customer service and craft beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by terrapinbrian, Feb 21, 2016.

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  1. terrapinbrian

    terrapinbrian Initiate (112) Feb 2, 2011 California

    There seems to be two segments of breweries, ones that are about community and good beer and ones that are about being better than everyone else, and act appropriately.

    I'd like to get the opinion of the general community regarding my communication with Sante Adarius (sara). I have a short piece of communication that I'm sharing to see if I'm overreacting or if this brewery is out of line when it comes to customer service.

    I've been to a lot of breweries and have had over 1200 beers, so I'm not a newbie when it comes to communicating with breweries and bars that serve craft beer.

    To give a little back story, I'm from southern CA and travel to northern CA about once a year. Sante Adarius is about 5 hours from me, and is on the way up north, but out of the way towards my final destination. I'm married with kids, so to convince the family to take a detour to visit a brewery takes some effort.

    In order to plan the best day to visit Sante Adarius, I message them to see if they have any bottle releases over the span of 4 days. Maybe to a person that is single and can do anything in the world they want it wouldn't matter, but to a person traveling for many hours with a family, it's nice to know. So I send a message to them via Facebook, and this is what I get (please see the attached photos). If the photos don't seem to work, let me know and I can post the copy of the message here. One note, the message shown from Wednesday was the 17th.

    PS - thanks to anyone who responds, regardless of opinion.

    edd562 and Elfastball7 like this.
  2. GoBears1868

    GoBears1868 Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2014 California

    That is absolutely an unacceptable degree of snobbery. It's hard to blame an entire brewery, though, when it seems like it's literally the same social media man/woman who works for them that is talking to you in both conversations. I'd be pretty pissed about that too. I don't know if what you posted was all that you or they said, but from what I see, it seems like this person was totally in the wrong and you were patient and collected with them the whole time.

    If I were you and I really felt a stake in this (I probably would, as being so clearly condescended to like that would REALLY piss me off), I'd lodge a complaint via another contact means about this person, and send the brewery your correspondence. This person deserves at least some kind of slap on the wrist/crash course in customer service
    Jae61, hopsputin, Badfish and 4 others like this.
  3. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Poo-Bah (2,310) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    That was rude. I would send it to the owners/manager and see if you get a better response. I also wouldn't go back there.
    Badfish, edd562, jrnyc and 1 other person like this.
  4. riverlen

    riverlen Aspirant (215) Sep 16, 2009 Illinois

    I would gather everyone from the village and march down there with lit torches and pitchforks.
  5. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,564) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I'd say that somebody at the brewery was definitely having a bad day. They could have handled this better than they did.
    edd562, gibgink, MUTINY and 3 others like this.
  6. BrewsingBuffalo

    BrewsingBuffalo Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2015 New York

    You're a better person than I. That preferential treatment line would've ignited a fiery shitstorm and I would've ripped that condescending asshat apart.
  7. amano_h

    amano_h Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2014 Oregon

    I dunno, to Sante Adairus' defense, they do a great job announcing their bottle selections/draft selections on instagram (they update everyday that they're open) and on Facebook, and asking through back door channels such as private messaging on Facebook does kind of point towards "preferential treatment" even if you didn't intend it, so the PR guy might just be tired of dealing with literally thousands of people whose motives might not be as humble as yours as say wanting to know what the list is before making a long drive down.

    I think you overreacted a little, and the PR guy was a bit snappy to dismiss you as wanting preferential treatment, but this doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary. Heck, just be glad they didn't ignore you flat out.
  8. DrumKid003

    DrumKid003 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 Oklahoma

    Whoever is in charge of their social media is a fucking cunt. If I was the one getting responses like that, I would've told them to go fuck themselves with a rusted knife and then avoided going there, or buying anything from them, ever again.
    Badfish, sinkas, taylordane and 4 others like this.
  9. Oktoberfist

    Oktoberfist Initiate (116) Nov 26, 2014 Pennsylvania

    So, what you should do is not give them your business. Problem solved.
    RMoeNay, NealioATX, edd562 and 6 others like this.
  10. Cannibalgasm

