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by Courtney Burk of Batch Brewing

I met up with Samantha Buerger as she hustled between a few accounts in the city, and we chatted about the logistics of being Bell’s Brewery’s Field Sale’s Representative in Detroit, and how this badass lady manages over one thousand beer buying accounts.

Photo by Courtney Burk

Your origin story. How did you find yourself working in the industry?

I started working at Grand Trunk Pub in April 2011— it’s an all Michigan craft beer bar located in the Financial District of Detroit. I really didn’t know much about craft beer when I started serving tables there. I quickly fell in love with New Holland Poet Oatmeal Stout, which is something we always had on draft since we cooked our sauerkraut in it for our famous Reuben sandwiches. I had never tasted anything like it or any of the other beers on draft. I was freshly 21 and used to drinking cheap whiskey and whatever 40oz I could get my hands on. I quickly fell head over heels for craft beer. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could. So I started to network, read, and take classes whenever and wherever I could. Over my 5 years of employment, I moved from waitress to bartender and then ended up taking over the management of the beer program.

I ended up leaving Grand Trunk Pub and working at One Eyed Betty’s for a few months until I snagged a job with a now defunct distributor called Labacon, which sold the Twelve Percent Imports portfolio (Evil Twin, Against the Grain, Stillwater, Omnipollo, etc.). I started with a coworker but within a month became the only rep covering Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. I also helped with putting together inventories and logistics for delivery. I worked an insane amount of hours and put a ridiculous amount of miles on my car, but in the end it gave me the skills I needed to confidently apply for my current position. 

What drew you to Detroit specifically?

I started hanging out in Detroit when I was 17 years old. I had become interested in electronic music and found a great group of people a bit older than myself who were willing to guide me through the scene. They were kind enough to help me get into establishments that had an age requirement, but only because I didn’t drink. I just wanted to dance, and I was respectful of the places willing to allow me to do so.

Although the reason I fell in love with this city is because of the people. I have met the most passionate, artistic, generous, and loyal friends here. Grand Trunk really gave me a bird’s eye view of this city. It was the only place in the area with its lights on late at night for a long time, and that meant it was where all the townies flocked for late night drinks and eats. Many of the people I met there have helped me along my journey and become a huge part of my life.

What does an average day, or week, or month (since I know it’s always changing) look like for you as a brewery rep?

This is a hard one, considering it really is ever changing. One day I may be working with a distributor rep, riding around with them and hitting accounts. Or I could be using my office day to send emails, submit for posters, organize events, plan my next week, and recap my previous week. Another day, I’ll be on my own walking into chains, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants to speak to whoever is in charge of buying while possibly ending my day doing a tasting or tap event.

How many accounts do you have in your territory?

I cover all of Monroe and the majority of Wayne county, which means I have about 1,100 accounts in my area.


What’s your favorite part of your position?

I love that each day is different. I enjoy a challenge; with every week, I find that I have something new and different to work on or fix. My schedule is never the same, and I have the pleasure of meeting new people every week.

Photo Credit: Bell’s Brewery

Favorite event you’ve been a part of?

I really look forward to the Bayview to Mackinac race every year. We spend most of the week leading up to the race hosting events and activating in the Bell’s Oasis tent in Port Huron. It’s a great time. I have a huge affinity for water, and I love seeing all the boats and meeting all the sailors. One of the highlights for me was having the great honor of riding on Bella, our watercraft made of empty kegs and firkins, the past two years.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career as a craft beer rep?

Do your homework. Network and attain as much knowledge as possible. Talk to others in the industry and get a feel for what really goes on in the life of a rep. We get to have a lot of fun, but that comes with just as much hard work. If you really want to put yourself in front of the pack, get some distributor experience under your belt.


Who’s been your greatest influence in the industry?

I look up to all of the women in leadership roles at Bell’s. I’m so thankful to work for a company that takes diversity so seriously and strives to employ and empower women in roles that have been traditionally held by men in our industry. The women at our company are some of the hardest working people I have ever met, and I have learned so much from them already and look forward to continuing to do so.


Favorite beer at the moment?

I have a real obsession with Official at the moment, our new year round hazy IPA. It has notes of tropical and stone fruits with a slightly dry finish and balanced bitterness. I can’t get enough of it.

Photo by Courtney Burk

What challenges have you faced being a woman in craft beer?

Being a woman in a male dominated industry isn’t easy. Out in the market, I have dealt with men who seem to think I know little, if anything about beer. They will either test my knowledge with questions they think I can’t answer or mansplain me on subjects they assume I don’t know enough about. I have been sexually harassed at events, mostly with words, but on occasion with unwanted touching. I once had a man, while staring at my chest, tell me that “those remind me that I need to buy a gallon of milk on the way home.” I’m commonly called “the Bell’s Girl,”— last time I checked I’m a 29 year old WOMAN. I am not unique in being treated differently because of my gender or having to work twice as hard to gain respect with buyers. I am just thankful there are other badass women in this industry to share my battle stories.


What are your favorite spots in Detroit where you like to relax and have a beer?

You’ll find me more often than not at Checker Bar, upstairs or down. Many of my friends work there and you can’t go wrong with any of the items on their menu. If I’m looking to grab brunch or some fancier cuisine you’ll find me at Selden Standard sitting at the bar, typically with a glass of wine in hand. Speaking of wine, I spend a fair amount of my time at Motor City Wine. Dave and Melissa, the owners, have curated such a great selection of wines and in the summer they have the best rosé list around not to mention an amazing European-esque patio. 


If you have free time what are you up to?

