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On Allowing Minors at [The Pub]

From The Iron Horse Brewery Blog

On Allowing Minors at [The Pub]



Minors will be allowed in [the pub] starting just in time for Labor Day.

When we introduced food to [the pub] last year, we had to make some necessary changes to our policy,  namely, unwelcoming dogs and keeping outside food, well, outside.  While some of you shared concerns, most of you indicated that you understood our reasoning. Or at the very least, you pretended to understand, which is probably good enough. We can’t really know what you are thinking, can we?

Fast forward to approximately 6 months ago when the subject of minors was brought up by fellow cousins and you, our beloved customers.  We heard from quite a few of you that it would be nice to allow minors in the pub, especially on the weekends like “when family comes into town and we want to take them to our favorite brewery, but can’t because people under 21 aren’t allowed in”.   We also heard from some of our regulars that they like having [the pub] without minors; that [the pub] is like an adult sanctuary, where they are free to banter about without fear of offending little ears.

We get it. And we completely understand both points of view.  Internally, we had a very similar dialogue.   

In listening to these anecdotes, we did what any responsible business should do;we sought more feedback.  Keep in mind, this is kind of a departure from our typical, full-steam-ahead-approach to most things.  In this case, we felt we owed it to you and the cousins to collect as much data as possible before proceeding.

In June, we sent a survey to the community. Approximately 77% of the responses indicated they would favor a change in our minor policy.  That’s a pretty telling number.  If we relied on that number alone, it would be, as Dane would say, a No-Brainer.  Oh, if only it was so easy but there are other factors in this equation.

Perhaps the biggest factor to consider is the Iron Horse Brewery company purpose:

“To spread the magic of indie craft beer”

The most logical question after reading that is:  How does allowing minors help this purpose, considering minors are not allowed to consume IHB products?

This is the question we have to answer.  After numerous conversations, phone calls, emails, text messages and carrier pigeon deliveries with the cousinhood, it became clear that the answer wasn’t easy to come to, but we did manage to arrive at a general consensus that I will outline here.

  1. Allowing minors means allowing their parents/guardians in, which means reaching a different audience, one who might not have had our beer before.
  2. Part of the “magic” of indie craft beer is the deep commitment it has to building and fostering “community”. In allowing minors, we get to include more of the community into our space, events and culture, all with the end goal of creating an interconnectedness with fellow humans, regardless of age.

Fundamentally, that’s it.  I could go into more detail, but for brevity’s sake, I won’t.  

Fast forward to now, taking the advice from our regulars, the data from the survey, and the internal feedback from the cousins and blending it all together in a Vitamix, we are left with the following outcome:

[The Pub] will allow minors until 8:00pm everyday.  Last call for food, or tiny cups of water will be 7:15pm.   

And here’s what you can expect to see at [ the pub ] to help welcome this change to the establishment.

As you can see, we will have a menu tailored for kids, with some fun activities.  We’ll probably build on the activity book as we figure out what makes the most sense.

There was some concern as to how our marketing/culture would shift if minors are allowed in the pub.  Our response was, it won’t. In fact, if anything, we have a moral responsibility to teach irreverence without coming across as an a$$hole. It’s a fine line; one that we don’t always get right, but we feel we can help teach minors how to navigate these tricky waters.

We will post these signs in obvious places around [the pub].

So there you have it; listening to our community, listening to our customers, and listening to our company purpose kind of drove us to this conclusion.  Boy was this long winded and probably completely unnecessary.

Oh and by the way, our goal is to never let this happen: Article on Baby Running Naked in Restaurant

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No Comments

August 24, 2017 7:47 pm

Hmmmm… wonder if the Whipsaw competition has anything to do with this? Bring back the dogs, quit with the upscale food menu, be nicer to the locals who helped you succeed. Then we’ll come back

September 5, 2017 10:48 am

Ya. Sometimes you just want a burger with your beer. The “foo foo” food is great for the yupsters, but not so great when you’re actually hungry.

Jared Vallejo
September 8, 2017 9:34 am

Thanks for the feedback. Food selection is always one of the more subjective issues. There are some great area bars that make a good burger, which is why we haven’t pursued that option to this point.

Jared Vallejo
September 8, 2017 9:38 am

generally speaking pets and serving food are not always compatible. also, I would love to hear more about where IHB could improve on being nicer to locals.

August 24, 2017 9:36 pm

Class act move. My family will enjoy patronizing the pub frequently.

August 25, 2017 6:45 am

I was more concerned with allowing miners in the pub but I suppose I won’t start a kerfuffle over a homophone.

August 25, 2017 12:32 pm

I miss allowing dogs. I love going to pubs because they are adult zones and listening to shrieking children is just not fun. I understand your perspective. My pup and I will move on down the road.

Jimi Davis
August 25, 2017 2:35 pm

Most pubs/bars in neighborhoods throughout Portland that serve local craft beers and serve food allow and have allowed minors until certain hours, normally 8 p.m. Right on!!

August 27, 2017 1:49 pm

So happy to hear this. Whenever we come through we always stop for a beer and growlers refill, but have to make it quick as the kids are waiting in the car. Don’t worry there is a responsible teenager among them. So glad we’ll now be able to bring them in and all get a bite to eat while enjoying our favorite brew.

August 29, 2017 7:41 pm

Still think it’s a bad idea, I’m really glad we didn’t join the mug club. Maybe the new brew pub at the old moose lodge will keep it over 21

Lee Miller
September 5, 2017 6:40 pm

Well that sucks. I don’t like mixing my beer with children. Really sad to hear about the change. And I’m one of your biggest supporters.

Jared Vallejo
September 8, 2017 9:30 am

I hear you Lee. Can I make it up to you with a 30 second hug from Ross?

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