Letters

Letters 08-25-14

Save America

I read your paper because it’s free and I enjoy the ads. But I struggle through the left wing tripe that fills every page, from political cartoons to the vitriolic pen of Mr. Tuttle. What a shame this beautiful area of the state has such an abundance of Socialist/democrats. Or perhaps the silent majority chooses to stay silent...

Doom, Yet a Cup Half Full

In the news we are told of the civil unrest at Ferguson, Mo; ISIS war radicals in Iraq and Syria; the great corporate tax heist at home. You name it. Trouble, trouble, everywhere. It seems to me the U.S. Congress is partially to blame...

Uncomfortable Questions

defending the positions of the Israelis vs Hamas are far too narrow. Even Mr. Tuttle seems to have failed in looking deeply into the divide. American media is not biased against Israel, nor or are they pro Palestine or Hamas...

The Evolution of Man Revisited

As the expectations of manhood evolve, so too do the rules of love. In Mr. Holmes’s statement [from “Our Therapist Will See Us Now” in last week’s issue] he narrows the key to a successful relationship to the basic need to have your wants and needs understood, and it is on this point I expand...

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Coolest job in the world: Jason Pratt

Erin Crowell - August 23rd, 2010
‘Coolest Job in the World’: Microbiologist Jason Pratt uses science — and taste buds — at MillerCoors
By Erin Crowell
Jason Pratt may have one of the best jobs in the world – at least
that’s what his buddies think.
The 30-year-old Traverse City native is a yeast and fermentation
scientist for MillerCoors, meaning, he gets paid to swig beer every
day.
With a Masters in microbiology and molecular genetics from Michigan
State University, Pratt uses his scientific expertise—as well as his
nose and taste buds—to assure consistent taste and quality during the
fermentation process of Miller and Coors suds.
This involves regulating the specific strains of yeast that gives the
company’s beers their signature color, texture and taste.
“It’s one of the coolest jobs in the world,” says Pratt, a 1998 graduate from
St. Francis High School.
Pratt was featured on the May 2010 cover of Black Enterprise Magazine
as one of several young professionals who are paving the way in the
math and science industry.

GOLDEN NOSE
While it’s mostly lab work, Pratt says his job has its perks,
including his role on the MillerCoors expert tasting panel, a position
that won him the 2009 Golden Nose award among the company’s tasters in
Milwaukee, his current home and central location for his job.
“When you’re evaluating a beer, you look at its appearance, color,
haziness and foam. Then you go for aromas, taste, mouth feel and
finish of the beer,” he explains. “There’s certainly different
characteristics you can identify and say with certainty about them.”
Although Pratt lives in Wisconsin, he often travels throughout the
country to all eight head MillerCoors breweries, helping the company’s
50-plus microbiologists with training and troubleshooting.
“We make sure our brands are consistent,” he says, “so the same beer
made in Milwaukee is the same stuff as what’s made in Texas.”
The job also takes him across the world.
“I send our yeast strains out to breweries in places like Vietnam,
Panama, Italy and Australia.”
Another aspect of his job includes training new MillerCoors
employees—from the brewery to the marketing desks—about the history,
ingredients, brewing process, new products and enemies of beer
freshness.
What are its enemies?
“Time – when the beer starts to oxidize and stale; heat – keeping it
in hot places like the car trunk actually helps it age faster; and
light – a lot of people call it ‘import character.’ Brown bottles are
the only things that are going to protect the beer from getting
‘skunky,’” Pratt explains.

BEER SNOB?
It may be neat having a keen sense of taste and smell, but Pratt says
it’s also a downfall.
“I’ll be out having a beer somewhere and I’ll constantly be evaluating
it,” he laughs. “My friends call me a beer snob.”
Pratt says he’d always been a beer drinker, but never dreamed he’d
have this job.
“I kind of stumbled onto it when I was online and thought, ‘that’d be
a cool industry to go into,’” he says.
With several job offers already on the table, Pratt interviewed with
the company in 2007 (before the Miller/ Coors merger) and was hired on
the spot.
He hasn’t looked back since.
“I found a home here and I really love what I do,” he enthuses.
As far as advice to those who want to follow in Pratt’s footsteps, he
offers this advice:
“It’s a tough industry to crack because there’s so much interest now;
but there’s some really good beer schools out there where you can
actually get a degree in beer. Just throw yourself in and take some
training courses.
Oh, and it helps to have a good nose.”

To read the Black Enterprise May 2010 article on Jason Pratt, go to
www.blackenterprise.com/magazine. You can also find an article on
expert tasters, which includes Pratt, entitled “No Glass Ceiling for
the Best Job in the World,” which appeared June 29 in The Wall Street
Journal by going to www.online.wsj.com.

 
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