My mentor, Seth Godin, seems to say a thing or two every year that really gets under my skin in the best of ways. It makes me feel uncomfortable and sometimes frustrated as I try to figure out what it means for me, us, the brewery. This year the message was “It’s not enough to do what you love, you must love what you do”.
Dave loves what he does – recipe development and execution, paying attention day after day to how the beer is fermenting, and serving it.
I love what I do – crafting the image of the brewery, providing a positive experience for guests, and mission driven work around social, economic and environmental justice.
That’s not, however, all we do.
There are tables, toilets, beer lines to clean. There are shows to book, floors to mop, garbage to take out. There is beer to can and bills to pay. There are emergencies to deal with such as bathrooms flooding. All the things that have to happen to make Gotahold Brewing what it is. They aren’t horrible, though they aren’t necessarily fun, either.
Love what you do.
In the slog of the things that are less enjoyable than doing what you love, loving what you do is generous. Will someone notice if the beer lines aren’t cleaned every two weeks? Will someone notice if we don’t steam mop the floors regularly? Vacuuming water that overflowed from the toilets, it helped to think of caring enough about our customers to not just slap an “Out of Order” sign up on the door and continue business as usual.
Operating with integrity has certainly made more work for us during this year of a pandemic.
Without a doubt I know not one person here – staff or volunteer – enjoyed wearing their mask properly the entire shift. There were days when the heat was miserable and as allergy season reared its head, the mask made it even more challenging to breathe. Never once did I go home after a shift that my throat wasn’t sore from having to speak louder to be heard through the mask. Every cleaner we have now makes me cough. And truth be told, taking temps sucks.
Yet… I am proud of us for doing all those things anyway. Knock on wood, none of us contracted COVID and we’ve never received a call from a contract tracer. Moreover, I know operating with integrity brought repeat customers we wouldn’t have had otherwise. We earned trust.
I am grateful to the cancer survivor who came here when chemo ended, to the ladies who gathered and sat 6’ apart because I know we are the only place they felt safe enough to gather, to the couple who joined us almost weekly for a game or three of backgammon.
I’m grateful for the gentleman who showed up for crowlers weekly and brought us cookies this week. I’m grateful for the many friends who showed up again and again and brought friends, championed for us, and help grow our business.
I’m grateful for the beer geeks who took a chance on us and haven’t regretted it yet (or at least their ratings say they haven’t!). Speaking of, I’m grateful for everyone who rated us and helped make us the #1 rated brewery in Arkansas on Untappd, for the 34 five star reviews on Google, the 41 five star reviews on Facebook, 17 five star reviews on Trip Advisor, and 10 five star reviews on Yelp (many of which I hadn’t seen until I looked it up for this blog – I’m blown away by what I read).
I’m grateful for everyone who generously donated tips and bought art to help us donate around $7,000 to nonprofit organizations in the first 7 months of being open.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the Northwest Arkansas Urban League Young Professionals on the Black Is Beautiful collaboration. That partnership motivated and inspired me to really reflect on my own complicit and devout racism. For me, I have placed exploration and intention to become more aware and do something about that part of myself as a core piece of 2021. With that, I look forward to our continued partnership to work towards a more just, equitable, and diverse community, region and state. While red and blue are fine colors, purple is more regal. Together we are better.
I am grateful for friends who pitched in. From painting to hanging things, leaf clean-up to building things Sean, framing pictures to cleaning tables, y’all made a huge impact.  Susan, Beth, Heather, Steve, Melinda, Lisa, Belen – THANK YOU! It’s a lot easier to love what you do even when at times you don’t like what you do when surrounded by the people we work with. And people like YOU.
I’m grateful for Belen and Kelsey who made my life easier on so many levels, lamented and laughed with me, kept me focused on being better always and almost always knew the answer to “where’s Dave?”
Chris Crider and crew… HUGE gratitude for bringing a vision to reality and making ever so slightly better than imagined and for putting up with me.
There are places that kept us fueled pretty regularly-
Bean Me Up
Cafe Amor
Oscar’s Cafe
Wall Street Eats
Sauced
Homestead Farms
Eureka Market
The Reed and Sorrano families
and we are ever so grateful to have places (and people) like this in our small town.
I’m grateful to our investors for trusting in us and supporting us knowing this year is nothing like we promised.
I am beyond grateful for Dave’s faith in me, his beer making skills, and his positive attitude, especially when I was struggling. I am so immensely proud of him.
We look back on 2020 with gratitude for all the wonderful experiences and memories. Hopefully, we can merely take with us into 2021 the lessons brought with the challenges and leave the rest behind. We’re looking forward to the new experiences the new year is sure to bring. We hope those include YOU.
May your new year be bright, healthy, joyful, love-filled and adventuresome. May you love what you do.
Love What You Do: Wendy’s Year End Review

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