Meet Amber Ayres, the director of consumer experience at Boulevard Brewing Co./Duvel USA in Kansas City. She's been working in the craft brewing industry for 10 years and was appointed to the Guild's board of directors to replace Nick Hale (Boulevard) who resigned his board position last year. Welcome, Amber!
How did you get started in the craft beer industry?
I left a rewarding career in retail design and Visual Merchandising to move back home to KC. When I moved back I admittedly did not know much about craft beer, but knew that I loved Boulevard. I was drawn to their beautiful labels and creative vibe, and instantly connected with the spirited and genuine people I met there.
What's your "why?" or what gets you out of bed each day?
Just the simple joys of living...laughter with my kids, soaking up the sun, chirping birds. I try to find the wonder and magic in ordinary days (a real challenge often of course!)
What was your first-ever craft beer?
Why Unfiltered Wheat of course!
What does your job entail at the brewery?
I oversee the programming, merchandising, marketing and visuals for our consumer experiences. So I lead the creative for our visitors center, hospitality spaces, and e-commerce, plus work on special projects like pop-up shops, satellite locations or other brewery experiences as needed.
What do you do with your free time?
Raise two hilarious and amazing sons. Plus roller skating, reading, crossword puzzles, camping, and getting outside whenever possible. Patio-hangs (listening to music and playing games) with my husband, neighbors and friends are also a frequent past-time.
If you could work on a collaboration beer with any other craft brewery, who would it be?
Vine Street Brewing Co. - I am very excited and motivated to see minority-owned breweries growing in numbers.
What is your favorite thing about the craft beer industry?
People who love good beer also tend to love good music, art, travel, etc. I love being around people who live a full life...it inspires me.
What's the best beer you've ever had?
A crisp Kolsch in a hotel in Dusseldorf Germany after a lonnnnng day of travel. I don't even know what I was drinking to be honest - but the atmosphere combined with my excitement of my first trip to Europe took its level of refreshment over the top!
What's one fun fact about you?
I recently started volunteering at a Pig Rescue & Adoption farm which is heaven to me. If I won the lottery I would quickly buy house with a few acres so I could have a pig and alpaca!
Why did you join the Missouri Craft Brewers Guild?
I am really looking forward to making more connections within the industry and learning from my peers and colleagues. It was very meaningful to me when I started at Boulevard to see how friendly and collaborative the craft beer world was, and to be honest have really been missing that. I think I will be inspired and challenged by this group, and am excited to do my part to lift and promote craft beer as a whole.