Open 10-7, Seven Days a Week. Sounds innocent enough, right? Just your regular store hours, mild compared to say, the drugstore (open til mignight!) or Canadian Tire, the only place around Vankleek Hill that's open at like, the crack of dawn for people with nothing to do to go browse at.
Now, try keeping your brewery's retail store open those hours when you have only family working for you. Then it gets interesting! From a business perspective it makes perfect sense because it's easy to remember, and it's more convenient (i.e. open earlier and later) than the LCBO or Beer Store. But it means that someone gets to miss dinner, or someone's not going to get to go to Rhett's first birthday party. Have you decided who? Okay, then YOU tell them.
Sales guy Phil's fiancee Laura has been working evenings and weekends at the retail store, so she's the nice gal who greets you most days. Laura's not missed a shift yet, but sometimes covering the days gets a little dicey. Like one day last week, Dad offered to drive his friend to the airport, and Steve offered to drive his wife and kids to a playdate. Same morning, same time. I don't know if they did rock, sissors, paper, but I have to guess that Airplane crushes Playdate, because when I showed up Steve was at the brewery, just in case anyone wanted a T-shirt or tour at 10 am. We're there for ya!
Opening a brewery changed a lot of things for our family. I think most of them are pretty cool. For example, Ruby, who's three, chased Steve out of his house with a Beau's bowling shirt the other morning saying, "Dont forget your beer shirt, Daddy!" Yup. "All Natural" was one of the first things my son Nate could read other than DOG or CAT. It's just part of their lives, part of the talk they hear every day. Dad doesn't go with the other old guys to Canadian Tire anymore at 8 am, because's he already at the brewery filling growlers or kegs. And Rhett's first birthday party might be happinin' at the brewery, so Auntie Laura can be there too.
Cheers! Jen "Beau" James
P.S. Steve sent me an email the other day that said that you can vote for Beau's for "Best brewery outside GTA" and for our LugTread beer for "Best beer brewed outside GTA" at the Golden Taps website: http://www.goldentapawards.com/. Last year we won the Best Beer of the Festival award, the only award decided at the event... the rest of the awards are predetermined by popular choice voting. So let's get the vote out!