Sam Adams Employees Are Complaining About Their Work Environments on Reddit

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by ESHBG, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (223) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I found this to be an interesting read:

    On beer sales

    Your focus as of now is selling the only brand that is selling well – Twisted Tea Brewing – think Mike’s Hard Lemonade meets Ice Tea. That’s right, you’ll be selling alcoholic Tea before beer. Doesn’t have the same cache as you thought. But the craft beer is next, right? Wrong you are – your next focus is Angry Orchard Hard Cider! Boston Beer owns roughly 60% of the US cider market, they even purchased a cidery in NY, dubbed it “The Angry Orchard” to make consumers think this is where the apples come from for their mass distributed ciders (it’s not). But now, lucky you, you get to sell the Sam Adams portfolio as the third company priority! Woohoo! Beer, Beer, Beer! But wait! Don’t forget after that you have to sell a few other things in addition to those first three – like Truly, an alcoholic sparkling water (yes H20), The Traveler Beer Company, Coney Island Hard Sodas (because who would drink Sam Adams alcoholic Root Beer), and if you live in Florida, California, or the Mid Atlantic three additional breweries owned by Boston Beer (but not openly advertised as such).

    On her non-compete clause

    Are you one of those people that truly loves craft beer, the industry and the people? Sign on with The Boston Beer Company and you are screwed once again. In your employment packet you sign to accept the job, you’ll find a 10 page non-compete agreement. One they conveniently do not mention until you are vested in the opportunity at the end of the hiring process. So if you decide to leave to go work for a genuine Brewer, you’ll get slapped with a lawsuit, so no beer for you. Additionally, you can’t work for ANYONE that sells ANYTHING that competes with them – that includes: FMBs, ciders, beer and alcoholic water – you have just sealed yourself out of the industry for a good long while. Not even ABI or MillerCoors makes you sign a non-compete. Think about that.

    On moving, relocation and her coworkers

    You are going to be relocated. A lot. Based on what they need – not what is best for you. You are basically a pawn piece. If you want to move up, be prepared to kiss ass and move – every two years. The career website notes that 40% of new hires are entry level sales – there is a reason why. Are you far more qualified for that role in your home town but you never worked for that region manager? You won’t get it. Did you have ten years experience in the beverage business before you were hired? Doesn’t matter. 90% of sales employees start at the bottom and as you move up, you realize there is a bottle neck at each level of promotion. Hence the high turnover. And now is the worst time to be in the system – the lower positions are being phased out, the upper positions are being pushed down so everyone becomes middle management with no advancement.
    People then get too scared to leave because of the non-compete, they get disenchanted with promotion and these beautiful people are your new coworkers and managers!
  2. BoldRulerVT

    BoldRulerVT Champion (892) Oct 2, 2013 Vermont

    This sounds like a total nightmare. In Vermont, I think of so many brewers who started at other breweries, got their sea legs and started out with their own operation which then in turn became world class breweries. The experiences at Sam Adams sounds like a straight up nightmare.
    stevesbeer, pat61 and Harrison8 like this.
  3. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,387) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Didn’t Dick Cantwell have a non compete that kept him out of the game for wa while when he left Elysian after the ABI purchase?
    SFACRKnight, sharpski and pat61 like this.
  4. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,903) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Trader

    That sounds terrible.

    What exactly does the non-compete agreement cover? Is there a length of time in which you could wait out and then go start brewing or selling for another brewery or is it a lifetime agreement?

    I'm not familiar with this item, particularly Sam Adam's use of it.

    EDIT: My question got answered below. Thanks!
    #4 Harrison8, Nov 17, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
  5. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,034) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Of course, I personally believe everything I read on the Internet, especially if it was posted by someone with an agenda. That just adds to the credibility.
  6. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,387) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Usually for X years.

    One could go to California and go to work, as non competes are void in California.
    SFACRKnight, rather, brewme and 2 others like this.
  7. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,903) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Trader

    Ahh, makes sense. Thanks for the quick reply!

    Interesting fact about California.
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  8. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,148) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota

    I've had non compete clauses in contracts and how long they last and what is in them depends on who wrote them and what state they are in. I had two in particular that I ignored. Nothing happened. Generally no matter how stringent they are, they can not prevent you from earning a living. Best advice - talk to an attorney because often they contain parts that are unenforceable or cost more money than they are worth to enforce.

