Meet the Team: Holly Willer



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What do you do at Rhinegeist?

My official title is Office Manager of Columbus. I do office-managerial stuff: I’m really good at buying snacks, laminating things, answering the weirdest variety of phone calls, vacuuming things, etc. I also do social media when we have events. I’m tell-sell, so I have about 50 accounts that I either email, text, or call. I am in charge of scheduling dock times for our bigger accounts like Amazon Prime (if you want your beer delivered to you), Sam’s Club, and Trader Joe’s. I’m the point of contact for our bigger events, so anything with COSI, or the Art Museum, Urban Scrawl, and other larger organizations and events. The thing that I spend most of my day on is allocations: I’m in charge of making sure that we don’t oversell anything and that everything’s physically in our inventory.

How’d you end up here? Walk us through your Rhinegeist journey.

I was working for the Ohio Arts Council. It wasn’t a good fit for me. I decided I wasn’t going to renew the contract, but I didn’t have a backup plan. On my last day I was stress-crying into my yogurt, and my co-worker Kathy, whose husband is a brewer at Barley’s, just happened to mention that Rhinegeist was coming to Columbus and looking for an Office Manager. So I called ‘em up, went through a quick stream of interviews, and had the job by the next Friday.

Where’d you grow up?

I grew up in the middle of a corn field outside of Fremont, Ohio. Which is itself in the middle of a cornfield between Toledo and Sandusky. I went to Ohio State, and I liked Columbus so much that I never left.

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What did you have for breakfast?

Black coffee sweetened with the tears of my enemies!

You are an integral part of our zany and awesome Columbus team. Talk about them!

It’s been awesome to watch us grow from three people on each team to (counting) nine sales reps, two support people, seven drivers...a warehouse guy...our distro manager...and Will as our Fearless Leader. We don’t have a taproom in Columbus, just an office and a giant cooler filled with beer. It could be worse.

Talk a little about how self distribution works. What are the advantages?

From a relationship-base, you talk to us instead of a third-party distributor rep. We’re pretty fun, and pretty adorable, so seeing us face-to-face really brings home the product. It’s nice to be able to control everything ourselves.

What are some of the challenges that get thrown your way as Office Manager?

When we have low inventory of a certain style of beer and customers want it but can’t get it, they often shoot the messenger (which is me). It’s hard to keep track of everyone’s schedules. Keeping all the people and products organized is a challenge.

Do you have a spirit animal?

Yes. Probably either a lemur or a sloth. No wait: a slow loris. They look like lemurs, but they’re real slow.

Do you have a nickname?

I have a couple nicknames that are actually Rhinegeist beer names, but I got them before they were beers: my grandpa calls me Squirrel, and my former boss called me Bubbles. My coworkers call me Mama Tank, because a couple of us have those really weird Rhinegeist muscle tanks, and we all look really bad in them. So we started a gang called Tank Bois — I’m obviously the leader. My boyfriend calls me Danny Glover.

What’s your favorite Rhinegeist beer?

Peach Dodo. Also Margarita Monday. The Honey Ginger Cougar was a revelation. I’m really excited about our Outer Reaches Sour Ales program too. When I came down for my first Rhinegeist visit, they took me down to the basement and showed me where it was going to be, and it was just starting, and now it's HERE.

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Have there been any major influences on your life?

Oprah Winfrey. Started as a joke, but it became real. I used to always say “I’m living my best life, just like Oprah would want me to,” but now I use that as an excuse to do all of the things I really want to do. Also music. I’m an unreformed emo kid.

If you were a Rhinegeist beer, what would you be?

Bubbles, but with a shot of gin in it.

You run the underrated Rhinegeist Columbus Instagram account. What’s your favorite post of all-time?

Probably the time that we made the post for Dinghy. I have a lot of nautical-themed memorabilia. So we took my captain’s hat I got from Put-in Bay, and my “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag, and we did a George Washington thing on top of a MOVING delivery van. Also, an elaborate Hustle video that Rob and I did when we were younger and had more time to do stuff like that.

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You’re a big music fan. Just start naming artists you like and we’ll go from there.

Brand New. The Beach Boys. Fall Out Boy (only the first two albums — after that everything is garbage and you can put that in writing). Motion City Soundtrack. Bon Iver. Celine Dion (unironically). 90s Mariah Carey (pre-meltdown). Alkaline Trio. Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Pet Symmetry. Get Up Kids. I love The Who. The Sidekicks. SaintSeneca. The National. Jenny Lewis. I love musicals. Yacht rock. Chance the Rapper. Garth Brooks. Garth isn’t on Spotify or anything, so if you want to listen to Garth Brooks online, you have to search him on YouTube under different names, like Gorth Borks.

