Heidelberg Star


It’s a long way from the East Los Angeles, California neighborhood where Christal Lara grew up to Columbus, Ohio, where she now lives and works as the Latino, On-Premise and Market Specialist for Heidelberg Distributing.

Christal has been with Heidelberg since February of 2019, getting hired onto the beer team as a merchandiser. She did a great job with the position, but the company really wasn’t sure what to do with her. “I think I was one of the longest tenured merchandisers they ever had,” Christal joked. “Being bilingual, they created this position for me where I am able to assist both our sales reps as well as the Latino community in the Columbus area.” 

As the Latino, On-Premise and Market Specialist, Christal visits numerous accounts in the Columbus area and is able to provide support above what the accounts may normally get. “All of our reps have a great relationship with our Latino accounts,” says Christal. “When needed, I am able to go in and offer extra help and support for our sales team and our retail partners. We go beyond just simple order taking. It is all about building and maintaining the relationship.”    

Both of her parents came to the United States as immigrants from Mexico and settled in East Los Angeles. Christal’s father was a volleyball player in his native country and his love of the game got passed on to his family. “We would play beach volleyball and I also played in school but really didn’t plan on getting a scholarship or anything like that,” Christal remembers. “I was playing in an adult league during my senior year in high school and a junior college coach at the tournament invited me to a tryout, which led to an opportunity to play in college.” 

She received an athletic scholarship to attend Dickinson State University in North Dakota. Christal moved from Los Angeles, population 3.97 million, to Dickinson, North Dakota, population 22,882. “I was completely unprepared for what I would experience,” Christal said. “I packed shorts, hoodies and everything you would need for LA. In September of my freshman year, I saw snow for the first time. I had to borrow jackets, boots and warm weather gear from my teammates. The winter was rough, but the people were so friendly, it was truly an amazing experience.” 

After completing her degree in exercise science Christal found herself back in Los Angeles, dealing with the high cost of living in Southern California and contemplating what she was going to do with her future. “My older brother lives in Columbus and he is the manager for a Mexican restaurant in the area that my mom’s brothers own,” said Christal. “He said he could get me a job and that Columbus was a good city and I would be able to save up some money.”  

Working six days a week at her uncle’s restaurant, as well as a bilingual aide, Christal managed to get the attention of the restaurant’s Heidelberg Sales Pro Ben Hernandez-Lopez. “He told me he thought I would be a great fit for Heidelberg,” said Christal. “ He said, ‘give me your resume and we’ll see what happens.’ The first interview led to a second and after my second interview, I got a call from GSM Dan Diem and here I am!” 

When she is not on the job, Christal is always moving and staying active. “As a former athlete, I haven’t got out of that mindset,” says Christal. I enjoy working out, lifting weights and doing cross-fit. I recently started boxing a couple of months ago, full contact old-school boxing. I am very active, an action driven crazy health nut!”