Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Needs of the Few

There's a well-known scene in a well known science fiction movie in which a well-known pointy-eared individual raises the poser about whether and in which situations the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

So this guy walks into a bar. Or rather a pub. Mine, in fact. And wants to know whether a certain individual in the Tuesday night pool league could bring in his own beer, seeing as we don't serve "regular" beer in our pub. This certain individual apparently drinks a case of Keystone Light (or is that Lite?) a day and is unhappy with our selection. Now it has been obvious to anyone who wanders by on a Tuesday night that the large majority of the pool players really really don't want to be at our establishment. The standard trappings that surround pool league activities in small Oregon towns are conspicuously absent, among them being smoking and "regular" (or "domestic") beer. This is a jolt to the creature of habit. It's almost painful to watch this sullen crew from behind the bar, well-stocked with quality West Coast ales and our own six hand pulls.

Now, for the remainder of the pool league period (which is woefully too long at this point), I am being asked to stock fizzy canned rice-squeezin's just for one or two guys who pointedly inform me that they don't like my beer.

[Author takes deep breath]

The needs of the few. Hmmm. It is tempting to see a few wee happy faces on a Tuesday night, but, Keystone Lite? And just for a couple of guys for a couple more Tuesday evenings? I was informed that if I were to pick up a couple 12-packs, I could be making a bit more money if I did so. Doing the math here, I see that I could sell 14 cans of rice-water for $1 each, making $0.50 per can, so at the end of the night I could elevate my bank account by $7. Woot!

The more I think about it, the more I am liking the new Thursday night pool league that is starting up, which actually wants a smoke-free room and something real in a glass.


Bill Night said...

Isn't that the price you pay for setting up shop in "Real America"? You should bring your show to the communist town of Portland.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

I didn't know Portland was now flirting with communism. And to think I have to come up there next week to pick up some English folks. Perhaps I should persuade them to take the shuttle to Eugene.

Do communists like their cask beer sparkled or unsparkled?

Bill Night said...

Oh yes, it's the People's Republic up here.

To be honest, I haven't paid attention to the sparkler situation here. I've seen it at the Lucky Lab; haven't paid attention elsewhere.

The Woolpack Inn said...

Now don't you go caving in on me.......

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Perish the thought... and pour me another Extra Cold Guinness from the sweaty stainless gas tap.

Bill Night said...

Hey, I wonder what you're up to while you're in Portland. Are you showing off your wares anywhere? Going to the Amnesia Winter Beer fest? Second-hand smoking at the Horse Brass?

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Woolpack Dave and I will be conducting extensive examinations of the inside of pubs and their glassware from Thursday to Saturday. I will not be bringing up any casks as I have no place to install them yet. I might, if I get brave, talk to the Horse Brass folks about carrying a firkin now and then - gives me an excuse to visit Portland.

I will probably skip any festivals, as I like visiting establishments in their natural state. Amnesia is on the list, as well as Roots, Green Dragon, Lucky Lab, Horse Brass, Bridgeport, and maybe Tugboat for atmosphere, cross-referencing it all with the underwhelming swill at Edgefield where we will be staying almost entirely for the coolness of the digs.

(This post brought to you by the first-draw finings-pint of cask #3 of Tanninbomb.)

Anonymous said...

I'm getting the feeling of a tad bit of the snob coming through on your blog Ted. You chose the town. You know what it's like.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Yes, indeed, all those things are true.

Snobbery; what is it?

If I had a sushi bar, and someone really wanted fish and chips, would I be putting them off?

If I were to enter a vegan dining establishment and demand a nice T-Bone, would this be appropriate?

I have observed two dominant perceptions of what we are trying to do here. There is the faction that perceives this business as a restaurant, and are upset with the absence of table service and rapid food preparation, even though the latter often involves the employ of a microwave. And, second, and in relation to this post, there is the group unable or unwilling to wrestle with the notion of the Brewers Union being other than a bar. It really isn't a bar - it just has one. Should it be therefore be required to comply with the lowest common denominator of a "normal bar".

But all that aside, why haven't any of the comments addressed the original question? Should I, or should I not, acquire a twelve-pack of Keystone Lite on Tuesday nights just for one or two people? Do I set philosophical boundaries as reflected in the business plan, or attempt to pursue the whimsy of the random and infrequent patron? What might a survey of a statistically significant set of regional brewpubs reveal? I would wager that few would take an anything-goes approach.

What would you have done?

Unknown said...

Hey Ted, I'm just stumbling onto your site and your business. Congrats on doing something that you obviously love. Stick to your principles, you've lived in that town long enough (so have I) to see detractors try to tear down people's dreams. I see that some angst still exists even after I've been gone (in Texas) for 3 years. The grapevine (what little I still can hear) says really nice things about your pub. Take care and stick to your guns!