How cool would it be to peddle beer? To sample it as part of your job?
Well, Harrell is responsible for Saint Arnold's, at least in this part of Texas. She holds tastings for lucky bar patrons, trots out seasonal brews for experts and pub owners and such. It's the life of a marketing representative.
The Houston-based company brews beers available only in this state--which qualifies it as a craft brand. Besides, they only employ 20 people. So it's not like pushing a nationally recognized brand.
But over a decade marketing alcohol in Texas, she's dealt with the good (Celis White) bad and ugly (Smirnoff Ice counts for both) while working with Miller, Guinness-Bass importing and United States Beverage. In 2004, she joined Saint Arnold's and moved to Dallas to spread the word.
Just don't get her started on those national advertising slogans...
1. Which beer drinking season do you most look forward to?
The winter seasonal stuff. We have a Christmas ale and a winter stout. I look forward to the bigger flavors, the spiciness. But I also look forward to the Oktoberfest beers. That means football is coming and an end to summer beers.
2. Lite or Light?
I spell it g-h-t...although in a past life I worked with Miller. I don't like fake words. I like them properly spelled.
3. What's wrong with the major, mass produced brands?
Drinkability, as in the commercial. Taste the cold. You can't really taste cold, so I don't even know what that's about. Although, to be able to brew something that always tastes the same is an impressive feat.
4. Why have micro brews become so popular?
I think that our palate has become more refined. Better wines, better liquors--why not better beers? But Texas is still a little behind. In Texas you have to be either a brew pub or a packaging brewery. We're working on changing some of those laws.
5. You should bring back party balls...
Maybe for me the concept would be OK--with some other beer than the one it was designed for. Mini kegs are more respectful to the beer.
6. Ever tasted an alco-pop?
I used to work for the company that kinda started the trend. I did test marketing for Smirnoff Ice in Austin. In the two years I worked for them, I drank less than a six pack of the stuff. But I did try it. Don't hold it against me.
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7. What is your favorite country for a beer drinking tour?
If I'm just going tomorrow? Germany. The Belgian stuff you can't take that lightly. You have to go through stringent training before you go. I love Belgian ales--that's my problem.
8. The best food with beer is...?
There are just so many pairings it's hard to pick one. The most unexpected is spicy food and IPA [India Pale Ale]. It cleanses your palate.You get a fresh bite every time.
9. Ever put lime in a beer?
No. I'm totally against fruit in beer.
10. So why hasn't there been a beer making movie on the lines of Sideways?
I'm totally for that. I have a friend in Hollywood and I've been pitching it to him. Brewers are quirky. I would love it. It would open people's eyes to beer. In this country, there's always been more respect for wine.