You may never have heard of Kate Paterson. But, if you live in Australia and love craft beer, then the chances are she's responsible for giving you a good time. Possibly some of the best times of your life.
Most recently, she's done so as general manager of Good Beer Week, shouldering the majority of the burden that goes into running what has been called "the best beer week in the world" by international brewers that know a thing or two. While others have been the public face – GBW Ambassador Miro Bellini and this site's founder to name but two – without Kate there would have been no Good Beer Week over the past few years; certainly not one anything like the beautiful beast it has become.
She's been responsible for everything from marketing to sponsorship to managing the website and app build to borrowing her dad's old Rolls Royce in 2015, plastering it with GBW decals, only to discover they ruined the paintwork when removed. And much more besides.
As well as that, she's held positions at the Craft Beer Industry Association, used to run the Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase, worked for Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and many other festivals and events too.
While her preference for remaining in the background while doing all these awesome things means you probably don't know her, she truly is one of the heroes of the local beer world. So, if you see her around Melbourne over the coming ten days, be sure to let her know what she does is appreciated!
How do you fit into the wonderful world that is craft beer in Australia?
Kate Paterson: General manager, Good Beer Week
What drew you to work in beer?
KP: When I worked at Fed Square, one of the events in my portfolio was the Microbreweries Showcase. It instantly became my favourite event to manage.
I couldn’t believe this world I had discovered, and how supportive and passionate all the breweries were. They had built the reputation of this successful event pretty much themselves and they welcomed me very warmly – even after the first tasting booklet I produced had Larger written throughout it...
They could have laughed me out the room. But, of course, they didn’t.
How long have you been promoting beer in your own particular way?
KP: Pretty much since I was given my first bottle of Saison Dupont by one of the managers at Beer Deluxe. I’ve been dragging my non-good beer drinking friends and family to events since then.
As Wayne Coyne, of The Flaming Lips, once pondered: “Why does it matter?”
KP: Passion. Everyone and everything produced in this industry is built from passion and a desire to strive for excellence. Everyone is very supportive in giving their time and resources to learn from each other.
What's been your proudest / happiest moment as a craft beer advocate?
KP: In the grand scheme of the Australian beer scene I am very new, but in my eight years the rapid growth has been amazing to witness. The level of sophistication in how we collectively represent our mad passion across the breweries, venues and hospitality staff is really exciting.
We did a charity event last year and [Good Beer Week] was asked to curate the beer list. When the client came back and asked for less mainstream beers than Feral and Mountain Goat that was a pretty amazing "Wow!" moment.
Describe your craft beer utopia.
KP: Raiding The Crafty Pint's beer fridge.
Water, hops, malt or yeast?
KP: Hops, hops and more hops.
If you had one minute in which to convert someone to craft beer, how would you spend it?
KP: Give them tickets to the Good Beer Week Gala Showcase. Boom!
What has given you greatest pleasure or satisfaction while running Good Beer Week?
KP: We are a small team and the same core group has been with Good Beer Week pretty much since the guys [Miro Bellini, Barney Matthews, Phil and Dale Meddings] came up with the idea. It’s so satisfying to be part of this small festival. We have wins and losses each year that we all share together. Not just within the team, but the industry as well.
The 20m billboard on the Tulla freeway from Tourism Victoria is pretty darn satisfying. I didn’t picture this six years ago, that's for sure. And the app! That is one sexy festival guide.
What are you most looking forward to at this year's festival?
KP: Opening night. We are all there together, fresh faced and knowing what is ahead for the following 10 days.
Thanks, Kate. Best of luck with the festival.
If you're planning to Good Beer Week, then head to the website here. Dozens of events are sold out and several more are going each day. You can also download the aforementioned and very impressive app: Android and Apple.