You’d be hard pressed to find a better fit for Sebago Brewing than Steve Shulkosky. A graduate of Johnson & Wales’s College of Culinary Arts, Steve has worked in restaurants since he was 14 and waiting tables in Blue Hill, Maine.
His varied career – which includes an Americorps stint at a floating logging camp in Alaska – eventually brought him to New England Distilling where he was an assistant distiller and sales rep. In late 2016, Steve joined the packaging crew at Sebago Brewing. About a year later he moved to the sales team. It wasn’t a huge leap from spirits to beer, especially since Steve was also working part-time for Maine Beer Tours (what’s now called The Maine Brew Bus).
Now you’ll probably run into Steve at one of the many tap takeovers, pint nights, or other Sebago events throughout southern Maine. He’s happy to talk to anyone about beer, but he’s happy to join a round of cornhole too.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I think it’s more like I have typical weeks. Monday is usually an admin day for emails and setting up meetings, though I still try to see one or two of our customers that day. The rest of the week I’m checking in with customers, looking for what areas I haven’t been to recently. I try to hit every market at least twice a month, never the same day or even time of day, so I can see as many different folks at that business as possible. A lot of it is playing by ear what the different priorities are that week, because our customers have a lot of events, and we want to support that.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
I love drinking beer and I really love talking about beer. My favorite part of this job is having a two-way conversation with someone who’s willing to have it. It’s okay if we disagree, whether we’re talking about beer or anything else. People forget that sometimes. I try to listen to people’s perspectives and communicate my own, but the bottom line is that there has to be mutual respect.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
There’s a time and a place for every beer. Sebago Brewing makes a lot of beers that a lot of people like, but sometimes restaurants are looking for that one-off beer that you can only get for a short time, and that can be a logistical challenge. It’s important to us to keep innovating, though, and that’s why we have the pilot batch program, so our brewers can keep experimenting.
What’s been your greatest achievement at the company so far?
Believe it or not, it’s when I got Sebago into Ruski’s in Portland. Dive bars – and I say this with love – are kind of my scene. I like to get new customers where I personally want to spend my time. I have always loved hanging out at Ruski’s, so that was a personal win.
Since Sebago’s 20th Anniversary is coming up, do you have any favorite memories?
Really it’s whenever the sales team can go to a pint night or tasting together. When we can talk to the customers together and enjoy the event together, that’s when I have the most fun. You know, breweries celebrate anniversaries every year, but a 20th anniversary? That’s a big deal in this industry. It’s special to be a part of that.
Employees like Steve are part of what makes Sebago Brewing Company a great place to work, bringing “Brewed For Times Like These” to life every day. Think that Sebago Brewing Company might be the right fit for you? Check out current openings here, including a job as a NH sales rep!