Meet Common Blocker Rachel Koning

Who’s the woman behind the blog posts?  She’s in charge filling your Instagram feed with photos, Facebook pages with links, and captivating our hearts 140 characters at a time on Twitter. Her name is Rachel, and this time we want you to meet the (wo)man behind the curtain.  Mother of two boys: one, whose lack of fitted pants and belt destines him to be a plumber, and the other, a child who produces enough slobber to make a St. Bernard blush.   She found some time to sit down and answer a few questions about blogging, beer and unrealistic hypothetical situations involving a desert island.

Without further ado, here’s Rachel!

Welcome SignHow long have you been doing social media, and how did you discover it as something you’d want to do for a living?

I hopped into social media about six years ago as an event coordinator, because it made sense for me to start promoting the events we were organizing online. Once I became addicted to viewing insights, following statistics, writing blogs and using hashtags, there was no going back.

Rumor has it you have an (un?)healthy addiction to site statistics. Care to expand on that?

How else am I going to compare my posts with other contributors’ posts?! We’ll call it (un)healthly motivation. Or competition. Or both, whatever.

Do you have a favorite type of blog post to write?  Least favorite?

I get super motivated to write “valued added” posts, when we’re giving tips, guides, recipes, etc. When I think about the blogs I follow, they’re either about cooking, cooking with beer, or home improvement advice (because who wouldn’t want to know how to make his/her hardwood floors shine like new?).  Writing about beer pairing ideas, growler storage tips, or which breweries to hop around over the weekend usually float my boat.

Nick Rachel DanielleMy least favorite are the posts on topics I don’t know much about – shocker. For instance, I tried to write one about nettles because a brewery was using them on a special pizza. Turns out, I know nothing about nettles. And I couldn’t really figure out what to include and not include – do really readers want to know Urtica dioica grows in North America, can be cooked to take away the “stingers,” or do they just care that it tastes good with sausage? I scrapped the draft and decided to write a post about beer instead.

What are some roadblocks you ran into while learning the do’s and don’ts of social media?

Posting on my personal page, versus business pages…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve immediately deleted everything I’ve written once I’ve realized I’m promoting something on my own account. Although, I guess since I’m in the craft beer industry, accidently promoting beer isn’t the worse thing that could happen.

What are you most excited about, when it comes to Common Block’s opening?

rachel maire ellaI have an image in my head of my husband and I sitting on the back patio in the sun, drinking beer, sharing fries, and watching a live band across the street. I want that.

Some people call you a social media expert, a social media Guru, or even a social media specialist.  If you could make your own title, what would it be?

Maybe “sharing facilitator.” If my four year-old was reading this (which he’s not, because he can’t read), he would absolutely agree.

You’re stuck on a desert island.  You have your three favorite books and four CD’s that you chose the last time someone asked you a question like this.  A ship crashes in the distance, carrying what can only be described as a lifetime supply of craft beer.  It’d be a tragedy, but fortunately you’re there to pick up the kegs as they float to your little paradise. What beer would you chose to be stranded with? 

Something I learned on a recent backpacking trip: if you’re going to drink lukewarm beer (which I’m assuming I’d be doing on the island, unless refrigeration equipment and a power supply also wash up on shore), better make it something with light hops. I’m thinking Hop Valley’s Double D Blonde, or maybe Twilight from Deschutes. I’d gladly sip both while listening to Otis Redding and reading Game of Thrones (books one, three, and five).

And don’t forget to check out:

Meet Common Blocker Nick Blakeslee

Meet Common Blocker Ashley Nunes


Eat (and Drink) Local Week


Sharpen your cutlery, shine your silverware, and have your camera on standby for Eat Local Week, September 11-20. All around the Rogue Valley you’ll find food tastings, demos, cooking classes, tours, festivals and more. You can also enter in the Eat Local Week Selfie Contest for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate and a copy of Thrive’s local veggie cookbook.

So basically…you have to eat delicious local food and take photos of yourself doing it for a week. Wow, life is tough.

