Local Legends: Alice Greco - The Hoptimist
Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Today on Local Legends we sit down with Alice Greco better known to many The Hoptimist. Alice is a beer blogger, reviewer, homebrewer and much more. She generously gave her time to discuss female voices in the beer world, social media and why dogs and homebrewing aren’t always a good mix.
Thanks for joining us, Alice. Now many people will know you as The Hoptimist but I’m curious to know exactly how you got into the beer world?
Thanks for having me. So interestingly enough I’ve never actually worked in the beer industry except for during uni when I worked as a bartender. I ended up studying civil engineering at University after I realised my other option, classical singing, was not my calling! Apart from that I really never got into the beer world at all and never really drank any craft beer until I met my husband( which sounds appalling I know). But it was because he would brew beer with his mates down in Geelong and whenever I’d go down there they would bring out these really fancy new beers I’d never heard of and I ended up getting more and more interested and excited about them. I guess the next step was that we were really lucky because for a wedding present our friends got us a RoboBrewer and a Kegerator which is one of the best gifts we’ve ever received! Because of that, I figured I had to properly learn how to brew. So I guess we went from there and dove headfirst into the craft beer world, learning how to brew and enjoy different styles.
Well we are certainly glad you did and I have to say that is a bloody excellent gift! Did the engineering degree come in handy for the brewing by the way?
Haha look it did for the maths portion but otherwise no, No. But It’s actually quite funny because I specialise in hydrology and hydraulics which is all water-related and I feel beer is 90% water so it’s should all be the same thing right?
Haha if only it were that easy! And do you still brew currently?
Yeah I do. Not as much as I would like at the moment ever since we’ve got our dog, who is now 9 months old. She does not let you do anything without her. So every time I go to brew she has to be somewhere else. We had doggy daycare but now being in Stage Four lockdown again it means no more brewing for the time being.
Well your dog (a very gorgeous Samoyed called Beanie) has almost as many fans as you I would think! So any plans for the first brew back?
Well even though the weather is warming up I really wanted to do an Imperial Stout. The last one I did was a Double Choc Imperial Oatmeal Stout but it was super chocolatey and I really like bitter things so I think I need to tweak the recipe, maybe add some coffee in there too.
Stop it Alice you’re making my thirsty! Also don’t worry about the weather, Imperial Stouts are good any weather!
Haha couldn’t agree more. It’s a universal drink for me.
Now you’ve recently gained four thousand followers on Instagram which is quite the achievement! How did you get into the social media game?
I started Instagram mainly because I think on my personal page my family and everyone was getting really sick of me posting a hundred beers! So it was a way to funnel my energy into something that my parents don’t have to sit there and suffer through and see how much their daughter is turning into an alcoholic! I think I was aiming to get three hundred followers in my first year but when I got to around three thousand it honestly blew my mind to think that that many people would want to sit and listen to me. I guess I’m really passionate about the idea that if I put my mind to anything I can do it and maybe because of that I ended up going into a male-dominated field. Something that I was really passionate about when I started The Hoptimist was that the beer world was a male-heavy area without many female voices. I really wanted to incorporate female voices somewhere that didn’t really have a lot of them because I think it’s really important to have diversity. I think the more diversity, the more open we become and the better we get. We are slowly getting there.
Amen to that! Have you experienced an increase in the number and support of female voices in the industry?
Yeah honestly I have. I feel women in social media can be really stereotyped and can, unfortunately, get discriminated by some of the content they post. I think though it has been a great opportunity for women to be able to come out and show their enjoyment of things like beer that are typically seen as not something they would enjoy. Just recently Kylie from It’s a Brewtiful World has created a group of female beer bloggers. And so there’s 12 or so of us who share all the different things we experience online and how we can improve our own pages. It’s really a great outlet for us and a way we can really bring each other up, a little safe space for positivity. So I’ve certainly seen a shift to a whole ‘we raise each other up’ type movement. I’ve personally been pretty lucky as I know a lot of people have been discriminated against but I’ve only ever felt a lot of positivity on my page and have avoided some of the negative backlash that I know others have experienced. I am also lucky in that I am used to dealing with it in my own job. I mean I deal with a lot of old men and have developed a bit of a hard skin so it’s a lot easier to transfer that into this field as well.
And what advice would you have for those looking to get into the beer world?
I would always give the advice to be real and making genuine connections with people. I never really realised until quite recently during COVID is how much people need positivity in their life. I actually have people DMing (Direct Messaging) me saying how lovely it is to see someone smiling and sharing a little bit of joy and happiness. And I guess I just took that for granted because I am a fairly happy person and I like to smile and laugh and especially having a dog with a big smiley face on it all the time, you can’t stop smiling and laughing.
So I would say to anyone looking to do this basically try and share joy because I get so much joy from beer and I think we all do, unless you have a sh*t beer though I guess! But It’s one of those things where it’s really easy to be negative or to complain but it’s so much better to be positive and be real.
Well, your enthusiasm and genuineness really shine through Alice. What are you drinking at the moment?
That is such a hard question for me because there are so many beers so really it’s anything I can get my hands on! Obviously A Local Beer and Burnley’s Banana Bread Brown Ale which was I loved it was so good! Tonight I will be drinking an Imperial, barrel-aged stout by Burnley which I am super excited for. Generally, I just go for anything dark and delicious!
I can’t wait to try it myself! And lastly for our traditional final question Who was your childhood celebrity crush?
Well, it is kind of sad but and everyone who reads this is going to think I’m really weird, but James McAvoy from Becoming Jane. Because I watched that film in like year Ten and I was like ‘Oh My God!’ Nothing after that though it’s just from Becoming Jane. I mean current Alice has moved on but yeah 14-year-old was all about him!
Haha Well, I’m sure James reads this blog and will be very flattered.
Haha Yeah, I bet.
Alice thanks so much for your time today.
Alice is better known as the Hoptimist you can follow her at