    Basically if you are a franchise player that their business depends on and you leave they will go after you no matter what kind of paper you have signed. If you are a little mouse or a utility infielder, they will probably ignore you no matter how elaborate the non-compete agreement is.
    #8 pat61, Nov 17, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
  9. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,352) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    And the elephant in the room? Boston Beer is losing market share but they're pushing Twisted Tea and Angry Orchard first? I guess that makes sense though, you can only push it so far, and to be honest I'm glad I'm seeing less Sam Adams on tap. For so long they always had that one "seasonal" tap... now they don't.
    SFACRKnight and pat61 like this.
  10. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,148) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota

    If it made sense, they probably would not be losing market share.
  11. honkey

    honkey Zealot (543) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Premium Industry

    Funny about the non-compete clause. One of the first things I’ve told potential employers over the last 3 or so years is that I’d be happy to sign confidentiality agreements, but that I am not going to sign a non-compete. I think during that span I interviewed for 4 different positions and it was never a deal breaker for them.
  12. BigJim5021

    BigJim5021 Zealot (568) Sep 2, 2007 Indiana

    Twisted Tea is selling well? Could've fooled me. We've stopped carrying it where I work due to poor sales. It's a total afterthought compared to the million and one other FMBs on the shelf.
  13. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,317) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    This seems much ado about nothing:

    A sales person being asked to travel? Shocker!

    If you don't like the terms of a contract, don't sign it and don't take the job. You had the option to work for about 5,000 other breweries.

    And any of the other stuff about non-beer has been going on at BBC for a long time. They started hard cider in 1997, and tea in 2000. So unless this person has been there 20+ years, they didn't do their research before being hired.
  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,345) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    That's what at least one industry analyst says, quoted in Baron's:
    And in BBC Third Quarter Report:
    As for the non-complete clause, BBC sued Anchor over it a few years ago (sued in Mass., even though the employee lived and worked in Calif.). The case was settled, but settlement itself was not disclosed.
    Sam Adams Brewer Ends Contract Row With Ex-Exec, Anchor

    Anchor's reaction to the suit at the time
    #14 jesskidden, Nov 18, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  15. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,658) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    To summarize what I think the person said:

    "When I signed a contract I didn't understand what I was signing so now I feel that the agreements I signed should not apply to me."
  16. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,036) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Non compete clauses have their place. You don't want to train someone for ten years in your restaurant just to have them quit and open up a competing place across the street. Yet the clauses are limited as to time and distance, and of course everything can be negotiated.
  17. TheCrimsonKing

    TheCrimsonKing Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2017 Ohio

    I still have 3 6-packs on my shelf that I haven't been able to get rid of in 8 months. People tried it and never bought it again. I can't wait to clear it out and use that slot for a good selling product.
    drtth and BigJim5021 like this.
  18. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (272) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    You can always play the "why did you take the job" game but the fact of the matter is, even the crappiest employers eventually find someone. People need jobs and their aren't enough good ones to go around. Not to say that the individual is completely blameless here, but ultimately if the working conditions are poor at BBC, that is significant, even if any one person can choose not to work there.

    If there's something worth discussing here, it's what kind of company BBC is. I don't really care if this particular person make a good career decision or not.
    Beardaxe, Harrison8 and ESHBG like this.
  19. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,394) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    Non-Compete = Won't work for you.
    I am all for agreeing to not poaching a client for a short time after leaving a firm or being let go but when they bust out the you cannot work clause for x years etc. I tell them to pound sand. Anyone that wants to take away your ability to earn a living is not worth working for, least that is my attitude in life, never signed one never will.
  20. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,317) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I agree with this. It is a prime example that "Craft Breweries" are not all sunshine and rainbows. It's about the bottom line - even if that means selling flavored malt beverages.
    Harrison8 likes this.
  21. PorterPro125

    PorterPro125 Crusader (774) Jan 19, 2013 New Brunswick (Canada)

    Twisted Tea sells extremely well in my area but that's likely due to the fact that I live within a mile from two major universities, though.
    Harrison8 likes this.
  22. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,903) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Trader

