Short’s Brewing Co. employees have had enough.
Like many restaurants and brewpubs across Michigan, the Elk Rapids-based brewery’s popular Bellaire brewpub has faced a slew of vitriol from customers who are angry about the pub’s new mask and distancing rules since reopening its dining room in late May.
The Bellaire brewpub took to Facebook on Thursday night to explain what employees have had to endure since returning to work: Customers cussing at them, yelling at them, laughing in their faces, threatening bad reviews and bringing them to tears, all while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic that so far has sickened tens of thousands of Michiganders and killed thousands of others.
“It’s time to STOP. Enough is enough already,” the brewpub posted. “To all of the customers who have swore at us, yelled, laughed in our faces, threatened negative reviews, name-called, belittled and brought us to tears, we are done. We’re here to tell you that we stand with all of our staff and we will not tolerate this behavior at our pub. Our staff deserves better.
“We are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons. We might not be yours, but we are somebody’s and deserve the respect you would want for your own. We are your servers, hosts, bussers, and kitchen crew. We’ve had enough of the bullying the to light during the time of COVID.”
More: Short’s teams with marijuana company to make edibles, beverages
Short’s reopened the Bellaire brewpub in late May, shortly after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer allowed bars and restaurants in northern Michigan (and later the rest of the state) to reopen at 50% capacity with strict mask, social distancing and sanitation guidelines. This forced restaurant and brewery owners and staff across the state to adjust dining room rules and regulations, largely on the fly as they scrambled to reopen.
“We will not be bullied,” the Facebook post from Short’s continued. “We bust ours to give you a killer experience. We understand how frustrating waiting for food or dealing with lines can be, but we are also constantly working to streamline our business levels with this new system. Changes have happened overnight and day by day for all of us.
“We ask that you please be patient with us and remember that you aren’t talking to just a server or manager, you are talking to another human being with feelings. Our management team is aware that issues arise and is willing to listen, think and make changes to ensure an awesome Short’s experience for our guests.”
The post has since gone viral, with more than 5,000 Facebook shares and more than 13,000 reactions, many from customers who expressed support and understanding for the employees at Short’s.
“I was so impressed by what you are doing that I bought a 6 pack and I don’t even drink beer,” one commenter said.
“Thank you for caring so much about your awesome staff. No one deserves to be harassed or abused just for doing their job,” another said.
Short’s Brewing Co., founded in 2002 by Joe Short, is one of Michigan’s largest breweries, with distribution across Michigan and to multiple states across the Midwest. It’s known for several popular flagship beers such as the fruity Soft Parade (7.5% ABV) and the hoppy Huma Lupa Licious (7.7% ABV), and its Bellaire brewpub, which opened in 2004, has made its mark as an extremely popular northern Michigan destination.
Though its operation is larger than most Michigan brewers – Short’s sold a 19.9% stake to Lagunitas Brewing Company, owned by Heineken, in 2017 in a bid to support expansion of its growing business – it’s not invulnerable to the struggles of American breweries during the pandemic, several of which have had to close for good as they were already operating on razor-thin margins.