It’s the end of an era and a new world order on Friday at the Pizzeria & Public House.


(Edited from yesterday’s posting at my PC blog)

I will be at the NABC Pizzeria & Public House at lunchtime today (December 31, New Year’s Eve) for the express purpose of smoking a cigar, because when we reopen for business on Monday, January 3, ours will be a newly minted smoke-free facility. We first made the announcement in August …

The NABC Pizzeria and Pub will be smoke-free as of January 1, 2011.

… and now the appointed time finally has arrived, although in an odd, seemingly premature way. The impending change also was the subject of my Wednesday Weekly column at Potable Curmudgeon last week: Wednesday Weekly: Sadness at the passing of a regular habit?

Transitions of any sort are challenging, and I think way too much – always have, and probably always will.

Just the same, the overwhelming motifs in my consciousness as we prepare to move forward into a new year are elegiac images from the past, which are becoming increasingly dim in the rearview mirror. That’s largely because in 2011, NABC will be doing its level best to reinvent itself in a future tense, and to some extent, history will be both made and relegated. I’ve never been as disgusted with the old year, or more excited about a fresh beginning.

Those who know me best always say that it isn’t necessary for me to perpetually spin my wheels in an effort to explain myself, as it invariably gets me into trouble (as with the Wednesday Weekly mentioned above), but it’s something I can’t turn off.

As much as I might like to qualify it, the fact remains that the beer business with which I’ve been associated for almost twenty years always has been an extension of my own personality — crusading, campaigning, heart pinned to sleeve, forever flapping my jaws and being forcibly rejected every now and then — and so when it comes to making policy changes like implementing a smoke-free workplace and radically reforming the guest beer program, and doing both of them simultaneously, there is a rigorous self-examination preceding and prefacing the public’s knowledge of new direction.

Which is to say: These matters impact me, too.

It took years to come to grips with both of the biggies on the business horizon.
A seismic shift in my professional “beer life” commenced about three years ago, and the aftershocks finally have awakened me to the next phase, to where I need to be, and where I hope many of us are heading. It seems to me that a full circle has been traveled, and I’m grateful for the wake-up call.

If you are out and about at lunchtime today, I’ll be smoking a cigar at my own bar for the last time, so come and join me.

As a postscript, the smoke-free workplace may soon be a statewide phenomenon. In his most recent column in the New Albany Tribune, State Representative Ed Clere had this to say:

CLERE: Session will require resolve from all

… A statewide smoking ban seems inevitable. Indiana is among a dwindling number of states that do not have some type of statewide ban. Support for a ban appears to be growing. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has made a total ban on smoking in the workplace one of its 2011 legislative priorities, and earlier this month, Gov. Mitch Daniels said he would sign a ban. First, of course, the legislature would have to pass one, and the Senate has snuffed out recent attempts.