your all-time favorite Great Northern beer?? Frog Hop Wet Hopped Pale Ale
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Work hard, play hard.
Chad Jacobson - Washington & Idaho Sales Rep
What was your craft beer ‘aha’ moment? Skiing at Big Mountain in the early 90's, had my first craft beer and was hooked.
Where are you from originally? Born and Raised on Whidbey Island, first get away ski trip was to Big Mountain
Hops or Malt? Malt
If you could see any band live, who would it be? Journey
What is your all-time favorite Great Northern beer? Wheatfish Wheat Lager
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Never pet a burning dog
When you’re in the Flathead Valley, what do you like to do? I'm and excellent dancer, therefore I dance for the public
Jordan Brown, Draught House Manager
What was your craft beer 'aha' moment? Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat -- here's to being 16, young and free -- luckily I now have a slightly better taste.
Where are you originally from, what brought you to Whitefish? The great green state of Vermont --- came for the bigger hills.
Hops or Malt? Malty goodness.
If you could see any band or artist live, who would it be? Whitney Houston --I always Wanna Dance With Somebody--Stevie Nicks is a close second.
What is your all-time favorite Great Northern beer? Guy on a Buffalo... give me that caffeine fix
What is the best advice you've ever received? If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Also, always put your socks on standing on one foot.
Besides brewing and drinking awesome beer, what do you do in the Flathead Valley? Enjoy the great outdoors, we are lucky to live and be surrounded by some of the most beautiful recreation areas in the world.
Skiing or Snowboarding? Two stick chick