Saturday, May 23, 2009

BevMo is working on it

Well, it looks like my little blog started quite an uproar. Who would have thought that a blog post could have so much clout? But it has. So much in fact that the Alan Johnson, the CEO of BevMo actually found my blog, read my post, and commented on it. He even went so far to ask me to contact him. So I did.

When I first read the comment, I didn't believe it was him. I did a quick Google search to see what I could find. Indeed, he is listed as the CEO, so I sent him an email. Within minutes, he replied. He was really wanted to talk to me about the "incident" at my local BevMo. He asked if I would be so kind, and call him. Or, I could give him my number and he would call me. I felt a little apprehensive about giving my phone number to someone who might possibly not be who I think they are. So I told him I would call him tomorrow.

Thursday night, I called him, and he answered. We talked for 20 minutes or so. He told me that he was very upset about what had happened. He asked my if I could tell him exactly what happened. So I did. He apologized , and told me that it should never have happened. He said they have policies in place, and obviously they were not followed. In addition, he said the BevMo will not be beaten by anyone. After our conversation, I believe him.

Mr. Johnson has offered to make things right. He is working out a "resolution" right now. We are going to talk again next week. I will tell you that I am excited. After our conversation, I knew that I really liked this guy. He cared. He cared about me, his customer, and his company. He was a cool guy. Nothing like I was expected him to be.

That is where we are today. I have talked to the Manager, and the assistant Manager. They have been very apologetic. I might even stop my there tonight. Who knows. There is more to say about this. But I gotta run. Got plans at The Yard House today. I need to plan out my "tasting" list.


Monday, May 18, 2009

BevMo Sucks (well, the employee does)

Can you believe I said that? I can't. I really don't think BevMo sucks. I love the BevMo. But today, I had my first negative experience there. I will tell you what, I was pissed!

I have been wanting to replace my kegs for the last week now. I have stopped by the BevMo two or three times, but the guy I normally deal with hasn't been there. And I really didn't want to order it from the older lady who runs the checkout. She just doesn't seem to understand what I am trying to order.

Total Wine offers Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPa in 5 gallon kegs for $64.00. So I can get it there if I have to. But I like the BevMo, and it is closer to my house, and I really like the guy I deal with. So I prefer to buy it from him.

Time is running out, so I stopped by tonight to see if anyone could help me. Again, the cool guy was out, and the old lady was running the register. Just as usual, she didn't know what I was talking about. She also thought that I called earlier about it, which I didn't. I tried to explain to her that it wasn't me, and that I was looking for a Dogfish Head. Finally, she asked the older fella, who I guess was the acting manager. "This is the guy who called earlier asking about the Dogs Head". No, that wasn't me.

I told him that I wanted to order a keg that wasn't on their list. He started to walk over to grab the flier with all the kegs listed. I again told him that it wasn't listed in the flier, but Total Wine offers it, and I wanted to see if BevMo can get it as well. He said he would check right now.

So I followed him over to the station with the computer. He found Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA right away. I thought to myself, Excellent. Then I asked him if there were any other Dogfish Head beers available in addition to the 60 Minute IPA. So he looked again, "yes, there are 3". Really, 3? How cool is that! I need 3 kegs. 90 Minute IPA and Raison D'etre are the other two. So I asked how much the 90 minute was. He looked down at the computer again, typed a little bit, and said it was $159. Wow, that is a little more than the $64 at Total Wine.

I asked him if that was for a 5 gallon keg. He looked down again, and then said "no, it isn't available in 5 gallon kegs". Hmmm, really? It is at Total Wine. So I began to tell him that Total Wine advertises it for $64. But before I could get out that information, he leaned over the wall, put his hand in my face as if he was telling me to stop, and loudly commanded me to "Sir, Calm Down!"

What just happened? Is this guys seriously scolding me? Yes, he was. That is exactly what happened. He just yelled at me. What the hell? I told him to "forget it". Turned and started to walk away. He stood up and replied "sir, I am sorry. I was being rude". Damn right asshole, you were being rude. I didn't say that, but I wanted too. Instead, I told him that I was trying to help him. Then I said that I spend a lot of money in that store, and never have I been talked to that way. I turned and walked out, all the time with him calling "Sir......Sir.........Sir............"

