Baxter Brewing Co.’s new president Jenn Lever inside the Lewiston brewery on a recent afternoon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Auburn native Jenn Lever became president of Baxter Brewing Co. this fall, taking over from founder Luke Livingston.

She’s been involved with Baxter since 2017, is already at work setting goals for the company and has a few ideas on how to spend your Thursday night.

Name: Jenn Lever

Age: 33

Lives: South Portland

What brought you to the beer industry? And to Baxter? I began consulting for Baxter, initially focusing on improvements and cost savings in process and procurement. When the director of brewing operations moved on from Baxter, I was asked to step into the director of operations role and we sought a director of brewing to fulfill the brewing side of the business.

In November 2018, I started covering for our southern Maine sales rep in addition to the director of operations role and after fulfilling this role in the spring, I worked tirelessly with our sales manager to revitalize our go-to-market strategy and evaluate our offerings. When the decision to have me take the role as president was presented to me, it felt like a natural next step. I was so enthusiastic about what was possible for the brand and for the team and felt privileged to help be the one to get us there. I could not be more excited for our next steps as a brand and as a team.

What is day-to-day like? To be honest, the most unanticipated part of the president role is the interviews! When I considered how I would be spending my time, I thought a lot about what each segment or individual needed within departments. Our themes for the coming year will be strategy and accountability. As the day-to-day fires are presented, I keep trying to keep in mind how does each decision relate to our overall goals? How do we make the most of anything unexpected and put process in place to ensure our next steps forward?

Are you pulling weekly taste samples? Back in production smelling hops? How hands-on is the president in the brewing process? As anyone in brewing — and manufacturing for that matter — would tell you, each day is different. I have certain days of the week when I am trying to strictly keep to particular team meetings, focus groups, strategy, process, etc. Life happens, opportunities arise and it is important to be nimble. There are times of year where sales strategy, hops selection, or production planning take the forefront, but no matter what month or time of day I work hard to be there for the team and to be transparent about what else we have going on.

What is one of the challenges for the industry right now? There is an abundance of great beer being made, with an ever-growing list of options for the consumer and restaurant owners. One of our many challenges resides in the need to stay true to who we are and authentic in our message, while also finding ways to differentiate ourselves among the selection. We have been so busy being busy over the last two years that we have left little time to communicate to the world what we have been up to. We plan to change that in the year to come!

Some of the bright spots? This is still an industry that celebrates hard work, creativity, personality and collaboration — all four of which we have in abundance!

Baxter Brewing Co.’s new president Jenn Lever inside the Lewiston brewery. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Have you started to set any goals for the company? Of course! We are still very much in the process of setting these goals. These are not items, tasks or accomplishments that I am determining and dictating to the team. Together we are evaluating where we currently are, looking where we can improve and taking steps together to determine what is possible. There is nothing more important to me than engaging the team around what their goals are. They are all better at their jobs than I am or could be. With the input of everyone we are setting our sights high and measuring our efforts!

It’s 8 o’clock on a Thursday night and it’s been a long day. You walk into The Pub and order . . . My favorite limited option at the time! For the past month or so it has been the First Rise Saison, a beer we made for an event at Wolfe‘s Neck Farm, and has now transitioned to Coffee Dunkel. Knowing how well and how quickly our Innuendo is selling, for the short time we have it I always have to get a small pour of this as well.

What do you do for fun when you’re not at the brewery? I love to spin, workout, play softball, snowboard, work on my house, landscape and read.


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