Brewing Career Opportunities

OCC student James Dowd (left) and Anything But Beer Strategist and Brew Master Logan Bonney (right) at a recent event.

James Dowd had a passion for marketing, but the sophomore Business Administration major wasn’t sure what aspect of it he wanted to pursue for a career. That changed one day while he was working at the Career Services Office in Coulter Hall. Dowd saw a posting for an internship at the College’s START-UP NY company partner, Anything But Beer which makes carbonated alcoholic beverages using fruits and vegetables instead of hops and barley. The company is owned and operated by OCC Alumni Logan Bonney and Brittany Berry.

Dowd applied, interviewed and was brought in for the spring semester. “It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made,” Dowd said. “Working with Anything But Beer showed me the ins and outs of how to run a company and how that translates to what I want to do.” Berry, the companies Chief Marketing Officer says the fact the business is a START-UP provides a great opportunity for students like Dowd. “James’ internship is slightly different than working for a larger firm because our needs are greater. Everyone must contribute everywhere, so we customized his work exposure to maximize his experience in order to help him find his passion and prepare him for what he wants to do next.”

James Dowd will graduate OCC in May, and plans to transfer to a four-year school.

Dowd couldn’t agree more with the assessment. The internship has provided him with a better understanding of which parts of the marketing field excite him the most. His duties have included event preparation, data analysis and organizational detail. Soon he will be exposed to promotional work that complements his event planning and be able to setup and help operate some upcoming events as well. Moreover, by the time he completes his internship he will have provided the company with an invaluable product report detailing what their consumers and business partners believe the company is doing well and where they need to improve.

The partnership between Anything But Beer and OCC provides the company with a steady pipeline of qualified students looking to gain experience outside the classroom and has been a welcome perk for them. “Working with Career Services has been great because we are able to pick from a group of great students, so when we fill a position, we know the person coming in is going to work hard and take advantage of this opportunity,” Berry said. The company is a Veteran Owned Business and recently took part in the annual Career Fair at OCC and was particularly excited to see the amount of interest, especially from the Colleges’ veteran community.

Quality interns are more important than ever to this growing company who is experiencing dramatic year-to-year growth in sales. Anything But Beer can now be found in 75 locations over a 10-county area across New York State. This drastic change in demand has also shifted their work from made-to-order to maintaining 25 barrels of product which is ready to go at all times. Bonney and Berry have also brought on two full-time employees and are excited to see where the rest of 2019 takes them.

Students interested in employment, internships and volunteering opportunities can learn more by contacting Career Services at (315) 498-2585 or careerservices@sunyocc.edu. The office is located in Coulter Hall in room C110.

Roji Tea Brings Manufacturing to OCC’s START-UP NY

Roji Tea owner Christian Van Luven in his new manufacturing facility at 1153 West Fayette Street.

Christian Van Luven, an owner of Roji Tea Lounge, is excited the continued growth and success his partnership with Onondaga Community College and the START-UP NY program will bring to his business. “This is a great opportunity,” said Van Luven. “We think it will helps us expand into new areas.”

The Roji Tea Lounge is located at 108 East Washington Street in Syracuse. The Roji Tea Company operates out of the Cosmopolitan Building at 1153 West Fayette Street. The site is within OCC’s expanded footprint in the START-UP NY program which provides participants with New York State tax benefits and a partnership with the College which includes student internship opportunities and access to the Small Business Development Center.

Roji Tea’s Christian Van Luven speaks with OCC Business majors in Whitney Commons.

The staple of Roji Tea is their outstanding variety of teas which are sourced from China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The space at the Cosmopolitan Building is the headquarters for Roji Tea’s manufacturing. The kitchen located on the first floor of the building is where extra tea and locally sourced ingredients are turned into tea cookies or other sweets and foods found on the Roji Tea Lounge menu. Van Luven is also using the space as the headquarters for their online sales, marketing and wholesale manufacturing operations. They eventually plan to bottle and can teas there. “This is a new endeavor for us. It’s a great opportunity to reevaluate everything we do as we start this new business.”

