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Check Out Hilda Stevens’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hilda Stevens.

Hi Hilda, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Life as an Import Beer Manager sound glamorous and while I do feel like my job is a hobby, I also do the grind that all marketing and sales professionals experience in their daily work schedule. My passion was always to travel the world so I majored in International Business and Marketing from St Mary’s University in San Antonio. I worked my way up the ladder in software sales until the 2008 recession. At that point I had to choose whether to stay in software sales or follow my passion. So in 2009 while living in Porltand, OR, I dusted that Business Plan I wrote in Graduate School, made some tweaks with the assistance of a mentor and eventually opened a Belgian Bistro – Bazi Bierbrasserie. I found a niche in a beer-centric and soccer obsessed city. The bar was named Top 100 Beer Bars in America multiple years in a row and received dozens of accolades from near and afar writers and reviewers. It was also written about in the soccer book Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer by Gwendolyn Oxeham. In 2017 as I was exploring to open a second location, my parents lost their home for the second year in a row to Hurricane Harvey; followed by heart attacks from each which I’m sure was due to the stress. At that time, I had to make the difficult decision to sell Bazi and return home to help my parents. I was fortunate that a Hospitality Group saw Bazi as a perfect addition to their portfolio and by December 2017 I had essentially put myself out of a job. With the sale of the business, I had enough funds to take my time finding my next career. It didn’t take long before I saw that one of my favorite European Beer Importers was hiring in Texas. Today, I have what some would consider a dream job! I represent 11 European breweries; oversee distribution, logistics, sales, and marketing in 4 states and have the opportunity to work from home with some of the most passionate colleagues in the business. When I’m not grinding it in my cubicle, you’ll probably see me at a beer festival telling a great story about tasting beer with Monks, hosting a bike ride or petting the Samuel Smith Shires that deliver beer around the town of Tadcaster. Just remember that every great story comes with unknown challenges, sacrifices of what you have to give up, and making some tough decisions for family at times. So take a deep breath, embrace risks and change, and write your own story with a beer in hand!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’ve hit many walls along the way. Starting a business is tough, especially in the hospitality industry. Banks usually wants 5 years of finances so I took a second on my home and funded Bazi myself. It was a very risky decision, but with the proper mentor, niche concept and my parents cheering me on, I felt confident it would succeed. The restaurant was profitable in its first 15 months which is unusual for the industry.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I represent 11 breweries from Europe – England, Scotland, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. As a beer importer we specialize in classic style ales – those that have influenced the craft beer movement in the USA. I have an amazing cohort and supportive workforce. We definitely do what we love because we have passion in the business, and believe that there’s a great story behind every beer and cider we sell or share with a friend.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
My parents brought us to the US in 1983, during the civil war in Guatemala. I was always very studious, self-motivated, and had an entrepreneurial spirit. I took my parents advice to heart even more when migrating to the US because of the family we had to leave behind and the sacrifices they made to get us to Houston. Their philosophy was that we were guests in this country and in order to get citizenship we had to work harder than everyone else and not take anything for granted. I excelled in school, lettered in sports and volunteered for many organizations. In addition to getting a partial scholarship to attend St Mary’s, I also raised thousands of dollars in other scholarships from non-profit organizations supporting minorities and students who excelled academically.

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