Beer Stories: Craft Beer Industry Insights

Sales Rep for HiWine and Formerly of Pasteur Street Brewing Company, Kat Marshall

February 06, 2023 Hosts: Mischa Smith & Alex Violette, Guest: Kat Marshall Season 1 Episode 8
Beer Stories: Craft Beer Industry Insights
Sales Rep for HiWine and Formerly of Pasteur Street Brewing Company, Kat Marshall
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to Beer Stories Episode 8! Alex & Mischa welcome their former colleague and current HiWine Sales Rep Kat Marshall into the studio to discuss the Vietnamese Craft Beer Industry from an insider's look! Kat talks about how she got into the craft beer scene with the guys at BiaCraft & Quan Ut Ut, and then joined Pasteur Street Brewing Company as a Sales Rep before eventually moving on to the wine sales game. They also discuss the sensation of trying an IPA for the first time after a lifetime of light local lagers, the personality you need to be an effective sales rep, Vietnam's place in the larger craft beer community, why people like craft beer, the very beginnings of the Vietnamese Craft Beer Industry, the difference between selling wine and selling beer, and becoming a TikTok sensation! They also search deep inside Kat's heart in a very personal round of Fact or Fiction. Cheers! 

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Mischa Smith:

Welcome to Beer Stories. It's a podcast where we tell stories about beer. Our producer is Niall Mackay of Seven Million Bikes podcast. Our theme music is written and performed by Lewis Wright. My name is Misha Smith, My cohost to my left is always Alex

Alex Violette:

Hello,

Mischa Smith:

and our guest today is Karin Marshall. you think there's any reason why craft beer has been so successful in your home country?

Kat Marshall:

I have one word for it. It's fun. it's a great picture for the young people to follow that they, they have the new like inspiration, new things for them to do. actually I think five or six years ago, not a Vietnamese, Person comes up, came up with an idea of making a their own beer because they can go out and buy a Tiger, a Heineken, very cheap, no one ever about making their own beer. But then they saw the, like a very new picture and they wanna do it. I think it's, it is fun So whenever I have like a very important meeting, I know them. Let me tell my boss to stay home. I will say, I have a customer who are very fun and say, you stay home. Let me go I met a customer he, he didn't let me talk because he didn't believe me. So he, he has a restaurants upstairs and he had a coffee shop downstairs, so I thought that he would, his manager to help me with something. But he asked his barista in the coffee shop I to taste the wine for him and I, and I was trying to talk to him, but he didn't listen to me. It was, he wanted to listen to his barista and I like, because I knew that he didn't know anything about wine. So I made, I was trying to make it very friendly to him. So this wine, and he asked me, what does it smell? say, you can smell a little bit of mint, And his barista was trying to Google the wine and was like, no, it's not me, it's euca. I said, you know what Eucalyptus is No, it's Eucalyptus. And and he would say, oh, you said means you don't know your product. it's Eucalyptus. Oh, I bet you know the eucalyptus. I felt that deal. I remember one time that a guy asked me, can I meet your boss? I say, oh, yes, but I, I don't, I mean, he, he would answer like me, because it is not something big that we would knit him, that I can fix that for you and say, oh, I want to knit your boss. Tell him to come here and say, do you know English? And say, no,

Mischa Smith:

and our guest today is Karin Marshall.

Kat Marshall:

Thank you. Well, that's a long name.

Mischa Smith:

You have a lot of names. Some of them are made up. We'll get to that later.

Kat Marshall:

it was good to be here. Thanks for having me.

Mischa Smith:

me. Oh, thanks for coming on. How did you get hooked up with the beer craft guys early on

Kat Marshall:

Oh, yeah. So I was working at wan and at that time Mark was making his own beers in plastic barrels. and I didn't know what it was. And later on, they got beers from platinum and I, and I was very curious because the beer, the price would like double the local beers. And I was curious, and I remember I was trying to drink the left over of the tower. Like just to try what it was because it was so expensive. It was like 50 or$60,000 and I was 18. So I drank it and I really liked it and I kept asking about that and team knew that Tim was my boss and he knew that I had an A, a dream to follow. And then when he opened the beer craft and he said, cat, you wanna move to the new role? And yeah. And I say, of course. So I moved to the beer craft and I worked there. So I was. Like beer craft and Greenwood, they gave me a huge opportunity to learn like a new world.

