WE DO NOT PLAN…

The Black Panthers would like a word with you, Rogue.

The Black Panthers would like a word with you, Rogue.

We generally don’t bash craft breweries here at Aleheads. We love the collegial, collaborative nature of the industry and other than the occasional faux-anger at something outlandish that Garrett Oliver, Greg Koch or Sam Calagione said, we usually save our vitriol for Anheuser-Busch InBev, MolsonCoors and SABMiller…three companies that don’t give a flying fuck about anything we say.

However, there is one craft brewery that the Aleheads just can’t seem to get behind…Rogue Ales. Once a darling of the craft beer world, their abhorrent work environment, lack of respect for their employees and patrons, and generally bland if not outright shitty beer has made them a big, fat target for beer geeks across the country. Sure, they’re still popular and ubiquitous, but their reputation has taken a massive hit in the past few years. Actually, our very first post, way back in the halcyon days of 2010 was entitled “Rogue is Overrated”. It’s long since been deleted as it wasn’t actually a post, just a statement of fact. The point is that our dislike of Rogue has been a part of the Aleheads DNA since our founding.

We’re definitely not alone. You can’t throw a bottle these days without hitting an article about Rogue’s beer being overrated if not downright awful. Rogue haters are legion. Search the Reddit boards, and you’ll find post after post decrying every facet of Rogue’s business model. Here are just a few.

Why Are Rogue Beers So Expensive?

Rogue, I am Disappointed.

“Free” Taste at Rogue.

How Rogue Treats its Employees.

Rogue’s Employment Page.

You can waste hours in the comments sections of these posts reading about people’s disappointment in Rogue…if not their outright hatred of the brewery. I would venture to say that Rogue has inspired more negativity than practically every other craft brewer in the country.

Despite the Aleheads dislike of Rogue, for the most part, we leave them alone. As I said above, we love the craft beer industry and there’s not much to gain from bashing a brewery…even if they deserve it. Except, sometimes something comes across your desk that you just can’t ignore. Over the weekend, Slouch sent out a Craigslist ad for an “IT Jack of All Trades” at Rogue. His subject heading was “This ad actually made me hate Rogue more.” It’s a priceless work…somehow distilling everything terrible about Rogue (except for how lousy their beer is) into a few choice paragraphs.

This morning, I went back to the ad to read it again and found that it had been removed by the author…presumably because of the backlash to its creation. Fortunately, there are image captures available of the offending post which we can share with you. As Slouch wisely noted, much like the North, “the internet remembers”. I’m sharing the text of the job listing below, along with my own comments. You may find this mean-spirited or childish. To the latter, I would say, hey, we’re childish. Most of our posts are peppered with poop jokes. We’re a terrible beer blog…lower your expectations. As for the former, I would suggest you talk with ex-Rogue employees about their experiences at the brewery. This job listing should give you a good sense of what they went through:

***********************

IT Jack of All Trades

Every IT person thinks they’re a Jack of all trades, it’s just how you define trades.*

*There are lots of ways to define the word “trade”. Let’s go with “to pass back and forth, as in trading jokes”. Every IT person thinks they’re a Jack of all passing back and forth.

In our case we define it very broadly…hardware, software, phones, internet, printers, managing the website and it’s content, point-of-sale servers and printers in the pubs, a little data entry and pulling records into the DB, lots of reports from the server, growing the database, extending the use of the DB, lots and lots of e-blasts.*

*Note: This really isn’t that broad a definition. It’s actually pretty much what you’d expect for an IT person at a small business. So far, this is all reasonable. Rogue is a small company and they need an IT professional to handle a variety of needs. No problem.

We are looking for a high energy person, a resourceful person, a flexible person. You run the show, alone. If any of the offices or 11 pubs need help, you need to help NOW.*

*OK…getting a little questionable. So you’re an IT department of one. You have to handle every IT issue that arises from phones to POS servers…and you’re expected to be on call and available at all times for what sounds like a dozen or more locations? Well, hopefully you’re being well-compensated.