    I see where the justification comes from for non-compete contracts from the company's perspective, but at the same time forcing workers to sign one just screams that employee retention or working conditions aren't that good.
  23. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,394) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    That is my view, if you make it to where you employees love their job and perks/pay they would not want to leave. All the companies I see forcing this have some turnover to a degree.
    I always ask my employer would you sign this, I know they would not.
    scream and Harrison8 like this.
  24. Zorro

    Zorro Poo-Bah (4,341) Dec 25, 2003 California

    Maybe they should start selling Old Fezziwig Ale as a six pack instead of booze tea.
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,345) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    I don't know... :thinking_face:...not sure Old Fezziwig Ale would sell in the 600-700k bbl range as the Twisted Tea brand reportedly does. That's about 15-18% of BBC's total barrelage.
  26. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (482) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Employees complaining about their workplace?

    The hell you say!
    stevesbeer, frozyn, cavedave and 5 others like this.
  27. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,113) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium Trader

    BBC is operating like a major corporation has to in order to satisfy their owners/investors. While I disagree with the wide-ranging non-compete clauses, nothing else should surprise anyone. I don't think BBC can do anything to make "true craft diehards" happy since BBC must operate like the big-beer company they are.
    nodder and Squire like this.
  28. Alexmc2

    Alexmc2 Aspirant (240) Jul 29, 2006 Massachusetts

    Agree - And as for relocation for promotion, very typical in big business. I relocated twice when I was with ABI. Sites like Glassdoor are wonderful for research. By the time the negatives come up however, you're usually so far into the process that you really want the job, even if it isn't a great fit.

    DISKORD Aspirant (212) Feb 28, 2017 North Carolina

    I have a feeling that the majority of Twisted Tea is sold in the South. And those commercials are ridiculous.
  30. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,317) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    And maybe college kids? I know at some point a few years ago "tea bombs" were a thing. (essentially just "shotgunning" bottles of Twisted Tea using a bendy straw to get air in the top). Just has dumb as the "Icing" fad with Smirnoff Ice.
    DISKORD likes this.

    DISKORD Aspirant (212) Feb 28, 2017 North Carolina

    Tried Twisted Tea once. Two or three swigs and I poured that sh!t out.
  32. DrederickTatum

    DrederickTatum Initiate (171) Dec 13, 2016 New Jersey

    Seems like she’s complaining about having to pay her dues before being given the good accounts. Pretty standard in sales.
  33. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,460) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Angry Orchard in Walden does send quite a lot of apples to the parent company. Of course it doesn't send all that are needed, any more than the orchard by Mirror Lake sends all the apples that Mott needs. It also is a test facility for cutting edge cidery, and the cidermaster is one of the most intelligent and skilled anywhere. He spoke at our homebrew club, and the cidery is open to the public here. This is apple country and we all know cider and apples here. I can tell you the charges made in quotes in OP re the Walden orchard are bs IMO and sound like the whining of an employee who likely would have lasted less than ten minutes in my company, (which I closed in 2002).
    sefus12, MNAle, BeerPugz and 3 others like this.
  34. BeerPugz

    BeerPugz Initiate (84) Dec 4, 2016 Wisconsin

    Buy it yourself and give it to people you dont like for the holidays -- like family.
  35. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,658) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I thought a lot of that complaint didn't ring true about what I'd heard. Glad to have it confirmed.

    The more I think about it, the disgruntled person sounds like someone with an active fantasy about what life would be like working for a brewery and didn't pay much attention to what it might be like in an organization the size of Boston Brewing. Leading them to not do any kind of reality check before signing the contract.
    eldoctorador, sefus12, MNAle and 4 others like this.
  36. TheCrimsonKing

    TheCrimsonKing Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2017 Ohio

    I like your style
    VABA, HoppingMadMonk and BeerPugz like this.
  37. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,317) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Even with cider apples storing well, wouldn't they have to bring in Southern Hemisphere apples to keep up year-round production?
  38. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (872) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Both of these things.
  39. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (872) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    They also have to prove that monetary damage has been done to their company due to your involvement with another similar company.

    In cases like this, it is a scare tactic more than anything else.
  40. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,036) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    That's not a requirement for enforcing the terms of a contract. A claim for damages is an entirely separate issue. The purpose of a non competition clause is that after leaving our employ you won't compete with us within a specified time period or within a certain defined area (same town, same state, etc) or both.

    Courts don't like 'em though and tend to construe them narrowly in favor of the employee.