Mischa Smith:

Awesome. So just for our listeners who might not be familiar with, the inner workings of the Vietnamese, food and beverage industry, Quan you mentioned is an American style barbecue restaurant, run by Tim Scott and Marcus Dobson. And then, I don't know the exact timeline, but shortly after their ude became very successful, they opened a second, concept called Be A Craft, and there they served some of their own craft beers and. Beers from whoever. At the time, whoever was making craft beer, they would buy a keg from everyone to sell it at their bar. They'd a tiny little spot out here in, district two and now the, that space is four times the size So that's a really, for me, a really good, just indication of how far the craft beer industry has come in Vietnam. so you're saying platinum, that first platinum you had, that was the first time you were aware that beer could be different, more expensive, more flavor.

Kat Marshall:

Yeah, definitely.

Mischa Smith:

Cool.

Alex Violette:

Yeah. I was just listening to it and I was like, the, um, the first thing you were just like, why is this expensive? I've gotta, like, what's the point? may that made you curious. It sounded like what could this be? Like, why would somebody want to pay this much for this type of beer? And then you tried it. and then after that you were saying that it was so apparent, like you're, you were. First time you try a beer that's different. You were so into it that your boss is I can tell you're really into beer. You need to switch over to this beer place. And, follow that. I guess that passion that he could see in you already. how many craft beers had you tried at that time.

Kat Marshall:

at that time, yeah. I think I had the two platinums and then I had the, and then I had some of the important bottles that they brought from the countries.

Alex Violette:

four different beers?

Kat Marshall:

I think so. Yeah, I was 18?

Mischa Smith:

That's always been my motto for craft beer. Get'em started. Young

Alex Violette:

it's lucky I would. I wish I had, uh, started drinking beer in the fir. Some of the first beers I had were craft beers. It took me a while to, to find my way there.

Mischa Smith:

were you a beer drinker before when you were 18? did you drink the local

Kat Marshall:

I drank the local stuff, but I was not a beer drinker. I drank occasionally. Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

And now you're a full blown alcoholic? I think so. Thanks to us

Kat Marshall:

Thanks to you,

Mischa Smith:

me specifically, I can just tell by the way you tell the story that you're very thankful to Tim for getting you, giving you that first entree into the craft beer world. other than platinum obviously, you mentioned the, that was the first one you tried. was there a beer that you remember from back then, like those early days where you were first like, wow, oh my God, what is this? Yeah. Can you tell us about that?

Kat Marshall:

Yeah. so when I worked at the big beer craft, the one at district three, the one with 50 taps, and I remember. like we had two training days, so we had little sips of everything and I had the one called Devil Select from Black ruining, and what is this? It tastes like absolutely different from every other beer, and I know what I liked. it was a session ipa?

Mischa Smith:

yeah. So was that your first ipa? Yes. Yeah. That's awesome. So Alex's uh, wife Bethany used to talk about, when we worked at the original tap room, she's like seeing a Vietnamese person's face light up the first time they try an ipa. It's just an awesome feeling. Yeah. Like, oh, beer can taste like this. Is there a better feeling in the world than getting paid to drink beer? I always tell people, if you can find someone to pay to drink beer, you take that job every time. take it. obviously we mentioned the, your next job after Beer Craft was coming to work for us at, pastor Street as a sales rep. I'd imagine you had some offers from other breweries at that. I don't want to get this to be too much of an advertisement, but why? Why did you want work for Pastor Street instead of, one of the other brewers

Kat Marshall:

actually like, to be honest, because we were friends. I. Yeah, we we were friends. So I wanna work with someone I'm close with that I would be safe because like sales, I hated being a sales reps before, like I hate. To people into buying something they don't wanna buy. but then I realize that, but if the product is what I love, then I can do that. Then that's good for the customer, then I can do that. Yeah. So that's why. And yeah, but the first reasons that because we were friends.

Mischa Smith:

So I like that a lot like that. obviously I like that we were friends and still, but also just the idea of, I've said forever. I would be terrible at selling something if I didn't believe in it. So the idea that the, that quality is the first thing that you think of that, like you said, it's if you're selling something, People don't want, then it's it's a bad feeling like trying to convince someone to get something. But if you believe in the product and you believe it's good for them, then it's just kind of natural. Hey, I got this great beer. You want some?

