Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 6, 2011

People's Project... Pacific Beer Expo - The Mother of All Announcements... Crime and Punishment... This Weekend...

People's Project

Next week we welcome the first fruits of a partnership that has been developing for a month or two now between the Garage Project and People's Coffee. There are whispers of a series of coffee-infused beers but first up is the beer simply known as People's Project No. 1.
It's described as "a rich, smooth dark roast coffee bockbier. This is a warming 7% bock with a complex malt character and a generous dose of rich and intense black coffee. It's a beer that we hope captures the best qualities of both of our favourite beverages."
As usual it will be available from 5pm on Tuesday. Recent releases have run out a little more than 24 hours after going on tap.

The Pacific Beer Expo - The Mother of All Announcements

With only two weeks to go the time for announcing a beer or two at a time is over. It's time we revealed many of the Californian beers that some of the participants must be holding out for. Few if any of these will be a surprise to regular customers. But we've never come close to having this many on tap at once and only a handful have been available anywhere else before in New Zealand.
  • Bear Republic Carburator Doppelbock
  • Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
  • Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
  • Coronado Islander IPA
  • Green Flash Double Stout
  • Green Flash West Coast IPA
  • Moylan's Nor*Cal IPA
Yes that list does include no fewer than four IPAs, and if we included every American beer that we have at our disposal the event would be in danger of turning into an IPA festival. Perhaps some people would prefer that. But we are relying on some of our local brewers to help avoid that not so terrible fate.
And so we take great pleasure in announcing another local beer that we hadn't expected to become available for the festival, but has. It's from Brewaucracy - the embryonic Hamilton brewing entity that came up with the ludicrously popular Punkin Image Ltd. This time it's a vanilla porter called Bean Counter. Apparently 300 litres have been consumed in and around Hamilton before Wellington gets our ration of a single 50L keg.

Crime and Punishment

We've been the victim of petty theft and vandalism since before we opened. This is, apparently, normal. Occasionally someone is stupid enough to commit these acts in a way that lets us know exactly who they are, or at least exactly what they look like. So rather than take such abuses lying down and paying for our losses out of takings we do like to be pro-active when we can.
Late last Saturday three customers were caught on security cameras poking, prodding, rolling and unrolling then eventually folding and sneaking off with one of our new, custom-made barmats. We also found footage of them attempting to take an empty keg with them as an extra souvenir.
Now the cost of one of these barmats is not particularly high and we have been victims of far worse. But it was still a pretty galling slap in the face, and since the theft took place in an area where security cameras routinely capture footage (that is almost completely ignored normally) we decided to let the thieves know that we knew what they'd done.
The result ended up on youtube, with links to it from facebook and twitter. After a little discussion and some dissent about the lengths we went to over our property, the message must have got through to the culprits and we received a phone call last evening offering apologies and a promise to return it. If all goes according to plan, then at about the time you read this the item is being returned and the footage removed from youtube.
Finally yesterday must have been a slow news day because the Dominion Post called later to get some quotes and write the incident up here.
Now if people want to suggest that this is an extreme and possibly privacy-threatening way to react to the theft of something of little value, then you may well have a point. Especially since we are frequently the victims of other acts of theft that we don't happen to catch on camera and so don't get to embarrass the perpetrators of.
But the fact is that causing shame to perpetrators like this is pretty much the only effective tool we have if we want to contain petty crimes against our business that doesn't intrude on the innocent. And every little theft like this creates a cost to our business.
We've since learned that our friends at Croucher Brewery have just been the victim of opportunistic thieves who took off with a large amount of their valuable stock. It goes without saying that the brewery have our sympathy.
No doubt the perpetrators of the kind of petty theft that we suffer from would differentiate themselves from the kind who would steal large amounts of stock from a working brewery. As if taking shiny things from a bar somehow gets an exemption from the legal code. But in the end each and every loss inflicted on us is a cost to our business and eventually to our customers. In fact on one occasion the victim of a theft that we used our security cameras to study was not us but a customer. So we don't apologise for being "anal" and "pissy" about these things, as we've been accused of.
Now part of our problem could be that many of the things we have for use in the bar are just so damned nice to have. Would it help then if we made some of available for sale? We can do that with some of our glassware. The custom-printed glasses of the American breweries we import are items that we can restock in future. So from today our Rogue, Green Flash, Bear Republic and Coronado glasses are officially for sale for $10 each.
Will this help or does merchandise have to be stolen to have cachet? If would-be thieves paid for their glass but told their friends that they'd stolen it, maybe everyone would save face.

This Weekend

Regulars will have observed that for all the hype and the throngs attending the Auckland waterfront, the event that we cannot name has made only an occasional difference to everyday life at Hashigo Zake. But Wellington's "biggest weekend ever" arrives this weekend and perhaps those who don't embrace the thought of rugby-inspired all night partying are planning to avoid downtown Wellington.
So our current expectation is that, for us, Saturday and Sunday will be a little like the Sevens:- while chaos reigns in Courtenay Place, we'll carry on in much the same manner as usual, except for the odd inappropriately dressed, dazed and face-painted refugee wandering in. We will have a security guard and we definitely won't be serving the sponsor's product, so we may just be about the safest place in the vicinity of Courtenay Place.


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