Today I am departing from a typical brewery review to comment on a brewery I have never tried, Fullsteam.  What drew me to Fullsteam was a recent blog post called “That Brewery Sucks“.  In summary the author comments on how he hears people say a brewery sucks and he doesn’t listen to it.  He only listens if you explain the basis of your criticism.  He reminds readers that some individuals criticize a brewery when the problem was a bad tap line or more personal like the style preference.  What really drew me in was this:

If you still don’t like the beer, let the brewery know. Have the balls to contact the brewery and tell them about your bad experience. We promise to treat you with respect and to listen to your criticism. Be prepared for us to defend ourselves, the beer we make, and our decision to brew it a certain way. That’s part of being proud. But we will listen.

He flat out said come chat and tell me what you do not like.  That is rare.  I can not tell you how many brewers, owners, reps and managers I know.  So many of them hand me every beer like it is the greatest beer ever.  If you criticize, they blow it off.  I have told people they are great, told people they are average and yes I have said that brewery sucks.  The only brewery that I ever came straight out to anyone and said don’t go there was followed up with the comment that the place often runs out of beer, service is poor and the product is inconsistent.

What needs to happen is people need to start being accountable and taking criticism.  When you take criticism you do not have to implement what the critical person wants, but you need to acknowledge it.  Defending yourself is fine especially if it is in regards to a product that turned out the way it was supposed to, but if your customer got a bad bottle or a poor experience because something went wrong, work to fix it.  Listening to them say they didn’t care for your porter may even inspire you to brew a stout.

Fullsteam is not available here in Chicago, but I hope they at least export a little of that attitude up here.  Too many Chicago area brewers have egos that do not match their breweries output, and good criticism can make a good product even better.  I wish Fullsteam the best and I hope to be in the neighborhood to try their beer and give you all a proper brewery review.




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