I wasn't about to give this guy my business. What was he thinking? I was shocked he scolded me like that. Actually, I was pissed. Normally, I would have enjoyed giving the douche bag a piece of my mind, but today was not the day for it. Lucky for him.

So guess what I am doing tomorrow. I am going to drive my happy ass over to Total Wine and order 3 kegs. I should have done that in the first place. They have a better beer selection, better prices, and now, better employees. In fact, one of them posted a reply on my blog a while back. Nobody from BevMo ever did that.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Running on Empty

That's it. I'm on empty. I have finished off all three of my kegs. 15 Gallons of beer in 4 months. Not bad. But now, the fun begins. I get to buy more beer!

My first choice was an easy one. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. How can I not have a Sam Calagione brewed beer on tap? That would violate a "Good Burp Beer Rule", (Must have Dogfish Head beer available at all times). I can order it this weekend, and be drinking by Tuesday. Gotta love it!

That still leaves two more taps to fill. I'm not really sure on the two yet. But I am planning on having a party. In actualality, I am having a part in a mere three weeks. I am supplying the beer, and I have a reputation to uphold. I want to have quality beer on tap, but I really don't want all of them to drink my Dogfish Head. I would like for them to try it, and like it. Then go out and but themselves some Dogfish on their own dime. But I am worried they will try it, like it, and keep on drinking it. Or worse, try it and not like it, then waste it. That would be a travesty. A completer beer foul. So I need to find a beer that a novice beer drinker will enjoy, as well as myself.

Therefore, I think my second choice is going to be New Belgium Straight Arrow Ale. It is quality ale. A session ale if you will. I know I can go through it if need be. And I think the party goers will enjoy it as well. I think it is going to be the safe choice. What do you think?

The third choice is going to be the hard one. I really wish I could get another Dogfish Head Beer on tap, but I can't. So I need to find a different style of beer that I will enjoy, and a guy looking for a good beer will appreciate. Something like a Flying Dog Old Scratch Lager (like I had the last time around), or a New Belgium Fat Tire, or possibly a Four Peaks Kilt Lifter again. I might be able to pick up a seasonal brew like the Sierra Nevada Summer Lager, or the latest Sam Adams offering. I really don't know. It is such a hard decision.

I think I need to make a trip to the BevMo, and the Total Wine and see what it available. 5 Gallons of beer is a great thing to have. However, it can be a burden if you make the wrong decision. I wish I had a better choice of kegs to choose from, but I don't. So I am forced to make a decision from what is available.

I will keep you posted.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm starting a brewery

Yes, you read that right. I made the decision this week. I want to start my own brewery. Why not? Many others have done it, and been very successful at it. Why not me? Many have failed. But I don't plan on being one of them. It is going to be a long process. Are you ready? I know I am.

I have been a working man for most of my life. I really don't remember a time in my life (aside from being a child) where I didn't have a job, or some sort of income. I remember, in 3rd grade, I would buy a pack of candy filled wax sticks for $1. I would take them to school, and sell them. I turned each pack into $10. I bought 2 packs the next time, and turned that $2, into $20.

Then in 6th grade, I got a paper route. I didn't tell my parents. I saw a commercial on TV, and called the number. As luck would have it, our regular paper boy was quiting, and I started a mere week later. I made good amount of money doing that over the next 2 plus years. Enough to buy my my first CD player, and put the down payment on my first truck.

In the summers, I would go to work for my dad. He didn't pay me a lot, but as a 12 year old kid, getting paid $200 a week was a lot of money! Sure, I blew so much of it on stupid stuff, but I did manage to save a lot of it. Ever summer through High school, I worked. It allowed me to have a nice car, nice things, and save for my future. Most of all, it instilled in me that money doesn't come easy. And business is hard, yet fulfilling.

