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Marc Worona: the Exit Interview

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8/8/05: Stoudt's brewer Marc Worona calls it quits after ten years: 

I got a brief e-mail from the head brewer at Stoudt's, Marc Worona on Saturday (8/6): "I want to let you know that I resigned from Stoudt's.  My last day will be August 26th.  My new job is with Yakima Chief Inc (hops).  I am their new Director of Craft Brewing Sales for the Western United States and Rocky Mountains.  I am leaving on the best of terms with Carol and Ed, and I plan on stopping by periodically when I am in PA.  I will be moving back to Eugene, OR by March 2006.  Give me a call I'd like to chat." Well, naturally, I called. Actually, Marc called me, but I was up to my elbows in fixing the flapper valve on our downstairs toilet, so after I got the sucker slapped in there, I called him back. 

Lew: You're headed out West... You're from around here, aren't you? So you're not going home.

Marc: I'm going to what feels like home, that big hole in my heart. My wife and I love it out there, we really enjoyed it out there. 

Lew: This is not a brewing job, but you're still in the business, right?

Marc:  Right. It's exciting to still be in the industry, still seeing all the people. Yakima Chief were looking for someone with seven years of brewing experience. They wanted the service of someone who could be a real help to the people in the brewhouses. It's about quality of service. The pricing is fair, it's a co-op for the growers. But the pricing is good; when I went to order hops this year, Yakima Chief came out ahead. I've always been happy with their quality and prices, so I had no hesitation about joining up with them. 

Lew: Were you looking for a job, looking to get out? 

Marc: for any good opportunity that came up out there. I saw this ad, replied, and they were excited about my background, my association with Master Brewers (Association of the Americas), and my time in the West. Everyone's going to be happy.

Lew: You said you were leaving on good terms with the Stoudt's.

Marc: I told Carol and Ed I looked forward to seeing them at the Craft Brewers Conference in Seattle next year and at GABF this year. They understand, you can't blame anyone for trying to better their situation. We had the Stoudt's Microfest Saturday night, and had a lot of chances to hang out, we were hugging, all that. I would never have jeopardized a ten year relationship. The guys here are capable and willing and eager to continue with what we started. It's worked well, it's all good.

Lew: That's a question that's on everyone's mind: will a new head brewer be hired to replace you, and if there is, who is it?

Marc: My last day here will be August 29th. Brett (Kintzer) and John (Matson) are going to split my duties, and they'll be hiring a new assistant brewer/cellarman. We're pretty much done with the brewhouse expansion. We've been brewing almost 7 days a week the last three months. It's all successful. I have a few loose ends. And Stoudt's is a Yakima Chief customer, and it's all about customer service!

Lew: So...you're house-hunting in Eugene. When do you start?

Marc: My position with Yakima Chief starts 9/1. I'll be out in Yakima during hop harvest, then going to GABF; in Oct. I'll be at the MBAA National meeting. But I'll still be living here in Adamstown, getting ready to move, getting ready to take over the job. I'll be familiarizing myself with the customer list. They'd like me to leave for out there by March. I'm looking forward to living in Eugene. My old professors are still there, the old homebrew shop is still there, a lot of old friends are still there. I stopped at McMenamin's Edgefield last month for the Glen Falconer memorial golf tournament, saw a lot of old friends there, and they all said, what are you doing here? I hadn't had the interview yet, so I was just 'on vacation.' It'll be good.

Lew: Well, we'll be sorry to see you go, but good luck to you, Marc.

Marc: Thanks. It's ten years. Time to move on.

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Revised: August 09, 2005