On the Job with Zi Long
Zi Long is Manager Intern at the 1869 Tap Room in the Purdue Memorial Union, Purdue University.
Do you see any unique challenges related to managing a union pub as opposed to a pub elsewhere?
Managing a draft beer bar on campus is very different from managing bars elsewhere. Since we are a bar on campus, we can’t advertise or recommend that people consume alcohol in ways that most bars do. Instead, we focus on the educational part of fermentation to draw more people into the Tap Room. We often host events with small businesses to explain how fermentation works and how the business produces its products. We had Circle City Kombucha and Smoking Goose Meatery as partner businesses for the fermentation education series last semester.
What training do you and your staff receive specific to working in a pub or bar environment?
Of course, all staff have to train with state alcohol and tobacco commission for their permit and server training certification. We also train our team on credit card and cash handling, and they have armed robbery training. All student employees go through an orientation where we emphasize customer service. Bartenders get paid with both hourly wages and tips, which can be more than other jobs for the service industry. Bartenders get paid more for a reason; they are not just pouring beer and bringing fries to a table. Bartenders have to have a solid knowledge about the taps we offer and be good at making conversations with our guests.
What about your pub makes it stand out?
We don't ferment our own beer at the 1869 Tap Room, but we only tap beers from in-state breweries. Four out of eight taps are from People’s, which is a local brewery in Lafayette. The Boiler Gold Golden Ale is the only official Purdue beer and is our top seller. We try to keep the Tap Room “weird” by tapping beers that are uncommon and not from the most popular Indiana breweries. For example, we don't carry anything from Sun King or Three Floyds because you can walk into any bar in Indiana and get
What interesting programs or events has your pub offered?
We’ve done events for different university departments, retirement parties,
fermentation education series, holiday parties, pre- and post-show for concerts, live music, trivia, painting events (“Pints and Paintings”), or beer/wine tasting events. My personal favorite program is our Facebook social media program called the Humans of Tap Room. The Humans of Tap Room is a photography program that is made in honor of the Humans of New York. We take photos of our bartenders and frequent or new guests, and put their quotes with the photos.