Usually spending time with my husband and our two beautiful pitbulls Genevieve and Pickles at our new home in Southwest Detroit. Our house doesn’t need a ton of repairs, but as all new homeowners know there’s always something to work on. We love to cook and we spend a lot of time in the kitchen together working on our favorite recipes or creating something new.   

If it’s nice out you’ll typically find me on two wheels taking a ride with friends. I belong to the bicycle club that started Slow Roll, Bikes & Murder, and we spend time not only riding together but also putting together bike races and events like our Third Annual Flower Day Alley Cat coming up on May 19th at Checker Bar.


If you could change one thing in the industry, or magically educate every consumer about, what would it be?

That this is my passion and it may also be yours, but please be respectful of my job. I worked really hard to get to where I am, and I continue to do so now. Saying that, this is something you would like to do when you retire or insinuating that my job is easy because it’s fun is hurtful. Us sales reps work tons of hours and for that we enjoy having some fun as well. We get to drink great beer for a living, but we also have to spend many hours away from our family when others might be sitting down to dinner at home. Just be conscious that your perception of what we do may not be the reality.  

Photo Credit: Bell’s Brewery

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Last week, Candice and I went on a yoga retreat with the Citizen Yoga to the beautiful Tulum for some serious R&R. The days were full of yoga (3-4 hours!), 75-minutes of juicy philosophy, sun, healthy food, great conversation, adventures, laughter, and tons of sleep. Let’s just say it was self-care to the max and the hardest decision needing to be made was pool or beach. #blessed

Many of us who attended either needed a serious recharge or needed the space to feel and think through upcoming life transitions. Through several of my conversations with fellow retreaters’ and now my own experience of merging retreat life with the “real” world, the question of “...but how do I actually apply this new knowledge?” kept coming up.

Since we are all in different phases of life and going after our own goals, here is a basic framework to walk-through when you learn something new you want to apply to your life:

Awareness is Everything

Once you create awareness it is inevitable that change will begin. Whether you begin to take action right away, or not, you can not take away the original awareness. When you first learn something new in the personal growth space (new perspective, strategy, or habit) simply begin to notice where you choose old habits. Notice: What events lead up to making this choice? What thoughts were you thinking right before you made this choice? How did making this choice make you feel after-the-fact?

Oftentimes we are choosing old behaviors by living automatically. We always choose what feels best to us in any given moment. Once we build awareness around why we choose the old behavior we are able to begin creating a pause space to see if that is really the choice we want to make or begin implementing the new behavior instead.

Release the Old to Make Room for the New

In order to fill your closet with a new wardrobe that best reflects you and your personality, you have to clear out the old clothes to make room for the new. The same goes for trying to add new habits in to your already packed schedule. Clearing clutter is a never ending process. Below are a few ideas to get you started. Choose the one that feels simplest to you and keep going one after the next—that may be one per day or one per week.


  • Clearing receipts and excess shenanigans from your wallet.

  • Unsubscribing from social media accounts that make you excessively judge or feel bad about yourself or from newsletters you never “get around to reading”

  • Removing piles of paper or clutter from your desk

  • Closet clean up! Time to get rid of any clothes with holes, shoes that are overly worn, or simply don’t make you feel your best

  • Organize your computer files and clear out any files no longer needed so you can quickly and easily find what you need

Show UP!

Change doesn't happen overnight—it happens one choice at a time. It’s not a matter of IF you will achieve your goal or not, but a matter of WHEN. By choosing to show up each day you are allowing the new habits or ways of being to sink in and integrate on a deeper level. Give yourself a shot to receive your dreams by showing up and taking action.

“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.”

Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

Reconnect to your WHY

It’s helpful to connect to your why on a weekly, if not daily basis so you know why you are showing UP and choosing the thing that may be more difficult in the moment.

There will be challenges along the way. That’s OKAY! It does not mean it’s not working or you are not making process. This does not make it scary, but rather helps you hold your ground when they do arise.

To find your real WHY you have to go several layers deep. Take your original goal or desire and ASK, “What will having that do for me?”. Apply that question to your answer several times and then begin asking yourself, “What’s important about experiencing that at this specific point in my life?”

Socialize Your New Teachings

Sharing what we are up to with our friends & family, work colleagues, and even social media friends creates a sense of accountability. If you never verbalize what you are aspiring to create you can easily back down and no one would be the wiser. When you share it creates conversation for others to check-in and ask “How ___________ is going?”

Maybe you want to keep your goals a secret to “prove” to _______ that you can do it before you announce it. If this is you, I challenge you to begin giving voice to your desires. You will be amazed at what “random” opportunities arise for you to take more steps forward and the support and encouragement you may receive from others. If you come from a background where support was not found easily, that is the power in searching out positive like-minded individuals or hiring your own personal coach to see the best version of you when you might not be able to.

When you choose goals that align with expressing yourself on the greatest level you will ultimately win. Curiously question the drive behind your goals and notice if they are even subtly disempowering. They usually sound something like, “Once I achieve _______ THEN I will be worthy of ___________ receive love or acknowledgement from ___________ or belong with __________ group.” The mind can be a ninja so always be clear on your true intentions for putting energy behind a certain outcome.

We will be hosting a Wellness Reboot on June 9th at The Collective at True North where I will be teaching one of my most favorite tools to embody the next best version of yourself while releasing the old ways of being that prevent you from moving forward.

I have taught this workshop in San Diego and Miami and am beyond stoked to bring it to my hometown! To learn more and register for this special day visit this link.

Always rooting for you and your success,


P.S. If you have questions about a specific goal in your life and how to start applying these steps, comment below! Excited to hear what you are aiming for and supporting you in any way I can.

