New year, new blog. Happy 2023!
I've been promising to write more emails to our Commerce Street buddies since 2021, and I think I actually wrote fewer than ever in 2022. [sad face] It's not that I didn't want to, or didn't try... it's just that my intentions always seemed to end up in the "too hard to handle" pile. I managed to agonize over so many relatively inconsequential details that the details overtook the entire effort. So this year, I'm resolving to agonize less, and "just do" more.
Starting with this post...
I've never been one much for New Year's resolutioning. I don't particularly enjoy staying up late, and calendar page-turning never seemed to me like it warranted a holiday (let alone a holiday, plus a holiday-observance day, as was the case this year).
But this year, I had an epiphany. (In the non-religious sense, of course, since the wise men are still not due to arrive for a few more days. haha) But as I was saying... I had an epiphany on NYE while chatting with one of 0ur regulars. I realized that I probably resented New Years and its attendant reveling and resolutioning because resolutions are such blatant reminders of a year's worth of failures. Should I resolve to exercise more this year when I gave up in February last year? Do I dare promise to drink less this year while I chug my midnight champagne? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
And then it occurred to me... NYE doesn't have to be a time to dwell on failures. It should be a time for reflection on accomplishments and successes! So in that spirit, I'd like to raise a glass with you to a few meaningful accomplishments of 2022 (in no particular order):
Trivia league. Holy cow, we created something genuinely fun and entertaining last winter. Created from nothing more than a few notebooks, a lot of googling, a karaoke microphone, and the can-do spirit of a handful of awesome volunteers. I'm so glad we made the effort and took the chance to do it!
A year with no closures. After a year or two of worldwide pandemic and labor-related business closures that were so frequent they were almost predictable, we managed to reopen on October 1st, 2021, and not miss a single day by the time October 1, 2022 came around! Can we please raise a glass to life feeling almost normal again?!?!
House beers on tap all year round. It seems like the business gets so crazy around here as we head into the fall, I start to run out of daylight hours and the pub starts to run out of house beers. One year, by year's end, we'd actually run out of house beer completely! As a brewery owner and beer lover, that is incredibly sad. But this year, we somehow ended the year with five of our own beers on tap, and we had a decent seasonal rotation throughout the year. Hear hear!
The Great Taste. OMG, I've been trying to get our brewery into the Great Taste of the Midwest beer festival since my first day as an owner. We got shut out a couple times and the pandemic shut almost everyone out for a couple years, but in 2022, we not only made it to the Midwest's best outdoor beer festival, our booth was staffed by a superstar crew of volunteers who got the word out that Commerce Street belongs on the beer map!
Betty White (RIP). What can I say? When I learned that Betty White passed away at age 99 on the final day of 2021, I was not surprised, but nevertheless heartbroken. But what happened next was so amazingly unpredictable, I still live in a bit of a state of denial. We went viral! And we raised $6,500 from local friends and strangers around the world for local no-kill animal shelters! Oh yeah, and I came out in a national newspaper. NBD. [winky face]
We survived. Holy [expletive]! This business has changed so much in the last three years, both extrinsically and from within. Besides everything you've heard a million times about the impact of the pandemic, we upended 20-some years of tradition with a new pub concept and a much smaller workforce, spent tens of thousands of dollars to replace aging equipment and furnishings, and rebooted our hotel rooms with loads of luxurious new amenities... and somehow, we're still here! And to be honest, I'm cheating a little by calling that an accomplishment. You are responsible for our continuing existence and success. The team and I are grateful for your support beyond words. Thank you so much for keeping us going.