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jcmccoy
12-21-2014, 04:51 PM
Hello,

This is my situation. I am a new brewer at a new brew pub. I was only a home brewer before this. None of the owners of the brewery worked in a brewery or knew much about how brewery's work. There are 7 owners some work in the wine industry, some are lawyers, and one is the pub restaurant manager. The day before we opened the manager pulled the head chef and myself aside and told us the rules. Everyone pays full price for beer and we get one 1/2 price meal a day. all the owners/board members pay full price for everything. I was in shock. I brought it up with some of the board member and thought is was bazaar, some sided with some and some not. They made it clear at the next meeting that there will be no free beer because its against the law to give away free beer. I really disagree with the policy and am pretty upset. Am I right to be? What are your brewery policy for drinking beer? How should I go about changing this policy?

I have been with the company for 6 months now went from 2 beers to start to 11 on tap. Started with 1 FV to now 3. Two FV for double batches. Never had to dump a batch and no injures. I even did consulting for free when they where still in start up. I'm at the point where I can start to distribute kegs out side our pub now. The owners really like me and everyone LOVES the beer. Now the restaurant manager is a hard to deal with (yell 1st think later.. hard to reason with). We went though many head chefs because they couldn't stand her. Her sister is the head bartender and she is a hard headed as well.. they watch the beer like a hawk. It's hard for me because I moved to this small town and there is no where nice to drink other than the pub and I just feel wrong paying for the beer many times embarrassed in front of other customers. I have started to just work my hours and go home (sucks because I live next door) and try not to spend any money there anymore. I enjoy making the beer and interacting with patrons at the bar. I just want to be able to have shift beers at no cost. How do I get the point across that this is normal in the brewery community. Do I try to get the entire staff shift beers?


Thanks!

Thirsty_Monk
12-21-2014, 05:56 PM
I would disagree that your request is normal. Not sure what is your compensation is. Hard to judge.

3guysandabeerd
12-21-2014, 06:06 PM
well coming from a restaurant back ground (chef) with that said all most all the places aloud a shift drink after words 1/2 price meals i can see other places i worked at did shift meals nothing special but something small as for the drinks one free shift was the norm 90% i work the only place that didnt was a casino but they regulate everything to the last drop im now the owner and head brewer of a production brewery with a tasting room on the way i will be doing shift drinks after a shift is over we have people help us with the bottleing of beer we have drinks after words and they also get a 6 pack there's an old law that stated if you work in a brewery you were aloud a ration of beer now for the change it seems like you have many chiefs in your teepee some with you some agenst you thats a lot of convinceing to do it sounds like the wine ppl might be on your side but the lawyer types not and the manager if your going throw chefs fast what going to happen is your slow going to get less and less great chefs to work there to the point you have a cheap line cook running stuff and some on else doing the ordering seen it alot
hows the wait staff doing with all this are they on borad with you or dont they care does
any of the staff stay for a drink after
now do you do samplings of new beers how is the staff trained they cant tell ppl about the beers if they dont try them
with all that said i would talk more with the ppl on your side and see how they feel not trying to take sides but exsplane to them that its a normal thing in the restaurant community
gett some of the staff togeather with out going over the managers head because that will get you nowhere
and if all else failes have a beer out of the bright tank in a coffee mug and enjoy the mopping of the floor
hope this gets you started
cheers matt

wailingguitar
12-21-2014, 06:11 PM
Never had to pay for beer in any pub I have worked in, only one packaging brewery was I expected to pay for beer... but even there we got a punch card with a certain number of comps per month. Every pub I have brewed in fed the brewers a shift meal. Have been in and around the industry since '89

EDIT: I should clarify that as an assistant brewer, there was A shift beer. As head brewer/brewmaster I have never been expected to pay for beer... with an unwritten caveat that it wasn't to be abused (not getting hammered in the tap room, etc)

HR3
12-22-2014, 05:19 AM
We own a restaurant/brewpub where we do our own brewing as well as have a full liquor bar and at least 6 of our own on tap. As for the shift drink, we offer this to our employee's anytime they work, this is not technically "free beer" as a SLA would see it as its part of an EE's compensation package. We also do 1/2 priced meals, this is for the EE and not their family or friends as that gets taken advantage of in a hurry.

As for getting to sit in my pub and drink beer free, domestic or in house brewed, that will not happen. Being an owner/head brewer I still pay for my meals and my drinks, alabit my 50% off food and full price for drinks. I tend to buy my server's/bartenders drinks or a growler to go quite often. There are still costs to you drinking light beer or in house beer, I understand them not wanting to just supply you an endless supply on their dime. Could you work something into your compensation package, sure you could. This would be the avenue I would recommend taking. We do bonus's and competitions that push them to sell product, not give anything away, promotes quality control and not steal. Compensation is a touchy subject being on the EE side, but free product is just as touchy on the owner's side. Check your local SLA as there are some out there that do not even allow free drinks to EE's. If you know the law and can speak to it with your owner and in a logical fashion, i don't see why they wouldn't want to do something for you.

