Virtual high-five! I hope you are doing well. Despite the title of this email, this sunshine has got me in a great mood.
Thanksgiving made us realize not only how much we miss our family and the ability to get together, but also how many of the usual Thanksgiving-to-New-Year traditions we didn’t even really think about. The family White Elephant party, the “dessert for dinner” get-together with friends, the Christmas Eve service, the Christmas morning breakfast followed by “real” Christmas (ie presents) at “Grandma and Grandpa’s house.”
I am looking forward to some of them I still can do, like driving through neighborhoods that do lights well (James St Estates still doing lights??), the Christmas-tree-adventure-with-hot-chocolate day, making big weekend breakfasts, trips to Baker/sledding, and wow this list was easier to keep going than I thought it would be.
I’ll miss our Darkest Day party here at the store, as well as our usual “Our Favorites” tap list we do in early December, our staff New Years party, and how fun this place gets with people spending time together, laughing and telling stories. The smiles and shivers as families come in from the cold.
Sigh. Less happy now.
BUT, at home my wife and I are thinking of all the things that we can create this year for our family, all the traditions that we can begin starting now. We are hoping that we can create things that will take on a life of their own.
I hope you can thrive in this season, not just survive.
On to the business side of things:
So, we are finally making good on some of the things I have mentioned in previous emails.
In no particular order:
- We have a new online store that works better than the old one. You can click here to see it live, or just click on the link on our homepage.
Yes, there are fewer items than the previous online store, but we had to start over after we lost control of the last site and… well, it’s a long boring story. We’ll be adding more items as we can.
- And on the online store you can now order pizza on the website too 🙂 You order when you are hungry, and when it is ready we tap a button that sends you an email saying it’s done. Generally it is taking about 15-20 minutes, unless we get backed up. Feel free to come in a buy bevies while you wait, or call us when you arrive.
- We should have growlers and crowlers and pint jars of draft beer available on the website soon. A piece of equipment that keeps our beer lines cold failed us, and we are waiting on parts. Perhaps next week 🙁
- Still working on a subscription beer program, but haven’t figured it out yet.
- Darkest Days V.1 packs are ready! We started with nine bottles (the details are below the photo, below), wrapped all in black wrapping paper (yes, there were questions from the cashier when buying all black wrapping paper), with tasting notes inside the box. A wonderful present for any dark beer lover.
When we realized that our usual Darkest Day Party, ie our favorite day of the year, wasn’t going to happen, we talked to probably fifty breweries and asked if they had items that they normally don’t sell, or something that they had been aging they had squirreled away for a day just like this. (We are currently working on a second box, but no promises on that yet)
The first Darkest Day release includes:
Cascade Brewing- 2017 Mayan Bourbonic 500mL
Bale Breaker- Wood and Wire 750mL
Block 15 – 2017 Super Nebula 500mL
Perennial – 2019 Abraxas 750mL
Skookum – Barren Wood 750mL
Epic – Big Bad Baptist Double Chocolate Peanut Butter 22oz
Epic – Big Bad Baptist Pecan Pie 22oz
Epic – Bigger Badder Baptista 22oz
Kulshan – 2017 Barrel Aged Barleywine 500ml
OK: The Tent
Lots of questions about the tent and outdoor eating/drinking. I’ll answer the questions, and explain a little (I’ll try and keep it short).
So, no, there is no eating or drinking here for now. But the store IS open for shopping, noon to 9pm.
Yes we hope to have outdoor headed, covered seating back up at some point in December or January, and roll through the rain season up until perhaps May or July.
Honestly, there are about five to ten reasons why we made this decision. And there wasn’t one reason that was so much bigger than the other reasons, but let me explain a few of them.
1) This is the traditionally the busiest time of year for us, and we knew that a) we just couldn’t handle safely both outdoor seating AND indoor sales. But also b) taking the tent down allows for more parking, which was important for us to offer too right now.
2) We felt a strong responsibility to do something to keep Covid cases down, in this current spike. We all have to do something in order to get this thing under control. The BEST thing that can happen for Elizabeth Station is for Covid to be over and done, and that is not going to happen if everyone just hopes that everyone else does something about it.
We have some better ideas when we put it back up, like creating more barriers and really making each table it’s own little space. We have a lunch menu we are working on, and I’m working on a list of really fun kegs to put on tap when it’s time to do that. Thanks for your patience and support in all of this!
A time for reflection and forgiveness
A while back I was listening to a Malcolm Gladwell podcast that was talking about how we have so few moments in life to stop and make things right. He talked about the old Jewish tradition of the “year of Jubilee” where debts were forgiven, slaves and prisoners set free, and otherwise was a time of forgiving, moving on, hitting reset. And how in our modern life we don’t have those moments. Without them we can easily let bad or negative things pile up on us without ever taking a moment to figure out if we should be doing those things still, if it’s worth it to hold on to those ideas or feelings or decisions or whatever it is.
I also ran into business author Jim Collins who decides on three new things he wants to do in the coming year and three things to quit at the same time (a zero sum equation on his time). Author/podcaster Bob Goff says he quits something every Thursday!
I am taking this holiday season to think about what is important in my life, what I want to recommit to for the next year or longer, and what is not worth continuing on with. I know I owe people apologies, and I am going to make those right the next couple weeks. I’m also looking at projects and commitments I have that I know I am not providing value to. And I also know there are things that I know I can provide a lot of value on, things that also bring me great job, and I need to prioritize those things if I want to be of any impact long-term.
Probably the biggest silver lining of 2020 has been stripping away all the things that we signed our kids up for, all the commitments I made without considering all the other things I had already committed to, all the time I spent on all the “stuff.” It has actually been hard for me to even remember a lot of the things I did before March.
My question to myself is: will I allow myself just to go back to those things I had done previously (whatever they are), or will I choose intentionally: a new path forward of things that will bring me joy and hope and life and allow to serve and love others.
A few ideas to come to mind, if they are helpful in any way:
- Is there a friend that you owe an apology to, even if they may not even remember what happened?
- Is there a business/people at a business you have written off, that you could go back and give another chance? I know I have a few angry feelings towards a few past customer service experiences that I’d love to paint over with a new good experience.
- Is there a debt someone owes you that you can decide once and for all you are just going to forgive it and move forward?
- Is there someone who has done something that made you upset that perhaps you can give some little gift to and make the relationship less toxic for your soul? (or, and this is harder to do, release that relationship and end the toxicity for both of you?)
I’m going to stop here. I have so much more in my mind, but that’s really the idea I’m thinking about more seriously than in years past. Something I wanted to share that I hope is valuable for you in some small way. If you want to chat please come by or email me. I’d love to hear what things you are quitting, or doubling down on.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday a season. I appreciate so much how wonderful this community is, and how grateful I am to be a part of it with you.