For a long time, I’ve wanted to write about Rising Tide Brewing Company’s Zephyr. It’s an autonomous IPA, a true original in our beer-scape of citrusy West Coast knockoffs. It tastes more of pears than grapefruit or pine. It hits the pallet with something unique.
Last Friday I visited the Rising Tide tasting room in Portland to fill my growler with Zephyr. (I needed it for research, you see.) Since I was standing in a tasting room amongst fermenters and friends, I had a few samples. My friends and I got talking to the woman pouring drinks, and I started complaining, as I’m wont to do, that they should sell six packs of their beer instead of the 22 oz bombers they currently sell.
The gregarious tasting room concierge explained, “We’ll never hit the price point we need to sell six packs.”
“I get it,” I said, “you’re the little guy, and shelf space in stores costs money.”
“Yes,” she said, “plus we have to pay for our space and equipment, and they pay all our health insurance.”
Say what?! I thought.
“Say what?!” Tim said.
“That’s amazing,” Anna said.
The woman smiled at our exuberance for her health insurance coverage. “The brewery can be a dangerous place, because of that, they probably — ”
Tim cut her off, “Because you work you should have health insurance.”
We raised our glasses. Hell, yes. Rising Tide pays their employees’ health insurance. Do all microbreweries? What kind of sad world do we live in that we’d assume that a small business wouldn’t? Oh yeah, we live in this world.
“Well, now I feel like an idiot asking you guys to rush into six packs,” I lamented.
The woman smiled. “Don’t,” she said and moved to help other customers.
I wonder how many companies eschew buying health insurance for their employees in the name of profit, growth, and Ayn Rand egotism. The answer: a lot. That’s part of the reason we have a healthcare crisis in this country.
Big beer companies urge us to ‘Drink Responsibly’ at the end of their glamorous commercials awash with supermodels and watered down beer. While here in Portland, we have a beer company that truly allows us to ‘Drink Responsibly.’
Moral of the story: Drink Rising Tide and Drink Responsibly.
I’m going to write about Zephyr. The beer’s way too good to be a footnote to this post. But with the state of the health care system right now — The Affordable Health Care Act under attack by a billionaire-funded GOP, corporations doing all they can to withhold health insurance from employees — I wanted to take a moment to praise a company who not only touts a great product, but possesses a social conscience as well.
Employees deserve health care. Period.
Thanks, Rising Tide.