Student Spotlight: Logan Jager
Logan Jager wasn’t always a brewer. He actually started his career in finance. But desiring to do something new that would have a positive impact on his community, he heard the call of brewing and answered. He is the founder and head brewer of Western Flyer Brewing, a brewery in planning, and a graduate of the Master Brewers Certificate Program.
What was it that initially drew you to brewing beer?
I was originally drawn to brewing beer for the simple magic of it. It’s an ancient practice with relatively basic principles, but you can spend a lifetime trying to master it. For me, I love the continuous improvement aspect of being a brewer. I also love how beer is very social. Brewing beer is even more so; all along the process I’m thinking about making something tasty to share.
When did you realize it was something you wanted to do as a career?
I started my career in finance working for a global bank. It was fast paced and exciting, but I found that after a time, I wasn’t learning. Additionally, none of the work I did had a direct impact on my local community. I wanted to have a deeper relationship with the place I live. For me, my passion for craft beer was the vehicle to make that happen. I’m fascinated by beer as a community builder. Breweries are awesome third spaces and offer an experience that’s fundamentally different and enjoyable.
What was one of the biggest things you took away from your experience in the Master Brewers Certificate Program?
The Master Brewers Certificate Program is an amazing program because it has the rare combination of breadth and depth. For people looking to start their own business (like me), it allows you to have exposure across all aspects of the industry. Conversely, if you are interested in specific roles, such as brewing or packaging, it has the depth you need to develop granular knowledge. The professors are extremely knowledgeable in their specific domains and are great facilitators along your learning journey.
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How have you been able to apply what you learned in the program as you’ve begun the process to opening your own brewery?
I use my program experience every day. The Master Brewers Certificate Program gave me a solid foundation that helps me make decisions every step of the way. For instance, this month I’ve worked on branding and art direction, financial planning, legal and trademark strategy, brewhouse design, cellar configuration and packaging line design, just to name a few. Rather than being a passive consumer of “advice” from salespeople or equipment suppliers, I’ve been able to proactively dictate my own requirements to build the brewery I know will succeed in my community.
Do you think the skills taught in the Master Brewers Certificate Program would be good for people who already work in the industry?
Absolutely. Most people start at the bottom in this industry and learn on the job from others around them. While a hands-on environment is great, your knowledge is only as good as your instructor. The Master Brewers program exposes you to world-class subject matter experts that demystify complex topics and equip you with the analytical tools to work through technical challenges that you might face on the job. If you want to perform at the highest level in the industry, you need a professional education.