WE GOT THE CHANCE TO HANG OUT WITH COURTNEY BURK, 26, WHO RUNS FRONT OF HOUSE, MARKETING, EVENTS, SALES AND IS THE MASTER OF GETTING SHIT DONE AT BATCH BREWING CO IN CORKTOWN, DETROIT.
While Courtney may be behind the scenes a lot of the time, she’s also constantly stepping forward to promote the female perspective in the craft beer world. Keep reading to learn more about her journey in the beverage industry.
How did you get your start in the beverage industry?
My parents actually own restaurants, so I started working there. They’ve had them for 30 years- Downriver, and I started working in the industry when I was 15. From there, I went to college to study creative writing and marketing. I ended up managing two different restaurants while pursuing my degree.
Beer bars, correct?
Yes, Kalamazoo Beer Exchange and Wine Loft. I came back after college, and helped my dad install 40 craft beers into his bar- along with a full bar addition that was completely new to his restaurant. And then I tried to do the whole “just writing” gig, and got restless sitting at a desk all day. Then, Batch Brewing Co put out a call for bartenders. I really loved their product and in the back of my mind I thought, “Hey, I’m here everyday anyway! Might as well get paid for it.”
How do you navigate the male dominated beverage industry?
The best advice I can give to women in this industry is to find your support system. Whether it be through co-workers, management, or female based groups like Fermenta. It’s really awesome to work at an establishment that values and respects women and allows me to fulfill my potential.
Has there been a moment where your perspective has brought about change?
Actually, it’s DICKSMASHER. So, when I originally started at Batch Brewing Co, there was me and another woman who worked behind the bar. We were the only women that were working here amongst dudes with beards. It was around our birthday, and we wanted to brew a beer, get our hands dirty, and see if we wanted to move into that position at all in the future. So, we brewed a beer- super big, imperial stout with a little bit of anise, that’s super roasty. We were sitting there, trying to figure out a name for it for weeks while the beer was fermenting. We started going through and talking about all the sexist beer labels and names. Pat, one of our brewers, walked over and was like, “I’ve got it, I know what the name should be, think about this... DICKSMASHER.” And he walked away. We thought it was awesome. It was anti all of the sexist names/labels that exist.
And you have a DICKSMASHER event coming up?
We do! On October 28th, which is the last day of Michigan Brewer’s Guild Fall Beer Festival, we will be hosting the official after party and DICKSMASHER Bottle Release Party. We’ll have that and our Koffin Kat’s collaboration on tap, we’ll have bottles available, and there’s an unlimited number- so you can buy as many as you want. We have a free shuttle that’s running across the street to Brew Detroit and then to Fall Beer Fest all day long. It’s going to be an awesome event.
What is your favorite beer at Batch Brewing Co?
Probably Empire Pale Ale or no wait, Second to Last Word- a cocktail inspired sour using botanicals from our neighbors over at Two James… it’s SO good!
Thanks, Courtney! You know we’ll be back to share a beer again soon.
Candice Simons, j'adore Detroit