We’ll work your behind off yet this is not a $50+k position. If you need that kind of money, PLEASE don’t apply, as that’ll waste a lot of time. You will not convince us.*

*Why not just write that you’ll be working for straight-up assholes instead? Because that’s how they come across here. Why even bother writing this dickishness? Couldn’t you just put the salary range in the ad?  And what’s with the “if you need that kind of money” statement? No one NEEDS $50K a year, but it sounds like they’re insulting anyone who expects fair compensation for work. And I hate the phrase “you will not convince us.” What if Bill Gates applied for the job and told you that he could revolutionize your IT department which would save you millions in lost revenue and increase sales ten-fold? I suppose that wouldn’t convince you? Seems like you’re shooting yourself in the foot by immediately turning away anyone with “experience” or “ability”.

The Rogue Nation is always on the lookout for hardcore unemployables.*

*This is not a good business strategy. But it does explain a lot about Rogue.

We hire revolutionaries who possess an unwillingness to follow the status quo. Rogue is a Revolution.*

*No. You’re a brewery. And not a very good one. True revolutionaries fight injustice and inequality in the world. They don’t brew juniper-flavored beer.

We go to the front of the fight and stay there.*

*What fight is that? The fight to be Oregon’s worst brewery? You already won!

We require humor, speed, creativity, dedication and thick skin. Did we say speed? Did we say thick skin?*

*Yes, you literally just wrote those things. But for some reason you didn’t repeat the words, “humor”, “creativity” or “dedication”. That leads me to believe that the most important qualities you need to survive at Rogue are reckless speed and an ability to absorb constant insults. Sounds fun!

Expect mischief, mayhem and chaos. Only those who are aggressive survive.*

*Will I die if I’m not aggressive? What do you do with Type B personalities? Turn them into Maple Bacon Doughnut Porter? And while mischief is acceptable in small doses…mayhem and chaos aren’t really things you brag about. I recognize that you’re trying to paint yourselves as bold visionaries, but you’re still a fucking business.

We do not plan, budget, forecast, or waste time on getting bigger. We only wish to get better.*

*My favorite part of the post. I wholly support the idea of a brewery focusing on getting better, not bigger. Lots of breweries hew to that credo. But things like “planning”, “budgeting”, and “forecasting”….yeah, I’m not going to lie to you, those are important. Who the fuck wants to work for a company that doesn’t plan for the future? Living in the moment is fine for a 16-year-old with a bag of weed. It’s not fine for a multi-million dollar business in a competitive industry with hundreds of employees.

You will be interviewed by a decision maker. Ties are not recommended for the interview, nor slacks or jackets, all of which are banned by our dress code — or would be if we had one.*

*Again, I understand that you want to portray yourselves as “alternative” thinkers, but you’re doing it wrong! Your “anti-establishment” restrictions are almost as bad as a place that DOES require a suit and tie every day. You’re just the opposite side of the same coin.

The following are banned words: great, excited, end-of-day, execute, throw down, great question, may I say something, may I ask a question, devil’s advocate, on one hand, in the long term, depends, synergy, build brand awareness, dude, Oh my god, spaced it, 24/7, close the loop, working on, ball in my court, on my radar, proactive, dear, reach out, same page, brain storming, in progress, behind the eight-ball, and others.*

*Look, I hate corporate double-speak as much as the next guy, but this is beyond idiotic. The word “great” is banned? The phrase “working on”? What the hell?

“Gary, how’s that IPA you’re working on?”

“Great, Dave…I’m excited to try it.”

“You guys are both fired.”

Who wrote this horseshit? Holden Caulfield?

Do not be offended if you do not get a form letter in response to your application. If we received it, it will be read and given consideration.*

*See, that’s why form letters are actually helpful, Rogue. So that the applicant knows whether or not you received their application. It’s common fucking courtesy.