Bbump22
12-22-2014, 06:11 AM
That's a bummer...I've worked for 2 different brew pubs, one a start up and one that has been open 20+ years. Both give me free lunch and its justifiable since I am usually working while eating lunch...As for beer, I've never felt like I had to ask if its ok. It's part of my job to drink the beer we make for QC purposes. Maybe try and reason with them so you only have to pay the cost to make the beer ($1 per pint?) and not the extra margin.

Bbump22
12-22-2014, 06:14 AM
Just to clarify, I am not sitting at the bar every day drinking 6 pints...I drink about a pint or 2 a week at the bar and take home a few 750 mL bottles...If you were sitting at the bar every Friday getting sloshed, then yea, I would eventually think you would need to pay for that, but with a discount.

HR3
12-22-2014, 06:17 AM
Oh my bad I read "I just want to be able to have shit beers at no cost". You meant shift beer!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

dantose
12-22-2014, 06:20 AM
While comping beer is common in the industry, I think you are taking the lack of a free beer a little too personally. If they are pulling the head of food and the head of drink aside to talk about it, my guess is they had an issue with people abusing the system and needed to address it. It's a lot easier to set a blanket policy then to answer questions about why Bob can still get comped.

Also, I feel your pain. I work in a brew pub right now that doesn't comp and recently had to crack down on the 1/2 price meal thing as well.

beerguy1
12-22-2014, 06:50 AM
13+ years in the industry and as head brewer I have never had to pay for beers. Before I was head brewer 2 free pints others full price.I am allowed to give free beer to whom I wish. Now, with that said its usually a fill the pint up if a customer asks for a tour (sort of my way of saying thanks for being interested). I pay $80 for a 1/2 bbl for my home kegerator.

Sounds like you have pent up anger at the manager and bar family member. Sadly it will only get worse and you will remain unhappy there.I would think a owner would be happy to have his brewer there talking up the product giving tours ect. as long as you dont sit and suck down beers and get loud and drunk. If I was you I would look for another job you wont be happy there as long as the current staff stays the same

Good Luck

Bankbrewer
12-22-2014, 07:18 AM
Neither our own or any of the bearded brethren pay for beer at our place. Cheers to a healthy debate here!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ChesterBrew
12-22-2014, 07:58 AM
7 owners? Oy... that's going to be tough to get consensus on.

I'm guessing they a) had trouble in the past and so are over-reacting, or b) the partners don't believe they're making as much return on their investment as they should and so they're taking this route, which is pennywise and pound foolish. I'd also hazard a guess that they don't have a handle on their food costs relative to their pricing (a common problem in the restaurant industry.)

beerdweeb
12-22-2014, 04:59 PM
Not only do I not pay for beer at the brewery I work for, I don't often get charged at other breweries I visit either. I feel like this is practice is pretty industry standard and encourages community amongst brewers.

Really unfortunate situation you're in, I'd be embarrassed paying for beer there too.

d_striker
12-23-2014, 11:01 AM
OP-Do the owners make the head chef pay to taste the food he's making? One has to be able to perform sensory analysis on the product they are making.

I agree that it can be a slippery slope for some if it's abused by the individual.

mikeyrb1
12-23-2014, 03:57 PM
I worked at a "Microbrewery" chain restaurant/brewpub for a few weeks a while back as a server while going back to school. Actually decent beer and good food. They were very particular about how you described the beer, following a script. They were extremely corporate, and didn't even brew on site although they had a few fermenters just for show. Employees were not allowed shift drinks/beers. They were not even allowed to sit at the bar after work, they did get discounted meals on work days and could come in when not working, but it was discouraged.

So I took a few days off and went to the GABF with another smaller brewery that I had worked at previously (who actually encouraged shift beers and employee morale). That brewery won a GABF medal, as did the brewery chain that I was currently working at. The smaller brewery was extremely excited and immediately called back home to notify all the staff of the win, it was huge, and we partied down.

On the other hand, when I went back to work on Monday at the "Chain" brewery, I mentioned the medal win to the GM. He had no idea, and shrugged it off. Nobody cared, not the bartenders, the bussers, the kitchen staff. Few of them ever drank the beer anyway. I quit a few days later, not just for those reasons, I was moving, thank god.



So I guess the question is what kind of place do you want to work in? One where the employees are simply there to make a few bucks and go home? Or one where the employees are a family, who feel invested in the company, care about the product, and celebrate their successes ?

Lucky me, I'm back at the smaller brewery now ;)

CharlosCarlies
12-24-2014, 10:38 AM
Not only do I not pay for beer at the brewery I work for, I don't often get charged at other breweries I visit either. I feel like this is practice is pretty industry standard and encourages community amongst brewers.

This.

