Brewery Crew Profiles: Melanie Honabarger (a.k.a. Forklift Cowgirl)

The elusive forklift cowgirl, spotted at the Silver City Brewery 20th Anniversary Party

The elusive forklift cowgirl, spotted at the Silver City Brewery 20th Anniversary Party

Introducing crew profiles! Get to know the people that make your beer. 

In this post we’ll introduce you to Melanie Honabarger, our staff-elected crew member of the month for this past September!

By Bill Mickelson

It is 8 o'clock on a Monday morning. 

Melanie Honabarger is saddled up on an electric forklift, zipping back and forth across the brewery, stacking pallets of beer nearly to the ceiling. 

This is the first stop the beer will make en route to its final destination, and that lady on the forklift is one of the first-in-line responsible for getting that beer to your glass.

Melanie is the distribution lead at Silver City Brewery and our crew member of the month for August.

Notoriously private, when I told her I'd be interviewing her for a blog post celebrating the honor, she promptly beelined in the opposite direction, yelling over her shoulder, "No... Never!"

After a moment's consideration, she offered, "Just tell everybody, 'Thank you.'"

Melanie's been part of Silver City Brewery for three years, running the gamut of cellar work before settling into the position of distribution lead. She's responsible for keeping the beer cold once it's in packages and getting it onto the trucks that will deliver it your neighborhood bar or beer shelf.

Her favorite part of the job is racking beer from tank to kegs… but her least favorite, not surprisingly, is talking to people.

Melanie is originally from Ohio and came to Bremerton with her husband, Matt, who is a Master of Arms in the Navy. She has two kids, Tyler and Mackenzie, ages 21 and 19. Before working at Silver City she lived in Guam and worked in maintenance, moving furniture, building and fixing tents and canopies for events. A decade ago, when she met her husband, she was a bartender at a Moose Lodge in Ohio. 

When she's not at Silver City organizing, stocking and rearranging the 2,500-square-foot walk-in cooler, which she sometimes calls her own personal insane asylum, she's probably shopping or working on her bitchin' V8 Camaro.

When it comes to beer, Mel likes dark beers but almost never stays after work for her complimentary shift drink. There’s just too much smalltalk involved… unless it's Old Scrooge Christmas Ale season. Her favorite Silver City beer is the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Scrooge.

"I love that beer," she said. "That's the only time of the year that I stay."

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