Drinking at work: alcohol culture seeps into Silicon Valley breweries
Since mid-May, a global calculation of male-dominated workplace culture in the craft beer industry has prompted employees across the state to speak out against bosses who have allowed, and sometimes participated, in excessive alcohol consumption and sexist behavior.
Sexual assault charges led to the resignation of Good Karma Artisan Ales and cafe owner Ryan Summers, who had run the San Jose bar and restaurant since at least 2006. Summers wrote about his resignation on social media and examines how workers could take ownership of the business.
Just across the street, the general manager of another craft beer restaurant prepared his own letter in response to the wave of heightened accountability.
While no one has ever accused Rob Monroe of Original Gravity Public House of anything, he said he felt the need to hold himself accountable for his past management style. He used to drink at work to relieve the stress of managing a day-to-day workforce. But Monroe said he instituted a “no-alcohol” policy upon returning from a hiatus in March.
He said he was exhausted when he took a break from the craft beer restaurant in October 2019. The free time allowed him to reflect on his eight years working at the downtown San Jose pub.
“Slacking off, along with drinking alcohol on the shift and things like that, has kind of become part of the fun of energy at work,” Monroe said. “We tried to be reasonable and safe, but I think at some point I started to realize that there were definitely nights when my stress would get the best of me.”
He initially posted a letter of apology describing his past behavior on the Original Gravity Instagram page, but later deleted the post because he and the other senior staff agreed he was straying from the job. main current topic: sexual abuse.
Original Gravity workers have previously posted a group photo and message of solidarity with women in the craft beer industry who are victims of sexist behavior and assault.
“We absolutely condemn sexism, abuse, assault of any kind and have a ZERO tolerance policy for this type of behavior,” read the May 20 post. “The culture of Original Gravity is one of inclusion, equality and opportunity. As a small business within this industry in which we reside, we recognize that it has simply been dominated by men and their toxic behavior for far too long.
Monroe’s moment of accountability did not involve accusations of assault or harassment, but he said he recognized how a culture controlled primarily by white males could create a toxic environment where such behavior could go unnoticed.
“At the end of the day, (the letter) was right for me to be responsible, as a manager – a male manager in this industry and to be very clear on how I have changed,” he said. he declares.
He said two years of therapy and working in various leadership roles during his hiatus from Original Gravity shaped and improved his role as CEO.
“I tried to create a new culture of care, consistency and communication,” Monroe wrote in her apology letter, which is still on her personal Instagram page.
Sean Carino, a former line cook who worked at Original Gravity in 2018 and 2019, said Monroe struggled to drink during his shift, like other employees, but is happy to see his former manager recognize his past and commit to doing better.
Monroe has a glimpse of the culture of toxic masculinity that continues in the industry, Carino said, and he’s happy to see his former manager speak out publicly.
“He’s a great person, but he’s gone a bit over the edge when it comes to his drinking,” he said. “But I think he now has a new perspective, a new look at managing from a different angle to hopefully improve the work environment.”