Each month we sit down with a long-time Geister. Our latest chat is with Megan Juenger, miniature architect and events manager extraordinaire.
What is your spirit animal?
A Cheshire Cat. I’m a bit strange and always chatty. Mischievous. I definitely have the laugh to go along with it.
What do you do here?
I’m a private events manager. My focus is primarily wedding coordinating and client/guest experience. I do other things as needed, but what I enjoy focusing on is weddings. Customer service and being there for my people, for my couples. There are so many logistical and small details that go into planning a wedding. I answer a lot of questions leading up to the day, meet with our couples to build a timeline, run rehearsals and help make it all come together on the day of.
How long have you been here?
It’ll be four years in September.
And how’d you end up here?
I had recently left my job as a bar manager at a local restaurant. There was a job posting for bar staff in Rhinegeist’s new private event spaces, and as soon as I came to the interview, Chelsy [Kokenge, Director of Private Events] told me it was going to be a lot of work. Within that first year, my position changed from bar staff to bar manager and again to an events manager. It all happened pretty quickly. We had just opened–we hadn’t even hosted an event when I was hired–we had no idea what to expect.
When did weddings start?
They started that year actually. We had booked weddings when the space wasn’t even complete. We hosted our first event on September 17, 2015 and hosted a wedding that following Saturday.
How would you describe the changes this place has seen over the years?
In a lot of ways the brewery still feels the same as my first day here that’s what keeps me coming back.
We are continually developing and expanding our systems and procedures. We are not only producing kick ass beer but improving our incredible events throughout the brewery, providing our people greater opportunities and support, and giving back to our community.
We also have new open concept offices and a break room which allows people from different departments to mix and mingle. I’ve made friends throughout the brewery I probably would not have ran into a few years ago.
What challenges get thrown your way?
We will plan and execute ~300 events this year. At these events there are up to 250 people we coordinate and manage in addition to our staff members. The challenge is pretty much baked into the job description.
Is there a piece of apparel you wear the most?
The Panther shirt’s been one of my favorites. It’s laid back, it’s black.
Ready for a rapid-fire question round?
Let’s do it.
Do you have a famous look alike?
No famous look alike but I do have one of those faces that make people feel like they have met or seen you before. People are always asking me if I went to school somewhere or worked wherever.
Someone (Sarah) in our department has a knack for pushing nicknames on people whether they want them or not. I got The Amazin’ Mage-an or Mage for short. I lucked out; ask Meat Pants or Gilly Gerdes.
None that are appropriate to be published.
What’d you have for breakfast? Did you have breakfast?
Do you have a favorite Rhinegeist beer?
Uncle’s always going to be a favorite for me. It’s a great beer and it’s been with the brewery since day one. We encounter a lot of guests in the private event spaces that would never visit a craft brewery unless it was mandatory for an event. I love convincing non-craft beer drinkers to try Uncle and seeing how surprised they are to enjoy a dark colored beer with malt flavors. I was a huge Dry Hop cider fan so I drink Swizzle and all of the experimental ciders that come across the brewery.
If you were a Rhinegeist beer, what would you be?
If we are talking cans, Saber Tooth Tiger because the can kicks ass and it is packed with flavor. People wait in line for it.
If I were a keg of Rhinegeist beer, I’d be Hugh. The kegs are stored upside down until they are ready to be tapped because you need to re-suspend the yeast (typically at the busiest point of the event) then after you flip a full keg, the first few beers you pour are always a bit foamy. It’s a really great beer but it makes you go through a little extra trouble. I find that surprisingly relatable.
Do you have a go-to Cincinnati food recommendation?
Angilo’s Pizza in Madisonville has a great outdoor space where you can enjoy drinks and food. Cheap drinks, great bar food. Dutch’s in Hyde Park also has an awesome outdoor space and a huge drink selection but with an upscale vibe.
Are you from Cincinnati originally? If not, where’d you grow up?
I’m an Army brat so my younger years were all over the place. The majority of my adolescent years were spent in Marietta, Ohio which is near Athens. After high school, I chose to attend OU with about half of my graduating class. I was struggling to find what I wanted to do and was bored. My best friend had recently moved to Cincinnati, so I transferred and really liked it. I finished out my English degree at UC and here I am.
What do you get up to outside of the Geist?
I’m an avid reader. I’m also a Lego model builder. They have adult Lego Architecture models of The Great Wall of China, Big Ben, The Louvre, etc. I do have the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts set too, though. I have just recently moved to metal model sets, which are the next step up in the model building world. I enjoy the time dedication it takes.
I have two dogs, Harley Quinn and Lena, an Australian Shepherd Mutt and a Pit Bull Mutt, both rescues. Lots of trips to the dog park. Also lots of gardening. My husband and I own a Tudor home built in 1920, so there is always a project. It’s a lot of work (mostly for my husband), definitely a labor of love.
Is there any part of the brewery world you think most people don’t know about?
The amount of research, brainstorming and love that goes into creating a beer. There’s a vast amount of tweaks and minutiae that go into creating something that is different. I think that’s something that is under-appreciated.
Is there a particularly memorable event that you’ve coordinated?
A Jurassic Park themed wedding.