18 Jan Congratulations: Making Partner – Alex Montelbano
It was midnight on October 18th, 2015 when Mike and I got a shocking resignation email from the Bar Manager we had just hired. He was a well respected Bar Manager in the industry, and we had spent the last week training him. Unbeknownst to Mike and myself, he had also been working as a Pastor who counseled people with alcohol delinquencies. And while Mike and I wholeheartedly respected that dedication (when we found out), the last minute resignation from his newfound conflict-of-interest put us in a terrible bind. We had just finished 6 months of construction and renovations, and October 19th (the next day) was our first all-staff training for 45 new hires. And the Bar Manager we had just hired to help train our new “Brew Crew” for our Grand Opening on Oct. 26th was gone. Holy sh*t…. what now?
Earlier in 2015, I had consulted for Quad AleHouse & Gaslamp Tavern in downtown San Diego. In addition to helping design their bars and beer programs, I helped hire the original staff. While doing so, I received a call from Dave Adams, National Sales Director for Green Flash Brewing Company. He told me about one of his students, Alex, who was going to come interview. Alex had recently graduated from the San Diego State Craft Beer Certification Program, but was coming to interview with no actual bar or restaurant experience. The only real-life experience he had was 7 years in the Navy (awesomely respectable). Dave asked me to give Alex a chance because he was a workhorse and fast-learner. And he didn’t disappoint. Alex was offered and accepted the position of barback in April 2015 for Quad AleHouse & Gaslamp Tavern. He came in early and stayed late, studied and asked a lot of questions. He kicked ass and was the fastest barback I’d ever seen. There was something different about him; he had a special drive to improve, learn and improve some more.
My consulting contract with QA & GLT ended in June, 2015 because they were fully operational. But Alex and I still kept in touch. During our 3 months working together, Alex had approached me with an interest in opening his own brewery, so I gave him business plan templates, and he started writing down his ideas. We stayed in touch, and I followed his progress. In August, Alex let me know he had left Quad & GLT to work at 32 North Brewing Company. He wanted to learn more about commercial brewing systems to supplement his own business plan. While there, he was promoted from Beertender to Tasting Room Manager in only 2 months.
So what did we do at midnight on October 18th? After receiving the resignation email, we called Alex. He drove over to the ‘almost-ready’ Brew Project at 12:30am that night, and we had the Bar Manager Offer Letter ready for him. He signed. In the last 15 months, Alex has worked tirelessly to better The Brew Project and worked his way up to General Manager. That being said, Mike and I are proud to announce that we’ve officially made Alex Montelbano a Partner in The Brew Project. We’re stoked to have him aboard as we work on expanding to new locations and turning his business plan into a reality.
Congratulations to Alex, his wife Chiharu, their puppy Porter, and their new baby on the way!
Beau & Mike