Every brewery I've worked (or even volunteered at) never charged me for beer. We could generally get a beer whenever we wanted and most of the staff could take home short fills when they were available. I completely understand how some could abuse this privilege, but if/when that happens you either have a talk w/ said abuser and if they don't change, you fire their ass.

Now that I'm an owner/head brewer of my own place, the idea of charging my brewers is absolutely laughable to me. If they're wanting to take a whole keg or a bunch of our limited stuff home, sure we'll have that conversation and come up w/ a fair (discounted) price depending on our inventory, their position, the quantity they want, etc...but generally speaking our brewers are welcome to have a beer or two after work and/or even take a growler home free of charge. Considering how little most brewers get paid and how hard of work it can be, it's a very inexpensive perk that (IMO at least) should be totally standard.

And I think the chef analogy is perfect.

CharlosCarlies
12-24-2014, 10:39 AM
And to add, at the very, very least beer should be discounted (once again IMO).

Bainbridge
12-24-2014, 11:03 AM
Yeah. Brewers get paid little enough as it is, free beer is one of the few easy perks to give. And it's Quality Control!

(Hahahaha, no seriously.)

How are the beers presenting? Are the staff pouring it properly? Carbonation levels good? Off flavors from lines? Anything you want to change next time around? How are the people around you responding to their beers? All useful information for the back of the house to know.

Firm rule of no drinking while on shift, really no drunken shenanigans, period. This is a somewhat dangerous industrial job after all, but afterwards the brewery staff should feel welcome to get a pint or two and chat with the regulars. People WANT to talk to the brewers. Often, the brewers have many other, better things to do. This opens the space for customer interaction. Out of that you might get some good feedback to boot.

beauxman
12-24-2014, 11:55 AM
I have worked on both end of this. One brewpub gave us beer and food either free or cheap. They are now out of business. Another brewpub chain gave neither free beer or free food and they are very successful. I thought it was odd but it didn't make me want to quit.

In my brewery, each person gets a shift pint per day, growler fill per week and usually the first bottles of specialty runs. Everything past that is 50% off and on their dime (kegs and bottles are discounted 30%). Low fill bottles are all free to the first folks who grab them. Partial kegs are free to take home and empty. Only FOH servers are allowed to pour the beers and will cut anyone off if needed (luckily we don't have that problem). Managers have the authority to grant "extra rations" when the situation calls for it. All beer is accounted for in the POS as individual tabs. Beer is our only significant income source and we cannot afford to give away a bunch of beer. We are still a young company with lots of debt and are not "rollin' in the dough". 19 staff members drinking unlimited amounts of beer would not be in anyone's best interest if you think that one through. If nothing else, you are creating some potential liability/exposure issues. QC sampling is different and occurs during the work day in small quantity as needed to evaluate. It's a job, not a party. That being said, we find time for more than a pint after work to unwind, complain about the boss (oh wait, that's me) and talk to guests.

-Beaux

mashpaddled
12-28-2014, 09:51 AM
If I had to guess at why this became the rule I would guess it is because some of the owners feared the other owners would use the brewpub as a place to take their friends and family to eat and drink for free so a blanket rule was dropped on everybody to avoid conflict. But maybe I'm wrong and they are just being cheap because they know the beer is where they make their money.

Your post reads like you are unhappy about a lot more than just the shift beer issue. Think about whether you want to put up with the work environment. It might be a dream opportunity to jump from homebrewer to head brewer and moving to another town to brew elsewhere may not be an opportunity but I would really think about how miserable you are at this place. If you are willing to walk away then I'd suggest bringing all of your concerns to the owners and let them either fix the issues or find a new brewer. It's hard to get seven owners to agree on anything but if there's anything they would agree on it's probably going to be avoiding losing the ability to keep the beer flowing.

dantose
12-29-2014, 06:15 AM
OP-Do the owners make the head chef pay to taste the food he's making? One has to be able to perform sensory analysis on the product they are making.

I agree that it can be a slippery slope for some if it's abused by the individual.

A shift beer is very different than a sensory analysis. Let's be fair here.

BrewinLou
12-29-2014, 12:51 PM
IMHO, you are the first and last stop on quality control. If there only excuse is bc it is illegal, tell them to pay you a beer stipend and write it off as quality control as no one knows more what the beer recipes should taste like more than you. Even if you have to spit the beer out it is vital that a brewer taste the beers that they make to ensure consistency and quality. Unless you have a virtual unlimited budget for a lab, or want to wait until you get feedback from customers.

nateo
12-31-2014, 07:37 AM
I have worked on both end of this. One brewpub gave us beer and food either free or cheap. They are now out of business. Another brewpub chain gave neither free beer or free food and they are very successful. I thought it was odd but it didn't make me want to quit. . . Beer is our only significant income source and we cannot afford to give away a bunch of beer.

