Press 1 for a Human Being

We have always believed that our customers should be treated exactly as we want to be treated. This extends to how your calls to the Brewery are answered. It has long been our objective to have every phone call answered by a person… someone live and understandable… during our normal business hours.

It’s time to put faces and names to the voices of our dedicated employees who daily strive to ensure that every phone call to Grand Teton Brewing is answered by someone… and not a machine. It is through his or her commitment to customer service that you are able to talk with someone when you call us.

Oh, it has not always been easy for them. First they coped with a “new high tech” phone system that made certain they got plenty of exercise during the work day as they chased around the brewery looking for the person for whom a call was intended. Only problem with the system is that it did not serve to both have a caller on the phone and page someone to handle the call. As they endeavored to get the call routed correctly they chased around the brewery searching for the proper person.

Next we made a decision to switch phone service and moved to VoIP service. Yes, the phones had all of the required functionality… call handling, concurrent internal paging and efficient call forwarding and individual message boxes if the caller elects to simply leave a message. Only problem was that it dropped calls, intermittently lost connection and a number of other frustrating problems.

Not to be deterred from their desire to have a person actually answer every call, they hounded the phone manufacturer and our internet service provider until finally we achieved harmony between technology and our dedicated staff’s objectives.

Kathleen Hanson and Julie Levy (pictured) are the driving force behind our “every call is answered by a person” approach to providing the best possible experience when you, our customers, call Grand Teton Brewing to ask for advice, find our beer and soda, find directions and discuss ongoing business. We are blessed that they are part of our Team.

 

Fill ’em Up: Our New Bowl Level

Grand Teton fillerWith summer under way and our production way up, we’ve been bottling beer like crazy here in the Tetons.  We’re producing sixteen batches of beer a week, with two brewers working day and night, while bottling and kegging at least four days every week.  With all the added pressure our quality assurance program has kicked into full gear.  Many could argue that one of the most important jobs to monitor in our brewery is the amount of beer put into each twelve ounce bottle.

Even though our bottling filler can kick out 110 bottles a minute it does not go without the help of our dedicated team members.  After two people load glass bottles by the handful onto a conveyer, they are rinsed through a twist system before they make their way to the filler.  Using a Meyer bottle filler which was installed two years ago, the bottles are filled with one of our delicious brews and then turned out onto a conveyer at 110 bottles a minute.  For two years we have employed one person to run this Meyer filler, making sure the bottles are filled and capped correctly, while constantly watching the ‘bowl level’ positioned atop the filler.  The bowl should stay at a consistent level assuming everything is running smoothly.  However, if one bottle is missing, or the conveyor belt loading glass needs to be slowed down, the bowl level rises, leading to a potential filler failure.  At this point the beer is capped and then loaded into the labeler where each bottle receives a body and neck label.  From there two people assess each bottle, making sure there is an adequate fill in each, that the label looks sharp and  that it is capped correctly.  Each beer bottle is then hand packed and shipped off to be enjoyed!

Grand Teton Beer fillerLast week we added a new piece of machinery to the bottling line. We now have an automated system to maintain a consistent bowl level regardless of mistakes or setbacks.  For you all you mechanical engineers out there, this new device uses a float control manufactured by Jogler, and a wireless node made by Banner to gauge the level in the bowl.  These controls send a signal to the pump to slow down or speed up the filling process pump depending on the rate we are bottling. This system enables each bottle to be filled correctly without the constant eye of a person manning the filler, freeing him/her to assist at other stages of the line.

Our intent with introducing this new piece to our filler is to produce a more consistent product, by minimizing stops and starts and eventually filling at a greater speed.  Given how quickly our beer is selling, this was a wise investment!

Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Grand Teton Soda“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, those days of soda, and pretzels and beer!” Nat King Cole’s wonderful song from the summer of 1963 summarizes the feelings of all the employees here at Grand Teton Brewing.  The weather is warm, the flowers are blooming in our whiskey barrels, and tourists have started to flock to our pub.  Although this is the “busy” season for Grand Teton Brewing, employees can be seen with smiles on their faces as they speak about weekend adventures fishing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and mountain climbing (to name just a few).

This June we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our new Kettle Brewed Craft Sodas.  Grand Teton Brewing has been making award-winning Root Beer for the past 10 years, under the name Old Faithful Root Beer.  We also made small batches of Old Faithful Ginger Ale.  In January of 2011, we began a 6-month process of testing new recipes for three new sodas and creating a new package design.  The result is four sodas sold in attractive 4-pack cases, each soda label a different color:   Root Beer (our original recipe), Cream Soda, Mountain Berry, and Black Cherry.  Our sodas are made with pure Teton Mountain Spring Water and 100% cane sugar. They are also caffeine free.  Mountain Berry is brewed with a unique blend of huckleberries, blueberries and blackberries.  Black Cherry is actually a blend of both sweet and sour cherries.

To date, our sodas have been very well received by local retailers and local customers, as well as tourists who visit our pub.  Last July (2011) we shipped our first big order to the Associated Food Stores, Inc. warehouse in Salt Lake City.  Currently we are selling our soda line in over 100 Associated (Western Family) Stores in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.  You will find our sodas in many retail establishments in our own backyard of Victor and Driggs, Idaho, as well as Jackson, Wyoming.  In recent months, our beer distributors in Idaho and Wyoming have also taken on our soda line, selling the sodas in both grocery stores and restaurants in more outlying areas of these states. We continue to sell Old Faithful Root Beer and Old Faithful Ginger Ale in Yellowstone Park General Stores.  Store officials feel that the Old Faithful brand provides a nice souvenir for tourists in the park. For 2012 and beyond, our goal is to establish “deep roots” in the states around the brewery, to develop customer loyalty to our brands and to expand our soda line to other states where we ship our beer.

Our sodas are delicious – just ask any one of the employees in the brewery! Plus, they make terrific soda floats on a hot summer day. When you drink a frosted mug of our famous Root Beer, “you’ll wish that summer could always be here.” (Nat King Cole, 1963)