Controversy Surrounds Trillium's Labor Practices, Former Employee Alleges Deceptive Biz Practices

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by abagofit, Nov 21, 2018.

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  1. abagofit

    abagofit Initiate (180) Oct 31, 2014 Massachusetts

    (Moderation Note: This post and subsequent discussion was moved out of the Trillium Brewing Company release thread in the New England forum, which periodically gets locked.)


    I thought about making an alt account to respond to this because trillium knows my username and actively monitors social media for employee posts. In fact, social media posts are part of the reason I was terminated. Hopefully I don't get sued lol. BTW you don't need to tag @JCTetreault, he and the social media team read this daily. You'd actually be surprised how much they pay attention and respond internally to issues addressed in this thread. Maybe this will will be the tipping point that improves quality of life for the employees. I doubt it.

    I can say that everything posted about employee wages and benefits being cut is true. JC and Esther have absolutely no respect for the people working for them, all they care about is $$$. Guess you can't really blame them, it is a business after all. They are well aware of the fact that people want the "prestige" of working for a top brewery and are willing to be underpaid to build the resume. You can probably count on one hand the number of people who have lasted more than 3 years. Trillium started paying $5/hr instead of $8/hr to new retail staff right around the time the greenway first opened, so this isn't just because of the restaurant. However, any longstanding employees of the Congress st location were indeed given a pay cut for their years of service.

    Let me say that again, after working for trillium for 3+ years, employees were (after interviewing for the jobs they already had) offered $3/hr less to work the exact same job across the street. That may not sound like a lot, but that is a 37.5% cut that would be ~$6000 a year for full time staff.

    At the end of the day, this is not illegal, it's just shitty. Trillium has however been involved with at least one blatantly illegal practice. Did you guys ever try the frozen Mexican sunrise beer? Ever wonder how they got that distinct tequila flavor? Lots of customers did too and let me tell you it was awkward as hell having to skirt that question or outright lie to the customers. At first we were telling customers that it was a wild ale aged in tequila barrels, but then customers started asking which barrels we were using. I asked the general manager, Matt Gartska what barrels we aged the beer in and his response, "Idk dude just make something up!" If you haven't figured it out yet, there were no tequila barrels. They straight up dumped tequila into the kegs. I'm no lawyer, but I know that us illegal. Trillium knows it too because eventually they just told us to stop acknowledging the tequila flavor or to tell the customers it was "brewers magic".

    Speaking of those frozen beers, did you ever wonder how they made money on them? Probably not because you assume people ordered them, they didn't. Trillium wasn't concerned however because those slushies were made with leftover beer that had too much trub to sell in a glass. Hell some of the times it was just low fill bottles they couldn't sell (oxidation, etc.) but throw enough fruit juice in their and people will love it! Remember cellar Sunday samples? Those ended when they realized they could sell misfills as frozen bs instead. Yes those samples you tried were beers not good enough to sell.

    While we're on the subject of beer not fit to sell, let's talk about growlers. Trillium growlers are almost exclusively filled with beer from trub kegs. For those that don't know, trub is the hop/yeast particulate that settles on the bottom of the fermenter. All the "good" beer goes into cans and taproom kegs. The last few kegs of each batch are full of trub and those get allocated to growlers.

    Part of the reason that growlers are not for sale the same day as cans is that those trub kegs need to sit for a couple days so that the trub settles on the bottom. Then you can fill a good number of growlers until you hit the really gross stuff. How is it determined if it's good enough? A manager taste tests it until the burn goes away. Yes I'm serious. Hopefully this ends the can vs growler debate, the growlers are decidedly inferior product. I guess if you like a more raw hop/vegetal slightly astringent flavor then by all means go for the growlers.

    This post is already long enough, so I'll end it here. If you have any more questions, AMA!
  2. TileCutter2

    TileCutter2 Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2018

  3. Rysk22

    Rysk22 Zealot (545) Nov 12, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Have you had the other beers in the light house series? On a sweetness scale, where would you put this one?