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Interview by Courtney Burk of Batch BrewingPhotos by Laura Jude of Optical Amusements

Brigid Beaubien is a woman of many talents - mother, wife, professor, owner of Urbanum, and co-owner of 8 Degrees Plato. I sat down with this fabulous woman and chatted all things retail, beer, and opening a small business within city limits.

Your origin story. How did you get started in the industry?

Through a community of craft beer drinkers. We’ve had the good fortune of living in a community with some of the best neighbors. Each would travel and would return home with beers they found from around the country, and on Sunday nights, we would all sit in the driveway and share our favorite beer findings. I learned so much from those Sunday night beer tastings, and it became something we all looked forward to.

When Tim lost his job in 2009 we began to think about other career opportunities and what it was we really wanted to pursue. As the months wore on with no job offer in site and with conversations circling around the idea of recreating the Sunday night community beer tastings, we cashed in everything and took fate into our own hands.

From Ferndale to Detroit, what brought 8 Degrees Plato downtown?

Our original goal had been to open 8 Degrees Plato in the city, but the city was a very different place in 2009. Our retail in the front and bar in the back concept, so you can have a beer while shopping for beer, required special permission from the city zoning office – and they simply weren’t willing to grant it to us.

So, we opened our retail only location in Ferndale and developed a beer drinking community that supported us for years. Our Detroit location came about once I was able to approach the city as an established business owner, and they were more willing to work with me. As it was, I still was required to go door-to-door for two blocks on all sides of 8 Degrees Plato, Detroit in order for us to be permitted to open on Cass Ave.

Photo by Laura Jude of Optical Amusements

What changes have you seen as a retail owner in the craft beer industry?

When we first opened our Ferndale location, there were only a handful of places that carried craft beer. Now, you see it everywhere – even gas stations have a craft beer selection!

What’s an interesting tidbit more craft beer drinkers wouldn’t know when it comes to owning a craft beer bar and retail shop?

For the first 18-month of being in business, the only two employees of 8 Degrees Plato were Tim, my husband, and myself. When you came in you either said hi to Tim, myself, or both of us together. It was hard work and long days, but it allowed us to pay the bills and really get to know the craft beer community from all angles.

You now own a second retail store, Urbanum, in New Center. How did that come about?

For several reasons.

I had designed 8 Degrees Plato Ferndale on a shoestring budget and absolutely loved every minute of it! So, when we decided to open our Detroit location we agreed that I would leave Ferndale and be responsible for the complete build-out and design of the new location. It was an absolute treat, being able to source all the reclaimed material from the city, and putting it all together. In fact, last year 8 Degrees Plato was named a finalist in Detroit’s first As Part of, Commerce Design: Detroit award as part of Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design Designation.

My parents had owned a store very similar to Urbanum, so I had some knowledge of what it would take to open and operate.

One day I was having guests over and wanted to quickly buy a lamp and sheets to make the guest room cozy, but I soon found that there wasn’t a store in Detroit that carried both of these basic items – hence Urbanum, a retail store for quality provisions for city homes.

What’s your favorite part about the stores you run?

Hands down, the community! In the last eight years I have been privileged to meet so many amazing people. So many of our customers go out of their way to celebrate with us and to make sure we know what’s happening in their lives – engagement and baby announcements. That they make the choice to celebrate with us is deeply humbling and Tim and I are blessed to be a very small part of these very big memories. It’s certainly not something we take for granted. To be a small, intimate part of our communities’ special moments is truly an honor and a privilege.

The Fall Beer Fest Brewer Party (an industry favorite, I can attest)— what’s the idea behind that event?

Tim and I feel so fortunate to be a part of this amazing beer community in Michigan and this event is our way to really thank the brewers and a great way to give back.

What’s it like to be a part of Detroit’s retail scene?

It’s exciting and scary. Small business owners risk a lot to do what they do. Things are changing so fast in retail and Detroit. You have to have your pulse on what’s new and keep up with trends, while at the same time, maintain the most important aspects of business – a high quality product with exceptional customer service.

How many hats do you wear? 8 Degrees Plato, Urbanum, Mother, Teacher…

Way before all of this began I was a teacher and administrator in Detroit schools. I earned my Master’s and Ph.D. at Wayne State and left DPS for a job as a professor at a local university. I’m actually still a professor and teach full-time – which is what makes our amazing staff at both 8 Degrees Plato and Urbanum, SO important!

I love teaching. Teaching is the very core of who I am and I can’t imagine my life without it. As a kid I had horrible ADHD – and now all that energy and ability to do multiple things at once, has served me in good stead. Though I do wish I could go back and tell that to my fifth grade math teacher…

Your secret to managing it all - What’s an average day / week / month look like for you? I’m sure it’s constantly changing.

Actually, it’s amazingly predictable during the school year. When I get home from Urbanum on Sunday night I grade papers and get ready for the week. I teach all day on Monday and Wednesday’s and the rest of my classes are online, so I’m able to work on them each morning. By 11:00am I’m at one of the stores, often until 6:30pm or so. Tim and I keep our evenings during the week very quiet and filled with music, books, and a little tv. I have to be in bed by 10:00pm or the whole system comes crashing down. And weekends are busy with the stores and trying to grab a family dinner.

If you find yourself with some free time, what are you up to?

Spending time with our daughter, reading, antiquing, and decorating my own home.

Favorite spot to relax, have a beer, or enjoy a meal in the city?

We really don’t get out much. But when we have some down time we like heading over to Batch Brewing Company, especially for industry brunch. If we’re going out to dinner it’s definitely going to be at Chartreuse.

