The Start-Up, Non-Profit Brewery That Changed my Life – Thank you Ex Novo Brewing – Portland , Oregonfeatured
My last day at Ex Novo Brewing Co was Saturday, May 27, and it’s hard to believe it! I’ve been thinking about Ex Novo a lot lately and my time employed at Ex Novo. I’ve found myself more emotional about it then I thought I would be about it, so I thought I would share it here. To truly understand why it’s emotional, I think it all starts from the beginning and with what drew me to Ex Novo in the first place.
It was early 2014. I hadn’t lived in the Pacific Northwest for a full official year yet and I was searching for a bartending gig. I was employed already but was seeing some bad writing on the walls and needed my next place to land. After participating in Bridges to Brews in Lillis Albina Park that April, I was walking to my car and saw a big open warehouse -like building open with people standing just inside the garage-door like opening and noticed the start of a brewery. I looked up to the vinyl sign above which read Ex Novo Brewing.
At this point, I was writing and adventuring as one half of Brew Explorers for nine months and was already surrounding myself with craft beer, the industry, and I wanted to land a gig beertending and/or serving at a brewery. So naturally, I headed to social media to check out Ex Novo Brewing. Come to find out, this brewery was going to open fairly soon, and it was a brewery with the mission to give back! How awesome was that!?! A place after my own heart!
So intrigued by this combination of craft beer and giving back, two of my passions, I started stalking their twitter account for any other info about this new brewery opening in Portland! Sure enough, they tweeted a “We are hiring” message, and I was all over it. After seeing the tweet, I think I submitted my resume within hours and was hoping and praying for my chance! After all, I didn’t know anyone at Ex Novo, and everyone in this craft-beverage and foodie town know, you usually have to KNOW someone to get into places.
My call came for an interview shortly after I applied. I remember interviewing with our front of the house manager, maybe even our owner and president, in an upstairs office surrounding with boxes and all things screaming start-up business/brewery. The interview wasn’t long before the opening, and if I got the job, the timeframe for starting swas in question as the final countdown to opening their doors was an estimate. After interviewing, I believe I got a call the next day with an offer for a gig. So excited but nervous as hell to start a new place (would I make money?), (is this the right move?), I accepted the job and told them I would be available to start in June.
I don’t totally remember how it all started exactly. What I do remember is training briefly before we were to have our Grand Opening day and wondering when we would learn the POS, try the beers, and all the other pertinent stuff needed to start. Of course, as I would later learn, as a start-up goes, you don’t really get all of that until the day of. Ha! I also remember thinking…Oh boy, I hope I like these beers!?!
Anyway, a long story to get to the fact that I have worked at Ex Novo from the beginning, which has been almost three years! And now, that is coming to an end, which feels like all of a sudden. But really it as been in the works, as many of you know, I am starting Final Draft Taphouse with my love dude Mike, and Ex Novo has known for awhile now and has supported me and has been gracious with my last months, as they always have been!
With that said though, I wanted to take a little time here to reflect and share with you what Ex Novo means to me and how this small but very mighty brewery has changed the direction of my life and has made a great impression on my heart!
While working for Ex Novo Brewing, the brewery and I have grown so much! While the brewery has become well known in Portland and beyond, I have grown with them and have found what will now by my next chapter, my final draft! Here’s just a glimpse…
We celebrated holidays together! We celebrated one year together! We built friendships! We weathered life changes. We created new and exciting programs, Communitas!! Yay, Communitas volunteers, you are the best! We celebrated us on road trips, specially for me, the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. We celebrated awards together at Oregon Beer Awards! We cheers many of pints together after shifts! I met Mike for the first time at Ex Novo, and he became part of the family! I’ve met many beer friends at and through Ex Novo! We got through hard times together. I can’t even explain my gratitude for Ex Novo’s and our customers’ response to my car accident in November 2016. We had fun together! And we build life-long relationships together!
I will forever be grateful for Ex Novo, and I know my Ex Novo family will never be all that far away!
After three years, I’m happy to report that I love the beers, but you all know that already, and I have gained much more than a beertending gig. I’ve gained an appreciation of start-up life. I’ve gained beer friends for life. I’ve learned a ton about myself and have come to the new place in life that I’m heading. I have a boat-load of memories. And I will take all that into my next chapter, and only hope I can create a place for others to learn and grow and love craft beer even more, like I did while at Ex Novo!
Thank you Joel, Brandon, Paul, Mike, Devin, Sarah, all my co-workers who started as co-workers who have now become my friends, all the Communitas volunteers, and all my regular and one-time #beerfriends who frequented Ex Novo through the first three years!
Here’s a sampling of the photos I could dig up from the three years! Cheers beer friends!