FAIRFIELD — Anthony Sanfillipo and Nicole Harwood are ready to help lead the King of Beers in Fairfield.
Sanfillipo is the new general manager at the Fairfield Anheuser-Busch brewery. Harwood is the new brewmaster.
They have stepped into top slots at one of Fairfield’s most prominent businesses. The brewery has been a local landmark along Interstate 80 since its construction in the early 1970s and is one of 12 Anheuser-Busch breweries across the nation.
Sanfillipo grew up in Columbus, Ohio, with Anheuser-Busch as a backdrop. His father was a brewer at the brewery in that town and retired last year.
“I’m second-generation Anheuser-Busch,” Sanfillipo said.
Sanfillipo went to college at the University of Dayton in Ohio and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Then he got a job in packaging at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis and stayed there for five years.
He came to the Fairfield brewery in 2007 and worked in packaging and quality assurance before moving to the brewery in Williamsburg, Va. He returned in March to the Fairfield brewery as general manager.
“I’ve had the chance to get to know a lot of people here,” Sanfillipo said. “Walking in the doors, it was pretty neat to see familiar faces everywhere.”
His goal for the plant is to have a high-quality product going out the door. But he has other goals, as well.
“We like to bring in the community as much as we can,” Sanfillipo said. “We have a new tourist center that opened at the end of last year. The tour experience is definitely different from anything we offered in the past.”
Beyond that, the brewery from a community standpoint in general just wants to be involved, he said.
One change coming to the plant that will be highly visible is the construction of a second electricity-generating wind turbine. One turbine already towers a couple hundred feet into the air near the brewery building.
“It’s in the works and coming very fast,” Sanfillipo said.
Sanfillipo replaced Kevin Finger. Finger became the general manager in 2002.
Harwood grew up in Colorado Springs and went to college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, which she describes as a brewing mecca. Fort Collins has an Anheuser-Busch brewery.
She majored in electrical engineering and went to a career fair. Officials from the Fort Collins brewery attended and said they needed electrical engineers.
“I was extremely eager I could put my two passions together, the science and the beer,” she said.
She became an electrical and instrumentation manager. She got the chance to step into the brewing arena when Anheuser-Busch then held a competition among its 12 breweries. The breweries were allowed to make any kind of beer they wanted, with the winner going to the marketplace.
The Fort Collins brewery turned to its workforce for ideas.
“They asked if anyone wanted to do it,” Harwood said. “I’m a home brewer. I love beer. I jumped at the opportunity.”
That led to Harwood going over to the brewing side of the operation.
“I was really interested in the science behind beer and how you make beer,” she said.
As for her favorite beer, it varies with the occasion. But one stands out.
“I would have to say my go-to beer is Bud Light,” Harwood said.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch is a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.