If you are a brewing customer on the east coast, there is a good chance you have spoken to Connie Krebsbach over the phone. Connie is a Customer Service Rep who covers all the states east of the Mississippi with the exception of Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. When Connie joined Briess in 1995, she worked odd-and-end jobs for the company. Before long, Connie joined the Customer Service Team.
“We were located in a brown house right next to the [Chilton] Malthouse, which since then has been torn down. It was a lot different back then. There were four of us in the department and we only had two computers, so we had to share to take orders. It was a lot more manual then too, Jim Schwartz would come over from the Malthouse every morning to pick up the daily orders for from us.” Connie recalls, then softly chuckles and continues, “I remember Jim would always stop in and say, ‘everything is just ducky today, ladies’.” Jim Schwartz was also a longtime Briess employee and last year Jim retired after 45 years of service to the company (Read Jim’s retirement blog here).
Come the second week in February, you’ll be hard-pressed to find Connie in the office. As a long-standing tradition, Connie and her family go sturgeon spearfishing every year. This year, sturgeon spearing opens Saturday, February 10, and runs for 16 days or until pre-set harvest caps for Lake Winnebago are reached, whichever comes first. Lake Winnebago is home to the world’s largest population of lake sturgeon and is one of only two places in the United States that allows sturgeon spearing.
In 2015, Connie speared a 56″ sturgeon that weighed in at 64.4 pounds.
“I was talking on the phone with Mary [Schierl, also on the Briess Customer Service Team] in my ice shanty when I saw the sturgeon in my hole beneath me. I said, ‘Mary I got to go, there’s a sturgeon!’ and I threw the phone down and speared it right then. Mary said she heard a splash and was laughing so hard because she was my good luck charm. We both agreed the next year Mary would call me again, sadly it did not work the second time.” She laughs lightheartedly.
If you have the chance to meet Connie, you will instantly recognize she is easy going and has a down to earth personality. She is also dedicated, ensuring her customers are well taken care of. “I love talking with the customers,” Connie says. “It’s fun working with all the breweries and building relationships with the brewers. It’s a unique industry and the folks I work with are great.”
Q&A with Connie
If we went to happy hour, what would you order?
A Bloody Mary with a side chaser.
Do you have any pets?
We have several outside cats and one rabbit. Though, I will say my daughter has probably brought them all in the house at one point. She is studying to be a veterinarian and she loves all the animals.
What is something funny that has happened to you recently?
A couple weekends ago I had a girl’s weekend in Appleton. When we got to the hotel, we took the car to the parking garage and for the life of us we couldn’t figure out how to cross over the walkway to get to the hotel. We were all laughing hysterically because we kept going in circles. Then, to top it off, after we finally got parked and went to our rooms, our key cards weren’t working. . . turns out we were at the wrong room – it was a perfect way to start a fun weekend.