Kat Marshall:

Great,

Alex Violette:

So I remember the start when I was getting into craft beer and I was really into it and I would take it and share it with my friends, and I'd say half the time they're like, oh yeah, that's really cool. And then the other half the time they'd be like, yeah. Alex is talking about beer again. do you share beer with your friends and family and if so, what do they think about it

Kat Marshall:

I shared my beers with friends, but not with family. Yeah. The old generation. Forget But yeah, my friends, I think I was the first one to twin craft beer about my friends. I think I was so very lucky, cuz I, I worked with my boss and I had the chance to go to places and I had the chance to try different bottles, different craft beer brands. Yeah. I brought it to them and they're like always very good. It's very good. But then still, at my age, at that time, like the crappier pride was a. Was a little bit high for us, but then still they liked it. And if there is any opportunity that they can buy it, they do it. Yeah. They really enjoy it.

Alex Violette:

That's, that's cool to hear. and you're saying like you were lucky to be the first one, so it sounds like, do you enjoy that? being the person that introduces somebody into this, uh, it sounds like a world for you of, craft beers.

Kat Marshall:

That's what I always love to.

Alex Violette:

Yeah, that's a, it's a great feeling like, uh, sharing something that you care about with somebody and then they turn around and they're like, wow, this is awesome. Thank you so much for letting me know this exists. Or it's here.

Mischa Smith:

but yeah, no, that's what I was gonna say is why you're so good at your job because you love it and you're passionate about it and you're doing something that you care about. And that's what I saw in you at Be Craft, when I saw you talking to customers and they were always having a good time and it's, I can see when someone's gonna be good at talking about beer, when I see them talking about beer in a different concept or in a different context. so I'm curious. About, do you have knowledge about craft beers in other countries? do you kind of know like Vietnam is viewed as one of the best places for craft beer in Asia?

Kat Marshall:

I just, knew it lately cuz I talked to Alex.

Mischa Smith:

Okay. And does that, does that give you a certain feeling to know? the country that you're from is a leader in this kind of global industry.

Kat Marshall:

Yeah, I was surprised. I looked at the pictures of the beer conference lately in, in Bangkok. Yeah. And it, I thought it was international, but then I talked to people that I knew and they say, oh, it was Asian, like on the Asian, I said that many people, and then I talk to Alexa, say, how was Vietnam and Alexa? we are one of the best, the biggest craft beer industry in Asia. I was very proud.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. Awesome.

Kat Marshall:

Yeah. I think bec I think like the, uh, the amount of the beer is sold like craft beer in Vietnam compared to the commercial beers. It's still nothing. It's still

Mischa Smith:

almost, literally nothing. Yes,

Kat Marshall:

It's still nothing, but I'm happy to see it around. I'm happy to see it like when I go out on the streets. Yeah, I think it's improving every day.

Alex Violette:

What about the, the term craft? what does that mean to you? As, I know like in the United States, like they'll have a formal definition and there's different criteria, but when you hear craft beer, like what do you think about

Kat Marshall:

I have I have a local definition that I talk to my friends like who know little about craft beer. I say is smoke quantity, but better quality. And it's not like a commercial beer. They don't make tons of things and they use the ingredients that you definitely know about. And make it very

Mischa Smith:

That's hilarious. That you like, cuz that's exactly how we would describe craft beer to someone who didn't know what it was back home like. That's smaller quantities better, smaller quantities, better qualities, and yeah, more interesting ingredients, Cat. So obviously, you talk about be craft early days, platinum ta, very small amount of breweries. There's now anywhere between 60, 70, maybe more craft breweries in Vietnam. do you think there's any reason why craft beer has been so successful in your home country?

Kat Marshall:

I think I have one word for it. It's fun. It's fun and then it's a great picture for the young people to follow that they have the new like inspiration, like the things for them to do, new things for them to do. Like actually I think five or six years ago, not a Vietnamese, Person comes up, came up with an idea of making a their own beer because they can go out and buy a Tiger, a Heineken, very cheap, like no one ever thought about making their own beer. But then they saw the, like a very new picture and they wanna do it. I think it's, it is fun because it's fun.

Mischa Smith:

I think that's perfect. When we talk about craft beer, we talk about.

Kat Marshall:

Awesome.

Mischa Smith:

so I, I have no idea what you're gonna answer, so this is not me trying to set you up to talk about how good our beers are, but what are your favorite craft beers now in 2022 with, like I said, with 70 different breweries in Vietnam? What are your, just name a few of your like very favorite beers to drink now

Kat Marshall:

I have three beers like my go-to, the Passage Pillow.