Where can people follow and support 8 Degrees Plato and Urbanum on social?







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It could be my line of work or the fact that gifts are my least preferred love language...but I am always looking to give others gifts that will allow them to pamper themselves. Our culture is heavily focused around DOING not necessarily BEING. Women, especially, often feel guilty taking time for themselves and put everyone else’s needs above their own.

I love to ask myself, “What could I give to my Mom or do for her that would allow her more time to pamper herself or do an activity she loves, but rarely finds time for?”  

New gadgets and sparkly things are cool, but what can you give her that shows her you really hear her, see her, and cherish her?

Notice, is she in a period of hardship, transition and loss? Or is she experiencing overwhelm from many commitments or life events? Maybe she is exploring and looking inward as she understands who she is in this next chapter.

Below are several ways you can pamper the mama(s) in your life. Notice which phase of life she is in and what gift will best serve her right now.

1. Words of Affirmation

Time to put pen to paper and express your gratitude in a letter. This simple and often overlooked gesture GOES BEYOND on the impact scale. What lessons has your Mom taught you that were imperative for navigating 2018? What does she do or not do that you really appreciate?

2. Spring Cleaning Help

There is nothing more stress relieving than getting to enjoy a clean home without doing the work! Hire a cleaning service to do a deep dive on Mom’s place so she can spend that time doing something she actually enjoys! Bonus: Look for companies who use non-toxic cleaning products.

3. Spa Atmosphere at Home

Essential oils help purify the air, promote upbeat moods, and create a spa-like feel when diffused at home. I have used and recommended doTERRA essential oils for the last eight years and love how they affect my loved ones and myself. Make sure to use a cool-mist diffuser to protect the chemical makeup and healing qualities of the oils. Favorite oils to diffuse are: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Wild Orange, Balance, & Lemon. Have fun and create your own blends!

4. Luxurious Bath Mix

There’s just nothing quite like the way a good bath will melt away stress. Grab a mason jar and fill it with Epsom salt, essential oils, and if you’re feeling adventurous add dried herbs or florals like dried eucalyptus, peppermint leaves, or lavender buds. If you choose to add florals make sure to get a muslin bag for her to add the mixture to prior to putting it in the tub for easy clean up.

Favorite essential oils for inflammation: Black Pepper, Douglas Fir, Roman Chamomile, Lavender

Favorite essential oils for relaxation: Balance, Geranium, Sandalwood, Serenity

Visit this link to learn about different essential oils & purchase them for your mama: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/shop-home

*I am a Wellness Advocate and will receive a small commission if you choose to purchase from this link.

5. Big Ask Tokens

At times parents don’t want to bother their children for help and other times we can feel so busy we keep pushing requests for help until we have “time”. This idea is a throwback to when you were young and might have created a coupon book. It may require some conversation, but you are offering assistance on or doing 5 different tasks to help take stress and overwhelm off your mama. We all have a different level of what a big ask is so if you feel your mom’s ask could be bigger, encourage her to think bigger!

6. Sheet Mask All Day Every Day

These masks are a simple and fast way to pamper your skin on a regular basis and give them a surge of nutrients. Be mindful of which brands you choose as many have unsuspecting chemicals in them that are toxic to the body. #thanksbeautyindustry

Check out Orgaid Organic Sheet Masks as they are free of parabens, formaldehyde, alcohols, phthalates, sulfates, fragrance, gluten, as well as not tested on animals!

7. Special Memory Recreation

Have a favorite memory or place from growing up that has always stayed in your thoughts? How can you recreate this and share why this memory was so special for you? So much happens in life it can be easy to forget many memories unless they are talked about often or recreated in a unique way.

8. Create a Day Date

Quality time without electronics is something we have to intentionally create in our “plugged-in” era. What would be a fun few hours for you to spend with your mom? Are you both into spa experiences, adventure, historical tours, arts & crafts, or nature? Be creative here and plan some time for you two to have fun and connect with each other.

9. Meal Prep Takeover

How amazing is it when someone else cooks you a homemade meal? Help your mom out by getting in the kitchen yourself or hiring a private chef who can cater to food allergies while still making healthy DELICIOUS.

10. Fresh Flowers or Kitchen Herb Garden

This is a great one especially if you are being extra conscious of your budget. Bright and colorful plants in the house always bring a pop of life that is so needed at this time of year! They are a great anchor for joy and a reminder of you each time she passes them. One of the great benefits of an herb garden is that they can last for weeks, if not add flavor to her dishes all summer long!

How are you pampering and showing gratitude to your mom this year? Can’t wait to hear which idea from above are your favorite as well as new ones!




All photos via Pixabay

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by Courtney Burk of Batch Brewing

I sat down with Sara Farmer, the general manager and beer buyer of Checker Bar and Pop+Offworld in Cadillac Square, and shared industry stories over a delicious burger and pint of Bell’s Brewery’s Two Hearted.

Your origin story— How did you find yourself working in the industry? 

I started serving at Sign of the Beef Carver when I was 16 years old. And I knew I wanted more money. I wanted to sell booze. So, when I turned 18 I went to Friday's in Southfield. I became one of the best servers and had been memorizing 5-10 drinks a week by writing them in my serving book and studying them every shift. I would learn all about the ingredients, where they came from, and memorize the recipes ounce by ounce. I would tip my bartenders out double and when I sold the drinks on my list that week they would let me make them. I was determined to be a bartender. Then, I told management if they didn't promote me I would quit. Thankfully they didn't call my bluff!

It was sometime in my late 20's that I reconsidered what I was doing with my life.

