Meet Sean Kelly – GM of Alter Downers Grove

Sean has been an integral piece to the evolution and growth of Alter Brewing Company for the last 2 1/2 years, and with his promotion we wanted to make sure you got to know him a little bit better. This is the story all about how Sean’s world got flipped, turned upside down. So please take a moment, and sit right there, so he can tell you how he became the GM of a brewery called Alter-air? (I tried)

My journey to Alter was relatively fast-paced. I was as green as could be and fresh out of college in the summer of 2016. I had spent my four years at the University of Kansas perfecting the art of drinking light beer and anything made by Boulevard Brewing. I also learned a thing or two about finance and accounting. However, after graduation I knew one thing for certain, and that was that I did not want to work for a bank or financial institution. Fortunately, and opportunity presented itself. I was playing golf with my mentor who asked me if I would like the opportunity to interview for an open bartender position with Alter Brewing in hopes that it would lead to something more full-time.

I started at Alter in the taproom in July of 2016. I had a pretty significant learning curve to go from being the one ordering the beer to the one pouring it, but I quickly got the hang of things. Around September, I was asked to join the Alter Fest planning committee as a way to become more involved in the day to day. It was here that I began to forge relationships with those in and outside of the company. My involvement continued to grow from there, and I started picking up 2-3 days a week of full-time work as a keg cleaner to supplement my hours as a bartender. By the end of the year I had joined the sales team full-time in a back office role – helping to organize our logistics.

2017 is where things really took off, and I took on a jack of all trades role here at Alter. I brewed with Mark, cleaned kegs, scrubbed floors, made sales calls, delivered kegs, and managed compliance. In the fall of 2017 I was honored to receive a promotion to Operations Manager, which entailed making sure everyone was on the same page day to day. I thought of myself as the grease that kept the brewery machine working.

On January 1, 2019 I was again honored to be promoted to the General Manager of Alter Downers Grove. As the GM I continue to fulfill my Ops. Manager jobs but I have the added responsibility of managing both our sales team and distribution relationships.

Overall it has been a very fast journey, but I have loved every minute of it. There is never a day that I walk out of this building without having learned something new about the beer industry… and myself.