We have no HR department…*

*Yeah…you should really look into that. HR departments are fairly helpful when you run a company that employs human beings. It’s one thing to not be able to afford an HR professional. It’s another thing to be proud of it.

…so may not have the answers you think we should have as a business. That’s because we are not…

*Well, at least we can agree on that. You’re not a business. You’re a bunch of dipshits that brew terrible beer.

…we are a revolution.

*You keep telling  yourself that, Rogue.

Barley

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30 comments

  1. Anonymous · ·

    Rogue has long been on our distribution list. As you point out, it represents largely a triumph of marketing over substance; and the prices are high; and the product is questionable. In PDX Rogue does perform one useful function in attracting a lot of clueless beer drinkers thus leaving us more space at the worthwhile ones.

    Perhaps the biggest indictment I came across was when chatting with someone at Hair of the Dog who had previously worked at one of the Rogue pubs, she described how she was reprimanded by the manager for telling one of the customers that a particular beer was bitter.

    1. Anonymous · ·

      I meant to say on our “do not patronize list” not distribution list.

  2. Anonymous · ·

    Considering they have won over twenty awards at the GABF, including multiple Gold Medals, to say that they make terrible beer is inaccurate, unless you are saying all the GABF judges for the last few decades are bad at beer tasting…..oh, and they have some of the highest rated beers on Ratebeer and Beeradvocate. You can say a lot of criticisms, or even that you don’t like their beer, but to say that their beer is shitty, considering all the facts to the contrary, makes the rest of your argument look weak.

    1. ^Nice work, Rogue PR. Just because they’ve won awards, in your own words, “Over the last few decades”, doesn’t indicate their current state at all. This comment is the exact type of BS displayed in the craigslist ad; making sweeping generalizations that if you believe that Rogue is bad then you’re automatically trying to discredit “all the GABF judges” over those decades.

      Also just so you know, Rogue does not currently have a beer in ratebeer’s top 50 or beeradvocate’s top 250

      http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/top-50/

      http://beeradvocate.com/lists/top

      over-sensationalizing and presenting things as fact with no evidence really makes your argument look weak

      1. Anonymous · ·

        I was wrong, I just remember the Shakespeare Stout being in the top ten a few years ago, and on Ratebeer their Chocolate Stout is Rated at 99

        http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/rogue-chocolate-stout/7177/

        so I figured it would be in the top, but they do it by user ratings. It is by style it is if you look for Stouts on beer advocate:

        http://beeradvocate.com/lists/style/158

        but I was wrong that it is not in the top list. And from what I have heard about Rogue if I was in their PR department making posts I would probably get fired. I just love their stouts. Oh well, you were right, I made broad generalizations.

        1. I actually have always liked Shakespeare Stout a lot. With that said, I probably haven’t had it in like 3 years because I hate their company so much.

  3. Anonymous · ·

    Taste is subjective and to me their beer generally tastes like ass. To each his own.

  4. Ties, as previously mentioned, are banned.

    Skateboards, on the other hand, are mandatory at all times. REVOLUTION!

  5. This is at least the 4th time over the last 3 years this job’s been posted…

    1. Clearly, previous candidates were not quite radical enough. They probably used words like “planning” or “working on” and were summarily dismissed.

      1. And didn’t use radical enough :(

        1. It’s really hard to find the right balance of how much radical is enough radical.

  6. “WattDickie is beyond innovation. This is alchemy and apothecary. There was no hypothesis here, no ‘grand plan’, just an innate need to see what was possible. We went to the limits of brewing and took a match to them. WattDickie shakes maniacally at the foundations of what’s expected of us and of everything around us. This is science fiction. It’s the dawn of a new era. Welcome to a strange new world.

    What we have here is not beer, but its alter-ego. This is Mr Hyde. This is the shiver down the spine of the grease-slick ad-man relying on people lapping up the ‘same-old, same-old’ from their sticky bottles of snake oil. This is a drink brewed by the misfits, for the misfits. It’s a beautiful, absurd experiment.”

