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.
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.