^ This thing. You should be glad your management treats the business like an actual business, not their personal kitty. At the end of the day, a brewery is a factory. Lots of people make cool stuff in factories and they don't get the finished products for free. Paying cost or cost +10% would be completely reasonable in any industry.

john wonder
12-31-2014, 10:02 AM
I gotta tell you after 23 years I've been all over this industry from grunt to owner. I know how much it costs to make beer. Granted not the pile in ingredients until your kettle explodes and the off to the new French oak barrels. Beer is cheap to make. It's a small thing to give away a couple of pints of beer. In other words, at the end of the day if you've given away 35-50 pints for a big crew it ain't gonna break you. We're never gonna get rich doing this, well most of us won't. It's a good cheap way to keep morale high. I understand meals being half off, the food part never seems to make money. Which brings up another point I like to tell management. Especially in a brewpub environment it is usually one or two brewers generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales every year. Kitchens are full of people to crank out the food and labor is always your biggest cost.

I'm not going to tell your management what to do. It's a tough business and if you're not staying afloat people tend to fire at will on all targets without being rational. I've been there. It sucks. But beer is a great way for people to enjoy where they're at. But by all means, cut off the dude that gets sloppy. Those guys don't work that hard anyway and they are a liability.

Here's what I do. Disclaimer: this could, I guess, get you busted. For those of you that know me I tend to get away with more than other people. Take two feet of 3/8" tubing attach to a 3/8" to 3/16" reducer, attach about three feet of 3/16" tubing finish it off with that little faucet that's found on the end of hand pumps. Put the 3/8" end on your sample valve on your FV or brite and pour yourself a beer, enjoy. Have one for me.

Junkyard
12-31-2014, 01:59 PM
lots of ways to look at this.

I would like to make a small point. Now i know there is a lot of other factors at play in a business. But.. one of the biggest factors that will lead to success or failure in this industry is beer quality. If you have good beer, you will have a much greater chance of success. If you have bad beer you will have a much greater chance of failure. If you own a brewery, your brewers are the key to your success. As mentioned above, your hired brewing staff is usually only a handful of people that generate all that revenue. I'm not saying giving them free beer will automatically make them happy, but i am saying that making them pay for the beer that they put their blood and sweat into is a good way to make them unhappy. for a pint of beer you are looking at pennies. Its a cheap way to keep them happy.

CharlosCarlies
12-31-2014, 05:11 PM
It's a good cheap way to keep morale high.

This times a million. And as the head brewer and an owner at our place, I've always thought of having a pint w/ my employees while talking beer as a bonding/team building experience as well.


But by all means, cut off the dude that gets sloppy. Those guys don't work that hard anyway and they are a liability.

But this as well.

Bainbridge
12-31-2014, 06:25 PM
Here's what I do. Disclaimer: this could, I guess, get you busted. For those of you that know me I tend to get away with more than other people. Take two feet of 3/8" tubing attach to a 3/8" to 3/16" reducer, attach about three feet of 3/16" tubing finish it off with that little faucet that's found on the end of hand pumps. Put the 3/8" end on your sample valve on your FV or brite and pour yourself a beer, enjoy. Have one for me.

Ahhh the Ol' Brewer's Tap...

nateo
01-01-2015, 08:33 AM
Beer is cheap to make.

That's generally true, per pint, if you just count direct material + direct labor + overhead. But unless you have excess production, you've also got the opportunity cost of not selling the beer for full retail. Free beer gets expensive if you have limited capacity and you give everyone a free shift beer for every shift.

LongLiveLagers
01-01-2015, 10:09 AM
Your Head Brewer is part of the management team, right? I don't understand why he/she can't have all the beer they want. I think anyone in brewery management should be able to have some beer when they want it. That's why we all got into this industry! If there's any question it should be if the other team members get free beer. A dollar a beer with the threat of termination if you get sloppy is a great option for restaurant staff. That will cover costs, not be illegal in my state, and give the employee an option to tip when using a credit card, which they must.

An investor should not get anything free unless they also work at the brewery. You wouldn't let the bank members in your community have free beer so you shouldn't let personal investors acting like banks have the same privilege. If you're wealthy uncle wants to quit his day job and scrub kegs, he can have a couple of shift pints too.

I also think it's smart to make it policy to ring everything in and comp it. That way the management team can trace the comps every month and hold each other accountable. There will always be one person giving away more free stuff and they should have to explain why, i.e. charity donation, sales meeting, holiday party, etc.

The brewpub I work in uses 5 gallons of our amber lager every week for cooking. They explain to me that it only costs $6.73 in material and I turn around and say, "That's $161.29 in profit loss!" Isn't it funny how I become the bean counter when it's not me drinking the revenue?:eek:

Bainbridge
01-01-2015, 11:22 AM
But unless you have excess production, you've also got the opportunity cost of not selling the beer for full retail. Free beer gets expensive if you have limited capacity and you give everyone a free shift beer for every shift.

Well yeah, but that's easily solved by Make Enough Beer.

