Women in Beer: Rachel Fischer, COO at Kilowatt Brewing
Anyone who has had the opportunity to meet Rachel Fischer, COO of Kilowatt Brewing, knows how passionate she is about the craft. While her official title is Chief Operating Officer, it’s not uncommon that you will find Rachel helping out in all aspects of the brewery. From handling the financials, to creating recipes for the ridiculously awesome beers they make, to working behind the bar. There really is nothing she won’t do to help her team and the brewery thrive.
We’re fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from Rachel’s extensive brewing knowledge over the past two years. We have witnessed her sharing her love of beer with her team and customers. She is definitely helping lead the way in showing that women can have just as much knowledge and passion for beer as men.
Get to know Rachel, hear who she would love to collaborate with, and what’s next for Kilowatt in her interview with us below.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you help support the brewery.
I am a Co-Founder of the brewery and the Chief Operating Officer (COO). We are a small brewery, so I handle a wide variety of responsibilities for the brewery ranging from the not so fun reporting and financial management to events, recipe development, and production scheduling.
How did you get started / what interested you about the brewing industry initially?
I first fell in love with craft beer back in 1998, when I was working in Wyoming during the summers off from college. Growing up in a small town in Ohio, there were not a lot of options when it came to craft beer. I ordered a Moose Drool after my shift at a local restaurant in Teton Village, WY and was blown away by the taste and feel. Needless to say, my days of drinking Natty Ice and Coors Light were over. Before moving to San Diego 10 years ago, I lived in Seattle and had great access to local craft beer there, which allowed me to develop and refine my palate.Having a business background, I helped write the business plan for Kilowatt Brewing and initially only planned on having a small supporting role for the brewery. However, as we got closer to opening in early 2014, we realized that we needed more assistance on the operation/management side. I wanted to know the ins and outs of the industry, so I asked one of our Co-Founders, Chris Calva, to teach me how to brew on our pilot system. I made it a personal mission to learn as much as I could about grain, hops, and the overall brewing process.The first recipe I developed and brewed a month before opening, was our Coconut Chai Porter. I soon discovered developing recipes and experimenting with when and when not to add various adjunct ingredients to beer was really fun. Recipe development is probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of my position. Co-owner Steve Kozyk and I love experimenting with unique ingredients and combinations to keep Kilowatt’s recipe vault unique and always evolving.
Anything exciting coming up with Kilowatt that you can share with us?
With our 2 Year Anniversary and Grand Opening of the Ocean Beach Tasting room just occurring last month, we have had a busy year. However, we are just getting started! Customers can look forward to a refreshed look for our Kearny Mesa Tasting Room by late May/early June. This will include some new lighting, furnishings, decor, and artwork from local artists. Following the Kearny Mesa Refresh, we will focus on expanding the size of our brew house to allow us to more efficiently accommodate our demand.We also have some great events coming up at our Kearny Mesa location including Trivia Nights every Wednesday, a Beer to the Rescue Charity Event on May 12th featuring our Hoppy Saison brewed with white fir needles and lemon grass, a Beer and Macaron Pairing with Nomad Donuts on May 20th, and a Beer & Cheese Pairing on June 10th.
On you days away from Kilowatt, what type of activities do you indulge in?
Although, I don’t get to spend too much time away from the brewery, when I do get some time off I enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. Of course, I also enjoy conducting market research which luckily involves craft beer drinking!
What style of beer do you enjoying drinking the most?
That is a really tough question because I really do truly enjoy most styles of beer. If I were stranded on a warm desert island and only had one beer choice, I would probably want an IPA with a lot of citrus and tropical hop notes. However, if I were stranded in a cabin in the mountains, I would reach for a nice robust Barrel Aged Imperial Stout or Belgian Strong.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the future, who would it be and why?
The very definition of collaboration is working with others. With so many great breweries in San Diego and Southern California, we would love to collaborate with many of them. Two of my very favorite breweries are Lost Abbey and The Bruery. They both focus on Belgian-style and barrel aged beers, but like to mix it up with non-traditional ingredients. I would jump at the chance to collaborate with either one of them.
What advice would you give women who want to break into the craft beer industry?
The craft beer industry is still a very male dominated field. However, it is changing as more and more women enter the industry. My advice to women is to embrace the industry from within, work hard, collaborate with others, and learn as much as you can. When people think of craft beer, they picture the bearded brewer. We want to change that image. With experience and knowledge, we soon will.