Eric McKay is the director of marketing for the L. Knife & Son Companies, a family owned and operated beer distributor with a rich history, time tested ideals, and a progressive attitude toward the future of beverage wholesaling.
Prior to joining L. Knife, Eric worked as a brewer's apprentice at a small brewery in North Carolina while finishing college, and spent a short stint, post graduation, as an equity trader before returning to his industry of passion.
Since joining L. Knife in 2003, Eric has worked as a sales representative, a sales supervisor, and as the Manhattan area on-premise manager for Union Beer Distributors, L. Knife’s Brooklyn-based distributor. In his current position, Eric has had the opportunity to create GreatBrewers.com, to bring the BeerCloud concept to life, and to work as the beer educator for L. Knife's 480 person sales team.
In his free time, Eric is a triathlete and completed Ironman USA in 2006. He is also a Great American Beer Festival judge, a Certified Cicerone™, a BJCP beer judge, and a home brewer. Eric has been a past speaker at The Beverage Forum, at Villanova University's School of Business, at the Craft Brewers Conference, and at the National Beer Wholesalers Association convention. A graduate of Davidson College, Eric holds an MBA from Fordham University, and lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and daughter.
The mission of Civilization of Beer is to promote, through education and appreciation, the responsible enjoyment of high quality beer in the context of our rapidly changing culinary landscape.
The first goal of Civilization of Beer is to close the gap between beer studies and wine studies in the professional culinary community and return beer to its proper place at the American table.
The company is enjoying robust expansion throughout the US and is finding new ways for professionals to learn the beer trade.
Shane C. Welch was born and raised in the Midwest. The son of a carpenter and do-it-yourself Mother, Shane pined for flavorful beer while in college and realized the only way to constantly guarantee a supply of good beer was to make it yourself. After several test batches that met the approval of friends and family, Shane had constructed a fully functioning mini-brewery in his basement and began to experimentally homebrew with dozens of different recipes. It was at this point in time Shane realized beer was a creative, social beverage - and if made well and with care, it had the power to bring people together and also be an avenue for creativity and inspiration. His homebrewing work eventually caught the eye of Dean Coffey, the Head Brewer at the Angelic Brewing Company, and Dean later hired Shane as an apprentice. Under Dean's guidance and leadership, Shane honed his homebrewing skills on a more industrial level. After three years of apprenticeship at the Angelic Brewing Company, Shane set off for a backpacking trip around the world. It was at this point in time Shane began to see the world's dynamic and great cultures through a different lens. It was during this journey the inspired seeds for SIXPOINT CRAFT ALES were sewn. Five years and over 1000 individual batches after he first started homebrewing, SIXPOINT CRAFT ALES was founded.
Shane founded Sixpoint Craft Ales within an 800 square foot garage space in Brooklyn, New York. A draft-only brewery since inception, Sixpoint started to devise, make, sell and deliver all of its beer in 2005. It at first proved to be a daunting and insurmountable task - making the beer in the morning, doing the sales in the afternoon, and delivering beer from the Sixpoint conversion van at night. But the local, loyal community in Brooklyn rose up to support the fledgling company - as well as dedicated craft beer lovers in the Northeast, and they were committed to the cause. Then, several forward-thinking gentlemen at Union Beer Distributors decided to take a chance on this unknown brewery making beer out of a garage, and a distribution agreement was signed between the two.
Sixpoint's grassroots, fundamental approach to brewing and emphasis on relationships and creativity is what ultimately provides the source of inspiration for Shane.
Prior to working at Union Beer, Tommy took the advice of “do what you know” and was collecting paychecks from some of the most hated men in sports: George Steinbrenner, Don King, & Jim Dolan.
Since being hired as a Sales Representative at Union Beer in October of 2003, Tommy has seen a lot & has learned even more. After starting out in delis in Coney Island & Brighton Beach, he was given the gargantuan task of taking Union’s new craft beer portfolio to the better beer-uneducated masses of New York City. Being one of those uneducated masses himself, he had little idea what was in store for him. What started out on & off premise in Queens has led him to plant Union Beer’s flag in Staten Island, The Bronx, Westchester, & Long Island. Tommy is currently the on-premise sales representative for Queens. He is also currently on his 3rd car since joining the company.
Tommy’s favorite beer is whichever one is in his hand at the time.
His favorite title given to him is Beer Consigliere.
When he’s not working (yes it happens), Tommy can most likely be found at a sporting event, a concert, or sleeping.
Along with her husband, Don Feinberg, Wendy Littlefield is co-founder of Vanberg & DeWulf. VBDW imports beers made by independent, family-owned breweries in Beligium and French Flanders. Wendy and Don lived in Belgium after college and fell in love with the complex, quirky and entirely original flavors of Belgian beers. Upon returning to the US in 1982, they began importing some of there favorites. In 1996 they opened Ommegang, the first brewery in America dedicated to bottle-conditioned, cork-finished Belgian style beer.
Wendy and Don blog from Chicago, Cooperstown, NY and Belgium and continue to enjoy the exploration of good beer and food! See more about their beers at www.belgianexperts.com.