In 2012, Pelican Brewing Company’s Brewmaster, Darron Welch, sat across the table from Whitney Burnside, currently of 10 Barrel Brewing, interviewing her for a Pelican Brewing Company Brewer position. It was in that initial interview that Darron immediately knew he had found someone special. She was direct, clear, and knew what she wanted. Whitney also brought to the table a flair for culinary creativity, which has served as the backbone to her ability to make great tasting beers.

When Whitney speaks of her time at Pelican, you can see a twinkle in her eye, and you can hear a fondness in her voice. To her, this is the place where it all started. At Pelican, Whitney learned, created, and pushed herself, laying the foundation for the brewer she is today. “When I first started working with Darron, it was refreshing to work with someone with such drive and ambition. Here I learned that every step plays an intrici role in the brewing process and to never cut corners,” says Whitney.

As much as Pelican holds a special place in Whitney’s heart, she has a special place in Pelican’s. “Whitney’s strength lies in her ability to think about beer from a culinary perspective. She considers different flavors and how they will present in beer; she created amazing beers while at Pelican and continues to do so in her current role. This flavor-forward thinking propels her creativity and leadership in the craft beer industry.”

For Darron, the past 25 years has not just been about crafting award-winning beer; it has been about the people and the deep connections he has created. “My most rewarding achievements over the past 25 years have been the innumerable fantastic people I’ve had a chance to work with. People I have been honored to teach, mentor, and learn from. I’m proud of all our alumni and our 25th Bird-Day collaborations that honor our commitment and relationship to the people that pass through our doors,” says Darron Welch.

Pelican’s 25th Birthday celebration begins with the release of Bird-Day Volume I, an Imperial Porter with Passionfruit and Cacao Nibs from the creative minds of Whitney and Darron. This luxurious Imperial Porter features a rich malt character offset by a bright streak of passionfruit tartness. Bird-Day Volume I is now available in 500 mL bottles at your local bottle shop, on draft at Pelican Brewpubs, and with Pelican’s new beer subscription service called the Bird-Day Box.

Stay tuned all year-long for the continued celebration of Pelican’s 25th Birthday with the release of three more volumes featuring Pelican alumni Ben Love of Gigantic Brewing, Jason Schonemann of Steel Toe Brewing, and Hutch Kugeman of Brooklyn Brewery. Cheers to 25 years of beers!