Friday 4 September 2009

The Customer is Always Right

Today I casked beer, dodging heavy showers; you see my racking and cask cleaning is done outside as my brewery is very small. The wedding party is still here, most of them anyway. They keep insisting on eating my food and drinking my beer, so they are taking up a bit of my time. I'd like to post more but I've a living to make.

However, this article caught my eye.
"Someone once asked me for a pint of bitter with lime cordial in it. I refused. I am proud of the bitter I serve. I've won awards. I deliver what I think is a perfect pint of beer. I wouldn't allow someone to compromise it by sticking lime cordial in it. For some people the customer might be "always right" but I'd like to think I'd still got some integrity. The customer left but I felt proud."
Chris Maclean

Good man.

Does he also refuse to put lemonade in it I wonder? My beer may not be perfect all the time, but I'm sure if I'm going to stand in the pissing rain to put it in the casks I've a right to have an opinion about what is mixed with it.


Madcom said...

You're comment about standing in the rain pouring the beer into the casks giving you the right to determine what is mixed with it - absolutely agree. It did make me laugh though!

My domestic parallel - I cook dinner for my family and my wife encourages the children to put ketchup on a piece of salmon basted in butter lemon sauce - surely it is justifiable homicide. Cheers.

Unknown said...


I'm not sure I could justify homicide, but ketchup on butter lemon salmon? Give the kids fish fingers and come and cook for me!

Curmudgeon said...

"Bitterlemontop" used to be a standard drink in the Sarf of England. Had you been a Surrey publican in 1980 I wonder whether you would have refused to serve it.

Having said that, I once saw someone ask for a pint of Landlord and blackcurrant, in Taylors' country too!

Barry M said...

I dunno. Much as I hate the idea of tainting a beer with something (although I'll have a Radler now and again if it's really hot and I'm cycling, but cannot understand the colabier and other bastardisations of beer over here in Germany), I shy away from telling people what they can or can't do with a beer they've bought. Don't want to be a beer nazi :)

But if it's beer I've made, well then! :D

Ed said...

I was about to say can't you just take the money and smirk at people who want stupid drinks.

But then I thought if someone wanted to add lime to something I'd brewed I don't think I'd see the funny side. You've got to be proud of what you brew.

Cooking Lager said...

It's your gaff, your rules. Pint for the fella, white wine fruit based drink for the lady. Rules is rules, guv.

However if I went in yours or anyones gaff and discovered rules not to my liking, I'd go elsewhere.

I already changed my mind about visiting your gaff when I discovered there is no HP sauce for the breakfast. Even Marco Pierre White has HP sauce.

I quite like nice food and posh gaffs, the missus does too, but nobody tells me not to put HP on my sausage.

Unknown said...

"However if I went in yours or anyones gaff and discovered rules not to my liking, I'd go elsewhere."

Well done, making the rules about a place determines the clientèle. The clientèle in turn determine the feel of a place.

I'm not particularly worried when people don't like the style of thing that we do when we get plenty of people who do like it.

Cooking Lager said...

And the idea of sitting among people who don't like HP sauce or are bothered if someone likes a drop of lime in their beer makes me prefer a gaff with a more relaxed liberal feel.

Velky Al said...

This comes back to something I have been saying for a long time, that a customer service culture has become a culture of the service provider being treated as a servant by segments of the public.

Part of me though thinks that the customer is well within his rights to ask for a lime top in his bitter(at least he is drinking ale instead of rank lager), if that is what he likes and I have the necessaries to satisfy that request, even though I wouldn't dream of doing it myself.

There surely has to be a balance?

Whorst said...

Reading this has got me very angry! Is it ok to put Coca-Cola in single malt?? How about Grenadine and Ribena in lager? For fuck sake, is anything sacred!

They say I'm Bitter and Cynical, I prefer well Hopped said...

I agree with you Dave! Ted gets cranky when someone asks for even a Black and Tan. I certainly don't mind mixing such a concoction, but mixing dis-similar flavors and liquids is just WRONG. I personally refuse to put ice cubes in white wine for the ladies that request it. Instead I give them a taster glass of ice and let them add it themselves. In your case I might provide a shot of whatever cordial they might want, but I would not mix it for them.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

I'm not sure "cranky" is the right word.

The biggest thing that I learned while lurking around Dave's, and which influenced what I do here, is how much to compromise. It regulates your clientele. And this is a good thing, as I have yet to scrub vomit off the floor or call the police.

When some decide they don't want to be here due to our dearth of "domestic" stock, this is a good thing all around.

Unknown said...

Interesting thoughts everybody. I think to reply properly requires a further blog post, but the comments here are helpful in focusing my mind.

I need to better portray what we do here, rather than focusing on what we don't do. But in summary it's about stocking products I believe in. I only stock products that have a level of quality and without compromise. That unfortunately, eliminates HP and cordial, like it or not.

Sorry for not censoring my friend Wurst's language, but his comments are so impassioned and relevant that I feel disinclined to edit.