My family kept asking what I was doing with my life and when I was going to get a real job. I think that’s a common theme for those of us working in the industry. At the time I thought maybe it was time to “grow up” and had one of those moments – I had gone to Wayne State on an academic scholarship and studied environmental science and geology. I was only a dozen credit hours away from a double major, but I knew I was already living and doing what I wanted to do. So, I decided to get serious about my craft.

I started doing my own event bartending on the side. Weddings, parties, shows, you name it. I became serious about learning wines. When I worked for PGA National Resort and Spa, not only did we host the Honda classic but there was a members club there that had some really great people. Often members would get a bottle and give me a glass knowing I was studying, allowing me to further my education by both tasting and chatting about them.

I also competed whenever I could. Competitions are great for expanding your creativity and knowledge. Also, I've won some amazing prizes along the way. Hello, trip to Miami for 2. A stay at Fountaine Bleu, a private concert at Liv for 50 of us with FloRida, trips to New York, and California, money, and lots of booze. I also used them as networking events. The attendees often include liquor and beer reps, their bosses, owners, managers from local bars and restaurants, and top notch bartenders that are active in perusing a better bar scene.

What drew you to Detroit?

I think I was 22 when I first started working downtown. As a Detroit firefighter on injury, I was sent to community relations division, which was housed at the old headquarters (now the Detroit Foundation Hotel and Apparatus Room). Already a long time resident, I fell in love with my city all over again and it was the nightlife that had me head over heels.

I began working weekend nights at The Good Life Lounge. At that time the city wasn't what it is today and the economy was even worse. Then, the super bowl came to town. I'd never made money like that before. So, the following year I went where it went… to South Beach. I deposited so many one hundred dollar bills the week after Miami I didn't even notice one of them was fake. Thankfully, the F.B.I. investigation on my account proved me innocent, but I was out a hundred bucks.

Southern Florida was on another level when it came to bartending. I learned how to do some flair because it was pretty much a requirement on Ocean Ave. The trend of puckers and flavored vodkas was also coming to an end and the beginning of the resurgence of craft cocktails was beginning. I had done some mixology competitions in Michigan, but this was another level. And I soaked it all up. Spending most of my winters tending the gold coast and my summers back home a few blocks from Comerica Park.

Who’s been your greatest influence in the industry?

One of the most influential people in my career came into my life around this time, Heather Raye. She was the General Manager at Coaches Corner. She taught me how to throw a party! She also showed me how to create spreadsheets, write a schedule, and order beer and liquor. She introduced me to liquor reps and local police officers. She showed me how to run a security team.

The same holding company I worked for under her also owned many other businesses. So when I was promoted to manager, I was moved to another location - a gentlemen's club downtown called The Grind. I learned a lot more there. Probably more than most would care to know. Eventually though, I was moved back to Coaches Corner as their General Manager.

What does an average day look like for you? Or what could a few days look like, since in this industry no two are the same?

For the last 4 years I have been at Checker Bar, right in the heart of downtown Detroit, where I am the bar manager. As a boss I wear many hats. Today for example, a pipe decided to start leaking and as soon as the pipe was fixed the computer system went down. I spent the next few hours getting that back up.

That’s nothing compared to what happened to me several years ago on opening day at coaches Corner though. You know how people say why do I need to learn all these complicated math equations? Well, I was glad I had paid attention in class. The end of opening day that we did around $50,000 worth of sales and the computers crashed. I spent the next four days in my own little hell. The data from the day was unable to be retrieved, literally none at all. So, the owners of the company told everyone to leave me alone while I figured it out. It was then that I found out what the Pythagorean Theorem and all the other, what I thought was mathematical nonsense, was actually for. And on day 5 had figured it all out and took a day off.

Speaking of days off, when you have one what are you up to?

So, on my days off I am conflicted. I love being at home with my pups. Hennessy is my oldest. She is a 3-year-old Mastiff. At around 120lbs, she is the biggest, sweetest lap dog I've ever had. I got her from a neighborhood guy who had puppies when she was 7 weeks old. She could fit inside a ball cap at that time. When I went to pick out which dog to take home with me she was sitting next to a bottle of Henn and had the exact same coloring. The name just stuck.

A year later I got another neighborhood dog. This time, a smart and sneaky German Sheppard pup that I swear is part fox. She’s similar coloring to Hennessey so she became Remy. And I do love cognac, but I'm really more of a whisky girl.

I live a few blocks from Belle Isle and my dogs love to swim, so often I'm there enjoying nature in the midst of a city not known for it. I also love people. I try to check out new venues and pay homage to the people that got me where I am today, my customers. I love the service industry and prefer working for places that cater to the everyday person. If you're trying to catch me on a bar stool and not behind the stick it's possibly at The Keep, Third Street, The Baltimore or the Well. 

Favorite beer at the moment?

I'm generally drinking beer so I don't chase my whisky with whisky. My current favorites are Batch Brewing’s Anton’s Animals (a kettle sour that is fermented with a Belgian witbier strain), Hitachino Nest white ale (A Belgian white ale, brewed in Japan, flavored with coriander, orange peel, and nutmeg), and of course it's Oberon season right now and I love me some Bell’s Brewery. Yes, I have a type. And yes, since I do the purchasing for Checker Bar and Pop+Offworld, you can find those there!

Your favorite part of being a beer buyer?