Mischa Smith:

That's what I'm drinking

Kat Marshall:

Ta one?

Mischa Smith:

do you want one? Okay.

Kat Marshall:

and, the one I had lately at chess. Tap Room. The milkshake. Ipa.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. IPA

Kat Marshall:

I know that song. And yeah, the first beer that I drank, the platinum.

Mischa Smith:

I love that you're still loyal to that after all. Like usually when we're at malt, if you're not drinking a past street beer, it's platinum. Platinum golden.

Alex Violette:

so now like you are talking to all your friends about craft beers or maybe wine now. Um, they're, generally just oh, this is pretty cool. what percentage of friends would you say, um, you know, through craft beer and what percentage is, known from somewhere else?

Kat Marshall:

I think 70% and not from me E Even now when they work at the new restrooms, I have some friends working as managers. I have some friends working at chasing stuff and they still ask me about products like, have you tried this yet? How does it taste? How should I take it? And I think I was doing a good job.

Alex Violette:

Yeah. for me, I noticed after I got into craft beer, I was just like looking at the people I was hanging out with and I was just like, wow. It's all people that I've met through beer. This is awesome. It's all cool people,

Mischa Smith:

Before you knew about craft beer, was beer like a part of your life or was it that spark that Tim's on you, did that come from Oh, I'm the first person I know who discovered this different kind of beer. This craft beer.

Kat Marshall:

Like I say, I drank beers occasionally. Yeah. but when I started working at people drink beers all the time, so I started like I wanted to learn. I think he was a motivation also.

Mischa Smith:

So back then at like before Beer Craft, which beers did you guys serve on tap other than platinum or was it only Platinum?

Kat Marshall:

Saigon Green

Mischa Smith:

on tab.

Kat Marshall:

Yes. And um, and they have the cis imported, the style for it and

Mischa Smith:

right still for press.

Kat Marshall:

Something else.

Mischa Smith:

yeah. And then I remember back then it was hard to get Mark's beers, cause he was brewing them in such small batches and people were really interested in buying them. do you remember trying his beers for the first time?

Kat Marshall:

I, didn't know that he made the beers. Okay. Like after, and when I started working at Beer Crab, I saw the big menu with the Vietnamese names and I was curious. I was like, Hey, who made the beers? Who made the beers? And they say, roosters made. Yeah. Because Rooster had the factory or something and didn't remember so, but later on when Mark came to the restaurant at night when I just finished my shift and we sat down and he talked to me about the beers for two hours,

Mischa Smith:

that leads perfectly into my next question. Can you tell me a funny story about working for either Mark or Tim or both? You were there for a long time. I'm sure you got some funny stories.

Kat Marshall:

When I was work, like before Be Craft when I was working, it was, I was always talking, I was, um, the host, I had the walkie-talkie, but I was talking with my friends upstairs. I wasn't doing the job. And one time Tim came to me and he blocked the, um, the lock of the door. He lock it to my, And he say if I like, if I kept doing this, he's not gonna give me the key

Mischa Smith:

Tim Scott, ladies and gentlemen,

Kat Marshall:

Yeah. Because I always forgot to wear the apron.

Mischa Smith:

Oh yeah.

Kat Marshall:

That's my fault.

Mischa Smith:

like having worked in restaurants for a long time. Once you get up into like management or any, it drives you crazy when you. Talented staff who are like forgetting their aprons or don't bring a pen to work or like, cuz you want to get angry at them, but then it's like they're your best employee. So like you can't get too angry. But also just fucking remember to bring your apron for God's sake. my managers felt the same way about me. Obviously we went through a lot of stuff together. What give a story. Ka, are you from the Jasmine Company? That was always one of my favorites. So for the uninitiated, anybody who's listening who's not aware, Jasmine IPA is our flagship beer at Pastor Street. And yeah, I would, go on sales calls and some of the staff would ask me, do you work for Jasmine ipa Awesome. this is a beer podcast. We talk about beers, but we don't have to keep it that rigid. I mentioned you recently switched, companies, switched industries, still doing the same job selling, you're selling wine now instead of beer, in the time that you've been working. With wine. Can you just tell me the difference between selling beer and selling wine? I'd imagine there's some similarities, but then some differences. Yeah. So what's different between selling wine and selling beer?

