It’s dark. Partly because it’s too early even for the sun and partly due to the torrential downpour. Between the cold, the gloomy and my demonic alarm, it was especially difficult to get out of bed this morning. I stand in the rain outside the warehouse armed with some gas station coffee, trying to fit in. I look at the time — five minutes early. Proud of my punctuality, I trudge through the mud and inside expecting to be the first one there, but it’s 7 am — I’m late. As a Marketing Communications Specialist, I’m not used to this early start. But instead of scrolling through fan stories and writing blogs like this one, today I’m part of The Beer Guy. They deliver Lawson’s Finest Liquids to Vermont accounts each week and I’m along for the ride.
The warehouse is already buzzing with more energy than 1,000 cups of gas station coffee. The drivers pace the floor exchanging morning greetings and high-fives in a choreographed dance they know by heart. I follow The Beer Guy Driver Supervisor, Joe, around trying to keep up as he navigates whirring forklifts, snaps schedules onto clipboards and commands the garage doors. We load the beer into the truck. Well, he loads the beer. Even when I use a round-about rolling motion to spin the keg onto the ramp, there is no way I can get it all the way on the truck. I jump in the back of the refrigerated truck and Joe yells today’s orders so I can check inventory. Once we’re all set, I take a running start through the mud and jump in the cab of the Kenworth T600. Joe takes a lap around the vehicle to examine safety features, check the wheels and smile once more at our bright, yellow truck before we take off.
Rain hoods on, we hop out to deliver at a bar and inn. Joe hoists himself through the door of the big rig. He twirls the kegs around the maze of beer and effortlessly lifts each one from the truck to the dolly, slinging 140 lbs. of liquid gold through the rain without a mark on him. His signature sunny disposition lights up the entire inn even when lifting full kegs. The manager rewards us with some fresh muffins they baked for breakfast. It pairs perfectly with our gas station coffee.
Next stop is a liquor store. “Hey Joe!” the staff waves from behind the counter. We venture into the fridge and shimmy past the walls of beer. We check the bottom of every Lawson’s Finest can making sure it’s still in code. If there’s an IPA packaged 60 days ago, we pull it off the shelf. That guarantees the freshest beer for our fans.
We hop back in the cab and Joe crosses off the accounts we visited. Each scribble grants us a surge of instant gratification. The engine revs once again and Joe presses his fancy buttons in a pattern that’s become familiar. “13 accounts to go,” he says as we clink our gas station coffee cups and wish for better weather tomorrow.