This may be one of the favorite parts of my job… the samples. I love sitting down with my beer reps and nerding out on fun beer facts while we sip on cold ones. Though unfortunately, time often doesn't permit this, even if I schedule it on my day off. If I show up to work I'm subject to be putting out a fire somewhere. So, I really love when the reps drop off beers for me to sample at my leisure. Often that is at 4am while eating the dinner I intended to put in my mouth at 10pm, let get cold, and am thankful I remembered to get out of the fridge before I left work.

How many beers do you feature at Checker Bar and Pop+Offworld?

There are about 50 beers we carry in a can/bottle and 12 tap handles that repeat upstairs and down. I try to keep on that list a good mixture of styles and points of origin. Of course, there are quite a few Michigan beers because I'm from here and we're good at brewing beer. But I like to remember there's a whole world out there and lots of great beers. 

What challenges have you faced being a woman in the industry?

Women have different challenges from men. A bartender I work with every weekend is constantly approached as the person in charge. He will listen patiently to their problem and tell them they need to talk to me. The look of amazement on a lot of their faces is still amusing to us. Especially in those instances where I’ve cut them off and they want to go above my head. In the past I’ve also dealt with bosses that didn't believe women could run a business. You don't have to like me, but you will respect me. 

Just for fun, what’s your craziest industry experience?

A crazy lady broke a window and I thought it was an accident. I went out to get her info for insurance because where I worked would cover the costs and it was not the first time it happened in the lot. And then she swung at me. She got that first punch, then all my daddy taught me came in to play and she didn’t get a punch in after that.

Her boyfriend then jumped in. He didn’t lay a punch either and the police broke it up. Turns out my shoulder broke off my collarbone, later causing two blood clots in my lungs, giving me a 20% chance of living. Three months off of work and almost a month in the hospital with tons of physical therapy. I was almost healed and then I went fowling and I swear to you two days later my mobility in my arm got better. I’m not saying fowling can cure you, but at least you'll have fun doing it. 

Any advice for women in the industry?

Pro Tip: Every day is not a red lipstick kind of day.

Thanks, Sara! Make sure to check out Checker Bar and Pop+Offworld in Cadillac Square. They’re two of our favorite relaxed spots in the city— burgers, beer, pizza, and games… what more could you want?

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Last week, I had the honor of attending a blogging event at Iridescence, the beautiful, high-end Modern American restaurant located at the top of Motor City Casino. The event was a celebration of the restaurants new chef, and Iridescent invited Detroit bloggers to sit down and enjoy a special peek of the spring menu.

Iridescence, according to its website, is the only AAA 4 Diamond Award-winning restaurant in Detroit. The restaurant has spectacular views of the river, the Detroit skyline, the Ambassador Bridge, and part of Canada. The restaurant’s interior is quite a spectacle as well. We got to sit in a private area of the restaurant.

The event happened to be on my birthday, and lucky me got to bring my parents along with me as part of the celebration!

And now, for the food!

The concept of the menu was to have a sensory experience, and the appetizers reflected this really well, including:

Sashimi Trio

The hamachi sashimi appetizer was fantastic and delivered to the table with a broth that created a steam and surrounded the fish to add flavor and scent. The fish was super fresh and light. 

Oysters "Up in Smoke"

Six chef-select oysters on the half shell, tequila, grapefruit, pink peppercorn - contains alcohol

The oyster presentation was beautiful and had some unexpected flavors that were very unique and tasty. 

Butter Poached Lobster Tail

Vanilla, avocado, pineapple, piquillo pepper

Dungeness Crab

White asparagus, squid ink hollandaise

The Dungeness crab and lobster dishes were really great.  The crab was baked, and the squid ink hollandaise made it truly spectacular.  The lobster melts in your mouth.

Porcini chestnut soup

This soup was was perfectly executed and poured fresh at the table.

Baby Beet Salad

The baby beet salad was fresh and light- the perfect prep for the entree.

And now for the entrees:

Surf & Turf

English-cut beef short rib, head-on prawn, organic grits

The surf & turf entree was definitely the stand out of the evening— seriously, to die for!

Overall, the food, atmosphere, and service was spectacular- a really positive experience. I was even surprised with this delicious s’more treat for my birthday!

Thank you so much to Iridescence for inviting me to come and enjoy a beautiful birthday meal with my parents. Also, thank you to the staff for the incredible, accommodating service.

Iridescence is a great place to impress a date or to have a classy evening with your friends. Have a drink, enjoy the views, and eat modern American cuisine that is truly to die for.



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There is nothing like a change in weather to boost the morale of a whole state! This warm weather has me itching for more sun, time on the lake paddle boarding, hiking our gorgeous parks, and pretty much any adventure you can name—thanks to the ladies at j’adore Detroit; they always keep us in the know!

As we pass through spring on our way to summer, it’s important to intentionally help the body transition and prepare for the upcoming season. Here are 5 nutrients to begin increasing to ensure your mind & body will thrive for all your summer shenanigans:

  • Sunshine:

    While we still have dips in temperature, the days are longer and the sun is OUT and shining so much more. Start taking advantage of the extra light now to maximize the light of our short mid-western summers.

    Increased exposure to natural sunlight will gradually prepare your skin for more time outdoors, regulate hormones by helping balance your circadian rhythm, improve moods, enhance sleep quality, & boost vitamin vitamin D levels - a steroid hormone which actually helps protect your body from cancer.

  • Celery juice:

    To amplify your summer glow from the inside out, you’ll want to start drinking 16 ounces of fresh pressed celery juice on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. I love celery juice for four main reasons: what it does for my complexion, mental clarity, energy, & inflammation levels.

    Celery, an herb often mistaken as a vegetable, contains valuable mineral salts that help break down and destroy pathogens in the body. This is huge when it comes to reducing inflammation in the body, but also helping improve gut function and strengthening the immune system.