Kat Marshall:

the beer customers are more fun.

Mischa Smith:

Yes.

Kat Marshall:

The beer customers are more fun. Yes. And the one customers are more serious. Yeah. Yeah. Because, I understand because they have to buy. High higher price products and yeah, it's for their bigger restaurants, so they need to be serious about that. yeah, beers are more fun. It's easier, the wine is more serious and more procedures. Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

That's interesting. More procedures, like more steps to getting So, I know you pretty well, I'd imagine. Even though it's more serious now, do you still try to bring that fun energy to your meetings?

Kat Marshall:

Yes. so I work with my Vietnamese bosses. I have two bosses. they have family. They have kids. So they, they are pretty strict. They. I know how to describe it. They just finish work. They go home, they go work go to work early, and then they go home. So whenever I have a very important meeting, I will say, Hey, you should come with me. But with I, I have a customer who are very fun and say, you stay home. Let me go I canceled the meetings like several times after I look at my, after I know my. Right. I was like all these people, I know them. Let me tell my boss to stay home.

Mischa Smith:

that's f.

Alex Violette:

Like it, so you're saying that the wine is, a lot with the presentation?

Kat Marshall:

Yes. but it, it really depends at first that was what I was scared of. I was like, I'm not a serious person. how come I'm gonna do this? But then my, friends told me, oh, you can try it. I think it's, good. Like, you don't need to follow the French guys in Vietnam doing like very proper job. And I said, okay, let's give it a try. But then my customers, now I heard some feedbacks they like me. I'm very natural. I'm not gonna tell the wine, like specific ingredients because like me, I don't even understand what it is. So I'm not gonna tell them that, but I tell them how I feel about the wine.

Alex Violette:

that's awesome. I, I feel. like that's important for craft beer. when you're trying new things, if you're thinking, I'm gonna try this and I don't know what hop was in there and everybody's gonna make fun of me, that would be just the worst situation. I'd be like, I don't want to try beers with different hops now because I'm gonna pair it with the steak and I should have paired it with the fish But it doesn't seem in craft beer, that too often. It makes it, I guess fun access. and you're saying that in wine, that's wanted, that customers are like, oh, this can be fun. We don't have to

Mischa Smith:

yeah, I'd say that was your biggest strength when you were working for us is just how real you were. Like it wasn't, you weren't putting it on, it wasn't like a, some fake thing. oh, we have the best beer and you should buy our beer cause it's the best beer, blah, blah, blah. I get that from some salespeople and I, it's funny, I sell beer for a living. I hate it when people try to sell me stuff because like I know what they're doing and I'm like, eh, you're not good at this. But that's why you were so great at it cuz you were just always a hundred percent you.

Kat Marshall:

Thank

Mischa Smith:

Hey, thank you. ka shifting gears, changing topics. Tell us about your, uh, your newfound celebrity as a TikTok star.

Kat Marshall:

Oh, yeah, It's one of my company's project. We, um, yeah, we do reviews that. Restaurants and bars and puffs, but at first I wanted to do the street food because I'm Vietnamese, I know street food. But then my consultant, they told me that, oh, you're not gonna do it because you don't have time. those people, they don't like, they don't have their like proper jobs. They can have$500,000 and they can do the market tour all day, but you don't have time. do something more serious. Yeah. And I

Mischa Smith:

that, word again, serious.

Kat Marshall:

Yeah. So

Mischa Smith:

Why does everything have to be so serious?

Kat Marshall:

It's wine So I said, okay, so let's do the, um, middle class restaurant or high class.

Mischa Smith:

what's The name of your thing?

Kat Marshall:

An

Mischa Smith:

okay.

Kat Marshall:

It means it beautifully and Drink Gorgeously,

Mischa Smith:

I like that. Yeah. And it's only on TikTok.

Kat Marshall:

Yes. It's only on TikTok.

Mischa Smith:

Okay. So I'm an old man. I don't have TikTok. What, how can I find you on social

Kat Marshall:

media? Oh, don't download it.

