What’s Important To You?

What’s important to you for your beer experience?

Is it the flavor? The freshness? The brewer? The ingredients? The packaging? The glass it’s served in? The idea behind it? The tradition? The friends you want to enjoy it with? The food it’ll go with? The perception of the brand? The label? Where you get it? How you get it? What it costs? How often you enjoy it? what memories it conjures up?

With a nod to Dr. Lewis, I’d ask: What’s desperately important to you?

Cheers to that ~

Cheers to that ~

What is it that really matters when you are engaged with beer? How do those elements factor into your priorities?

To me, it’s all about cleanliness, diplomacy and education.

Cleanliness. Any brewer worth her salt will dedicate herself to a clean brew house. Cleanliness and sanitation is what shows the commitment forward. Just as a proud cook should cook in a clean kitchen, an accomplished brewer must keep a clean brew house. No exceptions.

Diplomacy. It’s one of the most important facets of the people part of the beer. Diplomacy goes so much farther than snobbery and judgement. Being diplomatic means welcoming anyone who wants to drink whatever beer they choose. It means sharing, asking, listening, learning and being open-minded yourself first. No exceptions.

Education. It’s what makes the entire world go round. Love and money can be made and lost, education is here forever. Learning, sharing, listening, and giving information to others while wanting to keep educating your own self is critically important. No exceptions.

Take some time to consider what is desperately important to you and then follow that vision. When you do, you’ll be happier and true to your self. The key is remaining open to others and their vision, as we’ll all have our own way to execute what we see.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter N

Nummy…Noble Hops…Nitrogenated…

While all of these are N worthy, today’s Letter N word is Nice.


Yes, Nice. There’s a very unsavory and growing faction of people in the beer community who are making blanket judgements that certain beers are better than others shearly based on size of volume produced and ownership. That certain ones are uncool and bad, and some are good and worthwhile to attend to. Some stores are even choosing to eliminate choices for the very consumers they serve based on this judgement.

P1100709Being Nice means being diplomatic, being an ambassador, being kind and NOT being a judge. Leaders in any arena have a nice quality to them: business, community, family, friendships, social circles, service clubs. Do you want to lead or be lead?

Like the beers you like. Remember these things all the same:

1. All companies, beer and food and otherwise, start and started small in size. To now disqualify a beer or food because it’s successfully grown – by the support of the very same people who are now shunning it – is hypocritical and uncouth. Plus it’s totally ridiculous. Many times quality grows as a businesses income comes in, affording an increase in many facets that positively impacts the goods.

2. Size isn’t what matters here. Quality is. Is the company quality focused? Ask that instead of ‘what’s the volume of product produced and sold?’

3. Let everyone choose the beer and food they want. Freedom of choice is why there are so many choices and one thing that makes America and many countries in the world special.

4. Beer and food all start in the same way: with raw ingredients, by people, and for people. Before you dismiss a product out of hand simply for the volume of their products, take a look at their business and organizations. How many people to they gainfully and purposefully employ? How many suppliers, vendors and growers are impacted by the operation? Has there been any shift of quality?

5. Large and global brands are still great choices for some. And we’d agree with transparency that people are calling for in the interest of full disclosure. More and more people want to know who and where what they put in their gullet comes from. Agreed. When making your decisions though, return to deciding based on quality and flavors you enjoy.

6. We highly encourage not using labels for beer. Dark, light, craft, crafty, heavy, and so on. These are moving targets, arbitrary based on the judge or judging body. Don’t swallow anything whole unless you educate yourself first AND look at the wider implications of your choices if they affect others.

It makes WEB dismayed to see this reverse niceness and kick to the teeth of some long-standing brands that are growing in size that have (and had) fanatical followers because they were the small-er when they started. Now all the sudden the brands aren’t good enough…what?! Makes no sense.

In fact I’ve been to plenty of smaller size breweries whose obvious lack of commitment to cleanliness and sanitation is way more disturbing that larger ones. Yikes! Cleanliness is critical to high quality operations of all capacity and volume sizes. Do you know how clean the brewery and production facility is before you make that judgement, before you extol or condemn? Get educated first.

In most cases, size has little to do with enjoyment of a brand. Quality does. Unless some gross injustice of power, ingredients, quality or impact has occurred, we say stick with what you like. Being nice about beer and food is acting with graciousness and class, never judging.

No one likes a judgmental jerk. Don’t be one. Be Nice. Progress is made with nice.