    Cannibalgasm Initiate (0) Jan 31, 2015 Minnesota

    Couldn't agree with you more...
  11. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (275) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Preferential treatment would be if you heard such and such bottle was coming out February 18th, and you asked if they could save you a bottle. You asked nothing out of the ordinary. Heck, this second time around you asked within a week. Maybe they could have said something to the effect of "look at our instagram feed or twitter feed daily for DAILY bottle release info. We don't divulge release info early in fear of garnering unwanted attention.". But he didnt do that either. Although there is now blurred lines with so many tickers and truck chasers that they treat us all like shit most of the time. They are becoming more like the customer based that is becoming a majority for them.
    edd562, jrnyc and ONovoMexicano like this.
  12. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,902) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Agree with others above that are critical of the brewery rep. Sadly, this sort of thing is more common these days in a variety of contexts, including beer bars that are established and seemingly don't need to give decent service to stay in business. On the one hand it's tempting to note that it is just an employee and not the higher ups, but on the other hand I'm seeing a lot more of sticking up for the employees no matter what, and the new motto is that the customer is always wrong.
  13. ArsMoriendiOU818

    ArsMoriendiOU818 Zealot (559) Nov 5, 2013 Virginia

    I think people should look at this from the businesses perspective a little bit more. Can you even imagine how many people are asking questions in messenger that can be answered ON their Facebook page itself? I can see about asking about bottle releases once. But they said they never announce them beforehand, so why ask a second time, no matter how much later? And asking what time they'll open? Again, a question that is answered right on their page. I would be annoyed if I had to answer questions like these too. There's a reason businesses make information like this is readily available on Facebook and/or their websites. It's so they don't have to answer basic questions such as these.

    I don't think anyone on either side should be getting bent out of shape over this. Personally, if I were the owner of SARA I would've used a word other than "preferential" that would've caused less offense, but I still would've made it clear that I was unwilling to field questions like these.
  14. teromous

    teromous Poo-Bah (3,416) Mar 21, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    Hey, for fun go back and read the replies in the voice of the comic book guy from The Simpsons. It just fits...
  15. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Poo-Bah (2,310) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    While I agree, I'm sure most other businesses on the planet get repetitive, annoying questions. They still need to answer with respect and be polite to the people keeping then in business.
  16. chcfan

    chcfan Zealot (563) Oct 29, 2008 California

    Not to be that guy, but their policy is their policy. They don't tip people off to avoid shit storms. The employee absolutely could have gone about it better, but it was asking for preferential treatment. If they give OP heads up about a bottle release, then anyone can make their own case for expecting that. Having a family doesn't exempt people from a brewery's policies.
  17. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Having answered the phone for special releases. I actually have no pity for you for getting the short end of the stick for your line of questions. Not one damn given that you are traveling for it either. Been there done that. I don't have kids, but when I do travel. It's a special thing, just like you. Try relaxing and being surprised by what you wind up with. Not everything needs to be the special flower that blooms every so often. That's not the stuff that keeps the people there anyways. Those are the treats.
    The_Beer_Shark and mdr4669 like this.
  18. ArsMoriendiOU818

    ArsMoriendiOU818 Zealot (559) Nov 5, 2013 Virginia

    Yes, but most companies have dedicated customer service representatives, and the customers typically go more out of their way to ask questions in these instances. Asking for store hours I'd imagine isn't all that common. A lot of companies on Facebook have a low response rate for good reason. If I received questions like "when do you open?" I would most likely ignore them. It's true though that there are pretty simple solutions that would make for a better customer service experience, like implementing an AutoHotKey response, where you type a couple keystrokes and polite message is automatically inputted that also includes the companies website or something. But regardless, people should think about whether a busy brewery, who do not have dedicated customer service centers, should take time out of their hectic day to answer simple questions you can find yourself. Quicker than typing out the question in the first place, even.
    mdr4669 likes this.
  19. Breaking_Beard

    Breaking_Beard Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2014 Michigan

    I am a business owner(not anything to do with beer). Answering questions over an over again, no matter how obvious the answer may be is a part of running a business, and there is pretty much nothing you can do or say about that to change it. Any business owner who has a problem with this should opt for a different occupation. When you work in a any retail capacity, it is YOUR JOB to answer questions and help people, regardless of how many other people have been asked.

