Meet The Team – JT Winkelman

You recently came on board as 12 Gates Brewing Company’s Sales Manager.
What was your industry experience prior to taking the position?

I’ve been in the beer industry for eight years working for Try-It Distributing. I started in merchandising and within a few months I was promoted to sales assistant. It wasn’t long before I had my own route and eventually was handling the highest volume on premise accounts in Western New York.

Is there a certain aspect of your new position at 12 Gates that you’re specifically enjoying or finding challenging?

Seeing the other side of the industry is really interesting and fun. I’ve been able to see the entire brew process through to the final product in cans or kegs. The other day I jumped in on the canning line to help out and see the process. What better way to learn than getting right in there?

Where are you from and what’s your favorite aspect of living in Western New York?

I grew up in Hamburg, lived downtown for years, and now I’m back near where I’m from. Being an avid fisherman, I love having access to the different bodies of water. I partake in different types of fishing throughout the year. Trout, salmon, bass, walleye…basically anything that will bite my line I’m after.

What was your first vehicle and how old were you?

When I was 16 I bought an ’87 Ford Tempo 5-speed manual transmission for $500. It had 96,000 miles on it and I put close to 100,000 miles on it before I sold it five years later.

Do you have any secret talents?

I can fall asleep almost anywhere, anytime. My wife doesn’t think it’s too funny when it happens mid conversation.

What brewery have you visited that stood out as being impressive?

New Belgium in Fort Collins. Their whole facility along with their sustainability processes were very impressive. The highlight of the tour was the foeders area where they make and age sours – we were able to taste samples right off them. Their brewer actually won one of them in a game of bowling from their manufacturer.

Do you have a go-to summer beer? 

A true to style Kölsch is great on a hot day but after mowing, anything that’s extremely cold goes down in record time.

Are there any 12 Gates beers that you feel is a hidden gem?

The Tria Prima Pale is definitely the one that I try to introduce people to if they haven’t had it. It’s pretty underrated in my opinion. It’s very well balanced with just enough hops to still allow the malt profile to be appreciated.

I think the Hermetic IPA is going to be a huge hit again this year. It’s the perfect summer seasonal with tropical flavors/aromas and softly bittered.

Is there anything this summer you’re really looking forward to?

Spending my free time with my wife and daughter. My daughter just turned 3 and she loves being outdoors and swimming. We’re going to Hilton Head Island this year for our family vacation.