Seems like any place small enough to be that short on goods would have a staff small enough to mitigate the effect. I suppose I could imagine a brewpub with 200 seats and tons of staff running on a 3bbl or something and constantly being short. But stopping the staff drinking isn't going to solve the larger structural problem. And there remains the separate argument about Brewers vs Waitstaff vs Investors vs Everyone.

I think, at least around here, that there's a cultural aspect to this too. "Brewers Don't Pay For Pints," is the unwritten law. Visit another brewery and are known, or introduced, to them as a brewer for another brewery? No paying for beer but you do leave a tip for the staff if the opportunity presents itself. Visit another brewery and it's just random waitstaff who don't know you from August Busch IV? You pay for your pint and you tip well. There's no requirement for free beer, and certainly no demanding it, but there is a...presumption. And then there's the 'crew of six shows up and has eighteen pints' vs 'I show up and have one or two.' Ah the complexities of the social norms of the beer world.

One thing that hasn't been brought up yet is the fact that shift pints are technically income from the IRS's standpoint. So records should be kept for that reason, if not any other.

schmogger
01-02-2015, 08:01 AM
If the owners stated it is illegal to give away free beer then they could set up beer credit for the employees. This is how a few of the breweries I have worked for have dealt with this situation. What is good about this practice is the employee sees the value in the credit and the owners can track it. Where I currently work employees that are full time get more credit then part time employees and once the credit is gone the employees pay $1.50 per beer until the next month comes along. The owners should see the value of having their employees enjoy the products you produce. As you know people want to talk to the brewer so the owners should want you to not just work and go home. Good luck with this.

redlodge.sam
01-02-2015, 12:30 PM
As a business owner, I feel it is important to set up rules that apply to everyone. While I agree in giving employees an opportunity to enjoy the beer they made, I disagree with "free beer, but don't abuse it." That could mean different things to different people. Our rule is two free pints per day, per brewery employee at our tap room. Bar and kitchen staff get two free pints on days that they work. It all gets rung up as "employee beer". For 2014, that was a total of 5,661 pints. or 12 % of the pints poured and 6.8 % of all beer poured including growlers. So you can see it adds up quick. It is roughly 300 pints per employee per year.

If employees are drinking in the tap room, the brewery is the best place they've ever worked at as far as the public with them knows. Our tap room is not the places to air grievances about management or the workplace.

Beyond that we have an employee discount list for kegs and packaged beer.

Sam

Thirsty_Monk
01-03-2015, 04:06 PM
This is interesting topic and sorry to rain if your parade.

You guys are telling me that if I work on GM assembly line I am supposed to require to get new car every year because it is cheap for my employer to manufacture the product and I work on that line and I know how how car is made and how much cost it in raw material to make it.

Your employer took a big challenge on himself/ herself and gave you a job. This way your employer is telling you that you will get compensated for the time and work spend in the job.

It is not your beer. It is a brewery beer. Giving 12% of your beer sales as a freebies is short way to run out of business. Do you also ask for the pay raise at the end of the year too?

And by the way when you go to your friends brewery, please pay for your beer. You would not want that he would run out of business would you?

If you are unhappy with your compensation then talk to your employer about it.

Bainbridge
01-04-2015, 11:17 AM
Funny, I didn't know Foxconn had a brewery... Do you allow bathroom breaks, or does that count as a Sick Day?

I kid, I kid. Certainly nobody wants to give away the farm, but the car/beer comparison is rather specious. The economics of this business tends to result in brewers making ok, but not really great wages, unless they own an equity stake in the company. (And even then amiright! Haha, ha. Haaaaa.....) It's hard to pay qualified people what they're worth, which is why you see a lot of lateral movement as so many breweries are opening and expanding that really good brewers get poached for better gigs elsewhere. There are breweries that view their brewers as replaceable cogs in the big machine, worth exactly $10.37 an hour or whatever and no more. They can make good beer, but can also have staff turnover issues. Because if you come down hard on small expenses it reinforces exactly just what a line-item you consider your employees to be.

But since we often can't pay them what they're fully worth, even if we'd like to, we try to add whatever perks we can. A couple shift pints or a growler fill might cost the brewery $1 in raw goods, but add $10 of perceived value to the employee. Over a week that's like $50 in extra wages that the brewery couldn't afford, for $5 of beer. Couple this with a longstanding tradition of free beer for brewers in the industry and it's just an unspoken part of the deal. My stance on this is that the extra cost of some beers, swag, occasional staff parties, conference attendance and career development opportunities (CBC, MBAA District Meetings, etc.) creates a corporate culture where everyone feels part of the team, rather than part of the machine. Creating a workplace environment where people want to be, and feel invested in the project, is one way to partially make up for the lower wages. And on the macro scale I think the pencils out in your favor. Being down a brewer for a couple weeks while you look for a replacement, or have to frantically train up someone, will cost a lot more in lost production and remaining employee frustration than some pints of beer. Particularly if your reputation out among the local brewers is as profit-obsessed, penny-pinching a$$holes. Because everyone knows everyone, and everyone talks...

