Disappointing…from IBEW local 159:
The South Central Building Trades Council held an information picket in front of the new Ale Asylum Brew Pub being constructed on Packers and International Lane. Dave Boetcher and Joel Kapusta were there for IBEW 159. The Ale Asylum and the general contractor on the job, CSI, have used predominantly nonunion labor to construct the project. The electrical contractor is Hills Wiring of Baraboo, which is nonunion. One of the employees of Hills Wiring actually came out to take a picture of the protesters. We took his picture because it is illegal to use intimidation, such as taking pictures of picketers, to try to stop such job actions. We expect to be increasing such actions around the Madison area to raise more awareness of businesses that receive taxpayer help (Ale Asylum is on county land with a lease program) should hire contractors that pay decent wages.
It’s especially disappointing to see a craft brewery go for the lowest possible price over quality. Why? Because the entire microbrewery industry works because people will pay more for craft beer because it has a higher quality and a real connection to the community. Sure, you can get lots of Bud light real cheap, but is it quality beer? And wouldn’t you rather buy interesting and high quality beer from the brewery right down the road? I would. And Ale Asylum makes good beer.
Or as this article states: Can beer save America?
In the last few years, small brewers have filled the vacuum left by macrobrewers, specifically marketing higher-priced products based on premium quality and taste. It’s been a wildly successful endeavor. 2011’s sales results tell that story: In a year that saw an overall decline in the beer market, the craft brewing industry increased its year-to-year sales by 15 percent and substantially grew its share of the total market. And here’s the key stat: according to the Brewer’s Association, “craft brewing sales share in 2011 was 5.7 percent (of the total beer market) by volume and 9.1 percent by dollars.”
That gap between share of total volume and share of total dollars generated is the high-price/high-quality/low-volume business model at work. Basically, craft brewers are generating a much larger share of beer revenue than they are contributing to the overall volume of beer in America — meaning that, contrary to previous trends, a growing share of consumers are willing to pay more for less, as long as the product is the comparatively higher-quality product that craft brewers provide.
Update Ale Aslyum posted the following to their Facebook page:
Inmates: This is long, but important and is our response to recent posts regarding construction. Please read on.
Some people say to leave this situation alone. We choose to engage because we care about our community. Anyone who knows us knows this. HOWEVER, nobody has even told us a specific complaint. For what it’s worth, here is a list of union contractors working on our building (which is not even ours. We’re just leasing it from the owner, who is responsible for construction):
-Middleton Construction – Concrete
-Pertzborn Plumbing – Sprinklers, Plumbing
-Fabcon – Wall manufacturing and Erecting
-Reynolds Transfer – Rigging and Erecting
-KHS – Brewery Equipment
-Superior Rigging – Equipment Transfer, Erecting
We asked for bids from union contractors for electrical and never heard back from them. Hopefully that means they’re crazy busy.
We pay our staff at the upper tier for industry salaries, offer benefits, paid vacations, pay 3X the minimum wage for tasting room employees… In other words, we respect our workers and treat them as we wish to be treated.
This is an important topic to say the least. With so many people up in arms over this, could someone please have the person/group responsible for the protests contact me (Otto Dilba) at Ale Asylum? It’s hard to accurately respond to your impassioned posts without even knowing the source of the complaint!
We love beer. We love our inmates. We love our community. My father was in a union for my most of my life. The paper mill he worked at went on strike when I was a child, financially choking our family for the better part of a year. The idea we wouldn’t give ample opportunity to union workers for our build out is upsetting on a personal level and makes my heart hurt.
Love the passion, need some clarity. And a beer.
Vice President, Ale Asylum
Categories: | Labor | Madison | Media | Solidarity