Meanwhile …

Meanwhile, the employees of the tasting rooms are doing voluntary work

When our tasting rooms and all other cafes were forced to close, many of our staff suddenly found themselves with nothing to do. We decided to redirect all that time and energy into something positive and asked everyone if they would like to do voluntary work. And so people whose working lives usually revolve around our beer spent some time undertaking a variety of other activities instead. We asked a few of them how it went.

In better times, Lotte would be working behind the bar at our tasting room De Molen.

What have you done while the tasting room has been closed?
One of my activities was working for a food bank, together with another colleague. The food bank receives lots of clothes. We sorted the clothes and hung them up so that people could choose what they wanted. To be honest, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me. It was nice that many of the people who receive help from the food bank also do voluntary work there. We worked with two female volunteers who got their groceries there too. It was great to see this.

We also took senior citizens out for walks a few times. We would take them out in their wheelchairs for 30 to 45 minutes. Obviously I already knew that old people are lonelier these days, but it was quite heartbreaking to see how the coronavirus has changed their lives. Many of those people are quite isolated now and so you can really make contact in a short period of time. It was very rewarding.

Are there any particular things that you won’t forget?
One of the women we worked with at the food bank had a new grandson and she decided to look for something for him. Whereas I take it for granted that I can just go to a shop and buy something. She was sorting through other people’s hand-me-downs, saying: ‘Look, isn’t this nice! Lovely!’ It was wonderful that despite all the circumstances, something like that could make her so happy.

What do you miss about your regular work for the brewery?
I mainly miss the friendly atmosphere in the tasting room. Recently a colleague and I cleaned all the bottles above the bar – a pretty time-consuming task, by the way – and the place seems so empty, quiet, dark and deserted. Usually it’s buzzing with life. And I miss my colleagues of course. We’ve got a really friendly group and I quickly felt at home with them. Now we’ve not seen each other for two months. We did have a fun pub quiz online, but it’s not quite the same.

What’s the first beer that you’ll drink once the tasting room reopens?
I really love the Welcome bock beer, and it’s quite an appropriate name too. So I’ll have that. And a Natte and a Zatte of course.

In better times, Francis would be delivering our beers to cafes in Amsterdam.

What have you done while the cafes have been closed?
With my colleagues Silvijan and Colin, I still make lots of deliveries, but mainly for other parties. Hospitality businesses that need help with transport. For example, I’m about to deliver a couple of boxes of wine. But we also regularly carry musical instruments for an organisation in the south-east of Amsterdam. They have several centres for children who are interested in music. This work is easy to combine with the other jobs we do for the brewery.

Are there any particular things that you won’t forget?
The dedication of the people at that organisation. They work very hard to develop the children’s talents, which might otherwise go to waste. That really moved me. It’s lovely to see them talk so passionately about the children. And it’s rewarding to be able to help them.

What do you miss about your regular work for the brewery?
Just the friendly atmosphere in the cafes. Walking in, having a little chat and a drink. That’s not possible just now and it’s such a shame.

What’s the first beer that you’ll drink once the tasting room reopens?
Well it’ll definitely be an IPA. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Session, a Juicy or a regular IPA.

In better times, Peter would be working behind the bar at our tasting room De Molen.

What have you done while the tasting room has been closed?
I’ve been delivering meals to people who would normally visit a community centre in the east of Amsterdam. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, they can no longer go there. So I cycle from the Nieuwmarkt to the Dappermarkt, delivering hot meals and desserts. You’re carrying something invaluable: food! You ring the bell, go inside and people are delighted to see you. It doesn’t matter much whether people are picking up beer from you or receiving a plate of food from you. It’s an opportunity to have a little chat and it makes you realise the importance of social contact.

Are there any particular things that you won’t forget?
I went to drop off food with an elderly lady in Amsterdam’s Jordaan area. When she saw the salad, she said: ‘I’m not eating that, I’m not a rabbit!’ Luckily I had a meatball and potatoes too. ‘Oh that’s lovely,’ she said. ‘How sweet!’ She was absolutely delighted. So after I’ve delivered meals, I always come home in a good mood. Even though it just takes 60 to 90 minutes out of a 24-hour day. So I think I might keep doing this in future.

What do you miss about your regular work for the brewery?
The people who drop by for a drink. The friendly atmosphere, the buzz. Swerving through the bar balancing all those glasses. The team, who help you get the job done every single time.

What’s the first beer that you’ll drink once the tasting room reopens?
A draught IJndejaars! I haven’t had one yet this year because of the shutdown. We’ve missed out, just like we’ve missed out on bock beer. So yes, a draught IJndejaars. That’s the one I like the most.

Meanwhile ...peter
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