Alex Violette:

So I love beer and I also love

Mischa Smith:

and TikTok,

Alex Violette:

and I and I also, um, Vietnamese Street food, like you're saying, street food. Amazing. And I don't see any, technical reason why wine wouldn't taste really good with that. Do you ever go and get your favorite food and then just pair it with your favorite wine, or you're like, these guys, like these things don't exist in the same meal or,

Kat Marshall:

I haven't tried it, but think street food is just like the Vietnamese fusion dishes so that in restaurant, actually they make the street food, but. they move it to a better class. Yeah. Like you're not gonna get a glass of wine on the street foot tour, but definitely in the Vietnamese restaurant. I think it's the same.

Alex Violette:

Same,

Kat Marshall:

yeah.

Mischa Smith:

Do you, have a, do you a favorite Vietnamese restaurant that, like you said is like a little more elevated? do you wanna mention a couple of places in Saigon where you can get real good Vietnamese food, but maybe at a little higher price point so you're not eating on the

Kat Marshall:

street? I like Wang boy.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. Yeah, me too.

Kat Marshall:

too. my, I took my mom and took my family there and they love it there.

Mischa Smith:

and do you sell some wine

Kat Marshall:

there? Yeah. Okay. Yes.

Mischa Smith:

Have you ever so you've eaten there with your wine. Yes. So you have had, like you said, elevated street food, but Vietnamese food with wine. Yes. And it goes well together.

Kat Marshall:

together.

Mischa Smith:

right? So yeah, you should go to your favorite street food place sometime. Bring it home. Crack open. A nice bottle of wine. Let's see how that goes.

Kat Marshall:

that sounds good.

Mischa Smith:

I can have a bond, me and a mall back tonight for dinner.

Kat Marshall:

actually, like I, because I work with. Most of the restaurants I've been selling wine to, they are the owners are local people, not from the us, not from the uk. still, I talk to them in a local way. I don't stress. The food and wine pairing, maybe they don't understand. And I believe that people have different taste. Sure. I eat very plain and some people eat very salty, so I usually, I don't make a big deal out of it.

Mischa Smith:

So you just talk about the wine itself rather than trying to push certain pairings.

Kat Marshall:

Usually I look at the menu to see what cuisine they're, they focus. And then I suggest the wine like this wine like white man, they really like this wine. The Vietnamese people really like it. So yeah, make it very friendly.

Mischa Smith:

And you are thinking about which wine will go well with their food. Just not necessarily specifically like this bottle and this dish and, yeah.

Kat Marshall:

I have 1, 1, 1 story. I met a customer, I'm not gonna say a name. I met a customer and, um, he, he didn't let me talk because he didn't believe me. he has a restaurants upstairs and he had a coffee shop downstairs, so I thought that he would, like his manager to help me with something. But he asked his barista in the coffee shop I to taste the wine for him and I was trying to talk to him, but he didn't listen to me. It was, he wanted to listen to his like barista and I like, because I knew that he didn't know anything about wine. So I made, I was trying to make it very friendly to him. So this wine, and he asked me, what does it smell? And I make it very friendly. I say, you can smell a little bit of mint, mint. And his barista was trying to Google the wine and was like, no, it's not me, it's euca. I said, you know what Eucalyptus is No, it's Eucalyptus. and he would say, oh, you said means you don't know your product. it's Eucalyptus. Oh, I bet you know the eucalyptus. Oh. But overall, I felt that deal.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. can't win'em all.

Alex Violette:

just stick with grapes.

Kat Marshall:

Yeah. smells like grapes.

Mischa Smith:

yeah. So on the back of that, like obviously we've known each other a long time. you, when I first met you, you looked very young because you were very young. You still look pretty young for your age. does that, do you find that, hurts you in your business sometimes? That people don't take you seriously because you look young still?

Kat Marshall:

Yes, I I was pessimistic because when I was starting to work in the one industry, people, like some people told me that I wouldn't fit in the industry because I, because they all saw French guys or business guy wearing suits and ties and hair. Like and gel and say, okay, let's give it a try. I don't sell me, I sell my products

Mischa Smith:

I love that. was that the same when you were selling beer or did you find people Oh yeah, Even though beer's more fun, you still found problems with people not taking you seriously because you were young.

