Natalie Blair (Packaging)
What do you do at Rhinegeist?
I am a packaging team member, which means I keg, can, bottle and certainly clean a lot!
What’s the packaging team like?
I think the thing that really stands out is that everything is really team-based for us. If one piece of the puzzle isn’t working correctly, then our team machine and chain of process breaks down. It’s really symbiotic. For us it’s about making sure our beer goes out in its best form possible.
Honestly, I love my team, the whole stinking group of lovely weirdos. They’re like all the brothers I never wanted.
What did you have for breakfast?
Red bull and a chocolate cake donut.
If you were a Rhinegeist beer what would you be?
Probably Ink (Imperial Stout), I’m fairly open and layered, and I get better with age.
Layered like an onion or an ogre?
Like a parfait.
What’s your favorite Rhinegeist beer?
My favorite is barrel-aged Bertha (Milk Stout). I’m a dark beer kid, so Ink and T-Rex (Black IPA) also hit the spot. Now you’ve got me rolling. I am a big fan of Ink in all of its variations, and as of late I’ve been drinking a lot of sours. That being the case, Peach Dodo (Gose) is my daily better-than-Gatorade drink.
If friends would use three words to describe you, what would they be?
Loyal, spastic and sensitive.
What do you look forward to doing most every day?
It sounds really silly, but I love the music we play by the canning line and in Kegland. We go through everyone’s Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’ playlists to figure out the new and weird sounds we want to listen to. I also love getting to mess around on the brew deck and figuring out the logistics of the day.
So what kind of music have y’all been bumping?
Well today we did 80’s breakdance, a Skrillex playlist, and ended up throwing in some oldies. And yesterday Rob Gunn (shout out) put on his funk playlist, which was quite delightful.
Do you have a Spirit animal?
A griffin, because I’m allowed to be fictional.
What’s something about you most people don’t know?
I ended up here for grad school, met the love of my life (Ryan Osner, another ‘Geister), and ended up staying here - so I guess you could say I’m an import. A lot of people don’t know that I grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and I’ve lived all over the world. Languages have become a hobby for me, and thus far, I can speak 5 comfortably.
Who comes up with all the funny lines for the bottom of the cans?
We always like to stamp the bottoms of the cans with something new and everybody on the team participates. I was driving into work today and Presidents of the United States of America were on the radio, and we were canning Peach Dodo, so “peaches come from a can” was naturally on today’s run. We put anything from puns to snippets of Wu Tang lyrics on our cans. It really depends on the mood we’re in. They have to be six words or less, so it’s hard to be witty or make much sense in such a small space!
Do you sing in the shower?
Oh, all the time.
What are you belting out these days?
I used to be a competitive singer. Anything from opera to gospel - I’ll sing it all. I’m a huge karaoke fan and my go-to is Al Green, but my end all be all of karaoke songs is ‘Suspicious Minds,’ the Elvis version.
Do you have a favorite part about working on the packaging team?
Oh god, there’s so much. The thing I love most about this industry is learning how much goes into the beer. It’s a blend of art and science, a little bit of mystery mixed with magic, sweat, and some occasional tears. Best of all, it’s a moving puzzle. I also love the physicality of my job. I was an architect for a while and I just wasn’t built for a desk job. Now I get to work out with beer everyday, so who needs a gym membership?
Where does the beauty of the brewery lie for you?
The people. I’ve been here a year and a few months, but I’ve been helping out here for much longer than that — there is something very tangibly special about this place. It’s like lightning in a bottle. The mix of people and stories and backgrounds, and the fact that we get to play with beer for a living; it’s incredible. I have never loved my job before and I can get emotional about it. I absolutely love it here.
Do you have a nickname?
Murph, a la Murphy’s law. Although today I have had a lot of different ones thrown my way: Sugar Britches, Murphy, Muffin, Pooky, Puddin’, Tiger and Kitten. Those all happened within a 3 hour chunk today.
What’s the new canning machine like?
It’s awesome. It still has its issues, as anything with that many moving pieces and parts, but it’s mesmerizing. I feel like I’m in an episode of ‘How It’s Made’ every single day.
What’s your best dish in the kitchen?
I have two. The first is lasagna. When I was living in Rome I traded the owner a lovely little Trattoria English lessons for cooking lessons. The second is steak, mascarpone mashed potatoes and asparagus. I also love to bake pies.
If there was a newspaper article about you in the paper, what would the headline likely be?
Random Noisy Woman Makes Ass of Herself in Quiet Situation