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The Shifty,Episode 4: Bottling the Midnight Oberon - catching up with our Third Shifters

In our fourth episode, we got up at the crack of dawn to speak with a few of our third shift packagers. Because we distribute so much beer around the country, we need to be brewing 24 hours a day. Our packagers come in at 10 p.m. and typically work until 7 a.m.

We talked with Josh Seman, Brenden Wimes, and DeMeyer White about what a day-to-day for them looks like, and the multiple roles they fill as they work throughout the night.

The Shifty can be found on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. We’re hoping this series will give you a fun look at Bell’s that you’ve never had before, and you might even learn a thing or two along the way.

 

Transcript

DeMeyer White: I heard of morale, everybody here would be like oh the morale's down we need to figure out something to do about morale but I worked there before morale was payday, like. Oh you don't feel good today? You're fired.

Nick Lancaster: For this special episode of the Shifty, we tried something a little different. At Bell's, we work around the clock. We have people brewing beer, packaging and filling kegs throughout the night. We sat down and spoke to Josh Seman, DeMeyer White, and Brenden Wimes, three of our third shift employees.

Maddie Parise: At six a.m the number of employees on the campus is scarce. Save for the third shift packagers and some of our housekeeping staff whom you hear vacuuming in the background throughout the episode, it’s pretty quiet. I'm Maddie.

Nick: And I'm Nick, and today we're diving into the work life of third-shift packagers at Bell's Brewery.

Maddie: A day or night in the life of a third shift employee can vary greatly. Brenden gave us a brief rundown of how a shift starts.

Brenden Wimes: What we do is, we come in around 9:45, we'll check in, go through our shift change meeting with second shift, that can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, by that time they should be off the floor or they'll wait for us to get on the floor then leave. After that, we'll actually do like a five minute stretching period and then we'll get on with our day.

Nick: And then it's off to work. We asked DeMeyer, Josh and Brenden what exactly it was that they did and they told us that their routine after the meeting and stretching could change quite a bit.

Josh Seman: The shift leader normally sets us up with different positions, like different machines to run or put you on the line so when you come out you'll do handoff with the last shift, say like any issues that are going around, what to look out for, kind of how far they're in and everything like that and they you'll go off. So you'll split between bottling, cardboard, depal, the filler, the labeler. It's different on each line, but everyone kind of has their own position and you run that for the day. Sometimes you rotate depending on the shift or what line you're on. The keg line rotates every two hours. With bottling, a lot of times you'll stay in the same spot all day and then you'll rotate weekly and go on to learn a new position. People are training and you go to a new spot and you kind of get rotated through that way.

Maddie: They wear a lot of different hats while on shift. Some days they have to manage forklifts. Others, the keg line.

Brenden: With third shift, there is significantly less people around the building so it kind of makes it hard for any line on third shift to get as much support as they would throughout the day. None of us on third shift have shipping or handling to help us run forklifts at night so that kind of lies on us. So I guess we have a little more workload and a little more job specifications.

Josh: You have more work load but you also have a little more freedom I feel like on third shift. You don't have as many people around and tours coming through or driving a forklift and worry about people that don't know the building. You don't have to worry about as much traffic so when you're, there's a lot of stuff that you are able to do more and drive forklifts is an example or traffic around the building but you have way less going on to do it so it is easier and if you have to go down and get something normally not as big of a deal. There's not as many people in the way. Say the ramp, you don't have three lines running at the same time, shipping, sending out sixty trucks a week or whatever and then all their guys, people coming through and tours. A lot of stuff is easier that way and everybody knows each other on third shift because there is significantly less people so you have a better comradery across the line. You feel like you know all the lines.

Nick: Another issue the team faces is trouble shooting the machinery of the new bottling hall.

