We cut you off because we love you

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Many of you knew me when I was employed at another establishment in town a few years ago. While I was there, I used to joke that I was a lot like the little creatures in the movie Gremlins; I was nice and agreeable – some might even say cuddly – until you after midnight. After 12 am, I was a surly SOB, capable of saying some truly nasty things to people. And if you were drunk and asking for another drink, I was not shy about showing you the door without your feet touching the ground.

Quite honestly, it’s one of the reasons I got out of the bartending business back then. I just don’t have a lot of patience for drunks.

I brought this up when I interviewed for my job at Imminent. Back then the prevailing idea was that we weren’t going to have too many problems with intoxicated patrons because this is a different sort of place than the local bars and pubs. We aren’t a bar, we’re a brewery with a taproom, offering a very specific product. We don’t get people coming in ordering rounds and rounds of tequila shots. We pride ourselves on being a family friendly place.

A year later, I’d say 99.5% percent of the time that prevailing idea has been correct. There have been a couple of incidents that required a person be asked to leave, but those have been few and far between. I truly believe that the vast majority of our patrons understand the kind of place we want to be. We want you to come in and hang out with friends and family. Bring your dog! Have a couple beers, but understand your limitations, and act responsibly. We offer very, very good beer. We want you to enjoy it, but not over indulge.

Mostly this is because we love you. We don’t want you to wake up the morning after a night at Imminent feeling like crap. We don’t want you make decisions with impaired judgment. We don’t want you to get in your car after drinking too much alcohol. We don’t want you to get hurt. We don’t want you to hurt anybody else.

Every now and then, we do have to tell someone that we’ve decided not to serve them any more beer. Sometimes people come in while barhopping and have been served plenty of alcohol already. Sometimes people just drink too much of our beer. However it happens, we have both a legal right and responsibility to cut them off.

That sounds like such a nasty phrase, doesn’t it? Cut them off. Nobody likes being cut off, be it in line, in traffic, in conversation or anywhere else. Being cut off never is never a positive experience.

Actually, that’s not completely true. I once observed one of my co-workers decide that a couple sitting at the bar had had plenty to drink. This person went over to them, delivered the bad news and, hand-to-God, they were laughing and high-fiving not five minutes later. For a grumpy, old-school bartender like me, it was nothing short of shocking. I still marvel at how this person cut these people off and then became best friends with them, and it is now something I hope to achieve, if and when this situation ever comes up for me.

(Not saying who the co-worker was, but her name rhymes with “poor-a-buyers”)

We don’t want to stop serving you. We’re in the business of selling beer, so NOT selling you beer would be counter-productive. Except when it comes to your own safety.

So, if it does happen to you, we really hope that you can understand that we aren’t trying to insult you, we aren’t picking on you, and by no means are we judging you. We’re cutting you off to do you a favor. Plus, we’re going to offer you a non-alcoholic beverage on the house, and we might even offer to pay for a cab to get you home. 

It’s important that you know, by the way, that this post was not inspired by any recent occurrence or incident. In fact (knock-on-wood) things have gone very smoothly of late at Imminent. In fact, that’s why we’re posting this now. We don’t want to point a finger at anybody. This is just sort of a “by the way” kind of notice.

We’re looking forward to a fantastic summer. We hope you’ll come join us, and that you’ll do so frequently. We have some very, very good beers on tap right now, with more to come, including our first Hefeweizen and the glorious return of R&R Ale. This is just a friendly reminder to keep everything together, and don’t get carried away.

And if we do have to stop serving you, we hope you’ll be our best friends five minutes later.