Dining With Denise Neil

Ever left a job you love? This will make you shed a tear in your beer

Longtime River City Brewing Co. head brewer Dan Norton, left, and owner Chris Arnold, pose for a portrait in 2013. The two wrote emotional farewell posts to each other on Facebook on Tuesday, Norton's last day before he leaves to open his own brewery.
Longtime River City Brewing Co. head brewer Dan Norton, left, and owner Chris Arnold, pose for a portrait in 2013. The two wrote emotional farewell posts to each other on Facebook on Tuesday, Norton's last day before he leaves to open his own brewery. File photo

As I reported on Monday, longtime River City Brewing Co. head brewer Dan Norton is opening his own place. He and his wife, Becky, will open Norton’s Brewing Company early next year.

Today was Norton’s last day at the job he’s held for 17 years.

This is significant for several reasons, not the least of which is that when Norton started his job, local brewing was not a big thing in Wichita. He and River City owner Chris Arnold were beer pioneers.

On Tuesday, Norton posted an emotional farewell to his job on the River City Facebook page. It read, in part:

“CHRIS ARNOLD...16 years ago, you took a chance on a starry eyed kid from Michigan, and gave him the keys to the only brewhouse in the city. Today is my last day as your brewer, and I want you all to know that I didn't accept that job lightly! I poured my heart and soul into every beer we ever produced!”

A little while later, Arnold followed up with an emotional farewell of his own. It read, in part:

“Dan, with a heavy heart and yet filled with excitement and pride I wish for you and your family the greatest of success in everything you do. Now, I think I'll pour myself a Tornado Alley IPA, Wichita's first and of-course designed and crafted by you, and literally shed a tear in my beer thinking of the past and dreaming of the future.”

Anyone who drinks beer in Wichita – or who has ever left a job despite still loving it and the people they were leaving behind – should be able to relate.

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