Brewery Instructor Wants Better Beer and Life for All

Story and Photos by Ashley Shickler,

Staff Reporter

Skye Morris-Devore is a Brewing and Beverage instructor on campus, as well as the co-owner and President of Tractor brewery.

CNM has a certificate program and an associate’s program that combines brewing classes along with science and business classes to try and give you a well-rounded approach to getting into the industry, she said.

Morris-Devore loves teaching about beer styles and flavors, and she finds this to be the coolest part of her job, she said.

In particular, she enjoys teaching students who already believe they are knowledgeable about beer, she said.

“Whenever you have someone that introduces themselves as a home-brewer or a beer geek and then you’re able to teach them something, then you feel like what you’re doing is really validating,” she said.

Even if you’re not thinking about getting the certificate or degree, just taking the classes is a good idea if you’re working in the industry, she said.

Sometimes our employees from Tractor are offered to take drafting classes for free because it’s important to know how to do something, especially if you’re alone on your shift on a Friday night, she said.

On top of being a mother to four-year-old twins, a wife, and instructor, Morris-Devore is also the co-owner and president of Tractor brewery.

“I’m a workaholic. I think that’s a big component of being able to juggle both. I love my work and you just have to honor your commitments and sometimes that personal stuff just falls by the waist side and you have to be ok with that for a little while,” she said.

Morris-Devore is able to juggle both jobs by the loving support of her family and friends, she said.

“I have a really supportive family and it’s important for people to know to that it’s great to have family, but family is what you make it, and that network of people who are friends is also really important,” she said.

She got into this industry by accident and didn’t know anything about beer, she said.

Her background is in manufacturing, and while she was working at a manufacturing company, her boss, who owned a brewery asked her if she’d like to run a brewery in her spare time, she said.

Morris-Devore was twenty-five and said sure, and that is how she ended up at Tractor, she said.

This is a type of beer called Luna De Los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout, taken at Tractor’s Nob Hill location.

Morris-Devore started working there in 2007, and in 2014 her and her partner bought out the original owner and have been there ever since, she said.

“I found out that I was pregnant, so I quit my day job and began working at Tractor and doing the beer thing full time,” she said.

After coming back from maternity leave, she realized she had never took the time to learn about craft beer the way she should have, she said.

During the time Morris-Devore wanted to learn about craft beer, Santa-Fe Brewing was starting a study group for the cicerone program for the level 2 exam, she said.

A cicerone is defined as a beer expert and/or beer sommelier.

Morris-Devore spent six months studying three hours a week, and received her cicerone certification in October of 2015, she said.

Having completed all of these studies, the certification, and a MBA, Morris-Devore was able apply and receive a teaching position with the CNM brewing and beverage program, she said.

She believes that people who want to learn should figure out what job they want to do in the beer industry and go shadow someone for a day.

“You might find that you want to work in beer, but just not in the job you thought you did, so that can be an interesting transition. Be open to that,” she said.

There are challenges that come with being a brewery owner, she said.

Something that Morris-Devore hears from her students a lot is, they want to start their own brewery so they can be their own boss and make their own schedule. That’s just a lie though, they don’t actually end up doing that because it’s their job to make sure that everyone else has everything they need to do their job, she said.

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