    And cot damn to the post above.
    TileCutter2 likes this.
  4. Skwalk47

    Skwalk47 Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2010 Massachusetts

    Some of this seems to be airing dirty laundry but the pay cut thing is a legitimate gripe and knocked trillium down several pegs in my eyes. I can also corroborate that I heard the same thing a few weeks ago from a friend who worked retail.
  5. pointbreak

    pointbreak Initiate (53) Dec 16, 2017 Massachusetts

    Bahgawd!!! This just got awkward...
    fegelFatso, jmasher85, Ranbot and 2 others like this.
  6. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (2,063) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    I want to be 100% clear on this, and please understand that I will make every attempt to verify your answer: are you saying that the folks working the counter filling can orders are working server wages i.e., tip compensated?

    I tip for pours, I tip for growler fills - I tip for service. I do not tip for having cans passed to me. If these guys are being paid third-world wages, I can't in good conscience support this business.

  7. Skwalk47

    Skwalk47 Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2010 Massachusetts

    From my understanding, yes. Also hate how the point of sale automatically has 5, 10, 15% tip options for someone handing over cans. I believe the defaults are 1, 2, 3% at TH.
  8. breadwinner

    breadwinner Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2014 California

    I’m prolly just an asshole but man I look forward to catching up on this thread. Let Rome burn. Onward, visigoths and vandals!
  9. cmoney13

    cmoney13 Initiate (153) Sep 9, 2017 Massachusetts

    is can slingers getting server wages across the industry standard?
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  10. soheadyithurts

    soheadyithurts Initiate (122) Jan 4, 2013 Massachusetts

    Now that we're done giving Trillium another penny, ABI seems like the good guy.
  11. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (470) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts

    Holy shit
  12. Greyvtrayn

    Greyvtrayn Disciple (308) Feb 17, 2017 New Jersey

    This thread took a hard left turn!
  13. CassandraOfTroy

    CassandraOfTroy Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2018 Massachusetts

    This is correct. Retail workers are paid $5/hour.
    ChicagoJ, Tdizzle and fegelFatso like this.
  14. bsullivan

    bsullivan Initiate (66) Aug 17, 2017 Connecticut

    Woah that post was already deleted?
  15. Capt_Quint

    Capt_Quint Initiate (158) May 29, 2015 Massachusetts

  16. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    True story: my wife was the voice of Furby.

    Also true: the new fermentation profile sucks
  17. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (470) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts

    Why was that post deleted?
    BiddzzBA, TileCutter2 and EnronCFO like this.
  18. Rysk22

    Rysk22 Zealot (545) Nov 12, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    There's a fun ice breaker for ya. Almost forgot about the allegations above for a second
  19. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Hopefully someone screen capped it
    TileCutter2 likes this.
  20. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (470) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts

    I copy and pasted it. Shared it in a text
  21. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,059) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    You’re played by Liam Neeson in the upcoming movie about this thread
  22. TileCutter2

    TileCutter2 Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2018

    I have all the screens. The internet is forever.
    stevesbeer and ransom22 like this.
  23. Scarfer_Brad

    Scarfer_Brad Disciple (340) Mar 19, 2014 Florida

  24. VetsPackage

    VetsPackage Aspirant (228) Jun 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    I really hope this thread shines some light for the consumers to see what we’ve known as industry workers for some time now. I’ve worked with several ex-Trillium employees and every one has said the exact same thing - if you put in your two weeks notice you get kicked to the curb the next day. One came back from lunch to her desk emptied into a box. It’s so well known amongst staff that people actually plan around it now and don’t give notice until they’re totally prepared to leave. They’ve done it to everyone from FOH to head brewers.
    They’ve become a giant revolving door. People come in excited to work for a popular brewery, realize quickly it’s poorly managed, suck it up for a year or so and take the line on their resume and use to lever a better position somewhere else
  25. gabea

    gabea Initiate (109) May 5, 2009 New York

    Any job that can afford to lose you without 2 weeks notice will do so.
  26. PNByeah

    PNByeah Initiate (52) Aug 24, 2014 Massachusetts

    As far as the employee treatment goes, if the employees are treated like shit, then that is bullshit. And if I know that without a doubt they are, I will likely take my business elsewhere.

