Happy 20 years, Toronado

Last Saturday the Toronado in San Francisco celebrated its 20th Anniversary. It’s noteworthy for several reasons relevant to those invested in creating value and meaning from their work.  I’ll close with a tribute and offer these best practices for digital marketing learned through the beer-goggle lenses of this outstanding establishment: 

  • Taste what you serve. Not asking you to partake without a critical mind and discernment, but you should get a feel for your user’s experience through first-hand knowledge
  • Be from the community. You don’t have to fake it when you are from the community you seek to engage. At a minimum, listen, learn and respect the community
  • Quality first; Questions Later. The Toronado will not serve a beer they feel has gone bad for any reason. That’s not about profit, it’s about principles
  • Culture can drive ambiance. The culture at Toronado is void of pretense and class—in a social sense, not strata-related. Beer is a great equalizer and the simple setting accentuates that focus. It’s the culture in this bar that creates the lasting impression and ambiance
  • Follow your passion and they will find you. Not just field of dreams, a community will find those bearing the torch for truth and in turn you may find your genius:

 To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,—— and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay on Self-Reliance 

  • Less of More. Look at their tap selection and you’ll think you’re renting beer from Netflix. Hmmm, there’s a thought

 This little bar in “Lower Haight” is home to free thinkers and miscreants, radicals and dilettantes, brewers and brewsters in need of a place to tap their latest expression. World travelers find their way here and lift a glass to those that care. The bathrooms celebrate the scatological and erudite musings of the beerigencia—possibly the best restroom walls in the city. Dave Keane, founder and owner, could have opened a music venue—probably would have been on par with CBGB—but chose the brewer’s art to showcase instead. Before there was a slow food movement, Dave was promoting real beer through: the diversity of quality beer available in one place; his extraordinary care in clean taps; events such as a barleywine festival and Belgian Beer Week that have become world-renowned; a kick-butt jukebox; surly but informed and passionate help. And as a reward for his dedication he’s recognized as one of the world’s finest publicans. Happy 20th Dave and Jen. Here’s to many more.

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