Four years ago, my dad decided to retire, and sell his company. I didn't like his decision, but in my heart, I knew it was the right choice for him. But it left me working for someone else. Something I have never done before. From that time in 3rd grade selling candy, I was my own boss. Even with my paper route, I collected payment whenever I wanted. And as I grew up, every summer I made my own hours and my own money. I answered to myself.

When the time came for me to work for someone else, I hated it. How was I going to do it? I don't know how I did it, but I did, for 3 plus years. And I was good at it. I worked my way up to the top. However, I was never happy. No matter how high I worked my way through Corporate America, there was always going to be someone above me, telling me what to do. I hated it. I hated it with a passion. But I sucked it up, and did a great job.

In the back of my mind, I longed to be my own boss again. That is what I spent most of my life doing. And I really missed it. About a year ago, I was offered a position in a start up company. I jumped on it! And I really enjoy it. However, it just doesn't have the same feeling for me. I miss being my own boss. Not for the feeling of being the boss, but for the feelings of being "the man". I miss it being my name on the bottom line. I miss calling the shots. But most of all, I miss that feeling that it was mine.

I am in the process of starting 3 different small companies. One is for fun. The second is for fun, with the possibility of growing into something serious. The third is a business that I have been doing for nearly 20 years now. It is a business I could do on a full time basis, and make a living at.

However, I don't know if it is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Like I said, I have been the man, and I have worked for the man. And trust me when I say, being the man is better. But being happy is so much better. In order to do that, I need to be the man, in a business that would make me happy. And what might that business be? Beer.

So right there, right now, I am putting it out there for all to see. I am going to start my own brewery. I know it is going to be hard, And I know it is going to be a lot of work. I don't think it will be easy by any means. But I know I can do it. I know I am going to do it!

I'm not going to open a brewery next week, or next year. I am being serious about this. I don't jump into anything until I have researched and educated myself as much as possible about it. And that is the way I am going to do it. I am going to immerse myself in research and education. How did the other breweries do it? What education can I get before I start? What is the best plan of attack? That is what I am doing now.

What does the future hold for me? I don't know. But I am going to do whatever I can to make it fun. And in the words of Curt Schilling, I am going to do "Whatever it Takes" to succeed.

As my plans evolve, I will be sure to post them for you to read. This is going to be a 3 to 5 year process. I'm not going to rush it. I'm going to do it right. Wish me luck.


Friday, May 8, 2009

How do you play Bocce Ball?

I am in! That is right ladies and gentlemen, I have a team. Next year, I won't have to watch from the sideline, because I have a Bocce Ball team. I don't know how to play, but who cares. I have a year to learn how.

I was so pissed that I wasn't able to play in Sam Calagione's Bocce Ball Tournament again this year. However, all was not lost. I was able to meet my hero, Sam. However, I couldn't help but wish I was participating instead of sitting on the wall, drinking Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, and watching all the people have fun.

As soon as I got home, I put the word out. I asked everyone I knew if they were interested in joining my Bocce Ball team. Within minutes, I had a team. Gotta love it! I know I do. I'm sure the other teammates do as well. The only problem is that none of us have ever played before. Not to mention that we don't know the rules or how to play.

Either way, I get to play. And it is going to be so much fun. This weekend, I am going to buy a Bocce Ball set, and figure out how to play. I think I might even set up an official Bocce Ball field in my back yard. Yes, I just might do that. And I am going to practice, practice, and practice some more.

So I am going to say this. I love Sam, but next year, he is going down!


Saturday, May 2, 2009

I met Sam Calagione

Today I met the man, the legend, Sam Calagione. That's right, I was able to meet my hero today. And I have yet to stop smiling.

After the devastating news on Thursday night, I though all was lost. However, the good news was that Sam was going to be in town through the weekend. And there was no way on God's green Earth that I was going to miss my chance to meet Sam. So thank you God, I did!

