With more than a decade of service experience, Diana Gutsche was a natural choice to manage the brand new Zipline Beer Hall.
Though she was born in Las Vegas and lived much of her childhood in San Diego, Di considers herself a Lincolnite through and through. After attending junior high and high school locally, she decided to stick around and make her life in the Star City– even after her family relocated back to sunny San Diego. It’s no wonder she’s found a home in such a congenial city, given her appreciation of and expertise in hospitality.
Di dove headfirst into the craft beer world when she stepped into a management role at Jake’s, so she could participate more directly in ordering and decision-making behind the scenes. She studied with Matt Stinchfield, Founder and Brewmaster at Ploughshare Brewing Co. and Certified Cicerone, which extended her beer knowledge by leaps and bounds. Beyond interest in flavor profiles, Di most appreciates learning the history behind each beer- the story of its creation- so she can connect that story to customers. As each new person walks in the door, she relishes the opportunity to learn a little about them and make the best recommendation she can. “It’s just fun!” said Di, “There’s so much beer on the market and having the education and experience to encourage others to enjoy it as much as you do makes it worthwhile.”
The community in the craft beer industry inspired her to a leadership role in Lincoln Beer Week. Rather than let corporate interests make such an event their own, Di and her partners aimed to take the reigns make it a truly local Lincoln event. Enjoyment and community are right there in the mission statement, echoing Di’s personal approach to craft beer. “Craft beer isn’t some unapproachable thing– it’s in local bars, your regular grocery stores. It’s within reach and you can enjoy it with others,” said Di about spreading the craft beer movement. Not only does she aim to connect with folks who might be intimidated by the craft display at their local Super Saver, she also enjoys using Lincoln Beer Week as a way to send folks to places they may not otherwise try.
When asked what her favorite style was, she had a tough time coming up with just one (as many beer professionals do). Classic German styles are always at the top of her list, though. “Barley, hops, yeast: you can create multiple layers with those simple ingredients,” she pointed out. “Don’t get me wrong- throw some Bret [wild yeast] in something and get a little funky, I won’t complain.” On her last birthday, she cracked open a bottle of Ale Smith Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy from 2013 that she had cellared herself.
Di looks forward to continuing to watch how market and brewing trends change. When she’s not working with beer, she’s using the kitchen as her creative outlet. An avid foodie, she loves finding good meals out and about, but also catering to her own whims by cooking at home with her partner, Morgan. It’s a hobby that she admits pairs perfectly with having a great craft brew.