As Marketing Director of Terrapin Beer Company, Julia Weckback manages the brewery’s brand marketing, website, and social media.
Much of her work is out in the field, as Terrapin uses event marketing to offer samples and allow the product to speak for itself.
“It’s way more important to us what people think — not what we think — about a beer.”
Weaned on New Belgium Brew
Julia grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, one of America’s early great craft beer towns. She jokes that she was brought up on New Belgium beer. It didn’t occur to her that New Belgium was unique; to her, craft beer was just beer.
Julia studied theatrical design at NYU, where she specialized in costume design. After marrying in Brooklyn, she moved to California to get into the wine industry. She learned the wine craft for 7 years, first by running a tasting room, and eventually working her way into the marketing department.
After her tenure in the wine world, Julia moved to Athens with her husband, who’d landed a position at Terrapin as a brewer. She thought the relocation would be temporary — she wasn’t sure about living in a Southern college town — but the element of community in Athens has made it hard to leave.
A New Job Every Quarter
Moving to the Southeast for the beer business was something of a shock. There wasn’t much craft beer in the region, let alone the state of Georgia: Sweetwater and Terrapin were the only big names. But Julia is the first to acknowledge that craft beer is an easy message to spread. She considers Terrapin very fortunate to have been so well received, and with such growth: “It was almost a revelation that people didn’t know about and drink craft beer. My job was easy because I had been doing it so naturally all my life. All the parts of my life had led to this.”
When Julia started at Terrapin, the brewery was producing around 14K barrels a year, and there was always something to do. Every day there was a new project in front of her, whether it was getting a website or setting up the tasting room. Ever since, the evolution of her job has kept her engaged in an industry she loves.
This is the longest I’ve ever been with a job. If it weren’t for what I do almost being a new job every year, I could be elsewhere. At Terrapin I’m always learning, growing professionally, and loving Athens.
Julia considers flexibility her best trait at work. To start small and grow quickly requires the flexibility to do whatever’s in front in you. Her design background let her make her first big contribution at Terrapin, since there wasn’t anyone at the brewery that knew how to use Photoshop or work on websites. She’s also close to the process of building relationships with artists and helping express their messages through the Terrapin brand.
Bringing people together with shared interests is a big part of Julia’s approach to networking. Along with Terrapin’s Lauren Dye, Julia started Lupulin Ladies, a women’s beer tasting and education group. Their mission is to give women a comfortable arena for exploring the expansive world of craft beer, while creating a female-oriented craft beer community.
“We don’t want women to feel uncomfortable in beer bars, so we go to bars once a month, do tasting notes, and socialize.”
The group has been going strong for nearly five years, and in that time women in general have become much more of a force in the beer industry. According to Julia, there are many more women working in the industry, and women are also driving parts of the craft beer movement. Women tend to be foodies and like to cook, and craft beer and the female aesthetic are complementary.