WESTCHASE — For beer lovers, working at a brewery sounds like a dream job.
Brewing beer and constantly sampling your product seems like an enjoyable and effortless way to spend the work day.
The Tampa Bay Brewing Company's Vicki Doble and Bridgette Turner know the reality of working in the brewing industry is not as glamorous as it may sound.
Though both women got their start in the business differently, they recognize that hard work is the backbone of their success in an industry typically dominated by men.
For Doble, co-founder of the brewing company, brewing beer and working in a brew pub have been part of her life since she was a young girl. Growing up in England and Scotland, her father owned numerous pubs, which allowed her to learn every aspect of the business from a young age.
"All the beer was cellared, it wasn't chilled," Doble said. "You became more than just a bartender. You learned how to handle the different barrels and cask ales. You smell of beer.
"You become it."
Doble said that in England, homebrew is sold everywhere and is just part of the culture. She learned to brew her own beer, and continued to do so when she moved to the United States. In 1995, Doble and her family founded Tampa Bay Brewing Company, when they opened up a brew pub in Ybor City. Last summer, the company expanded when they opened a larger brewing facility and restaurant in Westchase. Now Turner has joined the company at its location in Westchase, becoming its first female brewer.
After graduating college and bartending for several years, Turner decided she wanted to learn about brewing beer, so three years ago, she went to Sunderland, England. There, she spent three months taking courses at Brewlab, a leading provider of comprehensive training for the international brewing industry.
"I was the only girl," said Turner. "There were 12 of us in the class, and I was the only female."
When Turner returned to the United States, she worked at Beltway Brewing, a contract brewery in northern Virginia. Though she became skilled at brewing different styles of beers, she wanted to learn more about producing and distributing just one brand of beer. Turner received job offers from several breweries, but ultimately decided on Tampa Bay Brewing Company.
"I wanted to learn about brewing the same beer consistently," Turner said. "I know that's something that Tampa Bay Brewing Company does really well, especially with Reef Donkey."
Reef Donkey APA, and Old Elephant Foot IPA are two of the award-winning beers crafted by the brewing company.
While Doble now handles the kitchen and business side of Tampa Bay Brewing Company, she still finds herself going into the brewery most evenings. Doble enjoys chatting with Turner at the end of a long day's work.
"She fits in," Doble said.
Being the only female brewer has done nothing to impact Turner's joy. She appreciates the hard work and physical labor that's involved with her job as a brewer.
"With brewing, there's a lot of things that you have to learn and figure out and everyday is a challenge," Turner said. "I love it."
Contact Danielle Hauser at [email protected]