Woodchuck 30th Anniversary Artist Spotlight – Michelle Pagano
October 20, 2021
-Name: Michelle Pagano/TheBrewBabe
-Age: At least 21 haha
-Location: New York/Oklahoma
-Profession or specified field: Cider Maker/Content Creator
-How long have you been participating in your specified field: I began homebrewing in 2007, but only created my brand on Instagram as @TheBrewBabe in 2015. Over the last 14 years, I’ve worked in production, packaging, and marketing for breweries and cideries.
Welcome to our Woodchuck 30th Anniversary blog series where we will be highlighting hand-selected creatives every week through the Fall. This year marks our 30th Anniversary and we have asked 25 creatives from across the country to help celebrate 30 years of creativity and innovation by sharing with us what creativity means to them. We sat down with each creative to hear more about how they use creativity on a daily basis and what influences their work. See below for our conversation with Michelle!
W- Hi Michelle! It’s always nice to sit down with a fellow cider enthusiast/cider maker, so thanks for taking some time to hang out with us today. What kickstarted your cider making journey?
M- Shortly after I was diagnosed with a gluten-allergy, I switched gears in homebrewing. I explored ciders and cidermaking. Woodchuck was among one of the first ciders that opened the door for me in the cider industry. I created my Instagram account to connect with other Celiacs to find gluten-free beers & ciders around the world.
W- At one point, it was almost unimaginable to think that Social Media would be able to opens doors for you like that. From the sounds of it, you’re essentially working a full time job creating content. Staying creative and doing something different must start to get difficult after a while, especially with how much you post. What tends to influence your creativity ?
M- I’m inspired by folks who show strength through their passion. We all face obstacles in life. I thought my career in the beer industry was over. Instead of throwing in the towel, I found ways to adjust. The first cider I ever made was a hopped cider. If I couldn’t have beer, I thought I’d make cider to taste similar to beer.
W- Adaptability is crucial, especially when things aren’t quite working out how you thought they would. It sounds like you were creative in your solution to navigating your gluten allergy while still being able to enjoy what you were doing in the beverage space. What does creativity mean to you?
M- There’s a quote that comes to mind when I think of creativity: “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” -Mary Lou Cook. We live in a world with things we cannot control. The best way to experience life is to follow our emotions and thoughts through some sort of creative or artistic outlet. Nobody can judge us or wrong us because it is the most authentic form of expression.
W- Hard to think of a better way to define the word “creativity”. A lot of our fans look to us each year to come out with new and exciting creations which is why we’ve held the idea of creativity in such high regard. That quote certainly encompasses everything it means to be creative. The key part of that is the idea that creativity should be fun. We sure think so!
W- Based on your experience in the beverage and craft brewing scene, what has been you experience with Woodchuck prior to helping us celebrate our 30th anniversary? You eluded to having had some experiences with our cider, but can you elaborate on that a little bit more, especially after having learned a little bit more about us through this celebration?
M- Woodchuck was one of my gateway ciders and has been part of my career since my craft cider journey began in 2015. From festivals and competitions, to making cider for the first time in my garage, to shift drinks as a cider maker, to sipping cider while creating Reels, to cheering with a nice pint after a successful presentations, Woodchuck is still part of my cider life.
W- Wow, it’s so awesome to hear that you associate Woodchuck Cider with so many different great experiences. That’s really all we can ask for. It sounds like your roots in Cider Making aren’t too dissimilar from ours. We both started out in a garage! Thanks for sharing so many great stories about your Cider Making journey and for joining us in celebrating 30 years of Cider Making. Cider Makers like you, along with our fans are where we draw inspiration form when creating new and exciting ciders each year.
Michelle’s tribute to our 30th anniversary took her deep into her social media archives to some photos of her enjoying some of our different ciders along her journey. Head over to our Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to see Michelle’s spotlight. Try to see if any of you can remember the ciders she’s enjoying in some of her photos!
Be sure to check out some of our other spotlights we’ve shared over the past few weeks as well. We’ve had so many great artists participate in this celebration and we’ve been so happy to have been able to share their creations with all of you, our fans. If you’re new here. Be sure to like and follow so you can tag along with us on all things cider!
In case you haven’t noticed, we have also launched our online cider store and online merch store. If you have a hankering for some cider or you want to get kitted out with some new swag, head on over to either of our online stores to load up on all things Woodchuck!
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