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The Sugar Sack Gang

Every so often, I find myself acting like a patron at our bar. Only, the curious thing about sitting at our bar inside of Port Brewing is that we haven’t rolled out the red carpet and furnished it with overstuffed chairs. Like most brewery projects, we opened our doors with great expectations and “almost” enough money to finish our project. This is not to say that we are going out of business anytime soon.

However, as we went about remodeling the bathrooms, painting and designing a thoughtful and colorful office area, we spent all of the money budgeted for improvements. I guess, we never really looked at the 25 foot long bar and thought about the need for bar stools while we were slaving away. Still, at the end of each day, we would be exhausted from all the construction work.

One day, in a moment of amazing clarity, (some would say divine inspiration) I looked around and noticed that inverted kegs seemed to be almost the right height for bar stools. That was the day I ended the pain and suffering of soles everywhere and soon, we started kicking back after work on stainless steel bar stools. Seems the price for these was mighty choice as FREE works especially well if you have tapped the bank account trying to get open.

Weeks went by and we kept plugging away on our construction never really giving much thought to replacing the bar stools we were using. We spent April brewing and got in our first shipments of malt. Since we needed some Dextrose (Sugar) for our Avant Garde and Lost and Found beers, we suddenly had some nice, almost soft, tops for our bar stools. It wasn’t the best thing in the world for comfort sake but form doesn’t always follow functionality.

May approached and with it came our opening. We had a party for the Stone employees on Cinco de Mayo. Sensing the need for more bar stools for our friends, I ordered up some extra bags of Dextrose and we suddenly had a bar full of happy customers and friends. It felt good to look out over the bar and see people enjoying our beers while actually seating down. The following day we opened for business and our first customers rolled in.

I was very nervous about the lack of proper seating but everyone soon took it in stride. We met Sage and his wife Terri. They showed up the following weekend and she had her own bar stool in tote. This started a mini trend. Next thing I knew, Ken rolled up with his own hot rod bar stool. We began discussing more bar stools and I was really getting motivated to buy some for the bar.

But then a funny thing happened. I started to see people appreciate the simplicity of our design and they took to the character of the sacks. In my mind, these customers reached a whole new plateau of awareness and I started referring to them in my head as the “Sugar Sack Gang.” These people, like us, cared more about the beer in the glass then their proverbial comfort. And that is pretty damn cool.

Let me also state that I am neither their leader nor the Grand Pubbah of this band of merry drinkers. Rather, I am only one of them. There are many days when I can be found sitting on these bags of sugar. Even now, I am composing this from there. Perhaps the most interesting nugget about these bags is that more often than not, they start off pretty soft. We’re not talking Charmin two ply soft here. Rather, we are talking I’ve sinned this week and a little punishment for my sins kind of soft. This happens every so often when the malt company loads them on the top of the pallet and I swear my song is sung to the angels on high. Of course, there have been weeks were I sinned enough to banish those bags to the bottom of the pallet whereby, they were smashed under the weight of my indiscretions.

But I am here to tell you that these people in my “Sugar Sack Gang” are really smart. And I know, they know that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. Although a bag of rock hard sugar seems like less than a gift, it still has the ability to get two soles off the floor after a very long day and for that, I am thankful.

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