Mug Shots: Meet Josh Leboda
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of Colorado's First Craft Brewery? We'll take you beyond the beer you love to drink with our blog series titled, "Mug Shots." There are a lot of folks here at Boulder Beer who play a huge role in our day to day success. This is our way of introducing you to the team that makes it all happen. If you've been on a brewery tour in the last year or so, you may have seen Josh Leboda working away on the packaging line. And at 6'3"- even if you didn't see him, he probably saw you! "I love being tall," said Josh, "I have a great view at concerts no matter where we are and I always get fresh air." Well now, that's a great point! All of us 'average' height folks are just breathing in each other's stale air all day. (Ok, not all day, but I'm sure it happens.) Plus, if we ever needed to enter an employee for a race or relay, Josh would be our pick because he's super-fast. (Good luck keeping up with him on a hike!)
Josh started at Boulder Beer about a year and two months ago as a Packaging Monster. He recently received a promotion to Assistant Production Manager. (Congrats, Josh!) In his new role, he will take on more responsibilities and act as a liaison between the packaging team and the Production Manager, Rob Black. Josh will be involved with interviewing and hiring, working alongside the team on the packaging line, manning the bottle filler, and helping to convey and enforce the 'big picture' to the production team. While Josh is looking forward to this new position and growing with the company, he will also be faced with new challenges such as maintaining a professional, working relationship with the production team, even though he has been buddies with them for the past year. "I will need to be able to separate business and friendship," explained Josh. Nonetheless, he is up for the challenge! We asked Josh if he had any advice for folks looking to get into the beer biz: "You've got to realize that craft beer in Colorado isn't going anywhere anytime soon," Josh began. "Start at the bottom and work your way up. Get your foot in the door by taking an entry level position such as line cook or production. Take the time to learn, work hard, be patient and observant." Great advice, Josh! In fact, we are currently hiring another production team member and a line cook. Get the details here:
Josh and his family are from Vermilion, Ohio, where his parents still reside. Josh went to Community College then attended the University of Toledo and studied Biology. He has a younger brother named Eric who lives in Cleveland. Josh sees his family about every other year, when they travel to Colorado to visit. "I have a huge, close, awesome family," said Josh. "I just haven't been able to make it back to Ohio much since I moved away." Luckily, his family is willing and eager to visit Josh out West. After his best friend Kevin moved out to Colorado, Josh came for a visit and was hooked. "I moved out to Colorado one year later and have been here ever since," said Josh. That was about 8 years ago. Kevin is also the one who helped Josh get a job at Boulder Beer. (Kevin has worked here for about 6 years in the shipping department.) Josh currently lives with his girlfriend, Kenda, here in Boulder. The couple met about a year and a half ago at a Phish concert. At the time, Kenda was still living on the East Coast. "We camped right next to each other at Phish Dicks 2013," said Josh. "After hanging out the entire weekend, we decided to keep in touch. Two months later, Kenda moved to Colorado and we moved in together." Maybe it was fate, but either way, it makes a great story!
Together, the couple enjoys hiking, biking, camping, and live music, especially Phish! Josh likes to snowboard and loves taking trips to Red Rocks. He has hopes of getting into yoga, as Kenda is a full time yoga instructor. For his birthday in July, Josh and Kenda are planning a camping trip in Telluride to visit the beautiful San Juan Mountains. Along with fun travel plans and some awesome shows, Josh is also looking forward to changes to the brewery in 2015. "I am excited to be more involved with the brewery in my new role," said Josh. "I'm also looking forward to the pub remodel and to taking on more responsibilities." For lunch, Josh's favorite menu item is the Left Coast Chicken Wrap. (It's actually not on the menu as a wrap, but a sandwich.) Try it either way! His favorite Boulder brews are Mojo IPA and Cold Hop British-Style Ale. He also loves barrel-aged beers such as the Dude Series and Killer Penguin. Outside of the brewery, Josh's drink of choice is Bourbon. Before Boulder Beer Company, Josh worked in the service industry as a cook, server and bartender. "I've worked both front and back of house and I also worked at a comedy club in Ohio," Josh said. "I was ready for a change, and although I have always considered myself a night owl, I've really been enjoying a more 'adult' lifestyle with Banker's hours and weekends off. I guess everyone has to grow up sometime!" It's ok, we know you're a kid at heart.
We asked Josh to tell us about a fun memory he has from his time here at Boulder Beer so far. He recalled a certain going away party during his first week of working here that stood out in his mind. (It stands out in many of our minds, in fact.) "I will just say that I was there for Ellen's infamous rooftop speech," said Josh. (Ellen is a long time employee who still works for the company, but moved out to South Carolina.) After hearing her, um, heart-felt speech, Josh knew he'd fit right in here as family. We're sure glad to have you, Josh! Thanks so much for all you do!