Katie Hoover Hoffman
What do you do at Rhinegeist?
I am the Community Engagement Manager, so I manage all of the brewery’s fundraising, donations, and community partnerships. So, for example, I work with larger organizations like the Cincinnati Zoo, the Cincinnati Museum Center, etc., as well as a variety of other groups through Charitable Suds, our weekly internal charitable program.
What did you have for breakfast?
I don’t eat breakfast. I don’t like making breakfast and often I just can’t eat that early in the morning. Since I was in 7th grade, most mornings I had Carnation Instant Breakfast with skim milk.
How did you end up here?
Out of college, I worked for a local fitness accessory company called Sweaty Bands. I was there for a couple of years.
When I first heard of Rhinegeist, learned of what they were trying to do, and came into this space for the first time, I just said, “I want to work at Rhinegeist. I’m gonna do it.”
So when it came time to move on from the job I was at I, just by chance, ran into Bob [co-founder] at the OTR 5K. We chatted for awhile and, a couple days later, I took a chance, found his email online, and shot him a note saying that I was looking for a new career opportunity. Long story short, I ended up with a job a couple weeks later, doing a variety of things. Tours, sales, a little bit of community engagement, but nothing was set in stone. He said, “If you are comfortable doing these things for awhile, it will turn into a more solid path.”
A couple months in, I sat down with Bob and Bryant [co-founder] and they said they wanted to start a more structured community program and left it up to me! So, Charitable Suds was developed, I set some criteria/restrictions behind who and what we donate to, and worked with Bob and Bryant to develop the program into what it is today.
What are some of the challenges that get thrown your way?
I’m working more and more with external organizations and people, so projects that are my priority aren’t always theirs. So getting communication back from them when I need it, that I’m finding to be challenging. I’m learning to set my standards a little bit lower, in terms of turnaround times for things.
Talk about the Charitable Suds program.
Charitable Suds is a weekly fundraising program in the taproom, taking place each Wednesday. We allow a local nonprofit to come in from 5-8pm, share their mission and work, and engage with people here that they might not otherwise get to engage with, while providing a donation. A dollar from every pint sold will go back to that week’s group!
The program started in April 2016 out of a need and desire to give back consistently and utilize our space here. Last round, we got over 100 applications!
Do you have any nicknames?
Oh, that could be endless *laughs*. Hoffsauce, Hoovastank, Nachooves. Con-Kateso was thing for a minute.
Why do all these nicknames have a nacho theme?
I love nachos! Think about them every day of my life *laughs*. I love eating them.
If you could choose who played you in a movie about your life, who would it be and why?
I’ve always loved Jennifer Lawrence. I think she’s funny and seemingly a real person. A badass in The Hunger Games. Overall, a cool chick.
What’s your favorite Rhinegeist beer?
Currently, I’ve been loving mixing Randy (Grapefruit Radler) and Bubbles (Rosé Ale). I really love Panther (Robust Porter), so I'm very excited for that that to come back. Typically, I enjoy porters and stouts more than hoppier IPAs.
Favorite non-Rhinegeist beer?
I often go for the Anderson Valley Briney Melon.
Do you have a spirit animal?
A fox. They’re loving, smart and playful. I think often you associate the word sly with foxes, which gets a negative connotation, when it’s actually a positive thing. It just means you are resourceful and intelligent. I also just love foxes — follow @juniperfoxx on Instagram and you will fall in love. Juniper is my spirit animal!
Speaking of animals, you were the mind behind Zoogeist! Talk about that event and our relationship with the Cincinnati Zoo.
Zoogeist became a reality after I thought to myself, “Alright, we want to plan some bigger events in the taproom that engage the community and have a stronger fundraising impact. What do I want to go to? What would get me to go to a fun event?” I love animals, I love the zoo — let’s get a cheetah in the brewery! So I pestered the folks at the zoo for months and months, didn’t hear back, but kept pestering and got an answer.
I sat down for a meeting and fast forward almost a year later and Zoogeist became real! It was awesome, certainly exceeded our expectations. We had probably 600 people in here that night, cheetah included!
The partnership with the zoo has been fantastic. We had penguins in the brewery, got to hang out with and feed penguins at the zoo. They’ve been a phenomenal community partner and awesome, new friends.
