Tuesday, 24 April 2012


I popped down to BrewDog today to have a chat with Max, who's running the Nottingham bar. He's worked in all the BrewDog pubs and shortly he'll be heading off to Manchester to help get their staff trained up for the opening of their latest bar.

Apparently my blog post on Sunday was picked up and emailed round BrewDog's bar managers - and it's worth bearing in mind that there aren't that many of them. For all the noise they make, they're still a small operation, certainly if you're just talking about the bar division. Apparently the post was taken in the manner it was meant. I was reporting what I thought was a genuine issue, not having a go at BrewDog, as I was accused of doing on Twitter.

Dazed and Confused,
or Communication Breakdown?
Max reiterated what he mentioned in his comment, that he was surprised that the short measure issue arose, and it wasn't official policy to refuse to top up to the line of an over-sized glass. The blog post from Max's colleague Jonny is written in a personal capacity, although I'd like to think Jonny realises that topping up to the line is simply good customer service, and not a matter of legality. Max also told me that many of BrewDog's bar staff are new to the job, and amidst lots of instructions you get given in that situation, you are going to forget some of them. I can sympathise with that. I for one have never been at my best in my first few shifts behind a new bar, and I say that having worked behind enough to make it difficult to remember how many.  If someone in a busy situation interprets an instruction such as 'Don't top these up to the brim' as 'Don't top these up at all' then they've made a mistake, it happens. BrewDog generally are also doing what Bitburger did years ago (hence the pic) with their oversize glasses; making them a bit smaller so it's easier to serve the correct measure and not leave a huge gap over the head.

A final thought. If pubs are going to survive at all then sooner or later a generation of younger managers has to take over, ones who aren't going to sit there and blame everything on the fact that women are allowed into pubs, or bemoaning having to think about a food offering, or repeatedly blaming the smoking ban, craft keg or whatever it is that becomes construed as the latest 'nail in the coffin.' Like them, loathe them, feel indifferent towards them as you will, but continuing a theme that's been discussed by other bloggers in the last week, I think BrewDog's bar division are going to switch far more people on to beer than stuff like this.* They'll make the odd mistake along the way, who doesn't? Their advertising silliness will more than likely annoy you at times, that's fine too, I recommend a healthy dose of taking the piss, it's one of our country's finer traditions.

* Or this... I could go on.


  1. My view remains that staff should understand the business, not just what their company tells them. That was my point in comment on your blog. Yet to go to a BD bar (why not pub?) yet though.

    Hoping to get a good "custoemr experiance" though when I do.

    Cheers, Chris

    1. Legally it's not allowed to be called a pub unless it sells pickled eggs

  2. I'll pop to BDC tomorrow with my measuring equipment ;o)

    I'm always been slightly skeptical when I hear about pubs refusing top-ups as it just isn't in their interest to piss off customers, especially when they are as high profile as BrewDog, but I'm sure there are some that do refuse.

    I must admit, even in the few places that I have been served a pint that is clearly in need of a serious top-up I've never bothered asking the staff to do so - I think there are some people who believe that the fact I don't do so makes me a bad person.

  3. In the pubs I frequent I used to ask for top-ups if I thought I was served short, and I was never refused, but recently I have received the top-up without asking. Maybe I've taught them, maybe they were fed up with being asked or maybe it's now established customer service, but whatever the reason, that is why I enjoy drinking there and will continue to patronise them. Perhaps if a place consistently refuses then it's time to look elsewhere.