Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And Then We Were Five

This was meant to be composed in a fit of brilliance yesterday, being that it was our fifth superannuation and we are still alive. With all the craziness going on this summer, I haven't really had time to reflect on what this means. That one-day-off-a-week project that I started this Spring didn't really materialize, except for last Friday when I took a half day. Perhaps this Friday I can attempt another half and just think about the pub.

Five. Yowzer! They say it takes three to five years in the BEST of times. It hasn't been so, something having to do with an economic downturn or some such thing. There were dark moments in the first three years when I just wanted to chuck it. Cash flow was poor in this diminutive and isolated mountain town. Then slowly in the fourth year we started to get caught up on the back bills and got the Oregon Department of Revenue and the IRS off our backs. In the fifth year we made some needed improvements and repairs to the kitchen, cellar and walk-in cooler and started staffing up a bit to cover the increased traffic. This is the first year that I've brought in brewery assistance and had double help in the front of the house during the peak hours on the weekends. While it cuts into the cash in a big way, it improves the customer experience and allows me a little time away. To plan. To scheme. To have a pint or two in someone else's pub.

Looking ahead, we are still thinking about growing this segment of small family-run pubs. I can't say too much at this point, but it's in the works. I don't suspect there is enough trade in the off-season to justify opening seven days a week, but that may come with a few more years. However, there are some other pub improvement projects we want to deal with during our closed days in the winter. And, I thought it might be time to start blogging again.

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PUB. I'm heading up front for one of those rare pints of our birthday beer, a cask of 7.1% Old Ale called "Oh(k), The Humanities!" aged for the last six months with oak chips soaked in Laphroaig. See you at the pub.


Alistair Reece said...

Congratulations!! One of these days I will actually make it out to Oregon and down to the pub, in the meantime I will continue to tell anyone I know who is in or visiting that neck of the woods that they need to pop in for a pint or 6.

Unknown said...

5 years! cheers to independant, small, brewpubs!

Jeff Alworth said...

Congrats, you crazy man. I've kept an eye on you with the the kind of attention one has watching a daredevil attempt the impossible--a combo of fascination, hope, and anxiety. Will he fall? Oh, please, don't let him fall! 1) founding a brewery in a town of (roughly) 37 people 2) 45 miles from the nearest population center 3) selling an obscure style of beer almost no one else in the nation makes 4) in the middle of a recession.

But you made it! There ought to be an award. Maybe we can call it the Sobel Designation: overcoming self-inflicted odds because you're stubborn and in love with a very particular vision. I'm so happy you're still around. (And I'd be happier still if your beer were available anywhere closer than a three-hour drive.)

Bill Night said...

Hooray! And congratulations. Hope to get back out there soon.

Anonymous said...

You're doing a beautiful, beautiful thing. For two years, I kept hearing vague, impossible rumors. The third year, I turned off I-5 at Springfield to see for myself--and after 35 miles, found Nirvana. For the past two, I've made a point of planning an Oakridge overnight every time I travel from Humboldt County, CA to Portland, just so I can spend a long evening with my family in BUL. (And no matter how many days I subsequently spend in Portland, I never find a pint as good as the one--or six--I had in Oakridge.) Brilliant!