Behind the Bush: Aaron Darling

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Aaron Darling… where do we begin? Aaron started working at Greenbush in early 2013 and we immediately threw him into the gauntlet–80-hour work weeks during our first stint of bottling for distribution, subjecting him to the most intense tap takeovers (Ashley’s Westland‘s 2013 Brewery Throwdowns, natch) and many more things, I’m sure. But at the heart of it all, Aaron’s just a super friendly, generous guy who doesn’t sweat the small stuff–the kind of attitude we all wish we could have. Read on to learn a bit more about Aaron–and if there’s anything we missed, you know where to find him on Thursday nights.

What do you do at Greenbush?  
Well my official title right now is Development Director. I have the cool opportunity to have my hands in a lot things including marketing, community relations, sales, operations, and finances. It’s all pretty rad.

How’d you get involved with the brewery? 
My wife is actually from the teeming metropolis of Sawyer. We were living in Minneapolis for the past ten years and both felt a itch to get closer to family. Scott and I started emailing and talking and 14 months ago the right time came for me to move my fam back to Sawyer to be a part of this crazy adventure.

What time is happy hour for you?  
I like the words of Jimmy Buffet—it’s 12 o’clock somewhere.

You’re on a deserted island and can only have one case of mass-produced domestic beer dropped to you—what do you pick?
If I am on a deserted island, I am probably fishing. So in that case I would have to go with an old fishing standby—Grain Belt Premium.

What’s your favorite non-Greenbush beverage to drink? 
I’m an Arnie Palmer fan.

What’s been your most memorable Greenbush experience thus far?  
Everyday we are making memories, but a few stick out in my mind. My first week here we started bottling. I worked eighty hours on the bottling line that week. I texted my wife on Valentine’s Day and told her that I was going to be a little late; we finished our last skid at 2 a.m.  I also got made fun of for having corporate hands that week. Every day felt like a great accomplishment.

What do your friends and family think about all this madness?  
They all think it’s pretty swell. It’s been cool to have friends visit from Minneapolis and show them all the coolness that is Greenbush.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be Ryne Sandberg and play 2nd base for the Cubs.

If you were a Greenbush beer, which would you be and why?
I would say Postcards from Dongola. My response rate on some text messages might be the same as getting a Postcard from Dongola.

What’s your favorite food?
It’s hard to pick a favorite food, but I have to go with cheese curds. One day we had our kitchen whip up some curds and I was a like a kid in a candy store. Every drive through Wisconsin needs to include a curd stop (and New Glarus for that matter).

Where do you think you and Greenbush will be in 5 years?
Well, in just over a year since I started here, we have started bottling for distribution, expanded the taproom three times, built a patio, put in a full-size kitchen, bought a food truck and we are getting started on our outdoor patio and distribution expansion. I think it’s safe to say we are going to be doing some pretty amazing things.

If you only had one item you could take with you to work, what would it be and why?
After working in the corporate world for ten years, it’s nice to come to work with a hat (preferrably a trucker hat).

What’s the most exotic place you’ve ever visited?
Other than Sawyer, Michigan, I hopped around the Hawaiian islands and it was pretty super. I have some amazing memories and experiences from the island of Kauai.

Chicago or Michigan sports teams (or Indiana if you’re crazy)?
Da Bears and I am going to cheat by saying all Minnesota teams otherwise.

Did you have a favorite brewery before Greenbush opened? If so, what and why? 
Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis. I fell in love with craft beer after spending many a nights hanging out there. If you have never had their Masala Mama and you like beer, you need to make that a priority. Oh, and did I mention they have cheese curds on their menu?

What’s on your night stand?
Inc. Magazine, Reader’s Digest (am I 65?), and a cold glass of agua.

How many beers do you drink in a typical day?
You can’t put typical and Greenbush in the same sentence.

Rhapsody Hero (where you try to pick the WORST song for everyone to enjoy)—what’s your pick?
“Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba seems appropriate.

BONUS QUESTIONS
Describe what it’s like to be a bartender at Greenbush on a Thursday night.
Not to encourage people not to come other nights, but you are really missing out if you don’t come out to GB on Thursday nights. I mean you get to hang with Tosh 3.0, Lumsters, and Kristen. Oh, and did I mention it’s country music night starting at 9 p.m.?

At what age did you perfect your radio voice?
Working mornings at my college radio station, WVOE, helped start it. Making fun of my friend Zach and his stint in Iowa definitely added to the voice. I was in radio for almost seven years, so it seems like a part of me now.

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