People Behind the Pint: Mark Richards

Meet Mark, a (self-proclaimed) big-time extrovert, Judas Priest superfan, and bearded hero. If you’ve stopped in Land-Grant before, you have probably crossed paths with Mark, shared an “Oh sure” and a pint, and become life-long friends. And, you can thank Mark, our Director of Operations, for keeping the beer in your glass, on the shelf, and in your fridge! That’s a truuuuuuuue story!

Name: Mark Richards
Position: Director of Operations

How long have you been at Land-Grant?
3 years in January! I started just after Land-Grant opened when outside sales were enough to need someone driving keg distribution and helping out in the brewery. As we have grown as a company, I have had the opportunity to wear many hats – some of which I still have on! It has been very exciting being a part of our rapid growth in the past 3 years. I consider everyone I have the pleasure of working with a friend. Being a part of the local brewing community I love has been a dream come true.

What is it you do here?
I get to do a little bit of everything from managing day to day operations in the brewery and distribution logistics to taking care of our customers and stadium accounts. There is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want but I like to stay busy and make any contribution needed for our business. I enjoy working with others and get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing others within our company succeed.

We are headed into the holiday season, which means holiday beers! What brew do you look forward to this time of year?
I think it’s awesome that our “holiday seasonal” is an oatmeal stout with raisins. Beard Crumbs Oatmeal Raisin Stout is a fantastic beer and has gathered quite a following. Christmas beers jam packed with mulling spices, ginger, cinnamon and the like have become a turnoff to me (and a lot of craft beer consumers), so Beard Crumbs is a perfect choice. It’s an all-around great oatmeal stout with a touch of sweetness from the raisins.
 
My taste interests are predominantly driven by the time of year. As winter solstice approaches, shorter and darker days call for darker beers and styles like doppelbocks, porters and stouts. One of my favorites I look forward to is our Deep Search Baltic Porter. Baltic Porters were always a favorite of mine to brew during my homebrewing days. One version I brewed with my homebrewing friends, A.J. Zanyk and Hans Gorsuch, was a split 15-gallon batch fermented by different yeasts–it was awarded Best In Show at the Ohio State Fair in 2001!

Here at LG, we clearly take our beards very seriously. What qualities do you look for in a beard?
Aside from the benefit that it sure beats shaving, a full beard is my choice.

What is your favorite day of the week at the brewery?
Beer release days bring out a lot of taproom regulars and friends of both myself and the brewery. It is a lot of fun seeing people come out and enjoy the products we work so hard to produce. There’s nothing better than visiting with others over a pint and discussing what you find interesting about what you are tasting.

As far as day of the week goes, I really enjoy Monday night in our taproom during our 10-week Land-Grant Euchre League. Euchre will be coming up in January, which will be here before we know it!

I’m a people person–big time–and most recently our Third Anniversary Party was an absolute blast. It was great to see all the hard work, planning, and organizing pay off, and to enjoy the party with our staff, customers and friends. It’s been an extrovert’s delight each year and I love seeing everyone having such a good time. It is hard with such a large turnout to spend enough quality time with everyone, but I sure try.

Want to catch up on our previous ‘People behind the Pint’ entries? You can do just that right here.