Quintessentially Craft

In times of immense change, such as the post-brewery expansion world, I like to remind people of the things that aren’t going to change.

We will continue to hate tv and not have them in our establishments, ever.
We will continue to not give a shit about winning awards, unless of course they are people’s choice awards, we love those.
We will continue to ignore conventional wisdom, and get bitch-slapped every once in awhile for doing so.
We will continue to make beer that tastes freaking delicious.
and most importantly,
We will continue to treat our staff like people that deserve vacations, health insurance, respect, thoughtful working conditions, autonomy and purpose.

This is who I am, and this is who we are. Some things won’t change. Don’t believe me? Ask any of the brewery cousins, our internal reference to each other, what they think of Iron Horse. If you get anything less than fawning adoration, let me know, because somebody is going to get fired. er, I mean someone’s needs aren’t being met, and that is a mistake. One we take quite seriously.

But, it isn’t easy to maintain the things you value as growth and change occurs. Good intentions aren’t enough.

So, how do we retain our soul, have happy staff and run an organization that will persist? The first thing we focus on is communicating our core values and impress upon the entirety of our organization that these things matter to all people, whatever their position. We put systems in place to encourage feedback. Will it work? I hope so, because I won’t quit until it does.

This, to me, is the quintessential difference between a true craft brewery and a crafty brand produced by a megabrewery. Making excellent beer is not beyond the scope of megabreweries. In fact, they should have a technological advantage over us little guys. (although, they obviously suffer an acute disadvantage of creativity) but, the megabreweries are guided by profits, first and foremost. (cliche alert; profits over people) In a craft brewery there are human souls that make long term decisions for the company. While making decisions, I, we, must consider the fact that we will have to look each other in the eye at a later date and feel good about what we have done to one another.

Is this what the craft beer movement is all about? Greater consciousness? I sincerely hope so. I hope that all of the participants in the craft movement have chosen to participate because of flavor, connection and affecting positive change, the fun way. These are the inspiring elements of craft beer to me; drinking good beer, supporting good companies that support good communities and treating fellow humans with the, cliche alert, golden rule. With the most recent events regarding the proposed beer tax increase, this seems more relevant than ever before.

Is this just sentimental blather from someone who is quarantined in an office for too many hours a day or do you subscribe to these virtues as well?
Did I just make you want to puke in your own mouth? Tell me.

hugs and kisses
greg

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