Collaboration in Conversation: Getting a deeper insight on what it means to collaborate - Magic Rock Brewing

Collaboration in Conversation: Getting a deeper insight on what it means to collaborate - Magic Rock Brewing

Our Brand and Marketing Manager, Marisa Sanchez-Dunning, wanted to take the time to highlight a question that is asked more and more amongst people in and out of the industry, encouraging collaborative conversation.

We’ve decided to change the tune a little on our blog, and bring articles that aren’t so factual. Pieces that make you think, engage or at least question. The industry that we’re in, consistently evolves and brands within it are continuously changing; so are the people.

Due to the abundance of collaborating we do on a daily basis, talking recipes, brainstorming names and figuring out the perfect mixture of hops, we decided it would be a good idea to bring a different perspective to what the word collaboration means to us.

Collab brew this, collab brew that. Collaborations are a big part of modern craft brewing, but what about the engaging conversation that sometimes gets lost within the urgency we find ourselves consistently living in? Work, family, friends, alone time, making sure we get enough exercise, paying attention to our diet… * insert mind blown emoji here * What better way to chat about collaboration, than to put together a collaborative article?

“It’s so easy to get consumed in our professions nowadays, no matter what industry you work in. How do you make sure that you don’t? Or have you experienced a time where you have, and how did you cope/deal?”

Theo Freyne, Deya Brewing, Cheltenham:
Theo Freyne, right. Gareth, left.

I try and have as ‘normal’ a life as possible – play sport as much as possible, see friends outside of the industry and generally have down time from working at the brewery and doing brewery related things. It can be all encompassing (especially if you own the company I have actively wound down how many events we do (TTOs etc.), shared the responsibilities out and not committed to too many festivals – otherwise it’s just too crazy. We don’t have an events team so I normally have to do everything myself, which can be draining (especially when you are really busy). Overall, I just try to prioritise and remember there is a life outside of beer!

Nanna Guldbaek, Lervig, Stavanager:

Ever since I graduated from the design school in June, and now work as a fulltime freelance designer, I have been focused on this subject. The last 6 months of my school I did my final project, while working as art director at Lervig and doing smaller design jobs for other clients. During that period, I used to split my days into “day working hours” and “evening working hours”, working on different thing morning, afternoon and evening, seven days a week.

But one of the things I realised was that when I worked all the time, I got counterproductive – spending a long time on small things, without really finishing anything, and always feeling stressed. So now I am trying to work within a specific set of hours, getting a more stable daily routine and trying to not feel guilty for giving myself time off. I need time to do nothing. It’s often in those hours the best things happen. Not being reachable also helps me – log of social media and email. Not bringing my phone with me. I still work most days though – my work is my passion, and I feel excited and eager to get started every day – but I am (getting) better at balancing it.

Owen Ashmore, Beavertown, London:
Owen, left.

I can’t stay balanced at all. I’m a psychological mess and my ailing body can’t take anymore……..

But seriously, I try to remain balanced by consciously ensuring that I make time for the things that I like and value outside of brewing. Exercise makes a huge difference to my mental state as well as having the obvious physical benefits. I also find meditation a very useful tool when I get too wrapped up. Taking time to still your mind and allowing yourself to gain perspective on everything including brewing brings a good level of disconnect from work. It’s a pretty full on profession and aside from the day to day brewing work there are also many events and gatherings so it’s important to get away from it from time to time so i always make sure to take holidays throughout the year as I find that when I travel, I am able to completely unwind and leave work at home.

Tim Pritchard, Siren Craft Brew, Finchampstead:

I’m fairly new to the industry, having started with Siren in March 2018. Before starting with Siren I had what turned out to be a fairly short term job working for a Fintech company. Despite being told they were a family company, I was made to feel like shit every day by a Director who ignored me and criticised every little thing I did. I’d go home and lie on the sofa, not wanting to move for hours.

For someone who has battled to keep my mental health healthy and anxiety about life to a minimum, this didn’t help. Starting in the beer industry was (and remains) a dream come true. It’s a working environment surrounded by like-minded peers and I absolutely love being part of it. Do I take my work home? Absolutely, because at times it’s mostly just a hobby I’m paid for. However, I still try to get home at a reasonable time because you need your own time. The biggest struggle for me has been trying to balance getting fitter and drinking less and being surrounded by discounted incredible beers. In the words of Michael Scott… Somehow, I manage.

This is, naturally, a beer focused industry. We talk, take photos of, and discuss our latest and favourite beers but rarely consider the people behind them. The person who comes in to a freezing cold brewery to start mashing in at 5.30am, the driver stuck in London traffic whilst his family eat dinner or the marketing manager stressing about labels not turning up on time. Those people aren’t mentioned, but they should be. This industry is full of some of the nicest, hardest working and dedicated people you can hope to meet and they should be celebrated. It’s an honour to be in that number.

Alex Tweet, Fieldwork Brewing, California:

It can be pretty easy to get consumed in your work, especially in an industry as fun and social as ours. It’s almost like a symptoms list from a medication; Do you experience only hanging out with people who also work in beer? Planning vacations around beer? Losing touch with friends from before you were in the industry? Not wanting to go places because they don’t have a good beer list? Only talking about beer when out for drinks with friends? Using social media only to discuss, share about, or learn about beer? Justifying your alcoholism under the guise of “research?”

Then you need to ask your doctor for “Old Friends.” When used in conjunction with new hobbies, Old Friends can lower your urge to obsess over beer and can broaden your scope of life beyond water, barley, hops, and yeast.

As cynical as that probably sounds, I say it only slightly in jest. I have met some of the most amazing people of my entire life in this industry, people I would do anything for, and the one commonality amongst them all is that when we share our company or conversations, beer is almost never the narrative.

With all that said, I think the best thing anyone in this industry can do is get a dog. Dogs will never ask you about your beer or want to gossip about the industry, they just want to be fed, petted, exercised, and loved. Definitely just get a dog.

Richard Norgate, Magic Rock, Huddersfield:

The general reaction when I say I work for a brewery is ‘wow I bet you get a lot of free beer’. The reality is yes, we do have access to beer and if you really wanted you could go to a beer related event every night. Personally, when the bell strikes for home-time I need to unplug from the industry. I absolutely love what I do and I’m passionate about the industry but for me it’s more important to switch off, you can’t switch on otherwise.

As I’ve matured throughout my career, gone are the days when I’d worked until 2am in the morning. I think a lot of this has come down to trusting your instincts, in the past I would procrastinate about an idea or design. This is absolutely vital but like any machine if you can tune your mind to become more efficient it becomes a much smoother process.

Downtime is fundamental to my mental balance. I’ve always exercised, my relationship with it is a little blurred though. The majority of times it re-centres my mind and makes me feel calm but as a bike racer sometimes it can feel like a job. Usually when this happens I have other sports to turn to. Surfing over the last 3 years has been incredibly important. Like a lot of people, I suffer with anxiety, being in the water is a form of meditation and it allows me to be mindful. It’s a perfect way to unplug, there’s no phones and watches in the ocean.

The beer industry is a great place to work, people are open to collaboration and sharing ideas. Like a lot of things in life it’s a balancing act and nothing should be done to excess. Work hard but let the mind switch off from time to time.

Cowabunga ~

Hearing from some of our friends, it sounds like no matter what jobs we have, trying to find balance and some sort of peace of mind is a struggle across the board, though it’s also worth remembering how lucky we all are to be part of such a great industry!

Words by Marisa.