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Thread: Employees drinking beer during the day?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Mammoth Lakes, CA, USA
    Posts
    11

    Employees drinking beer during the day?

    I'm sure this has been discussed many times, but would like to learn more about what other breweries do.

    What policies do you have for allowing employees to have a beer during the day, either during lunch hour (off the clock) or at the end of long bottling day (maybe still on the clock)? Do you have policy's about quantity and/or when beer can be consumed? I don't want to discourage discussions about beers in general or sampling/tasting of our own beers, but what is the difference if emplyees are helping themselves to the taps? I know what my general liability insurance would say...

    We are a small micro at only 4000 bbls and I want it to be an unspoken acknowledgment with co-workers that it is ok as long as it doesn't get out of control, but thinking more and more that a written policy needs to be put in place.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Mesquite, Texas
    Posts
    358
    The policy at pretty much every brewery I've worked for was that we were allowed to drink/sample beer during our shifts, and encouraged to practice extreme moderation, for both safety and productivity reasons.

    I personally found out very quickly that I was a lot more effective if I waited until close to the end of my shift before even considering drinking any beer...

    I don't think you'd be out of line to specify either waiting until the end of a shift, or perhaps specific small amounts (a 4 oz taster cup, perhaps?) during a shift...

    Tim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    178
    Recommend no beer during working hours and allow a strict max. of 24 oz. after work. Some people can handle drinking during working hours but others definitely can't. With employees drinking on the job you run into problems with safety, productivity and attitude as well as your liability when drunken employees hit the road.

    You're a hell of a boss when you allow a liberal drinking policy but when it hits the fan its your ass that has the target drawn on it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    338
    Even as a homebrewer, I will not drink during the brew day until I have the chiller running. The only exception is a single brew with lunch.
    Last edited by beerking1; 07-31-2009 at 05:37 AM.
    -Lyle C. Brown
    Brewer
    Camelot Brewing Co.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Oakland, CA USA
    Posts
    28
    I like to assume that I am managing sensible adults unless/until I am proven wrong.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Dublin, Ireland
    Posts
    144
    Quote Originally Posted by irishsnake
    I like to assume that I am managing sensible adults unless/until I am proven wrong.
    Bingo. I'm a brewer, not a social worker. That said, I would sack anyone who can't handle their drink in a heartbeat. There are, obviously, people who are unsuited for work in an alcohol-related business. Blow 'em out and don't give it a second thought.

    There is real value in keeping the "liquor cabinet" open. The ability to enjoy a product that you helped to make is an opportunity to take pride in your work, and to evaluate & critique, and so contribute toward improving the overall process.

    If you've got drunks lazing about, you need a better staff, not more regulations.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    178
    I, too, liked to assume I was managing sensible adults. How wrong I was!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    St.Louis->Tacoma
    Posts
    617

    Don't Get Burned

    A previous brewery i worked for (i will not name) had some issues. I actually got the job because a former brewer got drunk and hurt himself pretty severely. After i left the other brewer i worked with caused some serious problems after work. All employee's drinking rights were suspended after that, how would you like to brew beer you cannot even drink at all... Anyway i later heard they were forcing all brewers to submit to a brethelyzer test after work. Where i work now we are allowed to sample for QC and training and limited to 3 drinks after work off the clock. -Good Idea IMHO!!

    From a legal standpoint i would say "necessary sampling only" on the clock. If you look the other way and let responsible people do as they will, you should still have a legal foot to stand on in the case of abuse leading to diciplinary action, or a potential lawsuit if someone gets hurt and trys to hold you liable.
    - In other words, Put Something In Writing!! Maybe even have them sign it and put it in thier file
    Last edited by Jephro; 05-12-2009 at 02:02 PM.
    Jeff Byrne

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    178
    If you set a policy so you are "covered" and look the other way and do not enforce it you are still liable and asking for a problem. You will be 'the world's greatest boss or employeer' when things are going good. But when things head south, your unenforced policy will be jammed up your hindquarters by your grateful, appreciative employees.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    38
    Don't let them drink on the job unless its for QC or Sensory Analysis but do allow them to take some beer home and maybe two drinks after work/at the very end of the shift on packaging days if your employees all drive to work . If you have function or beer tasting please try and provide transport home for all employees if possible .
    Last edited by matthendry; 05-13-2009 at 08:49 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    Posts
    28
    I like to assume that I am managing sensible adults unless/until I am proven wrong.
    I agree, one should be able to tell if an employee or potential employee is sensible during the interview. Brewery workers should be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, after their shift, without a manager breathing down their neck. Let them know they can't get drunk at work (don't get out of control) or they are canned, and enforce this with no tolerance.

    Pretty much exactly what wiredgourmet said.

    Bingo. I'm a brewer, not a social worker. That said, I would sack anyone who can't handle their drink in a heartbeat. There are, obviously, people who are unsuited for work in an alcohol-related business. Blow 'em out and don't give it a second thought.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Bridgman, MI
    Posts
    32
    as a new assistant brewer i find it is necessary to taste beer along all stages from fermentation to bright tank albeit in small quantities. I find this helps refine the pallet to identify tastes and proper carbonation levels.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    131
    Our brewer is a strange bird, he rarely touches the stuff but he makes great beer. We'll go out though and try as many new beers as we can with a designated driver.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,289
    All new hires are required to read and acknowledge understanding by signature our employee handbook which states at the end of a shift, the employee may have a comped-shift beer: one. After that, off the clock, they are like any other customer in our tasting room. Any consumption that occurs during a work shift is for reasons of QA/QC. Write down a policy, have everyone read and sign it. And enforce it. Whoever has the most paperwork, wins!

    Prost!
    Dave
    Glacier Brewing Company
    406-883-2595
    glacierbrewing@bresnan.net

    "who said what now?"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    191
    Quote Originally Posted by GlacierBrewing
    Whoever has the most paperwork, wins!
    Quoting for emphasis.

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