Whenever you crack a cold can of Hop Lift, do you ever stop to wonder how many machines are involved in the brewing process? Well, we sure do, and operating and ensuring the proper maintenance of those machines is no small feat. After all, it’s not just the machines that prepare the beer – we’re talking about machines that perform labeling, packaging, distribution – you name it. While it’s true, we do it all for the sake of crafting an amazing brew, we know we couldn’t do it without the help of our maintenance technicians. That’s why, this month, we’re proud to feature our top notch maintenance tech, Tony Gehrke!
Tony has over thirty years of experience working on a variety of machines and operations. Day-in and day-out, he ensures that our machines are running smoothly and safely.
“I have been in machine maintenance for most of my career, and when the company I was working for decided to relocate, I found myself looking for a new job,” Tony explained. “I applied here at Cold Spring Brewing Company and was offered the job immediately after my interview. I was excited about the new challenges and immediately accepted.”
Seeking out a well-known, established company in the area was one of the main aspects that drew Tony to Cold Spring Brewing Company, as well as the opportunity for growth.
“I will have been with Cold Spring Brewing Company for two years this August,” said Tony. “I applied as I knew the company had been around for a very long time, and I knew they were still growing. But, I didn’t realize how big they were until my interview. Being part of a solid company that is still experiencing growth was a big reason why I chose Cold Spring.”
As a machine technician, Tony is responsible for preventative maintenance, and maintaining and repairing components of our three re-pack production lines.
“I make adjustments as needed to keep the lines running smoothly. I do preventive maintenance like greasing and oiling as well as preventive repairs when components are beginning to wear out to prevent breakdowns before they happen,” Tony explained. “Two of the high-speed machines run 24/7, and my main responsibility is to make sure they are kept up and running.”
While no two days are the same for Tony, whether he’s working on a machine or training new team members, he’s always ready to lend a hand.
“The first thing I do in the morning is communicate with the previous shift maintenance person about any issues, changes or repairs they have had to deal with. The next thing I do is walk around the machines and inspect them for anything that shows signs of wear or malfunction,” explained Tony. “My ‘in-between’ time typically consists of preparing replacement parts for components we use and wear out regularly. I also research and order parts and supplies we need to maintain the equipment, and I help train personnel on proper operating procedures and safety issues.”
What does Tony like most about working in the craft brew industry? It all comes down to the processes, people and products.
“I just find the whole process interesting, everything from mixing ingredients and canning and packing the products, to shipping it out the door,” expressed Tony. “A lot goes into the whole process, and the machines we use are amazing. Plus, it’s fun to be able to walk into a bar or store and say ‘I helped make that!’ And, of course, working with great people makes it a great job too. We’re truly a team here.”
When he’s not working hard at our operation, Tony enjoys just about everything. From spending time with family and friends to – you guessed it – fixing things.
“I like spending time with family and friends, but oddly enough, my main hobby is fixing things,” laughed Tony. “Mainly things with four wheels or boats, I enjoy fixing up older cars and 4x4s. But, I also enjoy boating, fishing, golfing, riding ATV, drag racing, attending sporting events, traveling and exploring.”
Thank you for all your hard work, Tony! Cheers to you!