Meet Matthew Olesh: Director Of Retail Operations At The Bruery
It’s always sad to see someone from your neighborhood bar go, but in this case, we couldn’t be happier. Matthew Olesh helped manage Blue Palms Brewhouse for about a year and a half and has recently taken on a job at The Bruery as Director of Retail Operations. Olesh’s new gig includes overseeing operations at The Bruery Provisions, Tasting Room, and the Reserve Society, so get to know this face because you’ll be seeing him quite a bit.
Olesh got his start in the craft beer world while he worked as a beer buyer for Whole Foods in Valencia and Glendale, CA. He admits that “At first I didn’t know anything about craft beer,” adding that “Very quickly, the passion of the customers (many of whom at this point becoming personal friends) spread to me and I began trying beers of varying styles. It’s funny looking back on some of the beers I liked and disliked back then and how much my taste has changed, but such is any adventure in craft beer.”
When we recently caught up with Olesh at Blue Palms’ Firestone Walker Night, he explained that he was very excited to jump into this new endeavor (despite having to commute from Los Feliz to Orange County). Reflecting upon his tenure at Blue Palms, Olesh has nothing but good things to say.
“I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with owner, Brian Lenzo. He taught me a lot about the craft beer industry in general and the finer points of running a business and leading a team.” He added that “working at Blue Palms really solidified my passion for great craft beer and convinced me that I had to continue a career in this great industry.”
What lies ahead for Olesh is whole new world of responsibility; from creating retail strategies, implementing training programs, setting budgets, coordinating event programs, and planning expansion of retail opportunities. He’ll be learning from one of the best breweries in country all the while contributing his own ideas in regards to promotion and growth.
Olesh was gracious enough to answer a few questions we had for him this week. Check the Q& A out below and next time you’re picking up bottles or having a drink at The Bruery, be sure to give him a warm welcome.
TFP: What are some things that you’ll miss about working at Blue Palms?
Olesh: As cheesy as it sounds, I’m honestly going to miss everyone who works there and the great regulars whom I was lucky enough to become friends with. Brian has done a great job at building a team and a customer base that really feels like a family and I already miss seeing those folks on a normal basis. Not to mention the oh-so-delicious Truffle Burger!
TFP: I remember you mentioning that you were a homebrewer. What are some of your favorite brewing experiments and do you think you’ll ever collaborate with a brewery?
Olesh: I find that I never have the time to homebrew as often as I’d like, but I’ve come up with some fun beers in my few years of doing it. I think my favorites have been a Mango & Habanero IPA, Peach sour, and from the flat-just-fermented samples of my west coast IPA which is currently carbonating (thanks to some coaching from Julian Shrago of Beachwood BBQ!). Hard to say if I’d ever collaborate with a brewery, as I don’t consider myself on that upper echelon of Homebrewers who ear that privilege… that said, I’m certainly not opposed to the idea!
TFP: Do you have any long-term goals relating to the beer world?
Olesh: I have always wanted to own my own business but the specific business model has changed a lot. Most recently, I have wanted to open a shop with a similar concept to that of The Bruery Provisions, City Beer Store, or Sunset Beer Co. My brother Tony is a chef and we have always wanted to collaborate on something eventually in our careers, so I guess time will tell!
TFP: How has your first few weeks been at The Bruery?
Olesh: It’s been great! I have been training and learning everything that I can from the ground up. I’ve worked at Provisions majority of the time with some time spent at the Tasting Room this past weekend. I can see my plate filling in front of me with objectives to tackle, and it’s really quite an exciting and empowering position to be in.
TFP: Lastly, Is there a beer-related event or release that you are looking most forward to this year?
Olesh: Hmmm, there’s always so many, it’s hard to say. I guess off the top of my head I’d have to say my buddy, Chris Quiroga’s Woodshop tasting and Stone’s Sour Fest are two “can’t miss” events I make it a point to go to every year.
On behalf of The Full Pint, good luck Matt!