Fall 2011

[Alumni News]

Veronica Vega

From Bio Lab to Brewery

Veronica Vega Submitted Photo

I DON’T THINK ABOUT the story of how I became a brewer very often,” says Veronica Vega. “But I always had a feeling that I would do something awesome.”

Vega (‘03, Biology) didn’t grow up with aspirations to brew great beer—but that’s where she ended up. For the past five years, she has worked for Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Ore.

After changing her major from English to Biology and earning a bachelor’s degree at HSU, Vega landed a job working as a biology field technician for the National Park Service. “I was going from park to park,” she says. “It was exciting.”

But after spending time in Bend, Vega decided that was where she wanted to settle.

Although odd jobs weren’t too hard to find, Vega had trouble finding a career near her new home. “I was about to give up,” she says. “I even had a job interview in Portland for biological field work the same week that I was hired at Deschutes.”

If Vega had received the call from Deschutes just a few days later, chances are she would have left Bend for a bigger city. And, instead of working for the brewery, she could have found herself on quite a different career path.

In her current position as Bend Pub Brewer, Vega uses her lab skills to help maintain a smaller brew house, producing 12 barrels twice a week. But working on a smaller scale hasn’t diminished her love for the job.

“I have such an amazing job that I still almost pinch myself, I can’t believe it,” she says. “In just one week, my life could have been drastically different. I feel extremely lucky things turned out the way they did.”