Mikey Bourqaurdez, fondly known as Mikey B, brings over a decade of experience to his brewer role at Blackbird Brewery. His journey began with a part time job at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, VA while he was in college. He started on the bottling line and worked his way up to a full-time position on the packaging team. After a brief stint in sales, Mikey returned to his true love, the back of the house, but this time as a cellarman. For those of you not in the brewing industry, cellarmen process ingredients for flavoring beer such as dry hopping and fruit additions. They sanitize fermenters, pitch yeast, monitor yeast drops, and coordinate with the team to ensure the brewery production schedule is met.
After five years at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Mikey left Richmond for Raleigh and landed at Trophy Brewing, where he really cut his teeth as a brewer. After a great journey at Trophy, he headed to R&D, where he met Ian in 2019. After some soul searching, he realized it was time to leave the brewing industry in 2021.
Remedy for Brewer Burnout
“Anything you love, over time, it can wear you down…Listen to your body and listen to your mental health… just step back for a minute and take a break.”
While Mikey was on hiatus from the brewing industry, he worked at Pharmacy Bottle + Beverage in Cary as the buying manager/bartender. Ian stayed in touch with Mikey and when he and Harmony were ready, invited him to join the Blackbird Brewery Team. Now that Mikey calls Blackbird Brewery home, it is clear to see he loves being back in the brewing industry. When asked his favorite part of working with the BBB team, he ultimately chose the flexibility in the brewing schedule. He enjoys the daily hustle but appreciates that they’ll also spend days dedicated to new techniques, processes, and ingredients.
Mikey’s Advice for Future Brewers
- Keep an open mind, learn as much as you can.
- Take time to learn from the people around you.
- Know your limits: don’t say yes to everything.
- Remember you don’t know it all. Always continue to learn.
- Don’t forget to have fun!
- Have hobbies outside of beer that invigorate you.
As we raise a glass to Mikey B, we’ll leave you with these parting words of wisdom from the man himself, “The process can always change…You can always tweak a recipe and make it that much better. But don’t over-obsess about it either.”