Best live show you’ve ever seen.

Probably Brand New and Manchester Orchestra a few years ago in Cleveland. Or Jenny Lewis at Nelsonville last year. Or for sentimental reasons, Saves the Day and Say Anything in 2014 because I met my boyfriend there, in true emo kid fashion.

Imagine you meet someone who’s never heard music before. What album do you hand them?

We are the World.

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What do you enjoy most about this place?

Aside from the beer, the obvious answer is: I love the people. I’ve never worked at a company that places such value on the employees, and I’m constantly surrounded by people that have a lot of fun doing what they do. Obviously it’s a lot easier having fun at a job like ours, but I have had a lot of jobs where the turnover rate has been very high, and in Columbus, we’ve all been together for a long time.

We’re halfway through the interview. Give a shout out to someone reading this at home!

Oprah! She’s definitely reading this. Hi Oprah. Hi Brian! My best friend Molly. Hey to the Haters. My Ale-Wife fo lyfe, Caitlin. The Columbus Rhinegeist team!

Is there a piece of Rhinegeist apparel you wear the most?

This Rhinegeist cardigan (it’s red.) I’m like a cartoon character—I wear the same thing every day: a dress, a cardigan, and a pair of Vans that coordinate with the cardigan.

Do you have a famous look-a-like?

Winona Ryder if you squint your eyes. That’s about it.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?

Guy Fieri. He came to Columbus for a home and garden show, and we were like “There’s no way he’s gonna come to Columbus and we’re not gonna see him.” He is the sweetest person I have ever met. We fist-bumped. He told me he liked my sunglasses. I applaud him for being so unabashedly himself.

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Where does the beauty of the brewery lie for you?

Walking into the space. Just seeing where everything happens. And the rooftop.

What’s the best part of your personality?

I’m kind of fun to be around, sometimes.

What’s your favorite sandwich?

My deathbed sandwich is the TMNT Cowabunga Melt at Melt Bar and Grilled. I drove to Cleveland in a snowstorm for one once.

What do you do when you’re not 'Geisting?

I love naps. My top four interests are: Lighthouses, rollercoasters, gin and cheese. I am a member of the Marblehead Lighthouse Society. I’ve just loved lighthouses since I was a kid. I worked at Cedar Point in college, and I have always loved roller coasters. I also do ballet sometimes, but I’m really bad at it.

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What have you seen lately that you really dug?

I just rode the new rollercoaster at Cedar Point called Steel Vengeance. HOLY DUMP. It was awesome. So much fun.

If I’m in Columbus for a day, what should I do?

Come on a Tuesday and go to Pierogi Mountain because it’s $1 pierogi night. They are Guy Fieri-approved. Pierogi Mountain is a pop up kitchen at the best dive bar in town, Cafe Bourbon Street. One time they had a Key Lime Pie-rogi. Take a walk through Glen Echo Ravine, then let’s go to Seventh Son for a drink. I suggest Fox In The Stout because it’s like drinking a brownie. Then let’s go to Juniper, a rooftop gin bar. That’s it. You’re living your best Columbus life. Oprah would be proud.

What’s something about you most people don’t know?

I worked for Google. For two months. I was doing Google Places pages, which is now Google Plus. So I take partial credit for Google’s recent success. Also, my front tooth grew in sideways. I’ve had braces for a long time. (*shows picture*) That’s me pre-braces. I have a scar on my elbow from a peacock!

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What’s your best dish in the kitchen?

Grilled cheese with Muenster. That’s all I got.

On average how many times do you sing in the shower per week?

7/7. I used to be a singer. I got a music scholarship to Ohio State. I still do karaoke.

Karaoke song?

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." If it were up to me, I would do all Barbara Streisand ballads, but nobody wants to listen to that. They want quick-hitters.

What’s your favorite bagel topping?

I love lox. Salmon, capers, red onion.

If friends used three words to describe you, what would they be?

You’re my friend?

Favorite TV show?

NBC early 2010s holy trifecta: Parks and Rec, The Office, 30 Rock. Also Antiques Roadshow.

What are you looking forward to about the future?

One day the ocean will take us all.

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Published on by Rhinegeist.