    Your joints and summer activity goals will thank you for reducing inflammation that can build up from sugary treats, heavy meat consumption, and increased alcohol over the winter months!

    To deep dive into the benefits of celery juice, check out the Medical Medium’s blog here.

This mineral is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that carry out many essential biochemical reactions in the body. To name a few, Magnesium allows muscles to properly contract and reduce muscle cramps, improves nerve function, promotes healthy thyroid, regulates blood sugar (glucose) and blood pressure, and helps the body produce energy (ATP).

With higher intake of processed foods and depleted soil, this mineral is often depleted in 70% of individuals.

Check with your preferred physician to see where your levels are, but always begin supplementing with real food first.

Great sources of magnesium can be found in: dark leafy vegetables like spinach or kale, almonds, cashews, pecans, high-quality dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), black beans, dates, and seaweed. Magnesium can also serve as a helpful, natural, sleep-aid to improve the quality and quantity of rest. Check out Magnesium Calm, a powder that you can make into a hot tea while you wind down each night.

  • Fiber:

    Fiber is so cool because it is one of the nutrients that is not broken down or absorbed by the body but one that is necessary for optimal health. According to Dr. Steven Masley, fiber helps improve blood sugar control and the usage of insulin by slowing the release of sugar in the bloodstream, reduces the build up of arterial plaque by helping lower LDL cholesterol, and improves several cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure.

    Since fiber does not fully break down, it also serves as a cleaning service for your intestines! Perfect for spring and clearing out heavier foods from the winter months.
    Examples of fiber include, but are not limited to: red leaf lettuce, collard greens, sweet potato, bananas, apples, strawberries, beans, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc. Simply increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables will increase this helpful nutrient.

  • Blue Green Algae:

    The most common forms of this algae in the marketplace are spirulina and chlorella. These are deeply pigmented single cell algae that take energy from the sun and convert it into various minerals and protein required by the body.

    Plants are notoriously knocked for not having enough protein, but chlorella specifically is 50-60% protein, and what’s more is that it is a COMPLETE protein. This is also a rare feat for most plant protein sources, however, a complete protein means that it has all nine essential amino acids the body does not produce on its own and therefore requires from food sources. Additionally these powerhouse algaes contain various b-vitamins (B1,B2,B3), iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and trace amounts of most other minerals needed for the body.

    *With everything in nutrition, specifically supplements, look into the exact growing conditions and how the supplement is processed to ensure it is of the highest quality and will pack the punch it’s meant to. Look for organic growing conditions and low-heat processing.

Each of these five nutrients are meant to gradually prepare your body for summer and increased activity by decreasing inflammation, removing waste, and strengthening your body’s reserves of valuable vitamins and minerals.

What summer activities are you gearing up for? Share in the comments below!

Always rooting for you,



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by Courtney Burk of Batch BrewingPhotos by Dave Cicotte of Brew Detroit

I sat down with Lena Butler to discuss her new role as the Quality Technician at Brew Detroit. New to the industry, her perspective is fresh and focused on the science and— often overlooked— microscopic interworking involved in the production of beer.

Your origin story. How did you find yourself working as a Quality Technician in the craft beer industry?

I was in my fifth year at Central Michigan University pursuing my biology degree when the school announced they were offering a fermentation science certificate program.  I reasoned the opportunity would be another way to use my degree and allow myself entrance into a job market that I had never previously considered.

Unlike the other brewing programs that are offered at various Universities in Michigan, CMU’s program focused specifically on the science and quality aspect of brewing. It was a perfect fit for my degree and my background with working in different lab settings.

I love to learn. More specifically, I love to learn information and skills that not many individuals know. I’m always looking for things like that, especially when it comes to biology. So, when I head about a program in the fermentation sciences it really peaked my interest. I didn’t feel like a lot of people knew about the actual process that goes into producing beer. Which is funny because I didn’t even drink beer at that point in my life – it’s since changed.

To finish the program required a 200-hour internship. I was afforded the opportunity at Brew Detroit and was hired into the company following the completion, as their Quality Technician. I have been in love with the industry ever since.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

This is going to be a lot of science stuff, so bare with me. My day typically starts with me checking the gravities and the pHs of the beer in our large fermenter tanks as well as on our nano magic system. Basically, I go up to the big tanks and check readings and then I had over to the smaller tanks and check readings.

I will run the ABV (alcohol by volume) on any beers that are ready to crash and that are in brite tanks waiting to be packaged. Beer is made with yeast and in order to get those and other sediment to clump together and sink to the bottom, we cool the beer rapidly.

If it’s a package day, I take samples off the line throughout the day and run analytics on them. I also grab a sample that gets stored in our library and our sensory program. If it’s a nonproduction day, I’m cleaning equipment, doing paperwork, and preparing for the next production day.

I’m lucky to work in a large contract facility such as Brew Detroit because it allows me the opportunity to learn a lot more about styles of beer and all the ways that raw ingredients work to make a tasty brew. I also get to watch and interact with beer from start to finish literally every day. I love it.

What is your favorite part of making beer?

The yeast. There amazing microbes turn what is, essentially, a barley juice – into beer, just by working their magic! Yeast also comes in many different strains. These strains add a lot of flavor and character, which makes different styles and taste profiles. Yeasts are just amazing, and they look fantastic under a microscope.

If you could change one thing in the industry what would it be?