And back on the subject of cars, a hundred years ago Ford raised its daily wages to an unheard-of $5 a day. Ford did this not out of altruism, but firstly, because turnover was huge in the industry at the time, and secondly so that his workers could afford to buy his cars. Pay people as well as you can, in both wages and perks, and you create the loyalty of an experienced, skilled workforce. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys.

nateo
01-04-2015, 12:20 PM
Funny, I didn't know Foxconn had a brewery... Do you allow bathroom breaks, or does that count as a Sick Day?


That's kind of a shitty joke to make. I assume Thirsty Monk's English is way better than your Czech. Or maybe it wasn't meant to sound as mean as it did.

Bainbridge
01-04-2015, 02:24 PM
Ah I see what you're saying. No it wasn't meant to sound mean, nor be a remark on anyone's ethnicity or language skills. I just needed a well known example of hideous working conditions. (If you've got to install Suicide Prevention Nets at your factory, you know something is terribly wrong.)

My Czech is non-existent, but my German is only ganz schrecklich...

Thirsty_Monk
01-04-2015, 04:22 PM
Bainbridge, it is a challenge to find employees that are exited to work for you. Compensation is just a part of it.

Motivation is a better factor how to retain them. They should believe in what you are doing and what you project.

If the motivation is just a compensation then they will skip the ship if opportunity is there. You can be unhappy with the job making a lot of money or happy and feel appreciated with just enough money.

By the way I am working quite hard that my employees are happy and enjoy working for me. I just do not think that giving the product away is a wise idea.

Signing off the head cleaner and delivery man.

CharlosCarlies
01-05-2015, 08:14 AM
IMO, if giving away a free beer or two per day to your brewers makes or breaks your business, you have much bigger problems that need addressing.

soia1138
01-05-2015, 08:48 AM
I'm honestly surprised that this has turned into this much of a discussion. Employees pay full price for beverages. Those are the rules that the ownership put into place, they pay for them the same as the rest of the staff. I know many local bars that do the same thing or at most offer a discounted shift beer as long as that beer is below a certain price point. I'll be a little straight forward here and say that if I were the ownership the OP would no longer have a position at my brewpub if I caught wind of this post. 6 months at a job you are honestly lucky to have is not long enough to start complaining, build your soapbox before you climb up on it. The whole post comes across a bit on the whiny and ungrateful side. Not to mention it is basically stated that the brewer now boycotts the very establishment that gave him a shot at brewing professionally. Could the policy be better with maybe a free shift drink? Sure but it would have to be company wide, not just for the brewer. Would I feel like I was in a position 6 months in to complain about it? No way. Policies differ from place to place, if you don't like them you are free to move along or at the very least spend enough time working and proving your worth before crying about such trivial shit. I'll only stay and drink my beer if it's free... yeah that's a great message to send throughout the establishment.

ChesterBrew
01-05-2015, 08:57 AM
I used to work at a brewery where the policy was 2 cases of beer per month. Some beers were "off-limits" because they were too much in demand and/or too costly to produce (such as Barleywine) to be part of the perks.

I enjoy beer as much as the next person, but the #1 priority, from an ownership standpoint, is to have a healthy business that is able to be sustainable. I've seen people get into the industry because they are most interested in getting free beer. They tend not to last too long, either through their expectations, or their inability to remain sober during working hours.

CharlosCarlies
01-05-2015, 11:35 AM
Could the policy be better with maybe a free shift drink? Sure but it would have to be company wide, not just for the brewer

Why does it have to be company wide? Why can't the head brewer be offered better incentives than someone lower on the totem pole? That's like saying companies can't offer upper level management bigger bonuses than their entry level underlings. Businesses can and do this all the time.

I understand the "it's a business" argument, but properly compensating your employees and making them happy is an extremely important part of running a business. Turnover/training is expensive and most brewers are generally not paid very well for how difficult of a job it can be. These brewers, especially the head brewer, are making decisions daily that can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Being that stingy about a pint or two when a disgruntled/absent-minded brewer could easily dump WAY more than that down the drain w/ a less than ideal yeast/trub dump just doesn't make sense to me. The penny pinching isn't worth the loss of morale.

(just my opinion of course)

soia1138
01-05-2015, 12:16 PM
So give me beer or I will try to ruin your business? If someone is going to become disgruntled over a pint then they are going to be disgruntled over just about anything that reflects them not getting their way. It's just as trivial to not give the beer as it as to complain about it.

CharlosCarlies
01-05-2015, 01:04 PM
So give me beer or I will try to ruin your business?

You missed the point completely, so I'll make it easier to understand for you:

1) We trust our brewers to make decisions daily that could cost us thousands and thousands of dollars
2) They generally don't get paid very well
3) Free beer is a pretty damn cheap way to keep morale high and turnover low.