    BrewDog press release, announcing 35% WattDickie ‘spirit’ 14/06/2013

    1. That’s a good rule of thumb: if you have to call yourself a rogue, or a rebel, or a revolutionary, or a misfit or an innovator, then you’re not one. The truth is, these press releases that are filled to bursting with “anti-establishment” cliches are as bad, if not worse, than the bland corporate double-speak we’re all used to. I mean…do true rogues and misfits even WRITE press releases?

      What’s the 14th month of the year, Rich? Smarch or Febtober?

      1. Anonymous · ·

        In the UK, the dates go DD/MM/YYYY, so that would have been posted June 14th, 2013

        But yeah, a ton of meaningless hyperbole. I really hate Brewdog’s marketing trash

        1. I’m aware…just taking the piss out of Rich and his silly day-first crap.

          1. Stupid Smarch weather…

    2. BrewDog is probably the only brewery that annoys me more routinely than Rogue. They’re also perhaps the only brewery more based on gimmickry than Dogfish Head.

  7. Anonymous · ·

    >> We’ll work your behind off yet this is not a $50+k position
    Actually, that IS a $50+k job…. You want an “IT Manager” with knowledge of everything but pay them what a standard help desk person makes? Good luck with that.

    1. gormster · ·

      When I first read that, I was confused – I thought they meant “this isn’t an entry level position”, like the pay would be much higher… until I re-read again and again, and realised that they actually expect this person to work for $40k a year.

      This is a $80k position at LEAST.

      1. Not on the Oregon coast.

  8. Anonymous · ·

    That’s hilarious that Rogue says they don’t have a dress code. There is a fairly well-known story among those who have worked for them or with them (I worked with them for about 2 years) about the CEO publicly terminating someone on a conference call because they weren’t wearing a Hawaiian shirt that day…

    …While they were working from home

    Ask around, I wasn’t on the call but I know 2 employees I trust who were on that call, and it sort of epitomizes all these articles above.

    1. Anonymous · ·

      The one and only time we visited Green Dragon in PDX, a cavernous iron shed albeit with tons of taps, owned in large part if not entirely by Rogue, we were introduced to the Hawaiian shirt nonsense to get free drinks or something. Really that is all you need to know.

    2. I want to hear this full story.

  9. […] and experience? Bitch please. This sounds like the Rogue I have heard other horror stories about. http://aleheads.com/2013/06/17/we-do-not-plan/#more-17219 __________________ A watched pot never boils. An unwatched pot always boils […]

  10. TastingNitch · ·

    Rogue recently lost all my love with their Voodoo donut collaboration. This culture thing is about respecting the beer foremost, even if they are shit at everything else, if they can made a good brew then I’ll write it off as nut case. Brewdog and Dogfish Head might be gimmicky, but the beers they deliver are polished if not highly likable.

    Voodoo donut ale was one of the worst beers I’ve ever had in craft beer world, including home brews. I was embarrassed to have ben sharing it with non craft beer drinkers who quickly decided that they didn’t like the extreme craft brewing movement- at all. Massive fail Rogue (and me for trusting in them, massive fail AGAIN.

  11. All of that for UNDER $50k?! Who the hell in their right mind would do that. I make $50k and I only have 6 clients!

  12. I couldn’t agree more but was largely unaware of some of their internal shenanigans. 8-9 years ago I was glad to have them around but I can’t say I’ve had anything from them (save for the occasional Hazelnut Brown or Santa’s Private Reserve) that I’ve remotely enjoyed. I’m embarrased to have mounted a full on Quest for Voodoo Maple Bacon Porter. It turned out to be awful and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale is no better. No more.

    In any event, they jumped the shark for good with that Beard Beer malarkey.

    Rogue Nation – please secede.

    Cheers!

  13. This post is great.

  14. This one post makes you my favorite beer blogger heroes, evah! To deconstruct all that simple ass hippie dippy fake ass rebel bullshit so completely made my beer day.
    Thanks!

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