On the Job with Rob Cowen
Rob Cowen is the Co-Owner of Falling Sky Brewing, Falling Sky Pizzeria , in the Erb Memorial Union at University of Oregon.
Do you see any unique challenges related to managing a union pub as opposed to a pub elsewhere?
The only really challenge is the intense changes in traffic flow. Since schedules can be very similar across the university, we have to make special accommodations for concentrated rushes. We love this problem, though! As far as alcohol service, there really is not a big difference from our other locations. Since we don’t cater to any irresponsible drinking and we don’t offer any nonpremium or very inexpensive options, we really haven't had any problems maintaining control over our space.
What training do you and your staff receive specific to working in a pub or bar environment?
All of our staff receives extensive alcohol service training when hired and on an ongoing basis. We are part of the Oregon Liquor Commissions Responsible Vendor Program, which requires us to give additional training to all of our staff on a quarterly basis.
What about your pub makes it stand out?
We brew up to 90 unique beers a year. Between our three restaurants we will serve up to 25 different beers at one time. We also make everything from scratch, including all our sodas, our condiments, we bake all of our bread, we smoke and cure most of our meat, and we have a pastry chef for all of our desserts. At our pizzeria we ferment our dough for two days to give it a much better texture and finished quality. We also use local farms whenever feasible.
What interesting programs or events has your pub offered?
We hold our World’s Shortest Bike race every year to promote biking for the sake of biking. This year, on September 23, it is going to be 12.75 feet. You ride the race, you get a free T-shirt, and you drink some beer. If you blink during the race, it’s over.