3 Tips on Getting a New Taproom Server Up to Speed

It’s important that along with understanding your brewery’s culture, a new taproom employee needs to get up to speed on what beers your brand makes, confirm general service knowledge along with understanding how the place operates.

Here are three ideas shared from numerous brewery owners and operators about how they help ease a new taproom server into their position.

First Day? Not Behind the Bar!

A new employee isn’t thrust into the fire of slinging drafts on Day 1 said LUKI Brewery co-founder Jeff Smith.

“The first day is very rarely behind the bar​,” he said. “We focus on a lot of basic skills on this first day, talking about beer​, ​clean glass, proper pours, the proper way to fill to-go beer, and talking about the big picture of our current menu. 

​”​Then the next 30 days ​[they are] paired with other experienced staff and sessions with the brew team.​”​

Education, for ​WeldWerks, begins on ​Day 1​ said Jake Goodman. It includes a brief overview from one of ​the Greeley, Colorado facility’s senior brewers on ​the company’s brewing approach and philosophy, as well as a short history of how ​they got to where ​they are. 

Learn & Test

Making sure employees complete both the TIPS alcohol training course and the Cicerone Certified Beer Server course within the first three months of employment was key for most breweries we spoke with.

At Uhl’s Brewing, owner Aaron Uhl said the CBS helps teach proper pouring techniques, glassware etiquette, how to properly clean keg lines, and enhances a new employees’ general beer knowledge. 

“Each employee that passes the Cicerone Server Exam brings in their exam results and I review them with them,” he said. “If there are answers that are wrong, I ask them first why they thought that was the right answer and then I let them know what the proper answer is and why. 

“We try to learn every day at Uhl’s, whether it be interacting with ingredients, processes or just reading about beer, I always encourage growth. We will even pay for the servers’ training material and test fees if they pass their Cicerone Level One Exam.”

Furthering Education

Scratchtown does what co-founder Caleb Pollard calls Beer 101, Advanced Beer 102, and other onsite educational opportunities at other fermentarian-like businesses. 

“Our beer classes educate on brewing, ingredients, proper draught maintenance, proper pouring, proper staff interaction with customers and server expectations, along with certified alcohol server programs through the state,” he said. “We are also quite remote (Ord, Nebraska) and we live in a town of 2,000. Our trade area has 30,000 [people] spaced over 60 miles of travel in any direction. So travel is a considerable cost and commitment when we do off-site visits to other brewers, distillers, vintners, and more. 

“We’ve done it twice for our servers, but our ownership circle (we are owner-operated in all facets of the business) does this yearly. It helps keep the fires stoked and allows for some good discussion about how we want to grow and adapt our brewery for the future.

Starting ​this year, Cascade Brewing told Brewer they are going to hold off-flavor and draft maintenance classes taught by ​the production staff to ensure ​the Portland, Oregon​ brewery’s taproom employees can assess the quality of ​their products​ they are serving even better.​

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