“Can’t we just take it home ourselves?”
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the way it worked. The brewery’s official corporate doctrine had to rule on its fate in their high courts of beer justice. I can see the horrible images formed in their brains when they learned the fate of the doomed truckload of beer.
The load was not totally destroyed, the truck rolled onto a grade so it was still relatively upright…we had high hopes it would be saved. We sent another truck over 300 miles and a rescue operation of epic proportions began. Our boys painstakingly loaded what could be saved of the 26 pallets of beer from the tipped truck onto the rescuer. Within a day, there was a half truckload of beer in our yard essentially in limbo.
The corporate folks couldn’t make a decision on what to do with it. The distributor wouldn’t take it and they couldn’t find anything else to do with it, so it sat. It sat and sat until it hit that certain date when a good beer is lost forever to skunk. We all knew it was a lost cause but we kept up hope until the day the call came and broke our hearts.
“What did they say?”
“They say we have to…to…..”
“Spit it out godamnit.”
The mood dropped like an anchor into a lake. The others looked like someone had just died as I sat in shock, muttering and dazed. A few hours later I watched out the window as they tossed the cases into the lot. Their expiration dates had passed and they were doomed, the brewery made us videotape them opening the trailer and destroying the beer so it was not resold or given away…to us…as hoped.
They ran the owner’s tractor over the cases for the better part of an hour; it was a horrible sight as well as sound. They were cleaning up the cases as I headed out to the parking lot, the air smelling like beer. I walked over to talk to one of the guys, lighting a cigarette before I headed home.
“Long day, huh?” I asked.
“Worst day of my life.”