Head of the class(room): Meet Head Brewer Gavin McKenna

Head of the class(room): Meet Head Brewer Gavin McKenna

May 6th, 2022

Learning, curiosity, and education are at the core of Trillium, so it’s no shock our Head Brewer, Gavin McKenna, was a teacher for six years. What might surprise you is what he was teaching — high school Spanish. 

His path has always been less than traditional. Originally interested in international studies, he was required to take language classes as part of the curriculum. A year of study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina gave him fluency in Spanish, and a very marketable skill. 

After college, he figured he’d try sharing that skill with others, becoming a high school Spanish teacher. What he anticipated would be a quick experiment lasted six years. 

“I think it’s really powerful the impact you can have on people at a very important developmental stage in their lives…it’s definitely what you can look back on and feel very grateful for in terms of what you were able to do for other people,” Gavin said.

A move away from the area and a growing interest in the craft beer industry led to a career change, starting with bussing tables and polishing silverware before ultimately winding up in beer production. After years refining his craft, he joined Trillium as Head Brewer in August 2020.

Gavin’s responsibilities include managing and supporting people and processes, and he uses skills he honed leading the classroom.

“To meet people where they’re at, to ask a lot of questions and not have any preconceived notions about what people do or don’t know, or do or don’t think. You really see a really wide range of people…You learn quickly to ask as much as you try to tell in order to understand where people are coming from,” Gavin said.  

Like all of us, Gavin was shaped by a number of influential teachers, including a fourth grade teacher that sparked his interest in reading and art and a high school English teacher who taught him to challenge what is fair and equitable. Today Gavin has a different level of gratitude toward teachers than he had as a student.

That appreciation is shared by Team Trillium, as we raise a glass in gratitude for all the teachers in our lives, not just this Teachers Appreciation Week, but every day.