Hope that helps.

soia1138
01-05-2015, 01:13 PM
I didn't miss the point at all. I was pointing out a rather weak argument. My point was that this was the decision made by the ownership of a NEW restaurant of which most do not survive more than a year or two, so having a handle on expenses is not a bad thing. We know nothing about the other compensation involved here so yes beer is an easy way but it's not the only way to keep up the morale. Maybe the compensation package should have been asked about prior to accepting the job and opening day. Complaining about it now just seems petty given the information provided.

Bainbridge
01-05-2015, 05:22 PM
"None of the owners of the brewery worked in a brewery or knew much about how brewery's work." - from the title post.

I think the point that this showcases what happens when the culture of brewery life conflicts with owners who may not be aware of it, or are aware of it and just don't care. Hopefully this thread will shed some light on that.

Brewers generally expect a shift pint, or a case a week, or low fill bottles, or whatever it may be, as a matter of course and part of the job. End of the day, enjoy a beer, think about how you can make it even better next time. Repeat.

Owners have a bottom line to watch, and fair enough for them too. Someone has to. This is a business, after all. Can't give away the shop.

Obviously if it's seriously gutting your profits, or if people are getting trashed all the time, this is a problem and very much not cool. That's all been covered and I don't think needs more discussion. But my position is that NO BEER EVER comes across as miserly, and creates a negative impression of the management. It says either "We don't make enough for you to get 50 cents worth of the beer you made for us.", in which case I'm fleeing this sinking ship, or "We are keeping all the profit for our shareholders...screw you, lowly employees." It also says I can probably look forward to hearing "Do we really need fresh yeast?", or "Just use the broken one...", or "I don't think it's that bad, ship it out!" Which is not enough alone to say, make me quit outright, but pile on some other workplace shenanigans and I'll be on probrewer at night looking a new gig.

I wear both hats. So I know what our books say. I know what we can pay our employees, and what I'd like to pay them if I could. I also am down there brewing, and in the taproom trying the beers, talking over pints with the staff after work, checking up on morale.

Our rule is simple, don't overdo it. One or two shift pints. A growler on the weekend. Discount kegs. Merch at cost. Track it, expense it, easy.

Thirsty_Monk
01-05-2015, 07:37 PM
Owner and brewer here. All my employees are treated equal and well. Under fills are for taking and are NOT part of compensation. If You are in the other side of the bar and you are a customer.

My responsibility is NOT to run out of money and give you a paycheck on time. Since I am also deeply involve in the company I am making a lot of decisions on daily bases.

Or would you prefer to work for brewery that you can take some free beer but miss a paycheck or two?

Or would you prefer to work for the place that dishwasher is treated like a dirt, server is not better, bartender is tolerated and brewer is a king? How it that for moral?

irishsnake
01-06-2015, 11:03 AM
What a dispiriting conversation. Of course brewers should be able to have a couple free beers now and then. And especially in a brewpub environment where you want to encourage your brewer to hang out as much as possible and talk to the patrons. You can't put a price on that kind of marketing (but if you could it would be more than a couple of free beers).

mikeyrb1
01-06-2015, 01:00 PM
If giving employees shift beers is breaking the bank, you might want to reexamine your business plan.

Thirsty_Monk
01-06-2015, 03:16 PM
If giving employees shift beers is breaking the bank, you might want to reexamine your business plan.

12% of sales? Yes rearranging a business plan is not to loose it. Thank you agreeing.

redlodge.sam
01-06-2015, 04:52 PM
If you're referring to the 12% I mentioned earlier, that is 12% of tap room pints poured. If you add in growlers it was 6.7%. We are a production brewery. Less than 6% of our total beer goes through the tap room. so 6.7% of 6% is .4% of the beer produced is comped to employees. Still seems like a lot now that I think about it. But I am happy to do it because I know it means a lot to the brewery staff and the good people that run the tap room.

Sam

Thirsty_Monk
01-06-2015, 05:19 PM
If you're referring to the 12% I mentioned earlier, that is 12% of tap room pints poured. If you add in growlers it was 6.7%. We are a production brewery. Less than 6% of our total beer goes through the tap room. so 6.7% of 6% is .4% of the beer produced is comped to employees. Still seems like a lot now that I think about it. But I am happy to do it because I know it means a lot to the brewery staff and the good people that run the tap room.

Sam

Since these are taproom sales with higher margin .4% of volumes could equal 4% of total sales. I am not trying to tell you what to do and it is possible that those sales would never materialized.

jcwilde1
01-09-2015, 02:58 PM
We are a small brewery with no food or distribution, just tap room sales. We give all our bartenders 50% off drinks (on or off shifts) and 50% off of merchandise which puts most of that below cost. The only thing we don't discount is bottles and kegs. We also allow our bartenders to drink some beer during the shift so they are able to try the new beers that come out weekly. If we see a person taking advantage to it we let them know. If we ever find one drunk while working they will be let go.

Bottom line, every business is different and what is important to every employee at a brewery is different. You'll never make everyone happy.

