Cover Story Notebook: Caring for Your Community & Employees

In an ongoing series, Brewer will take a small note from interviews of some of the cover stories it has run and give a small tidbit that didn’t make the issue, but is still worth diving into.

 

Being somebody that moved to Vermont from Pittsburgh, the first time John Kimmich stepped into the state, he fell in love with it.

“I have never been anywhere where I felt as welcome. And just in this cozy environment with like-minded people,” the co-founder of The Alchemist Brewery told Brewer during the cover story interview for the November/December 2019 issue.

Kimmich explained that the business practices that he and his wife Jen — a native of Vermont — have developed have come from working for bosses they did not enjoy and seeing how companies were run.

“We’re both extremely liberal people,” John said. “We have very definite ideas of what needs to be provided to citizens of this country, socially. Health care is an equal right. So we have big ideas about that.

“I find that people — by and large — get that up here [in Vermont]. They understand. We see it, we have the full spectrum. We have extreme poverty in our rural areas. We have 50% of high school graduates not going on to college. We have a stagnant population. We have issues that we are trying to deal with and we understand that just because somebody is dirt poor and two hours into the sticks, why the hell should they have to struggle for health care when nobody else does? There’s an equal footing and people understand.”

That means taking care of the people that take care of the beer that can be highly sought after by consumers.

With family leave, benefits and other things that The Alchemist provides its employees, Kimmich said they are ‘certainly on the cutting edge with that stuff.’

“And we started doing that when we had the pub,” he added. “We professionalized our positions. If you were a dishwasher, even then you had access to health care, vacation time … all of that stuff. We don’t penalize people. We tried to make careers for them.

“You don’t send them home early, that kind of shit and they get cut hourly wages and all that. That’s just not how we did it. We’ve continued that throughout all of the years of us doing business. Now what we’ve created is kind of unique.”

Read more about The Alchemist in the November/December 2019 issue of Brewer. Subscriptions are free to brewery owners in the United States. Subscribe here.

Photo courtesy: Danielle Visco/Luv Lens

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