Minnesota market manager, Surly Brewing
Tara Alcure started in the beer industry nine years before she could even drink. Working at her dad’s distributor in Chisago City, a 12-year-old Alcure sifted through packages with broken bottles, repackaging the intact product for shipping. It was sticky, unholy work, especially for a preteen.
“I had glue gun burns all over my hands, and there were fruit flies everywhere,” Alcure said, looking back. “It was awful.”
But the experience wasn’t enough to keep Alcure away. She continued to work there into adulthood, doing everything from route management to signmaking to inventory control. When, after 88 years of family ownership, her father sold the company to J.J. Taylor Distributing in 2012, she transitioned over, managing brands like Deschutes and Brooklyn Brewery.
After a stint as Green Flash’s liaison to the Midwest, Alcure was brought into Surly to help the flagship Minnesota craft brewer continue its path towards national distribution.
Since joining in 2015, Alcure has helped Surly move into North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska only a few short months after touching down in bars and liquor stores in Wisconsin and Iowa. Alcure has also brokered deals with big chains like Target, Costco, and Buffalo Wild Wings, leaning the brunt of her five-generation legacy into making Surly one of the most widely available Minnesota brands in the country.
As the granddaughter of the first woman to own a distributor in Minnesota, Alcure’s legacy as a woman in beer is also something she prides herself on. She remember attending distributor meetings with over 60 attendees and being the only woman in the room. Now, things are changing -- there are more women are taking up management positions, and as the new guard of craft brewers begins to steal market share, the playing field is evening in a way she’s never experienced.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but when I started, it was really at the cusp of the boom,” she said. “Now, it’s crazy to see how many women are in the business now even over the last seven years.”