    Now, onto the beer. So many people here are talking shit about their beer. I'm not sure where to start with this. First of all, I'm sure that many people here have good beer "taste memory". But I can also imagine that our memory of flavor can easily be influenced. For example, if we want to lash out at a company, we can convince ourselves that beer from a couple of years ago was far superior to the beer being released now. And you know what, maybe it was better. But to say that their beer is shit is ridiculous. Trillium still makes delicious beer. Maybe their beer is suffering because they are trying to pump out too much volume. Maybe they have new employees that are still trying to understand the process. Maybe they did try a new yeast for a variety of reasons and now the flavor isn't exactly the same. I have been brewing for about 6 years now, and over the past couple of years I have brewed many NEIPAs. None of them have ever been as good as Trillium's. I could never say that they aren't brewing good beer.

    And I can't help but wonder, "What would I do if I were in their shoes?" I have no idea. I am not them. I do not have a super successful brewery and I don't have to deal with the decisions they have to deal with.

    I would like to know more about their employee treatment. That information could change my buying habits at their brewery. But as far as their beer goes, I'm still pleased with the beer they are brewing.

    By the way, I am not someone that praises their beer just because. When their Soak beers first came out, I openly criticized the quality of them. Some of them tasted like vinegar and should have been dumped, and some were released too young. And like many people, I thought Never and Again was absolutely caustic.
    Nichols33 likes this.
  27. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Defender (669) May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    I’m just here to pile on Trillium & to say that there’s plenty of other good beer to drink & places to go. Done with them, tho not that it will matter much.
  28. soheadyithurts

    soheadyithurts Initiate (122) Jan 4, 2013 Massachusetts

    RIP Trill Will.
    pro100, Quisby, buking21 and 8 others like this.
  29. Hyptochrons

    Hyptochrons Meyvn (1,397) Jul 12, 2015 Massachusetts

    haaaa I cant remember the last time I waited more than 15-20 minutes in line at Hill... I guess Aaron might have been a half hour!
    tzieser likes this.
  30. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (470) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts

    I want to know why @abagofit post was deleted? I’m picturing the Tetreaults refreshing this page as much as I am now watching their character get assassinated by the minute
    ChicagoJ, Quisby, CTJman and 4 others like this.
  31. soheadyithurts

    soheadyithurts Initiate (122) Jan 4, 2013 Massachusetts

    They definitely are F5'ing this while sitting in Weston making payments to various New England Audi dealerships.
  32. abagofit

    abagofit Initiate (180) Oct 31, 2014 Massachusetts

    Anybody on here a lawyer?
  33. raenge

    raenge Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2016 Rhode Island

    can anyone confirm that Trillium management are late mergers on the highway too?
    kemoarps, taylordane, Junior and 15 others like this.
  34. igotjays22

    igotjays22 Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2018

    Just made an account so I could say RIP Trillium. F these MOFO's! No chance I am buying Trillium anymore. Absolute SCUM!
    BiddzzBA likes this.
  35. soheadyithurts

    soheadyithurts Initiate (122) Jan 4, 2013 Massachusetts

    Alex Kidd
  36. AutumnBeerLove

    AutumnBeerLove Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2010 Vermont

  37. HazeForDaze

    HazeForDaze Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2018 New Hampshire

    The shittiest part is that now we know why some cans taste good and some are shit. Because some cans are full of nasty shit. Its not palate fatigue, were just getting the literal bottom of a barrel, broskie.

    I’m just gonna go to the store and buy a bottle of vinegar, a donut, and Tropicana juice. I’ll save 100 bucks and be drinking the same stuff
    #37 HazeForDaze, Nov 21, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  38. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (2,063) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    That's right. At least Hill Farmstead and Alchemist, that I can think of off the top of my head, have no-tipping policies.

    #38 papposilenus, Nov 21, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  39. Skwalk47

    Skwalk47 Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2010 Massachusetts

    VT > MA
  40. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (2,946) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Wow. This thread just got really real.

    I feel like opening my Perm 57 and just F5'ing..
    fegelFatso, Iski100, cdilisio and 4 others like this.
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