    The brewery in question handled this the wrong way, and deserves to be called out here and on social media for their actions. The other folks posting here can give all kinds of excuses for the way they responded, and it will not change the fact that they were totally uncalled for.

    OP, you are right to pissed, and I would be too. I cannot imagine treating a customer in this way. Anyone sticking up for this brewery should be ashamed of themselves.
  20. ArsMoriendiOU818

    ArsMoriendiOU818 Zealot (559) Nov 5, 2013 Virginia

    To be fair, as a business owner you personally have a vested interest in coming off as providing good customer service, i.e., really caring about your customers. I have no idea what you're demand is like either. For most employees this isn't the case, and if you are selling everything you make out quickly anyway, there's little incentive for every employee to offer the best customer service they can. Not saying that they shouldn't though, like, on a human level. When you are working in a very busy position you can direct your customer the right place to find the information they are looking for without wasting time to answer their question. In certain positions this is necessary. Like I said, I believe that the wording should have been different and personally, I would've implemented the AutoHotKey solution I offered above so I wouldn't have to waste much time on this. I just think customers should know that certain information can be found for pretty much any business and they should look for it before reaching out to customer service.
    Loops likes this.
  21. Jaycase

    Jaycase Poo-Bah (1,834) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I don't really have a problem with their general response. They told you the policy previously. With that policy, if it's still that difficult to plan a trip then maybe a visit to the brewery is not in the cards. If I would have received that response I would have moved on tbh. This is hardly an example of egregious customer service imo. Life is too short to take offense at each and every response one might not like.
  22. Breaking_Beard

    Breaking_Beard Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2014 Michigan

    I agree with this, but the reaction from the employee was still unacceptable. It would be interesting to see the number of people supporting the employee's reaction, who have also worked in a retail job. My guess is zero.
  23. ArsMoriendiOU818

    ArsMoriendiOU818 Zealot (559) Nov 5, 2013 Virginia

    This is I VERY much disagree with. In my experience working in retail, most employees would LOVE it for their boss to allow them to respond like this. Did you skip right to owner? Haha.

    P.S. I'd like to throw in there that the standard for customer service is probably lowest in California (and New York, for that matter). People are much nicer in Michigan, and well, almost everywhere else, haha.
  24. Breaking_Beard

    Breaking_Beard Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2014 Michigan

    Of course they would love it, we all would. It does not make it right though.
    jimmyfishkin likes this.
  25. PatrickCT

    PatrickCT Poo-Bah (2,319) Feb 18, 2015 Connecticut

    It is one or the other with breweries in my experience. Total cluelessness or spot on customer service. We are mostly a service based country now that, sadly, sucks at service.
  26. RStaff4

    RStaff4 Initiate (0) Oct 5, 2014 Illinois

    There is a distinct chance that the person was asked like 45 times, the same question. Either that or they broke up with a significant other or some shit. I honestly think personal matters account for a lot of customer service snobbery. If someone ever does this again just give a 10 second pause and start repeating, "It's not your fault". If they start hugging you just let it happen, they needed it.
    Immortale25 likes this.
  27. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Defender (616) Nov 6, 2007 California

    Hate to say it but they probably don't give a shit if you visit or not. They probably want less people on most days and this could have been a way of deterring you from coming. Sante is mostly a shit show these days and they could piss off a dozen people on FB every day and still have lines out the door when they open. Like it or not, demand like that will turn almost anyone into the soup nazi eventually. And my guess is that you actually did talk with one of the owners.
  28. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    As far as I can tell around here, someone could make a post saying "I walked into a brewery and the owner jumped over the bar and kicked me in the nuts with a giant boot" and somehow it would still be pretty much a 50/50 split on who people sided with.
  29. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Initiate (0) Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    Interestingly, I had a different shitty customer service experience at SARA.

