“Anyone who comes on board must have either a very good knowledge of craft beer, or a very good knowledge of hard work,” Jason says.
Keeping up to date with beer is just one part of the employee equation. A well-rounded skillset is necessary, so staff go through three weeks of training before beginning in stores.
“A lot of craft beer places want to hire a lot of craft beer geeks, which of course we do too,” Jason explains. “But we also want someone who understands retail and customer service.”
Some customers want to explore the store on their own. Some people want to have long talks about beer, or spend an hour going through every country’s offerings. Others will come in and out in a hurry. Half Time employees are well
prepared for all scenarios. The personal reward is in experience and fellowship.
“If you want to work in the craft beer world, then you can work for one of the largest craft beer retailers,” Jason says. “We’ve had employees from day one, who’ve now been here for thirteen or fourteen years.”
“This is a family business, and everyone working for us is like family,” he adds. “We have holiday parties together. We hang out and volunteer together on the weekends. Whether you’re at work or off work, there’s a camaraderie that exists among everyone.”
Considering Half Time’s past and present, it’s no surprise that the company intends to expand. Additional Hudson Valley locations are planned for coming years.
The chain will also grow digitally. According to Google, Half Time already has the internet’s most visited beer website, Jason says. The goal is for the website to become more of an e-commerce platform. It will sort beers into easily searchable categories, further helping customers narrow down to what they like.
Half Time will also produce beer of its own. The company recently purchased Matthew Vassar Brewing Co., a major U.S. brewery from the 19th century. The aim is to restart
Opening a brewery would be another considerable undertaking for a business that excels at both large-scale projects and attention to detail. With lofty goals backed by a knowledgeable staff and a dynamic father-son duo, the future looks bright for this growing chain.
Kyle Swartz is associate editor of Beverage Dynamics Magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 855-8499 ext. 225.