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Humans have been drinking beer or similar drinks for several thousand years, but many do not realize early brewers were mainly women, making beer as one of their normal household tasks. However, by the 18th century the brewing gradually became a man’s job and women were relegated to roles as barmaids, pub operators, bottlers or secretaries for breweries.
Over time beer also came to be viewed as a man’s drink. Now with the craft beer renaissance and the realization and acceptance that beer can be enjoyed by all, more and more women choose beer as their drink of choice. They are also entering the beer business as brewers and brewery owner/operators.
In this series we delve into the backgrounds of several women—co-owner/operators, brewers and operations managers. These accomplished women are leaving their mark on the beer industry in Southern Nevada in occupations integral to the brewing business. Read on to discover the paths that led them to this field and the quite significant contributions they have made and continue to make.
Ceci Moggia—The Woman Behind the Scenes Driving Business to Big Dog’s Brewing
Ceci Moggia has lived in Las Vegas from the tender age of six. While in high school, she applied her interest in photography and worked on the school’s yearbook, but soon after graduating from Chaparral in 2001 began what would wind up being a long career at Las Vegas’ first brewery. As her sister Cristina was going on maternity leave, she asked Ceci to apply for her clerk position at the Holy Cow! Brewpub retail gift shop to fill in for her.
Ceci was at first hesitant, since she was already working two jobs, but agreed to do so for the three months her sister would be out. But after beginning work and gradually helping out as needed as a hostess, busser, expediter and eventually landing a job as a server, she fell in love with the brewery operation and realized she had found her home.
From her server position Ceci started doing some marketing work on the side for the company’s corporate office, and moved up to more office duties shortly after Holy Cow! closed in 2002, rebranded as Big Dog’s Brewing and moved the brewery to its current location at the Draft House. Each year led to more and more roles doing all things needed and her various duties that included customer service and training allowed her to become very familiar with overall how a restaurant needs to be run, which helped prepare her for her current position 21 years later: the all-encompassing job of Marketing and Accounting.
Craft Beer Education
Ceci’s beer education began and continued at the brewery. She attests there were many opportunities to extend her craft beer knowledge such as beer trips, beer festivals and other beer events, which was the foremost reason she fell in love with craft beer. She also credits working closely with and learning from Dave Otto, the longtime Holy Cow!/Big Dog’s head brewer, as she saw his passion for beer which in turn made her want to try more beers and get into the beer making process.
After helping out with Big Dog’s Brew School (an immersive ticketed event where beer fans spend a day with the brewer brewing a batch of beer), she was inspired to research more about beer, visit more breweries and eventually became what she describes as a beer geek.
Ceci also took the level one cicerone class at Southern Wine and became a Cicerone Beer Server. Her goal was to continue her education and become a Certified Cicerone (similar to a sommelier, but for beer) but hasn’t had the time to put into it. But she did follow through by helping to start the first Las Vegas Chapter of the Pink Boots Society in 2018 and served as Secretary for just over two years.
The organization is comprised of women working in any facet of the brewing business and through meetings and networking members learn of opportunities for positions in the brewing industry. She is still a member and also volunteers for the Nevada Craft Brewers Association.
Favorite Beer Styles
After starting out as a Bud drinker, Ceci now refers to herself as a big hophead, as she prefers hoppy, bitter beers with a hint of citrus and fruit. Her all-time favorite is Big Dog’s War Dog (an Imperial IPA), followed by Big Dog’s Crhazy Triple Hazy IPA (a beer which is extra special because a representation of her dog Wrigley is depicted on the label) and Russian River Brewing Pliny the Elder IPA. Ceci also likes to expand her taste buds and try different styles and appreciates sours and lambics, such as New Belgian La Folie.
Ceci’s Job Duties, Likes and Challenges
Regarding her daily tasks, Ceci says, “It changes a lot. Anything that’s needed I do. There’s always something going on or an event to promote or put together and I have my hand dipped in a little bit of everything at Big Dog’s from marketing, accounting, human resources and coordinating events and even beertending in the new taproom.”
Speaking of doing a little of everything, she is also responsible for social media posts, payroll, brewery taxes, accounting for brewery ingredient purchases, inventory balancing, retail inventory and ordering, daily specials for the restaurant, live music and working closely with artists on the design of beer labels. She relates that the reason she works as a beertender every Wednesday is for the personal aspect of talking to and connecting with customers.
Ceci claims what she likes best about her job is the beer and company she works for. “Big Dog’s is a great company and is a family that takes care of each other,” she says. “The brewers are like my big brothers.” She adds that she especially enjoys helping with the can art ideas and coming up with the dog-themed and sometimes comical names for the beers, which can involve a lot of laughter.
Another aspect that makes her heart happy is seeing everyone enjoying themselves listening to music, tasting beer, eating and having a good time and knowing it took a lot of work, but loving how it all comes together. As for challenges, trying to keep up with emails and get everything done on time can be overwhelming but somehow it all gets done. Ceci is also proud of the fact that she has worked every single one of the Big Dog’s 48 quarterly beer festivals since their inception.
Accolades from Big Dog’s Brewing
Ceci’s contributions to the smooth operation of Big Dog’s does not go unnoticed by her co-workers. Director of Brewing Operations Dave Pascual says, “You will always see her front and center showcasing and promoting not only Big Dog’s brews at festivals, but many things tied to the local brew scene through our state brewing association, The Nevada Craft Brewer’s Association. Ceci does a lot of work and help for our pub and brewery, many of which go unnoticed and are behind the scenes. She is definitely an unsung hero when it comes to what she provides for our brewery.”
Big Dog’s Chief Financial Officer Robert Snyder concurs: “Ceci is the bedrock to all we do. She juggles a lot of balls in the air at one time—marketing, human resources, festivals, wholesaler relations and so much more, and does a great job at all of it. What’s she has done to make us better (and the local craft beer scene) is amazing and inspiring.”
The Local Beer Community and Support for Each Other
Thankfully Ceci attests that the local beer community is very supportive of each other. “There’s no competition. We’re all here to help each other and not knock each other down,” she says. “The beer community here is very close. If you are missing an ingredient or need equipment everyone says ‘I got you.’”
Women in Brewing that Have Inspired and Looking to the Future
Ceci credits being inspired by the hardworking moms, wives, sisters, friends and amazing women she’s worked with at Big Dog’s over the past 20+ years, including a lot of girl bosses, head brewers, brewers and operation managers who have pushed her to work hard and do more. She lists the Pink Boots Society as a great group of impressive women who want to help and push each other to succeed.
Regarding the future for women in the brewing industry, Ceci says, “I see it as an excelling future for women wanting to pursue a career in the industry and think people will be surprised when they see more women in the roles of head brewers, assistant brewers, brewery owners, operations directors, managers, etc. The brewery industry in Vegas is very welcoming. Everyone here is like family and I love that about our community.”