Ones to Watch 2015: Emily Parker

Age: 28
Why Watch Her: She’s among the next generation of Schlafly leaders.

There’s a reason your Schlafly Pale Ale tastes the same whether you sip it at the Tap Room downtown, a bar in New York City or in your living room: Emily Parker. The St. Louis native attended the University of California, Davis, where she earned a degree from one of the country’s preeminent brewing programs. What began as a brief internship at Schlafly led to a position in the company’s quality control department. She rose through the ranks to become quality assurance manager, responsible for ensuring the consistent production of every Schlafly brew from the ingredients to final packaging. As St. Louis’ first craft brewery (the first to open since Prohibition) enters its 24th year, Schlafly distributes farther away than ever, and its founders are grooming Parker as one their successors.

On quality: I’m responsible for the beer coming out of five different breweries. The big focus now is bringing those breweries together. … We are involved in every department. We’re “auditing” them, in a way, to make sure they’re following the procedures and trying to find weaknesses in our own processes. … I’m just making sure it tastes good when it gets on the shelf … that it consistently tastes true to brand, as we say, and is stable.

On the tastiest sip: Beer is perishable. Right when the beer comes off the line, there’s not a better day to taste it.

On brewers: I feel really inadequate that I cannot grow a beard.

On trade secrets: (The craft industry) has an open-door policy of “Hey, what are you doing and how does that work for you?” and we’ll tell you what we’re doing, too.

On St. Louis’ craft beer scene: Within the last four years that I’ve been here, (the craft beer scene has) grown tremendously, and it’s awesome. I don’t think people realize how strong it is. People always think California, Washington, Denver. St. Louis is right up there with them. … People are wanting to learn more about their beer. They come in and ask questions, and they want to know more, and that’s awesome.

On a brewery of her own: I will not start my own company. I enjoy my life. The time it takes away to start your own brewery, let alone the money – I have no desire to go down that route. With Schlafly growing the way that it is … this is a company I want to be a part of.

Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, and Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.241.2337, schlafly.comYour text to link...