    Went in, asked for half pours of three beers and asked to purchase 2-3 bottles of their Cask whatever the number. When I asked to buy the bottles, the server looked at his pal who was a customer sitting across from him and to my right and shook his head and muttered something right in front of me. I wasn't sure what to make of it, but it rubbed me wrong. Was he bothered by me for some reason? Not sure. But his behavior in front of me was poor form and set the tone for my visit there and likely affected how I enjoyed the beers and the place.

    Personally, I think they're overrated as hell. Hard to know whether I'd have a different opinion without the awkward moment while handing them over a good sum of my money.
    yemenmocha and PatrickCT like this.
  30. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Initiate (0) Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    We've reached the zenith folks. For the first time in history, we have businesses that are gleefully turning away people and their money. It's a whole new business model.
  31. PatrickCT

    PatrickCT Poo-Bah (2,319) Feb 18, 2015 Connecticut

    It sounds to me like the employees here aren't trained and/or they aren't managed. It's a case of rats taking over the ship.
    yemenmocha and ONovoMexicano like this.
  32. utopiajane

    utopiajane Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    I agree. How about you hold up the walls all by yourself. If a customer asks about your product, then you tell them.
    riverlen and jvgoor3786 like this.
  33. Jbagel1

    Jbagel1 Initiate (0) May 25, 2015 Oregon

    He was just asking whats going to be around while he's around ? Whats wrong with that? You kinda sound like a ass..
    Badfish likes this.
  34. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (384) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    When the brewery worker says to look at the feed again because they've already stated their release announcement policy, the customer immediately becomes petulant and passive aggressive.

    SARA 1 - 0 terrapinbrian
  35. indianaroller

    indianaroller Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2007 Indiana

    For the love of God, please do not open a business. We already have plenty that act like this.
  36. stealth

    stealth Zealot (561) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota

    If anything can be learned from threads like these, it's that I can tell what BA's to ignore in the future when browsing.
    Jae61, bigjsempire, jhavs and 7 others like this.
  37. KCUnited

    KCUnited Aspirant (210) Nov 11, 2014 Illinois

    Definitely poor CS, but it's probably just an unfortunate byproduct of the Craft bubble. Beers and breweries get placed on pedestals and it's changed the rules of traditional customer interactions. The Draft Kingsification of Craft has turned a great bottle shop near me into bitter, standoff-ish, preachy buttholes and while I miss their selections, I choose not to do business with them. Unfortunately, for every nerd that wises up, 5 more get in line.
    TonyLema1 and jrnyc like this.
  38. jeffgott

    jeffgott Zealot (540) Feb 15, 2015 New Jersey

    I have to say ur 1st statement about 2 segments is news to me. I have yet to see a brewery culture of openly trying to outdo other breweries; hence all the collaboration beers between some of the best breweries in the country. I think its an industry that is refreshing (and not just the suds) in that artistry over capitalism seems prevalent. I chalk up ur experience to two ships colliding - u are under pressure/time demands having a family in ur beer adventures and a rude employee who isn't seeking beer karma. I really don't think this is common and it comes down to how important SARA is to u and how far u want to expose his behavior to his management. Fortunately most craft breweries and good businesses are using social media better than ever that u don't need to deal directly with personnel.
  39. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Nothing is wrong with asking a question ONCE. But if you are told in no uncertain terms what those rules are regarding such things and insist on asking the same question again. It practically begs that someone is trying to be that special snowflake who gets the rules bent for them.
    The_Beer_Shark and croush like this.
  40. David_Deas

    David_Deas Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2016 North Carolina

    Unfortunate. But not surprising if you've ever met some of these jerks who work at breweries. They are far from refined persons. I look at stuff like that and just think to myself that they don't know any better. Being an asshole is simply the best that person knows how to do.

    Just don't give them your business. And seeing the response you received, I don't care how good their beer is. I won't give them my business either. Its just beer.
    #40 David_Deas, Feb 21, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
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