After my sons baseball game, I drove across town to the Bocce Tournament. I was never able to talk to anyone at the hotel who could tell me anything about it. I called 5 times on Friday, and still had no answers. So the only way I was going to find out, was to go. I am so happy I did.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I knew it was going to be fun. Right there, in front of me were the Bocce Ball fields and a good sized group of people holding red cups. Red cups are always great sign. So I got out, and simply watched the for a while. As I sat there, I scanned the area for any site of Sam. I kept getting distracted by all the people dressed up in costumes. There were Super Heroes, Safari guys, Human Beer Bottles, and countless groups wearing matching Jerseys or shirts. All I knew was that I was missing out on a good time. And the only way to make the trip,was to meet Sam.

So I grabbed my backpack, and walked out onto the field. I was amazed at how nice everyone was. There were people playing Bocce, people playing Cornhole, and people just chilling, or recuperating from the night before. I grabbed a chair, and enjoyed the time.

After 15 minutes or so, I spotted Sam. He was in the group wearing Sombreros. A good look for them. I watched him and his team win their match and have a celebratory beer. I wanted to walk up and introduce myself, but I didn't want to bother him.

Finally, Sam came walking by and noticed me. Actually, he noticed my shirt. He thought it was cool. He shook my hand, and asked me my name. Then he asked if I was playing. I explained to him that I was huge fan, and tried to get a team together. However, all my friends are too cheap and I wasn't able to pull it off in time. He then told me that I should have come by yesterday, because he could have got me on a team. Go figure. I told him how I called 5 times on Friday and nobody at the hotel was able to help me out.

Then he told me to just hang out then, and "go grab a beer". Was he serious? I told him that I didn't pay, and I was just here to watch and get his autograph when he had the time. He told me. "Who cares, go grab a beer, and hang out with us, and I will sign your stuff".

Wow, after a moment of shock, I went over and poured myself a beer. 60 Minute IPA was on tap, and something else. I didn't know what it was, so I poured myself a cup. I am glad I did.

I did exactly what Sam said, I poured myself a couple pints and watched everyone play Bocce Ball. I have never played, so I wanted to figure out how it works. It looks simple enough. And I am going to start practicing as soon as I buy myself a set.

After an hour or so, Sam noticed me again and said "Hey, you wanted me to sign something, bring it over". So I did. I had a copy of Draft Magazine with Sam and Jim Koch on the cover. He signed it and asked "should I sign it over Jim's face"? I told him he could sign it where ever he wanted. He chuckled, and said "No, Jim is my friend, I couldn't do that". So he signed it for me, and then he signed my his book, Brewing Up a Business. I told him that I have met hundreds of famous athletes and got their autographs. But meeting his was really a big thing for me.

I thanked him again for everything. He was so gracious to let me hang out and drink the beer, for free. But it didn't end there. He told me to go grab another beer. And to be sure to try the Pale Ale, because it isn't available anywhere other than the Atlantic region because it "doesn't travel well". So that is what that was. I liked it. I really liked it. How could I turn down Sam? I didn't. Then he started asking me questions.

Sam: "Do you home brew"?
Me: "Yes, but just a little bit. I am trying to be more prolific at it".
Sam: "You know, I only brewed 7 batches before I went into business".
Me: "That is amazing. And I can' believe you did it on that home brew system".
Sam: "I know, it was hard, but it worked".
Me: "That is amazing".
Sam: "Go grab another beer and watch us play"
Me: "OK, I will thanks so much for letting me hang out today. And thanks for the autographs".
Sam: "My pleasure".

So I poured myself another Pale Ale, and watched Sam and his team win their next match. He really seems to enjoy Bocce Ball. And I can understand why. It looks like fun, and you can play while you drink beer. It is the perfect sport, or game. On one occasion, he said to me, "We are in this"! He really seemed to take it serious, yet in a fun way. And his team did indeed pull off the win, in come from behind fashion. I told him I was pulling for him.