Kat Marshall:

Because our company was big. I could say that we were the, like most recognizable crappier brand in Vietnam. So when they have, they also have a big restaurant and of course they don't want to talk to a young person. They wanna talk to the boss to make a big deal, right? Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

that's, that's always gonna be true. So when I first took the sales job, I would go to Hanoi, once every two or three months. And at the time, John, was my boss and everyone up there was used to working with John. So when I started going up, every, everybody I met up there was like, oh, when's John coming back? When's John up in Hanoi next? When's John coming? They wanted to talk to. They were happy that I was there, but they wanted to talk to my boss. And then once we hired a sales rep up there full-time, Cassie, every time she met any of them, they're like, oh, when's Misha coming back? When's mia? So everyone wants to feel special. Everyone wants the person just above the person that whoever's being sent there. Because once Cassie started, nobody asked about John anymore, but they were asking. So it's who's one level above you? That's who I want talk to. It's so I don't think that's just your age or the way people felt about you. It's just,

Kat Marshall:

just yeah. I,

Mischa Smith:

everyone wants to think that they're important.

Kat Marshall:

I remember one time that a guy asked me, can I meet your boss? I say, oh, yes, but I mean, he, he would answer like me, because it is not something big that we would knit him, that I can fix that for you and say, oh, I want to knit your boss. Tell him to come here and say, do you know English? And say, no,

Alex Violette:

that's important. even, I'm sure you saw that to a degree in a restaurant like you, you've gotta be able to like, Have a team that, that knows what's up and trust'em. Like it's, you don't need to speak to the manager. Like the server knows when you can give somebody a free beer if they need it or if you know, like something wasn't correct. that. And, um, yeah, it's kind of, it's a fun way for me, to be involved in working someplace. It's like when you just agree, It's yeah, you can talk to my boss, he's gonna give you the same answer.

Mischa Smith:

Well, and that's, I've had. A few meetings like that in my life with either with you or with Juan or with some of other Vietnamese reps who, the client wanted to meet me, so I'd go down and they didn't speak any English, so they'd be translating. And so whoever it was would just say to me, oh, they said they really like our beer. I'm like, awesome. And they said something else and they said, oh, they said, but it's too expensive. I'm like, that's the price and they said, can we make this beer? I'm like, We don't really like take requests on fierce styles. It was just a, it's a weird way to have a meeting where someone who you work with and and you trust is just literally just translating for someone who knows nothing about our business and it's just but now they think they're an expert cuz I left those meetings as quickly as I could, But then, and to be fair, like there were other meetings with Vietnamese people who just wanted to meet the boss and the translations were just nothing but positive. love having your beers. Our customers love it. We're so happy you guys are here. This one's my favorite, just really want to say hello and meet you and give you a lot of free food.

Kat Marshall:

Yeah. I think because they may think that with the boss the process may get faster. if they talk to me and I need the approval, I need to go home and ask. But then with the boss, you can decide

Mischa Smith:

anything. right? Which is true for certain things, but probably not the things that, that they are interested in.

Kat Marshall:

in.

Mischa Smith:

So Kat, obviously you're still around, you still talk to other people in the beer industry and try beers. Do you have any predictions for the future of the craft beer industry in Vietnam?

Kat Marshall:

I think it would keep growing, but the only thing that I, I'm a little bit scared of is that it may get it, industrialized. Yeah, beers like the price will get cheaper and the quality will be like worse. that's why I've been always thinking about that, if you want, because I think if you wanna sell more, you need to make it more affordable. But then also if you want, if you make it more affordable, you need to like make it not the same as you make 10 beers

Mischa Smith:

Yeah, I think we were talking about on the last pod I'm not scared about more good beers in Vietnam. I'm scared about bad beers creeping in and like people cutting corners on cost and ingredients. And then if somebody's trying that beer for the first time, I'm like, oh, this is K craft beer. I don't like craft beer cause I didn't like this one. Bad craft beer. So, yeah, I mean obviously that's what we're all working, against is bad beers

Kat Marshall:

is a brewer. You have any idea?

Alex Violette:

yeah, I think that as craft beer becomes more popular, it will get cheaper because you make the beer in sometimes like a bigger tank or there's more people buying the ingredients. So you're like, the economy of scale, you can get the ingredients for a little bit less and you get more efficient at, at brewing it. But I don't really see any craft brewers. In a meaningful way, going out and saying, Hey, we're gonna, we're gonna dominate by just cutting all the ingredients out of our beers and cutting the price. And, um, you know, undercutting it, it may happen at some point, but I think generally it's pretty, pretty positive out there. There's, um, the people that are getting into craft beer are the ones having conversations and they're having conversations with. with people at these like brewery tap rooms and craft beer bars. and I think that's gonna be continuing. Like what drives it? Like you'll, you'll, you'll know how to tell the difference. I think there's enough good beer out there that you'll be able to tell that, Hey, this one isn't as good.