ChristianSA
01-19-2015, 03:08 AM
These people are obviously not beer-people and they probably make money than you, making it easier for them to afford drinking in the bar.

Let them know that you would like a set amount of free beer or a discount and that you consider it a part of your salary package. If they still deny you that, be a good sport about it, but start looking for another job, just as you would if you were denied a salary rise or a dental plan or whatever.

But, don't whine about it or take it personally, like these guys :-)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1264520/Carlsberg-staff-strike-beer-ban-Denmark.html

nateo
01-19-2015, 07:54 AM
Let them know that you would like a set amount of free beer or a discount and that you consider it a part of your salary package.


I wouldn't do that unless you're happy being immediately unemployed. If it were actually part of your salary, you'd have it. Obviously, you don't, so it wasn't part of the bargain when you were hired. If you want to renegotiate your salary at this point, don't be surprised when you're no longer their employee.

Thirsty_Monk
01-19-2015, 05:50 PM
I am so surprised why this issue is coming back. people who have a job are whining and demanding that they want something for free because they have a job.

Well may be you should open your own brewery.

Bainbridge
01-19-2015, 09:18 PM
I wonder how much this seeming disconnect has to do with local circumstances, reflecting very different labor markets.

If that brewery is the only game in town, yeah I'd be cautious asking for 'too much.' Brewery job like that might be rare and precious. Grumble on little beer monkey, grumble on.

But last I checked there was something over 100 breweries in a 2 hour radius of Seattle (myself included). Someone is always hiring. "They fired me because I said we should get a shift pint" reflects worse on the fire-or than the fire-ee. Rehired. Quickly. By a competing brewery with a reasonable shift pint policy. And a rep as misers for the other brewery to boot.

It's like when a restaurant gets a rep for playing shenanigans with the tip pool. Eventually they find it hard to attract and hold good staff.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

nateo
01-20-2015, 07:38 AM
If that brewery is the only game in town, yeah I'd be cautious asking for 'too much.' Brewery job like that might be rare and precious. Grumble on little beer monkey, grumble on.


It's not really clear where the OP is from. I'm only aware of Carbondale CO and Carbondale IL, both of which are small towns. Small enough, and the OP has given enough identifiable info, I'd be worried my boss would see me grumbling on the internet and figure out it's me.

soia1138
01-20-2015, 08:35 AM
It's not really clear where the OP is from. I'm only aware of Carbondale CO and Carbondale IL, both of which are small towns. Small enough, and the OP has given enough identifiable info, I'd be worried my boss would see me grumbling on the internet and figure out it's me.

What's worse is the fact that the info is in the OP's profile. Not the brightest idea. This was my take on the post from the start. Not the time or place to make this sort of complaint and certainly not the way to go about things.

ChesterBrew
01-20-2015, 08:53 AM
I'm in the process of settings things up here, a rural area where the next brewery is located at least an hour away. You cannot be serving alcohol and consuming it at the same time here legally, and as the 1st place in my area, I expected to be watched like a hawk by the local authorities. I plan to have tasting room people be compensated above the current minimum wage (well above what any "server" makes for sure) and be able to take a growler home (still deciding if 32 or 64oz is best, probably 32) home with them each day they're here. Same with volunteers, who I'm happy to provide them with a shirt identifying them as a volunteer even though they make no hourly. Tips are all theirs... I'll be right there beside them, working the tap room, but I own the company. The tips should be for them. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of sticking my hand in that till.

This is where I feel things are fair, people know what they're getting into up-front, and everybody is treated as though they are being appreciated.

nateo
01-20-2015, 01:46 PM
Tips are all theirs... I'll be right there beside them, working the tap room, but I own the company. The tips should be for them. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of sticking my hand in that till.

I don't know if you saw it, but there was a lengthy thread about that maybe a year or so ago. The short answer is owners in tip pools is super illegal and I wouldn't want to mess with the DOL.

skateimitation
05-09-2016, 04:22 PM
I am the head brewer for a local farm brewery and every member of the staff is allowed one shift beer after all work is completed, including myself. Everything else is full price. If they want to sample a couple of the new beers we will give them a small flight. I honestly don't mind paying for what I get and it keeps the free beers in check. It's not like I get to sample ever day or anything! ;)

The place I was at before just gave out free beers to whoever worked there and you could pretty much drink as much as you wanted. That lead to some interesting times....

Wernerbrewer
08-07-2017, 03:11 PM
This thread is amazing. Any new brewers have any comment on this? This thread is short but it's a wonderful discussion. Cheers!

Steve
Kitsap

idylldon
08-08-2017, 11:06 AM
I'm the head brewer at a small brewpub and we offer one end-of-shift libation for our employees. After that, they pay full price.

As for food, it's kind of flexible but we usually provide a free meal if any employee asks or offer one if they've done a full, 8-hour shift.

The brewers drink for free but I seldom have more than one on any given day and my assistant consumes about the same.

Cheers,
--
Don
Idyllwild Brewpub