If you’re walking through the brewery and hear someone whistling a cheerful tune, it’s almost certainly our DIrector of Sales and Distribution, Jason Sitzman.
Born in western Nebraska, Jason spent most of his childhood in Lincoln and considers it his hometown. Awarded a music scholarship to Doane University and recruited to play wide receiver on the football team, Jason received his degree in Mass Communications. By the time he graduated, he realized that breaking into sports broadcast would be an uphill battle for someone who wasn’t a former professional athlete. So he decided to expand on his love of beer and his part-time bartending job and set a goal: land a full-time career with a craft brewery.
He took a restaurant management position in CO, which allowed him to create beer lists and pairing events focused on local brews. Family ties brought him back to Lincoln where he took a position with a liquor distributor. Jason continued to keep an eye out for brewery positions, but folks in the craft beer industry tend to love their jobs and stay there, so few openings get posted. He thought he’d have to hang up his ambitions when the Taproom Manager position came available at Zipline Brewing, then a fledgling itself in Lincoln’s burgeoning craft beer scene. It was a big leap of faith to leave a full-time position where he was the top salesman for a part-time position with a new company, but his craft beer dream was there waiting for him to grab.
Along with his management duties in the taproom, Jason pitched in wherever there was work to do, taking on responsibilities on the packaging line and in the warehouse. As the company grew, Jason was able to focus on what he’s best at: relationships. “This job is 90% building relationships with accounts,” said Jason. He interacts with distributors, sales representatives, retailers, and customers every day. “Zipline is built on the strength of the local community, and Jason’s ability to create great working relationships makes him a perfect fit here,” said Co-Founder Tom Wilmoth.
It’s clear that aside from his great people skills, Jason knows the craft beer industry inside and out. His experience both in retail and in distribution means he can put an immense amount of personal knowledge into the data analysis that’s part of market research and sales forecasting. “Jason was the second person we hired, and his passion for the craft beer industry meant he was ready and willing to do anything we needed,” said Marcus Powers, Co-Founder and Production Director. “He always had an eye toward the market, and as we grew we felt great having him as the face of our company,” he added.
Never giving up on his musical roots, Jason’s vocal stylings consistently grace the office, whether he’s singing along to the music that’s playing or coming up with his own jingles. His tastes range all over the board, from classic rock to Boyz II Men to barbershop. His college barbershop quartet was internationally ranked, and he continues to record with his band and give solo acoustic performances as a singer/songwriter.
Outside of the office, Jason spends his time with his wife, Cassandra, and passes on his love of music to his one-year-old, Lawson. They live in Lincoln with their two brew dogs, Joplin and Seger.
Next time you see Jason around, ask him to sing a rendition of his Zipline Office Hot 100 #1 hit single “Girl (Girl)”!