Brewery Bio – Chuck Nowicki: Aggie Beer Salesman of the West

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Chuck Nowicki, Sales and Marketing Director for Grand Teton Brewing

An Aggie walks into a bar with a pig under his arm. The bartender says, “Where’d you get that?” The pig says, “I won him in a raffle.”

How does a Texas A&M Aggie find his way to Victor, Idaho and Grand Teton Brewing?Chuck Nowicki, our National Sales and Marketing Director for Grand Teton Brewing and a 1995 graduate of A&M, decided to “check out” Jackson, Wyoming in early 2005. While there, he saw an ad for a beer salesman in the Jackson Hole Daily, drove over Teton Pass to be interviewed by Charlie Otto and Rob Mullin (our COO and Brewmaster), and “the rest is history”.

Armed with an honor’s degree in electrical engineering, Chuck and his wife, Virginia (also an A&M grad), moved to California in 1995 to start their careers.  Chuck became a computer chip salesman for a semi-conductor company and spent the next nine years in both Silicon Valley and Los Angeles advancing his career in sales and living “the good life”.  Yet Chuck and Virginia became increasingly unhappy with the quality of life in LA.   Chuck resigned his job for ethical reasons and then spent five months selling health insurance. Chuck and Virginia decided to relocate with their son, Calvin, to a more environmentally pleasing area of the U.S.  They chose Jackson, Wyoming for what it had to offer:  clean air, beautiful mountains, skiing, hunting, fishing, great schools, and entertainment.

Chuck started his sales job with Grand Teton Brewing in May, 2005 and remembers coming to the brewery wearing his “fancy shirt and pants” and driving his BMW sedan (leftovers from living in LA).  He soon adapted to the casual lifestyle of Teton Valley.  His sales expertise, however, was anything but casual.   He’s taken skills learned in the high stress job of selling semi conductors and applied them to selling beer for Grand Teton Brewing.  He’s always been interested in “good beer”, not “yellow fizzy stuff”, and even installed a tap system in his house in the late 90’s.  In simple words, Chuck has a knack for selling beer.  When asked why he likes being a beer salesman, Chuck responded, “Craft beer is a fun product and no one gets upset when you bring them a free sample.”

Chuck’s position with Grand Teton Brewing has changed over the past seven years.  In 2005, he took over sales territories in Montana, Idaho, Utah and Jackson Hole while Charlie Otto held on to Wyoming and Yellowstone Park.  With no marketing budget at that time, he tried to expand to other states by “begging distributors to take us on.”  Chuck helped Charlie Otto bring Grand Teton beer into Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Minnesota, Arizona, Kansas and Missouri.

Chuck also designed labels including the original Double Vision Doppelbock, XX Bitch Creek, Bonewarmer, Howling Wolf and Sheepeater, all in Liter bottles, as well as Au Naturale.  He’s probably best known for developing the current Lost Continent label and it’s slogan, “Get Lost”; as well as the Cellar Reserve Slogan, “Beer Fantasy, Brewed to Reality.”

After the brewery ownership changed in March 2009, Chuck became National Sales Manager.  Currently, he oversees two more salesman headquartered in California and the Midwest, manages  sales projections for the year, develops marketing materials with the help of our in house graphic artist, and handles direct beer sales in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Carolina and Illinois.  Chuck stated that the most important part of his job is “revenue generation.”   He is trying to develop brand awareness by more clearly defining the marketing program for Grand Teton Brewing.  Chuck stated that “our reputation has improved so much that now I get two to four calls a week” to add distribution in new states.

What does Chuck like to do for fun?  He is a very avid skier, fisherman, hunter, scuba diver and general outdoor enthusiast.  He started his love for the outdoors while growing up learning to hunt and fish.  Born in Lake Anne, Michigan, his parents moved their family to California, Tennessee, Florida and Texas, where they opened RV Travel Resorts and operated the associated Sales Center. Probably his most unique hobby is his love for both indoor and beach volleyball.  Chuck was a semi-pro beach volleyball player in LA for seven years. He was part of a practice squad that played against Karch Kiraly, the only man to win Olympic gold medals in both indoor (team) volleyball and beach volleyball.    Chuck continues to play volleyball in Jackson leagues.

Chuck is proud to be part of the Grand Teton Brewing team, helping to increase sales 20% each year since 2009. Chuck has indeed turned his fantasy into a reality by living in the “best place to brew beer”.

Chocolate Black Cauldron Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Cupcakes

Employee birthdays are momentous days at the brewery. For our latest celebration, our Quality Control Manager, Katie, baked off delectable cupcakes for our graphic artist’s birthday.  These exceptional “chocolatey” cupcakes are sure to impress your valentine!

Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cup Black Cauldron Stout
  • 1 ½ cup (3 sticks butter)
  • 1 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper cups. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring stout and butter to a gentle simmer, whisk in cocoa powder until it forms a smooth mixture. Allow to cool as you are prepping other ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl beat sour cream and eggs until smooth. Whisk in stout mixture and blend until just combined. Add to the flour mixture and fold in until all the flour is combined. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until about ¾ of the way full, as these will rise more than you expect. Bake about 20 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely (about an hour).

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 ½ sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 2-3 tbs. milk or cream

Whisk ingredients together until they form a creamy mixture, adding more milk or powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

Cool in refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Use piping kit, or spatula, decorate cupcakes. Dust lightly with cocoa powder.

Grab a taster of Black Cauldron and enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen