Thursday, 24 September 2015

Das Beer

Many years ago I ran a successful, busy roadhouse on the east side of this industrious border city of Windsor, Ontario. Nice place, definitely not high-class. One afternoon my weekly management meeting was interrupted by our bartender.  We'd run out of a brand named, generic tasting draught beer and had no full kegs left to replace the empty one until our next delivery, days hence. We did, however have a full keg of a different, equally bland brand, just aft with the draught, waiting for the bartender to crack the seal, connect the CO2 and prime the lines.  Only a thirsty patron waving a fiver stood between this and a frosty mug of perfectly poured beer, and dammit if there wasn't a parched patron perched at the rail ordering a pint at that very moment. What to do?  I mean really, can anyone distinguish between big brewery ales or lagers, one from the other?  Can anyone but a sommelier distinguish the popular swill from carbonated Clydesdale piss?  (Hint: it's in the foam. Mr Ed as a lesser head.  Both will give you the trots)

And so I made the decision to swap in the alternate brand and sell it under the name of the 86'd brand until our next delivery.  (To '86' a product is to designate it out of stock and/or unavailable.)

The owner of the joint just happened to be present and he immediately overruled me. "What's the big deal?" I challenged back. He knew our clients as well as I did. "They'll never know the difference."

"One is the correct beer, the other is not," he said.  "We do not lie to our guests."  You can imagine my sheepish face after being deservedly reprimanded in front of my management team and our bartender.  

Meanwhile over at Volkswagen...
It's not on the same scale, but maybe it is;  I sure wish the owner of that small town chain of roadhouses had been running the diesel division at Volkswagen in these last few years.  Maybe the lesson in truth learned in a bar in Windsor might have made it to das Corner Office in Wolfsburg. 

It sure has followed me everywhere. 

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