You know, running a brewery is hard work. Of course it’s made easier by beers at noon when friends stop by for no good reason. Other times at best it’s a jumbled mess of legal, legislative and enforcement woes. This was one such week beset by head spinning agencies and local code enforcements.
On Tuesday, we were surprised inspected by the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health. The two inspectors were sent out to visit our facilities (and other breweries in San Diego) as a patron had lodged a complaint about local tasting rooms. So I’d like to take a moment to thank that one person who felt it was important to lodge a complaint about brewery tasting rooms all over San Diego. Apparently they were concerned that we didn’t have a GIANT BLUE “A” on our cold boxes!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
You see, my fellow brewers and brewery owners are now having our hands forced (in the name of public safety) to go through the plan check and approval phase so that all of us can earn Health Permits for our tasting rooms.
What’s even better and the reason we’re all so thankful for your efforts today is that Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey has been issued a cease and desist for the sampling of beer in our tasting room. Because, as we all know, beer is a public nuisance laced with nasty things that can kill you!
I personally want to extend my gratitude to that consumer who felt this industry needed more regulatory agencies knocking on our doors. (The Health Department has never been interested in us before this call) Muchas Gracias Amigo (or Amiga) wherever you might be. There are breweries all over the City of San Diego who are now going to have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs that at best are “marginally justified.”
And while I’m at it, a shout out to my bookkeeper Alicia Kelly who will be working extra hours to ensure the payments and checks we need to facilitate this spending spree are cut and signed.
I suppose the plumbers, electricians and restaurant supply companies would like to take a moment to thank that one person who lodged the complaint. I’m sure the plumber won’t mind firing up the concrete saw as he makes a number of cuts in our floor so that we can install new floor drains. The electricians will have fun working to move junction boxes and installing more electrical outlets enabling us to relocate our new computer terminals because someone at a desk thinks they’re too close to the dishwasher. The restaurant supply company will gladly order all of the necessary stainless steel sinks and drain boards we need to be compliant. My flooring guy is looking at a nice fat check for the installation of washable tile flooring since the concrete we’re currently using isn’t up to code. I doubt any of them will complain as each will be getting paid for their assistance.
Yet, I am thankful that I know that I know them because without them, we’d be running around like chickens without heads.
And as long as we’re thanking people, I would like to thank the two ladies from the County Office who were incredibly nice as they asked me to sign away my rights to sampling our patrons on a beverage that cannot make them ill. Most assuredly, they could feel my pain. As we have been sampling our faithful for 4 years, it was hard to convey the sense of dismay and shock of being told we have no recourse in this matter.
On the plus side, they did agree with me that retail sales of bottled beer and growlers should not be affected by this directive (see below). I know that we’ll become great friends as we’re now scheduled to see each other at least twice a year. I’m looking forward to hearing all about their children and how little Johnny played at second base last week during his little league game!
Having heard from all sorts of local government employees this week, I am sure they would love to personally extend their gratitude to that person who just created more work for them even though every other Friday they are being furloughed. They all seemed “genuinely” concerned that someone would get sick from drinking beer at a tasting room as they rolled their eyes at us. Did you know that Wineries and Brandy producers who operate tasting rooms in California are exempt from inspections? I didn’t either until Tuesday. I’m seriously considering going Jesus on the world and turning water (and grapes) into wine enabling us to get an exemption as well.
Lastly, my employees would like to thank that person who lobbed that phone call. Normally I don’t have a reason to swear and yell at anyone around here. I’m pretty even keel. But this week, all bets were off. I think I yelled at a guy for actually doing a great job. I wouldn’t know because since Tuesday, I’ve been thanking everyone under the sun for everything and nothing at all. I figured if I thanked enough people, I might find the person who I really needed to. As it’s Friday and I’m still not sure I have thanked that person who acted in the interest of public health, I thought I would take a few more minutes to do so.
To the person who lobbed the complaint to the County Department of Environmental Health, I’d like to take one last moment to Thank You on behalf of all the brewers and brewery owners in San Diego County.
Thank You for adding more work to our already busy schedules.
Thank You for adding more stress to our already stressed out lives.
Thank You for adding another agency we must pay fees and submit to inspections for.
Thank You for adding taking dollars out of our bank account so governments have things to inspect.
Thank You for giving me another reason to drink my World Class Kick Ass Handcrafted American Beer because even though I’m staring at a pile of paperwork I didn’t need, I’ll be doing it with one of our non life threatening beers in hand!