No Long Weekends

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

We are often contacted by various members of the press, whether they are journalists still pounding pavement for newspapers and magazines, bloggers, podcasters, book authors or anything in-between. True journalists are writing for captive audiences, collecting information and finding ways to weave it together in an interesting ways. They remain truthful and unbiased, all the while, trying to capture and land more readers. There are some great journalists out there. You likely already know many of them.   

We recently contacted a newspaper journalist that we’ve been in-touch with in the past, in an attempt to ensure that we have taken the time, made the effort and shared our story, ourselves. When we first heard from this journalist, we weren’t necessarily inclined to meet and discuss the current state of many Craft Beer Cellar stores, as we knew it would take time away from our work. We eventually decided we would make the time, as it was imperative and necessary to speak for our own selves, instead of letting others do it for us. If we allow only others to tell our stories, especially those with a clear intent to harm, then we’re not taking care of ourselves.

This same journalist emailed last week...

"You mentioned that someone from the brand team has visited all of the stores in the network. A franchisee asked me why you didn't visit a California store last year while you were in the area at the Firestone Invitational event. Do you care to respond?"

While this is an odd piece of information for a journalist to be seeking, and also none of anyone’s business, we’ve decided we will respond.

We didn’t visit either of our CA stores because the distance from Paso Robles to LA (where both of our stores are located) was greater than our time would allow; a nearly four hour one way trip. We flew in and arrived in San Luis Obispo a little before noon on Friday, and then back out by 10am on Monday morning; a literal ‘long weekend’. Even though we were beyond ecstatic to be visiting a brewery that we’ve long loved, we knew that it would still require some work, as there would be lots of meetings and networking events.   

To be completely transparent, we also drove to Buellton on Sunday, after the Saturday Invitational, an hour and a half southwest of Paso Robles, which was all we felt we could manage. Buellton is the home of Firestone-Walker’s Barrelworks Brewery and where all their mixed-fermentation and wild beers are blended - we felt strongly about visiting both the Paso and Buellton locations, as we didn’t know when we may have another opportunity. We made the trek down late morning, arriving just as they opened. We toured the facility, took some pictures and had lunch at the tap room before beginning the journey back to Paso, stopping in Los Olivos to explore wine.

We still both work seven days a week, for 10+ hours each day, between the flagship store, the franchise company and beer education. We could likely take one, if not both weekend days off, each week, but we choose not to. We choose, instead, to work the latter part of the day on Saturday and the entire day on Sunday, to ensure that everyone, on all teams, has this time off; this is something that is deeply important to both of us, and its a sacrifice we’ve been making for many years. 

We’ve never taken much time off. The very first and last vacations that we had were in 2016, more than five years after we opened the Belmont shop in 2010. We took two trips that year; one to Germany and the other to Belgium & France, spending a bit more than three weeks, during September and October, visiting every brewery from the Black Forest to tiny country roads in Wallonia, meeting many friends, and reconnecting with brewers and partners that we hadn’t seen in far too long.

A colleague said to us last week, after hearing some banter from a business owner about their ‘side hustle’ job and stated, “If anyone needs a better understanding of ‘hustle’, they should shadow you two for a week!” We were humbled by the comment, as we don’t work this hard so we can impress anyone with our long hours, sore bodies or tired minds, but so that we can continue to contribute and push craft beer forward. While it doesn’t happen often, there will surely be other opportunities for time off, that might not involve visiting one of our stores. It’s astounding to think that anyone would be so concerned with our whereabouts, actions or decisions, pertaining to a long weekend. It’s astounding that we would be scrutinized for taking four days away from our day-to-day, and called into question for not visiting a store or focusing on a store-related work task.   

Kate Baker

In addition to being an adviser for Craft Beer Cellar's Franchise Company, every day, Kate works tirelessly to bring Craft Beer Cellar Belmont the best beer this amazing industry has to offer; and sometimes, she does it literally, by way of the delivery van! A restaurateur in her past life, Kate made the jump to retail and hasn’t looked back. Everything she does is for amazing beer. A devotee of hospitality, inclusion, welcoming environments, and any song by Brandi Carlile, Kate can always be found in and around Belmont and believes hugs and hi-fives make craft beer a better place.

The beer she can't stop thinking about:
Allagash White (In CANS!!!)

Suzanne Schalow

After working in beer for more than a decade, Suzanne rolled up her sleeves and got serious about her beer education - in 2012, she earned the title of Certified Cicerone®! Since that time, she’s wrangled with Cicerone’s advanced exams, become a judge for the Beer Judge Certification Program, and developed a retail beer educational program called The Society of Master Beercierge. Teaching and talking beer are two of the things she’s most excited about, which translate perfectly when working with new & potential Craft Beer Cellar franchisees. A lover of most styles, she believes a perfect beer is balanced by the sum of its parts, especially if it's Belgian!

The beer she can't stop thinking about:
Jack's Abby Sunny Ridge Pilsner