It’s also a great opportunity for OCC students. Van Luven has come to campus and spoken with students in the Business Club and hosted students in the Cosmopolitan Building. He’s also set up an internship program for OCC students interested in helping with social media and manufacturing. “If you’re a graphic designer or you are interested in social media, you’ll be getting a head start in the business.

We’re looking for students who have the passion to do this and want to settle down in Syracuse and find something meaningful in our company. We want to have something we can all build off of.”

Students can learn more about opportunities with the Roji Tea Company through Purple Briefcase, OCC’s online career portal and job board. You can also contact Van Luven via email at christian@rojitealounge.com.

If you are a business looking for more information on START-UP NY, contact OCC’s Russ Corbin at corbinr@sunyocc.edu.

Alums “Start Up” A Brewery

OCC Alums Logan Bonney (left) and Brittany Berry (right) at Anything But Beer, a craft brewery specializing in alcoholic craft beverages.

Brittany Berry and Logan Bonney are former Onondaga Community College students who are carving out a place for themselves in the world of craft brewing, but their product isn’t beer. It’s a line of alcoholic beverages which are carbonated. “Anything But Beer’s” unique collection of flavors include “Chai Your Luck” ginger chai cider, “Fired Up” spicy mulled cider and “The Root Less Traveled” spiced sweet potato. Their start-up brewery is located on Syracuse’s west side at 1153 West Fayette Street, an address better known as the Cosmopolitan Building. The site is within OCC’s expanded footprint in the START-UP NEW YORK program which provides participants with tax benefits and access to assistance from the College. “From the beginning our relationship with OCC has been awesome. The space we have and the support group around us have been invaluable,” said Bonney. “We’ve been talking to possible new hires,” added Berry. “The moment we mention START-UP the reaction has been, ‘Yes!’ It’s going to help us attract a lot of great talent.”

Anything But Beer on tap at The Stoop Kitchen.

Anything But Beer’s beverages start with a mixture of fruit and vegetable sugars. They are blended with locally grown fruit and vegetable juices and carbonated. Anything But Beer is a “farm brewery,” a designation given to those who use a large percentage of local products. The one ingredient you won’t find is grain and its absence is their biggest selling point. When Berry and Bonney were doing market research they discovered how many people didn’t like the taste of beer and preferred a grain free alcoholic beverage. At the same time Berry was going through a dietary change and realized when she eliminated grains, chronic pain she had been experiencing went away. “Thanks to the feedback we are getting from people now about how much they like what we are making, I feel like I have a personal support system.”

Berry and Bonney each bring a unique skill set to Anything But Beer. Berry oversees Marketing and Development. She is a graduate of Faith-Heritage High School and a 2008 alumna of OCC’s Interior Design major. She is now studying Industrial Interaction Design with a focus on User Research and Customer Experience.

Bonney delivers a keg to Stout Beard Brewing Company.

Bonney is the Strategist and Brew Master. He is a Long Island native who joined the Air Force at age 19. He enrolled in OCC’s Mechanical Technology program because he wanted to learn how to make parts so he could build a gyroplane and be the first to fly one around the world. That plan never made it off the ground, but he did go on to earn a bachelor’s in Business Administration and a master’s in Entrepreneurship.

You can find Anything But Beer’s products at The Stoop Kitchen, 311 West Fayette Street in Armory Square, and Stout Beard Brewing Company at 126 Dell Street in Syracuse. The response has been great. “We give them a keg and it’s empty in two days,” said Bonney. “We weren’t expecting that.”

As demand increases Anything But Beer will take all of the help it can get from OCC. They were at a job fair on campus last month, taking advantage of the new relationship. “It’s great to have access to human capital there,” said Bonney. “We are talking to students about starting a hiring process with them and department heads about what their needs are. Our demand is a lot more than we were expecting right away.”

If you are a student or faculty member interested in getting involved with Anything But Beer, contact Internship Coordinator Lori Davis in the Career Services office at l.l.davis3@sunyocc.edu.

If you are a business looking for more information on START-UP NY, contact OCC’s Russ Corbin at corbinr@sunyocc.edu.