What Makes A Brewery?
At the last meeting of the Indie-Pendent Women’s Club at the beginning of the month, I asked our guests a simple question: What are your favorite Los Angeles breweries and why?
Although the breweries were varied, the same reasons for “why” kept coming up over and over. A lack of pretension, friendly staff who treat you like family, and a sense of community. Those were the common themes that I kept hearing, and it seems that people valued those over even the quality of the beer.
Now don’t get me wrong, the beer is definitely important! But what distinguishes a brewery from just a place to get an amazing beer and a place that you want to hang out at?
I’m sure I’m not the only person who has walked into a tap room or bar and felt like I was being judged, looked down upon, or even just ignored by the staff. There are a lot of pretentious people that work in the service industry, especially in LA where a bartender might only give you the time of day until they realize you aren’t going to help further their acting career! While I haven’t had too many incidents at breweries specifically (beer folks are generally pretty down to earth), it has happened all too often at craft beer bars around town. For me personally, service is of the utmost importance when I walk into a new watering hole. I don’t have time for snooty bartenders when there are delicious beers that need drinking!
While there are certain standards of service that I look for at in a tap room, my favorite breweries are the ones where the staff goes above and beyond to make you feel like you belong. All of the ladies at the last IPWC meeting seemed to agree that it’s such a huge part of their experience as customers. Being a regular at a bar gives you a special feeling of inclusion and having a great staff is key to that experience. When a bartender gets to know their customers, the relationship develops into more than just a cash transaction. In my 10+ years working in bars and restaurants, I have found that the regulars at Indie Brewing are easily the most loyal, kind and awesome people that I’ve had the pleasure of pouring beers for.
That brings me to my final thought. I truly believe that a brewery is an integral part of a community. It’s not just a bar where people are trying to get rowdy, but a neighborhood hub. There’s a lot of life in a brewery. They provide jobs, host so many different kinds of events, and most are family friendly. We get a lot of customers that tell us that the staff at Mumford, Arts District, Boomtown, etc. recommended us to them. When you start going around to other LA breweries and beer festivals, you see a lot the same faces and get to know people that you otherwise would have probably never met. While there is some level of competition, the craft beer community as a whole is very supportive. I’m thankful that I get to be a part of that community, and help support other women who want to be involved.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, the next meeting of the Indie-Pendent Women’s Club will be Tuesday, June 5th at 7pm in the Hop City Room at Indie Brewing Co. with our special guest speaker Daniella Lopez from Sanctum Brewing! Hope you can join us.