Meet Dwight & his Bottling Line

ERRANT DWIGIT!!!Like many breweries in the country, the first foot in our door is a spot on the bottling line, packing cases, building pallets, and moving as fast as you can. These guys start at 7am most days, live off of a variety of snacks that’d put a movie theater to shame, and they don’t stop moving until the day’s allotment of cases are safely in the cold box. In recognition of these guys, we’re featuring their fearless leader, Dwight (“Dwig-it”) Peterson. There’s a lot of characters here at Drake’s… it’s one of the things that makes the dirty, wet, physical job of brewing a little easier for everyone, and Dwight’s no exception.

In the summer of 2012, Drake’s got a brand-new, state-of-the-art bottling line. It meant we could take better care of our beer than ever before, but it also meant we needed someone to figure out & run the damn thing. It works great, until it doesn’t- it’s just the reality of such a complicated machine. Therefore, we knew we’d need a full-time person who could learn this thing inside & out, and why not the dreadheaded guy who’d been helping us bottle on our old line for a few months?

It wasn’t Dwight’s first foray into beer. He’d been a homebrewer for years beforehand, and he also did a stint at Dying Vines, helping out with everything from kegging to deliveries. He was looking at getting back into the beer industry in a more official way, and so he found his way into a job on our bottling line.

We asked, “Why Drake’s?” His answer, like many other of our employees, was “well, there’s a bunch of cool people here, plus I get free beer.” (As much as we’d all like to pretend that we’re all better than that, it’s a perk that rarely goes unused.) “I’d also worked a desk job for a while, but it wasn’t for me. I like to be moving around & using my hands.”

At this point, Dwight’s a pro, guiding a team of usually five people through bottling day. He was the first on the bottling line to hand pack cases at full speed (5,000 bottles per hour), and the feat is now referred to as “Dwighting” by the brew staff. It is common practice to test the mettle of the noobs by seeing if they succeed at “Dwighting.”

DwightPackagingWe like to have our fun, but it’s good to know that even when something catches fire (usually figuratively), Dwight’s all over it. Bottling is usually a five- or six-person job, but when it gets down to it, Dwight and his boss-slash-packaging-manager Mike Pawlicki can get it done with just the two of them.

Thankfully, that’s a rarity. Even with all the chaos of a bottling line, under Dwight’s watch we’ve been able to churn out thousands of barrels of beer from this line for the past two and a half years. Not just enough for the Bay Area. In fact, between this bottling line and our draft kegs, we’ve been able to make some pretty big pushes into new and growing markets, a trend we expect to continue for some time.

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