Bill Preib, or “preiber,” as he is sometimes called by friends, first became interested in beer working as a clerk at the Lincoln Street Market, a small grocery store in Eugene Oregon, where he attended the U of O. Store policy allowed a free 6-pack of imported beer to whomever worked the Friday or Saturday evening shift. “I was soon working both shifts…a 12 pack of imported beer every week!”
After graduating Bill moved to Seattle and began home brewing. A few years later, bored with his job as a customer service rep at the Seattle Times, Bill quit it all and traveled in Europe for a year. It was there that he decided to try to get into the budding craft brewery business when he returned.
Back in Seattle in 1989, Bill began his job hunt. “The first thing I remember doing was flagging down a Red Hook delivery truck, while on my bike, to ask the driver how I could get into the beer business. It turned out to be none other than Mark Marzanno, who remains a very well known and well liked guy in the business.” At some point a friend told Bill about Hale’s Ales, in Kirkland. “I called them up and Mike answered. I explained I was looking to get into the business but, figuring I didn’t know enough about brewing, I said I would start in sales.” Luckily a sales position had just opened up.
Bill remembers the interview well. Hale’s “office” was a loft over a warehouse floor where kegs were being washed. You had to climb a ladder to get there…no stairs. It was a messy, busy, bare bones place. They used empty kegs as chairs and sheets of plywood as desk tops. “I felt right at home instantly.” Bill began working at Hale’s in August 1989.
Bill is a guitar player and plays in a number of local bands, including The Bouchards. “I’ve played music in almost every dive bar in Western Washington.”
Bill’s favorite beer style is constantly changing, but his favorites currently include Kolsches and Pilsners because he appreciates the lightness and the subtleties of their flavor profiles.
The scariest moment in his career at Hale’s receiving a call from a panicked Hale’s keg driver. The Hale’s truck, full of beer kegs, had rolled, without a driver , 3 blocks down a hill, through a public park, straight into Lake Union. Miraculously no one was hurt. There’s a plaque at the park now commemorating the event.
When asked about his future aspirations for work in this industry, he replied simply and matter-of-factly, “More better brews.”