We’re about halfway through the interview. Anyone you want to give a shout-out to?
If you were a Rhinegeist beer, what would you be?
Probably a little Randy and a little Bubbles *laughs*!
Is there a piece of Rhinegeist apparel you wear the most?
My chambray shirt with the Rhinegeist logo on the back. My go-to.
Do you have a famous lookalike?
No — the few I’ve gotten, I just…
I had short, brown hair for awhile and when I would wear my glasses I got Tina Fey quite a bit, which — love Tina Fey — but not personally who I aspire to resemble. That short, brown hair won’t be making a comeback.
You’re a Cincinnatian through and through. Talk about your love for the 513.
I grew up in Anderson, but in the middle of my senior year of high school, my parents told me they were moving to the East End, couple minutes from downtown. I thought my world was ending. I’m still here, so it didn’t *laughs*.
The move opened my eyes to everything that was going on in the city that I had never known about. I saw barges going up and down the Ohio River everyday, riverboats with guests on them, I could hear the fireworks from the Reds stadium, was just so much more in tune with what was going on in the city. It got me out of my little Anderson bubble.
I fell in love with it. This was right around the time OTR started its revitalization and I was coming down more often. Some of my friends moved to the neighborhood pretty early, so I got to really experience that from the beginning stages. I moved to OTR in 2012 and I’ve been here ever since. I love it.
What’s a hidden gem, super fun activity in Cincinnati?
I recently have been loving all of the Cincinnati Parks! They all have trails that I never really knew about. I also really like going to the Cincinnati Observatory. They have the oldest telescope in the country!
What do you enjoy most about Rhinegeist?
I still walk in here on a lot of days in the morning and need to remind myself to stop and look around — I get to work here. A place that people across the city — and farther out of the city — know as this awesome brand, this cool space. And I get to work here everyday. That’s awesome.
Have there been any major influences on your life?
The people that I’ve met working here have probably impacted me more than anything else in my life, so far. Some of my closest friends that I have made working at the brewery became not only friends at work but also some of my best friends in life. Many of them have moved on to do really cool and exciting things with their lives and instilled in me a love of travel and broadened my view of what friendship is and what happiness is. And I am forever grateful for that.
Everyone here is incredible, a different group of people than I had been in contact with in the past. You have the opportunity to build relationships with people that you would have otherwise never started a conversation with.
Like Luke Cole, our Barrel Master, is one of my favorite humans. Going to QA/QC and Sensory as much as I’ve been over the last two years, Luke would always sit next to me in those early sessions and knew that I was insecure about beer knowledge and my understanding of what was happening down there, and would just quietly coach me and talk me through things — that was an awesome experience and allowed us to develop a relationship that wouldn’t have otherwise happened.
You have a dog named Chesney. Talk about him because he is adorable.
Oh my God. Chesney is the most cute, expressive dog you will ever meet. He’s also a shit head.
He’s a Puggle — pug and beagle mix. He’s a little over 6 ½ years old, he loves to snuggle, he loves getting into the garbage can and he loves men. If there is a man in the room, he will always gravitate towards them. And he loves licking everything.
Employee-submitted question (Ryan K.): what was your favorite cartoon growing up?
Rocko’s Modern Life. It was on Nickelodeon, about a little wallaby, it followed his life — I think there was a cow? I watched a lot of Hey Arnold, too.
Give me your top 5 bars in OTR, not including Rhinegeist.
Recently, Longfellow has been my number one, go-to, I dig it, no TVs, they always give you water. Bartenders are the nicest in OTR — outside of Rhinegeist, of course. Lackman, just because I’ve been going there as long as I’ve been coming down here — that's my neighborhood bar and I love it. Queen City Radio, awesome outdoor spot. Mr. Pitiful’s for late-night dancing. And Pleasantry!
You are one of the founding members and top players on the Rhinegeist volleyball team, “Margarita Monday.” Talk about your love for the sport and the team.
Oh man, volleyball is so fun.