But my time was up. I needed to get home. So I thanked him again for everything. He said to me:
Sam: "__________, are you leaving"? (He called me by name. On all 3 occasions, he remembered my name)
Me: "Yes, I gotta get going"
Sam: "Well thanks for coming and hanging out with us today".
Me: "It was my pleasure. Thanks for letting me hang out".
Sam: "Are you going to play next year"?
Me: "Are you going to do it again next year:?
Sam: "We sure are".
Me: "Then I am going to have a team ready for sure".
Sam: "Great".

I asked him if I could get a picture with him, and without pausing, he said sure. He was more than happy to do it. He asked the woman standing next to us if she would take the picture for me. Then he told me to make sure I sent him an email. How could I forget. (I already sent him one). You see, he liked my shirt. And as luck would be, I just so happened to have an extra one, brand new. I told him I would send it to him. He told me if I did, he would send me a Dogfish Head shirt. How could I turn down a deal like that? So he gave me his email address, and told me to send him an email and he would give me the info and where to send it.

That's my story. Can you believe it? I can't. I am still in awe. I can't believe I got to meet him. And to make it even better, he was cool as hell! He was so much cooler than I thought he would be. Completely down to earth, and an all around nice guy. If I wasn't already a fan, I surely am now. In fact, I am a fan for life.

A truly amazing day. A day I will never forget. Thanks Sam.


Friday, May 1, 2009

I missed my chance

Are you ready for this? Sam Calagione, the man himself, was in town yesterday, and I didn't know about it. By the time I heard about, it was too late. O, the Horror! I have been dying to meet my hero Sam, and I just missed my chance. He was kind enough to fly all the way across the country to my home town, and I didn't even know it. How could this have happened?

Here is the deal. My dad tells me last night at my son's baseball game, "Hey, some brewery guy is in town signing his book". What? How did I not head about this? Honestly, I am not up to date with Authors signing their books. I am not that kind of guy. But if it is a Beer Guy, I need to know about it. I should have known about it.

I racked my brain, and went down the list of the possible brew guys it might have been.
Me: "Charlie Papazian"?
Dad: "No, that's not it".
Me: "Jim Koch"?
Dad: "That Sam Adams guy? No, that isn't it".
- Who could it be? Who might have been in town promoting a book?
Me: "O, Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery?
Dad: "Never heard of him".
Me: "It wasn't Fritz Maytag was it?
Dad: "I don't think that was it". "It was something about brewing a business".
Dad: "Yeah, that's it"

O my God. How did this just happen? All these thoughts ran through my head. I can leave, buy a paper, find out where he is, and go. Or I can call everyone I know, have them find the article i their paper, and tell me what the article said. This is exactly what I did.

By the time my cousin called me back, it was too late. Sam held a 2 hour event to talk about his book, and his beer. And I missed it. By the time My cousin read me the details, the event was over. I wanted to cry. Yes, I am man enough to tell you that I really wanted to cry. How, after all this time of waiting, and reading, and talking to people about my "Man Crush" on Sam Calagione, did I miss my probable, once in a lifetime, opportunity to meet him in my one home town. It's a tragedy.

But all hope is not lost. I found out that Sam is still in town, through Sunday. Has my luck changed? You see, Sam is in town for his annual Bocce Ball tournament. It's the "Dogfish Head Intergalactic Bocce Tournament, Western Version".

This part is my fault. I have been trying to put together a team for 2 years now. But I have cheap friends. And none of them have the cash to play. But I try, and try, and try to put together a team. But I have struck out every time.

I also look at the website all the time to find out if Sam is going to be in a town where I just so happen to be visiting. And I kept checking the Dogfish Head website, looking for information about the Bocce ball tournament. But I never found it. And I guess, I just got a little too lazy, and I missed out on the giant post about it on their website. How could I have let this happen? I don't know, but I did.

I spent the better part of the day trying to contact anyone at the hotel who might be able to let me know about the details. But all I got was the head chef, concierge, or a receptionist. None of which were able to help me.

So I am stuck watching from the sidelines this year. That is the price I have to pay. I get it. But next year, I am there.

So right here, right now, I am putting it out there. Who wants to join my team? Who wants to play Bocce Ball next year?

-Prost. (gotta say it, but I don't mean it tonight)