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Glassware: Cleanliness Matters

“Why Care About Glassware?” The header on an information brochure I got at the annual NBWA convention trade show last fall asks this question. And it’s a very good one to ask.

Here’s why everyone should care about glassware:

1. Beer is at its best when poured properly in the best glass for that style of beer you enjoy.

2. Shape, size and volume of the glass are a few facets to consider.

3. Presentation is important in the perception and value of a dispensed beer.

4. Clean glassware is critical to the beer giving you the best possible sensory experience. (Thanks to National Chemicals for the flyer)

5. Glassware is very telling of the commitment to continued respect and quality experience for beer of the serving establishment.

Here are a few readworthy posts on beer & glassware:

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How To Sell More Beer To Women

If you’re a brewpub, multi-tap, bar or restaurant, here are 5 ways to sell more beer to women.

1. Sincere Greet. Every time you see a female patron be sure to greet her genuinely and with appropriate enthusiasm. Nothing fake or forced. Simply genuine we’re-glad-you’re-here professional manners. Knowing right from the start that she is wanted and welcome is the key.

2. Respect. Make sure you treat her with respect every time. Ask if she’s been to your place before and if she has – thank her and refresh her knowledge as it fits. If she’s visiting for the first time, make sure you give a brief and concise overview of who you are and what you offer. This is a great thing to cover at a pre-shift/staff meeting to help staff become comfortable and competent with this information.

Talk to the women at your establishment about beer

3. Timeliness. Ensure your service is well run and people get their beers and perhaps other ordered items in a very timely manner. Short staffed? NEVER tell people you are understaffed. You are telling them bluntly that you can’t handle what you’ve started and that’s bad. You best have Plan B in place to ensure proper levels of service. You’ve put lots of care and passion into your beer: this is not the place to scrimp and fall short.

4. Keep It Clean. Your establishment should be clean from stem to stern. She should be able to look in corners and see no dirt or grim, spilled foods or dripped pools of liquids of any sort. Cleanliness is the gateway to success and it’s one of the first and most obvious things noticeable by everyone who comes through your door. Your pride should be evident in the clean environment you provide.

5. Ask her what she wants. Make the assumption she knows what she’s ordering, what she likes, and let her lead. Train the people who work in your establishment, including yourself, to find appropriate ways to help her with the decision process – at whatever stage her beer knowledge is.

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Clean Thy Glass!

What does “beer clean” mean? Here’s a helpful post.

Beer clean glassware is also indicative of the commitment of the brewery, brewpub, operator – whoever is in charge of the beer inclusively – to high quality beer.

p1040352Larry Chase, brew master at Standing Stone Brewing Company is Ashland Oregon, told me this.

“Because beer is alive and produced by a living organism (yeast), in order to make better beer, the entire brew house should be clean. Everything the beer is going not touch needs to be clean.”

He tells me it tastes better and it’s more consistent when everything is clean. Not just surficially clean, really elbow grease scrubbed clean.

The dedication to a clean brew house and all its equipment is evident in fresh, clean beer – yes, you can taste the difference.

Any while contamination may not make you sick, it’s kind of a disheartening thought. To think that after all that effort, someone may be slipshod on cleanliness.

Quality assurance quality control makes sense to the senses.  Make sure your brewery is clean. All the way to the glassware.

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How Clean Are You?

You know the adage “Cleanliness is next to godliness…”

All idolatry aside,  cleanliness is important.

mop-bucketAnd you know what? Most women feel the same way.

When you have a clean establishment, they want to be there because they know you care. If the floor or corners are dirty, missed by the broom and mop – it’s noticed. When the bathrooms are unkempt and dirty (not just messy) – yesh! MAJOR negative. When the glassware and dishes are not paid attention to – that’s a no-no.

Said another way – if you don’t care then they certainly aren’t going to – enough to not patronize your business. This translates outward too. If they’ve been to your place (brewery/pub/taproom) and it’s dirty, they’re way less likely to purchase your products, beers, & goods from other sources as well.

So here’s a goodie for you: Keep Your Act Clean.

Cleanliness will have positive payoffs when marketing to women consumers – craft beer, lumber, clothing, whatever.

No one – women & men – likes to shop in a dirty messy place – and remember dirty is different than messy or sloppy. Dirty is much worse. Dirty says you don’t care, that you are unsanitary, careless and therefore your standards are low. (Stay tidy though, too.)

Tsk tsk. Such an easy thing to pay attention to and do well.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by sarahkiff

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