Employee Retention Plan a Key to Long-Term Success

For Bear Republic, the brewhouse is a baseball field.

Owner Rich Norgrove values his employees much like the multi-million dollar athletes and sees keeping his “team” together through the long haul is beneficial in many aspects. He doesn’t want to be a breeding ground for new breweries, instead he wants to have a strong group on his side for years and year.

“If I can keep them under contract for a few years and they are willing to grow with me, I am willing to keep them on long-term,” he said. “We offer full benefits, 401K, and those guys that have been us 10 year or more, we are working on retirement plans. You want this to be their career and where you want them to stay. If you can keep someone under contract and keep them happy, then you aren’t going to run into many guys that say they used to be brewers at Bear Republic. So we don’t have a lot of people leaving here and jumping ship.”


His vision of how to function in this capacity came from a job interview more than two decades ago. Norgrove applied to work at Anchor Brewing in San Francisco and interviewed with Brewmaster Mark Carpenter. Norgrove recalls a line from the interview that stuck with him and formed his opinion of how he wanted to run his own brewery.

“Mark said, ‘If you work here you aren’t going to work anywhere else,’ ” Norgrove recalled. “And that’s how I felt I want Bear Republic to be. I want you stay here as long as you can.”

Being in wine country of Northern California, Norgrove said that Bear Republic doesn’t have as much trouble keeping employees as some other breweries in other parts of the country that may have more immediate competition.

Being a former military man and a member of the fire service, he likes to have order and give ranks to his employees. A “Cellarman 3,” for example, can move all the way up to No. 1, then be promoted to a low-ranking Brewer after 3-5 years of service.

“If someone chooses to leave, there is someone willing to take that spot or be trained for that spot,” he said. “You always have someone that can step up and make it to the big leagues.”

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Bear Republic Thrives Because of Family

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.