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5 Questions with Student Michael Spikes: Looking for a Competitive Edge in Craft Beer Sales

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Photo: Alan Levine/Flickr

By Tera Dacek

Savannah, Georgia, resident Michael Spikes chose the military route and joined the Air National Guard after high school. He is still in the guard and is also currently working for Draft Beer Services of Atlanta cleaning and maintaining lines in the Savannah area, both very important jobs.

How did you hear about the Business of Craft Beer (BoCB) Program, and what made you decide to apply?

I was looking online for brewing schools at one point, and an ad popped up for the UVM Business of Craft Beer Program. I decided to enroll because I know I want the next step in my career to be in sales. The current job market is rough, so the more I know, the better off I will be. Initially I will be taking the sales track, with a plan to eventually take all three tracks back to back. I want to learn all aspects of the beer industry.

How did you get your start in the beer industry?

Michael Spikes and his family

I started in the craft beer industry with Savannah Distributing in December 2012 as an IT specialist with a love for craft beer. Since being in the industry I have fallen more in love with the craft beer side of the industry versus the IT world.

What is most exciting about the craft beer industry to you?

The most exciting thing is the taste of craft beer. There is nothing else in the world like it, and with all the breweries popping up with new ideas, styles, and experimental beers, there isn’t an end or limitation to the possibilities.

What do you think is the biggest opportunity for craft beer, and what do you want your role to be?

The biggest opportunity for craft beer is to show people that they do not have to settle for the same thing. Life becomes so routine most of the time that even just a taste of a new craft beer can change the way you see things. My role is to share my love of something wonderful by helping people find their love of something wonderful, and what’s more wonderful than craft beer?

What do you hope to gain from the BoCB professional certificate?

My goal with the program is first to obtain a sales job with a quality craft brewery to advance my knowledge of the craft beer world. My ultimate goal is to own my own world-class craft brewery. It’s just a matter of time and knowledge, and knowledge takes time.

Business of Beer

Tera Dacek is a consultant and freelance writer. She most recently worked as Marketing Manager for Alchemy and Science. When she unplugs, she can be found at her local mountain or one of the many wonderful breweries in her home state of Vermont.