Kat Marshall:

Yeah. I'm happy to see more and more new beers on the. Yeah, I've seen more beers, like new stuff every day. And I'm happy to see it because, the industry, new industry is growing. But at the same time, like I, sometimes I taste this beer after one year. I say, oh, it's different, but sometime I taste this beer after six months and I say, oh, it's different.

Alex Violette:

Yeah. it happens everywhere. This was a, a big conversation in the US about the time that I was leaving to come to Vietnam and it was like, breweries were starting like a thousand a year, like this awesome rate. And, everybody was like, but the brewery that just started down the road, like their brewer doesn't know how to brew beer. They were a home brewer and they never got any training. And the beers are all taste and bad and we're worried about the, the quality of craft beer and, The industry came together and there was a big focus on education, but that never materialized. Like the places that, needed some help, they found the help or there was enough good beer out there to where the bad tasting ones just weren't really successful. And and I'm still positive for Vietnam. I can definitely see how to worry. It was what people in the US were worried about 2009, 2010 ish. It was just like, we're growing too fast and our quality's gonna grow down. But, Yes. I guess that's my thought on it. I know there's talented brewers out there that, know the difference between good and bad beer and care enough to choose good beer.

Mischa Smith:

Okay, so ka at the end of every, pod, we like to do a little segment I call fact or fiction. So f if I'm gonna make a statement about you or about beer, and if it's true, just say fact. If it's not true, say fiction. Cat factor fiction com.

Kat Marshall:

Fact.

Mischa Smith:

love it.

Kat Marshall:

I hate it. That's my words, like stuff for me.

Mischa Smith:

So is

Kat Marshall:

That's my

Mischa Smith:

weakness. So for our listeners, outside of Vietnam, comb, ve is a, a popular phrase here. It means basically, uh, no drunk, no go home.

Kat Marshall:

You know, sometimes I get tired of drinking. Yeah. So I want to leave, but then, because my friends know me, say, give her three drinks after three drinks, she's going to stay here

Mischa Smith:

I've known, bar and restaurant managers who were like that before. Like they could see me if I was about to go, and they knew if they, if I had one more beer, that I'd stay for 10 more beers. So I was like, Hey, Misha, here's one on the house. I right, I'll stay for one more. And then once I got through that one, I was like, all right, come stay home. I just love that there's a popular expression in Vietnamese that you say to your friends and they have to keep drinking All right. Ka factor fiction. Our friend David Tennon, Ismay

Kat Marshall:

Fact

Mischa Smith:

we'll just see if he listens to this. We're not gonna say anything.

Kat Marshall:

I'll attack him into it.

Mischa Smith:

Cat Factor fiction Beer is better than.

Kat Marshall:

Both of them is good. depends on the situation.

Mischa Smith:

Okay.

Alex Violette:

So fiction

Mischa Smith:

fiction to say it definitively. Sure, Cat factor fiction, and I mentioned we were gonna get into this, you named yourself after m and m

Kat Marshall:

fact

Mischa Smith:

Can you explain that a little bit? Cause obviously your name's not m and m

Kat Marshall:

I lived with my family in a small house and we only had one. my brother, my sister, and me, we had different schedule to watch the tv. So I, I told them that to save me the time that when MTV is on so I can watch Eminem, because it's the, it was the only channel that Eminem was.

Mischa Smith:

And your name on Facebook is Cat Marshall.

Kat Marshall:

Yeah. I, I listened to his songs and I didn't know anything. I think that was one of the ways I learned English.

Mischa Smith:

That's awesome. I just knew your name on Facebook was Cat Marshall for a long time before I think I asked you or someone else said, I'm like, Marshall Mathers Cat factor fiction yoga people are,

Kat Marshall:

100% fact I'm sorry.

Mischa Smith:

Last one. Cat Factor Fiction. Tim Scott was a better boss than Miesha Smith. Yeah, Eat it. Tim. That was beer stories. Thanks to our producer, Niall Mackay, our theme. Music was written and performed by Lewis Wright. Thank you as always to Alex.

Alex Violette:

Thanks, Misha. Thanks, Kat.

Kat Marshall:

Thank you for having

Mischa Smith:

me. Thanks for coming in, and thank you for listening.