Personally, we’re most excited about the Salsa Showdown on Saturday the 19th at the Commons. Because…well…it’s a salsa showdown. And it’s right across the street. We hear there’s going to be dancing, demos, and music, too. If beer or wine are more your thing, jump on the Meet the Brewer Happy Hour Tour in Grants Pass, or the Wine and Cheese Pairing at Wooldridge Creek Winery.

Visit the the Buy Local- Buy Rogue website for the full list of events all week, and plan your personal food-lover tour around the valley. You’ll find menu specials at lots of southern Oregon restaurants featuring local ingredients, so eating out is a no-brainer.

Next year, you bet we’ll be joining in the fun with local specials, too. This year, we’ll just have to tour around, eat, drink, and enjoy. Again, life is tough.

Meet Common Blocker Ashley Nunes

We’re continuing our Common Block coworker bio series with our graphic design guru, Ashley. Shirts, stickers, glassware, posters…Ashley creates them all and more, and we love her style, enthusiasm, and wildly funny sense of humor.

During an opportune nap time for her two boys, Ashley answered a few questions about her experience in the craft beer/design world for us all to get to know her a little better:

Gina and Ashley

Gina & Ashley at the CBBC Permit Party

Tell us a bit about the beer festivals and conferences you’ve attended. Did you meet any famous beer people?! 

My first experiences with beer/food festivals and conferences were awesome events like The Bite of Oregon in Portland and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) conference in Bend. These events brought to my attention the depth of what’s possible in the industry, and set my sights on areas other than table service. My excitement and interest grew as Alex and Danielle sent me to the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Chicago, followed by Savor in Washington DC. Both of these “sealed the deal,” and I was overwhelmed and excited by the infinite amount of learning to be had.

At Chicago’s CBC, I remember seeing quite a few brewers and founders I had already met (in frequenting their breweries, maybe a bit too frequently…) and was surprised that many of them remembered me! “Oh you’re that crazy lady that asks for a brewery tour EVERY time you come through! We hate you!” But really, this is evidence of the personal, unique and humble facets that give the craft beer community the excellent culture it has.

I definitely had my “star-struck” moments when meeting brewer Tonya Cornett of 10 Barrel, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing, the wild and crazy Jamie Floyd of Ninkasi, Jim Koch of Sam Adams, and a couple of Portland’s legendary bar managers/cocktail gurus such as Dave Shenaut, Jacob Grier, and Kevin Ludwig.


Ashley’s design, wrapping up beer, construction & corn hole into a postcard. We think she’s great.

What attracts you to design in the brewing industry?

I feel like I have the coolest design gig ever! Combining graphic design and beer is definitely not what I had in mind when graduating with degrees in Psychology and Spanish, but I personally can’t think of a cooler, more unique, ever-evolving job! I think that what I love most about design within the craft beer industry is that you are working with creative, artistic, hard-working, problem-solvers who can’t really be doing what they do without passion and community investment. Doesn’t that sound like a kick-a** group of co-workers? Yeah!

Honestly, it’s taking something that is already an art form involving highly-honed skills (brewing), and helping to creating branding or visual concepts that help to bring that craft to life in a different way. It’s also an industry that tends not to take itself too terribly seriously, so there’s a lot of fun to be had. Plus having a weekly meeting or press-check with a beer in your hand ain’t too shabby.

ashley and twainWhat are some of the perks with working in downtown?

So far, working in downtown Medford has been a blast. I love having a reason to check out spots I would have otherwise driven right by, or seeing the community already rally with such support and excitement! Any time I’ve been at Common Block, someone from a local business walks by and smiles or waves, or stops in to check on progress. Having a park literally across the street with live music, a grassy spot to relax, and a water-park/playground for my kids is amazing; the location is perfect. Plus, having an excuse to grab happy hour at Porters, drinks at Jefferson Spirits, a pour-over at Limestone Coffee or a slice of pizza at Kaleidoscope is a bonus!

If friends invite you to a beer and food pairing at their house, what do you bring?

Hmmm… to be honest, I’d probably skip the food and go ahead with Russian River’s ‘Pliny the Younger’ Imperial IPA paired with a nice glass of Rittenhouse Rye. Great for a “starter,” right?

And if you’d like to read about more of our coworkers:

Meet Common Blocker Nick Blakeslee

Meet Common Blocker Rachel Koning