Tips for Introducing Culture to New Employees

Communicating as an owner what you want your brewery’s culture to be in the public eye can be a challenge, especially as a brewery grows. More beer production means more beer people and with that, more people that need to “preach” the Gospel of your brand.

Up-and-coming breweries see that as a way to help further ingrain employees into what the brewery is all about. For Cape May Brewing in New Jersey, the culture itself hasn’t changed; they’ve just become better at articulating it, said Alicia Grasso, who does marketing for the brewery.

Recently, owners, Ryan and Bob Krill and Chris Henke sat down to develop statements of purpose, values, and mission for the brewery. These statements were communicated to the brewery during a “State of the Brewery Address” attended by all team members Grasso said.

“We want to be proud of what we do at CMBC, and, by extension, keep our fans proud of us,” she said. “We work toward exceeding their expectations each time they visit. We try to earn trust in our community by sponsoring charitable and cultural events, donating spent grain to farmers for feed, and focusing on sustainable practices. The quality and variety of beer is everyone’s constant focus — from the brewers to the beertenders. We’re all ‘in it to win it’ at CMBC, and we hope our visitors and fans know that.”


In Chicago, Illuminated Brew Works’ founder and head brewer Brian Buckman pointed out that the goal for his brewery is that “beer is joy and is a salvo in the face of an often times challenging world.”

He said a person wanting to work at his brewery needs to be a natural fit. He joked that he lets potential employees come to the brewery, he doesn’t search for them.

“Everyone that works for us has come in search of work because they believed in the brand,” he said. “At this point we only hire people that we would want to spend time with outside of the brewery. Our company was built by people who have been friends for many years and, in many ways, relies on that camaraderie to translate our product into market.”

Helping new employees “get it” at Cape May is also key. A tried-and-true way to do that is to have employees complete an entire brew day, no matter where in  the brewery they work. Getting to know how the liquid is made is golden.

Cape May also issues a Credo Card with its “Purpose and Values” clearly delineated. Team members are expected to memorize them and carry the card at all times.The brewery is also in the process of developing targeted training programs.

“No one can be expected to completely understand who we are on their first day,” Grasso said. “Many of our employees are fully committed to the brewery and its culture, so new hires quickly learn the lay of the land.”

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