So, I put a little team together to play at Fifty West Brewing Company last summer, had a blast, played through the whole summer, into the fall. A crew of us decided we wanted to play indoor, so Dennis [Director of Culture] signed us up for a league at the Pleasant Ridge Recreation Center. Out of the three tiers, he put us in the middle one, which I believe we were all comfortable with. And we got our asses handed to us every week. I think of the 33 total games we played, we won two of them, it was pretty brutal. Always fun, though.
Brought it back to sand volleyball at Fifty West this summer and it’s the best part of my Monday!
Tell us about one of your first days at work…
*laughs* Well, I never told anyone this except former Rhinegeist-er Dan Klemmer.
Had to have been my second or third day at work, I was down on the first floor by myself before the canning line was there. I was carrying boxes of merchandise to the cage and I was wearing jeans and I bent down to pick up a box and I just heard my pants rip. Giant slit down the back of my pants. Thankfully, I had my keys — this is when I would drive the five blocks to work. And my car was conveniently parked right outside, so I just scurried my little way out to the car, hopped in, drove home, changed my jeans, came back, and could not stop laughing the entire day. Dan Klemmer and I were downstairs, he was showing me something because it was my first few days and he was like, “What are you laughing at?” And, of all the people, he’s someone I felt like in my first two days of work I could share this with so I told him and we had a good laugh and then I never really told anyone else until now!
You have been known to “meow” at random times while working. Can you explain that habit?
*laughs* I have no idea where it came from. I think it must just be a nervous tick that I have. Sometimes I’ll just “meow” and won’t realize I’m doing it. Now it’s just kind of funny and other people do it with me!
Do you have a go-to dance move?
I would say no, but the girls in the marketing room would say I like to shoulder shimmy.
No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom — no wait! Not true, that was my second. Before that, Ace of Base.
What’s something about you most people don’t know?
I’ve started making all of my own greeting cards, that’s been fun. I started by learning calligraphy, took a class at the Art Academy. Then I wanted to get into painting a little bit; I was artistic in high school, but really only worked with acrylic paint and wanted to work with watercolors. So Kelley [Apparel Manager] and I took a quick watercolor class together at Fern up in College Hill. I loved learning how to watercolor and it’s fun to sit at home and do that. I do a lot of botanicals and have been into woodland creatures recently — that’s been a fun, little hobby I’ve done on the side.
What do you do when you’re not 'Geisting?
On the weekends, I like taking Chesney on a long walk in the morning. So we’ll go down to the Banks, cross over the Roebling Bridge, walk around Northern Kentucky a little bit. So that’s been a fun weekend habit. I really just like getting out in the city, going to events, trying new places. I love going out to eat and drink, trying new things and hanging with friends.
Talk about your love for board games.
I love board games — all the games, all the time. Settlers of Catan, Risk — those are probably my two favorites. My family plays a lot of board games around the holidays, we also get a little Aggravation in the mix, a little Monopoly. My Mom loves this game Racko because it’s the only one she can win. I love board games.
What’s your favorite sandwich?
I honestly just like a pretty standard deli sandwich. If I had to make a sandwich today, a little oven-roasted turkey sounds good, light mayo, avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese maybe Havarti cheese, toasted on some local bread.
What’s your best dish in the kitchen?
I often go with my aunt’s sausage rigatoni recipe. It’s pretty easy but pretty delicious.
If friends used three words to describe you, what would they be?
Kind, stubborn and fun.
If you could have a dinner party with any four people, who would be at the table?
Ellen Degeneres, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence — and now I’m gonna keep it all female I guess — I’m gonna throw my best friend Sarah into the mix.
What's your favorite TV show?
Recently I was watching the episode where Kramer somehow gets his phone number to be the Moviefone number so he’s just telling everyone the movie times and I think Elaine and George both call him *laughs*. That’s a pretty good one.
Where does the beauty of the brewery lie for you?
I think for me it’s just being in the taproom. I spend most of my working days in the taproom and just seeing the day-to-day and seeing people walk by is awesome. Recently, a cool thing for me was when the zoo brought their penguins here and we didn’t tell our staff and it was this unexpected lunch break for thirty minutes and everybody stopped what they were doing, standing out here. It was a cool moment that we all got to enjoy together.
What are you looking forward to about the future?
I think there are a lot of cool things happening here. so just the endless opportunities and staying along for the ride.