Employee Spotlight: Kaghen Miller

Kaghen Miller is our Assistant General Manager at the Saugatuck Brewing Company Kalamazoo location. We wanted to take a moment to spotlight (and he LOVES the spotlight) all the amazing things he brings to our satellite location in Kalamazoo! Take it away, Kaghen!

Tell us about your background in the craft beer industry?
My background in the craft beer industry is a little shorter than most. As a beginning lover of gin and vodka, I didn’t venture too far into craft beer. All it took was one raspberry ale to change my mind. I began working as a server for Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing part time while I worked as a Special Education Educator in the public school system. When Saugatuck Brewing Company decided to merge with Gonzo’s I was excited to try a different path in my career. I began managing shortly after the merge and the rest is beer-story. (That’s my festive attempt at beer puns)

What did you do before you started in the craft beer industry?
I have held many jobs (and still cling on to some of them.) My first long term job was working at a pet store for three years. A big shout out to Jennifer, Jamie, and Brandon for all you taught me about customer service. (Come ask me any questions about why your dog isn’t eating or you cat won’t use the litter box.) Then, I spent three years working in Special Education. That job really challenged me and allowed me to grow, mature, and see the world in a different light. It also helped me build friendships that keep me going still today. Love you, Kate!!! For the last 7 years I have been working as an assistant coach for a local High School’s Forensics team. I love empowering students’ voices. Everyone has a unique perspective/story to tell. I firmly believe when we treasure that, along with utilizing strong communication skills, the world becomes a much better place for all. Oh yeah and I have worked on 25+ productions at Farmers Alley Theatre. That too.

What is your favorite thing about Michigan?
My favorite thing about Michigan, specifically Kalamazoo, is it’s proximity to so many amazing cities. How lucky am I to live in a city that’s the halfway point between Chicago and Detroit? Not only that, but to have Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Mackinac Island and even Canada all so close to me is a blessing. I run out of energy long before I run out of things to do.

Favorite thing to do in Kalamazoo?
There is so much art in this city. From the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, to the Civic Theatre to the Kalamazoo Symphony, there is never a shortage of people sharing stories through art. You can find me in the audience of show if I am not serving beer with a joke and a smile.

What’s your beverage of choice?
Tanqueray and Tonic is my go to. I can get seasonal with my go-to’s, but T&T will always be there for me. I actually started drinking Tanqueray ONLY because Amy Winehouse mentions it in one of her songs.

Favorite SBC Beer for the summer?
Lager of Love! When I look at where I want to spend my money, it is usually a place that advocates for community assistance. Lager of Love is a perfect, light, summer beer that is a part of our “Here’s to Helping” tap. Lager of Love donations specifically go to LGBTQ+ support organizations.  Portions of the proceeds of this beer go to help local organizations reflective of the area it is sold! So if you buy it in Saugatuck, it will help a Saugatuck organization. If you buy it in Chicago, it will help a Chicago organization. If you buy it in the Ukraine, it will help organizations in the Ukraine.

What’s your favorite play that you’ve ever seen?
This feels like a Sophie’s choice. So I’ll break it down into categories. On Broadway: Sunday in the Park with George (Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford) Honorable mention to Significant other with Gideon Glick. On Tour: Next to Normal (Starring Alice Ripley. She won the Tony Award for this role.) Kalamazoo: Cabaret at Farmers Alley Theatre. Adam Carter was brilliant as the Emcee.

Favorite band?
Me. No, in all seriousness, I am much more a fan of single recording artists, but if I had to pick a band that I could listen to at any point, it would be The Head and the Heart. Check out their first album cleverly titled, The Head and the Heart. If you want something a little funkier, check out the Michigan native band, Vulfpeck. I adore them.

Favorite part of your job as the Manager of SBCK?
My favorite part of my job is interacting with people. I love talking with people, learning what brings them to the craft beer scene, and get to feel like a close friend after just an hour or so. Come visit! We’ll talk about crocs, theatre, alcohol and whatever you are passionate about!

Why is Miss Congeniality the greatest movie ever?
I’m so glad you asked, Megan. I just think it has it all! Humor, heart, and a message that even if you don look like a million bucks, you are worth 3 million if your heart is in the right place. Also, any movie with a character named Gracie Lou Freebush has my heart. I could quote the entire movie, but I’ll save that for my upcoming thesis about the film/screenplay.

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