DeMeyer: I'd say since we have the bottling hall is fairly new, its very different from the old bottling hall. It's a lot more mechanical. It has a lot more services. It's a lot more technical I'd say. It's harder to learn as far as keeping it running and our maintenance is new to it so I think that's the most challenging part, is us getting to know our machines and getting them to perform like we want them to perform.

Maddie: Can't get enough of Bell's brewery? Find us on social media. Get the latest announcements and sneak peaks in whichever feeds you like to scroll through best.

The three of them also mentioned the importance of the sense of camrodery that they have with each other and their coworkers.

DeMeyer: I come to work because I have family to take care of but I also don't mind coming to work. I have a bunch of guys that I work with that I enjoy working with every day. We all have the same goals, to come in and get the job done, run beer. We know we have a great product to sell. I like working with my friends every day. It's not almost like work all the times. Sometimes you get to go to work and you get to hang out with guys you get to hang out with every day. So like, me and these guys we hang out even when we're not. So it's not always just work. It's a very family-oriented place to come to.

Nick: The culture of Bell's also plays a big role in what's enjoyable for the team about their job.

Josh: A lot of people who work at Bell's, want to work for a brewery and want to do that specifically. You get that vibe that people want to be here, that they want to do this. To me a lot of that I've seen that I have never had at a different work before something like people actually, I know people literally have gotten jobs here on purpose, they've always wanted to get a job at a brewery and at Bell's specifically and that something you don't see at other places. You get that feel from people. They enjoy it. They love being here, they love the beer, they love everything about the beer and the process of making it and making it and packaging it and all that. I feel like it is very unique.

DeMeyer: I'm a little older than them guys so I've had lot more jobs, so I think what Larry and Laura did as far as setting up the family environment, I see people that I work at Bell's with, I might not even see them every day because I work third shift, but I might see them somewhere out and their like “Hey DeMeyer!” Everybody knows everybody. It’s so family oriented, it's like you're respected, appreciated and you know, their happy you here. Sometimes you have a job, sometimes you're just a number, you're just this person that you go and you work and you never even know the people you work next to, you never even talk to them. No one’s concerned about what's going on in your life besides work but get the work done. It's totally different here. It's been so hard getting used to that. You would think that it didn't exist but Bell's is so different as far as being respected and treated well at work. It's a great place to work.

Maddie: The culture in comradery isn't the only thing that these three love about their jobs. They also appreciate the perks that come with being a Bell's employee. One of these perks is the reward of impacting someone’s life with the work you do.

DeMeyer: People work hard all week, and you might have struggles this week, or you might have a great week. But when you're off work, and you get that six pack and you get that steak on the grill, you get to sit down and you pick up that beer and I can say, you know what, I got that for him. I got that for her. Days, her day where she gets to sit down and relax and have a cold beer. I like being a part of that. I like being a part of people’s good day and peoples bad day.

Nick: Another perk is the employee benefits that the team enjoys.

Josh: You go places and you get a beer and you look and see, oh I was actually on that shift that packaged that.

DeMeyer: That's gonna be a great beer, I did that one.

Josh: You did that one. You know its good and people are excited you work there and it's fun to talk about and go home and that's something you don't really see in other places.

DeMeyer: I heard of morale like, oh the morale's down we need to figure out something to do for morale. I worked there before morale was payday. Oh you don't feel good today, well you're fired. So, it's a big difference between a lot of places. We get free beer, we get bonuses, and we get Christmas presents. And it's a good Christmas present. It's not just a Christmas present, but a good Christmas present.

Brenden: The Christmas presents are amazing.

DeMeyer: Awesome.

Maddie: The work that is done while the rest of us are sleeping can often go unnoticed. As we enjoy good nights rest, people like DeMeyer, Brenden and Josh are packaging the beer we'll drink the next day. A process which they get a lot of enjoyment from as well.

Nick: Thank you to our guest for staying up even later for this interview and for the work that they do at Bell's. I'm Nick.

Maddie: And I'm Maddie. This has been a Shifty. Cheers.

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