I wish the industry had more of an appreciation of the actual science, chemistry, and biology that go into making beer. I also wish there was more excitement around it because it really is amazing and very interesting.  I wish there was more excitement for the yeast and everything they do. And they are some major stars of the show! They are magic and gorgeous, like these things take the sugar from the barley and turn it into beer. These tiny itty-bitty things do that and it’s amazing! Basically, let’s grab a beer and talk science.

Who’s been your greatest influence in craft beer?

I’m relatively new to the industry so I don’t have one person to name, but I am greatly inspired by all the women that are and have been in the industry. As an added bonus though, I am working with a master brewer who has been in the industry for 40 years.

Have you faced any specific challenges being a female in the industry?

I have been very lucky that I haven’t really had a lot of challenges being a female brewer, which to me is a good sign for the industry for how well I’ve been accepted.

Where do you like to unwind in Detroit?

I’m a nerd, so I really like to go to the different museums and the DSO. I like an hour away from the city so I am learning and exploring Detroit more and more. I don’t have a specific favorite place yet but I really enjoy every place I have been so far. I am very impressed with how the city has changed over the last several years.

In your free time, what are you up to?

Again, kind of a nerd, but I like to hang out with my cat while watching shows or doing some granny crafts, because I’m an old lady at heart. I also like to explore the Metro Detroit area and the rest of Michigan whenever I’m afforded the opportunity.

Favorite beer to drink at the moment?

I really love fruity sours, but I am very much in love with chocolate peanut butter stouts as well.

Thank you, Lena!Are you yourself interested in pursuing a career in brewing, fermentation science, etc.? Here are some Michigan schools that offer education programs, courses, or certificates:

Central Michigan University

Western Michigan University

Schoolcraft College

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J'adore Detroit Blog by Lauren Van Haaren - 1M ago

Whether you are vegetarian, vegan or just looking for a healthy meat substitute that actually taste good — Impossible is the answer you are looking for.

The girls at j’adore Detroit are huge fans of the plant based option and are so excited that one of our favorite convenient food places now offers it on the menu! Qdoba Mexican eats is now crushing the lunch game even harder with the introduction of Impossible.

When we heard the news about the launch of the new menu item, we certainly weren’t going to pass up an invitation from the restaurant to come try it out.

We ordered a plethora of burrito bowls. Each of them made the way we like it. Some cheese lovers, some with veggies and guac galore. But, all of us went for the Impossible burrito bowl. I am not too shy to admit I smashed the entire thing. It was damn good. And, I can feel less guilty about it knowing I got in an extra serving of veggies for the day.

Although we all had our Impossible burrito bowls packed sky high, we weren’t going to leave lunch without adding an order of impossible meat tacos. I could TACO bout’ them all day, or you can ask Neens who loved them.

We will hands down be back for another lunch visit soon. I guess you could say it would be “Impossible” to keep us away ;)

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Exercise has long been known for its aesthetic and vast physical benefits. However, in the age of hyper-speed, the go-go-go mentality, the mass amount of distractions from social media, and beyond, exercise is more needed than ever from an emotional standpoint.

Let’s break it down:

  • Positive mindset- Exercise naturally boosts the release of serotonin and dopamine. These are endorphins that promote feelings of well-being and happiness that help improve an individual’s outlook on the world and themselves.

  • Improved self-esteem- Yes, you’ll probably trim down and tone up from regular movement, but even more the act of taking care of yourself plus challenging your body can increase your overall confidence and inner strength.

  • Decreased stress- While exercise is a “stress” on the body, it is a positive one. Movement works as a conduit to channel and release daily life stressors from the body, which ultimately increases your stress resiliency or ability to handle various loads of stress.

  • Increased mental performance- Heightened blood flow and various chemicals released during exercise boost brain performance by promoting neurogenesis or the creation of new brain cells, strengthening memory retention, increasing mental stamina, and stimulating creativity. In short, it allows your brain a break from life to recharge and be nourished by a flood of good chemicals.

  • Full body communication- Movement causes all aspects of your body to communicate with each other. Today, it is easy to sit all day and over-stress the brain even when we think we’re “relaxing”. Getting active urges your brain and body to communicate as well as get all aspects of your nervous system talking to each other.

I could continue, but the moral of the story is that no matter how busy you think you are, it is essential to create time to move and nourish your body before it’s too late. My goal as a Health & Life Coach is to make sure my clients are able to live a long and able life, so they can be independent for as long as possible.

If you are relatively new to exercise or have never felt fully confident going to the gym alone, let me offer a new perspective about how to approach your movement regimen.

Whether you are feeling tired & sluggish or able to conquer the world, there are different types of movement that can benefit both. This is not about having a strict routine where Monday is legs, Tuesday is back/chest, and so on! It IS about balancing your mental state and nourishing your body, which looks different for each of us every single day.

Think about your recent months and the different energies you’ve experienced. Jot them down to begin creating a Movement Cheat Sheet for yourself. Next, for which of these which types of movements would you be willing to explore?

For example, imagine the worst day of your cycle. What movement feels good to explore? Most likely not HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), but what about a walk outside or gentle stretching with light spinal twists to create space in your mid-section to ease cramping?

What about those days you’re stacked with back-to-back meetings and sitting in awkward positions all day? Or you’re feeling completely unmotivated and riddled with negative self-talk?

Ever feel anxious about an upcoming meeting or event? ALL of these benefit immensely from a little or a lot of movement depending on you and what will best compliment where you are to move you closer to where you want to be.

One step a day will move you closer to your goal than simply thinking about how one day you’ll go ham at it. Honor that slightly future version of you whose crushing your goals by beginning today.

Always rooting for you,


P.S - Want to learn more about balancing your emotions with movement? Check out this recent Facebook LIVE where I dive into it!

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