Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's the end of an era on Friday at the Pizzeria & Public House.

I will be at the NABC Pizzeria & Public House at lunchtime tomorrow (New Year’s Eve) 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. It was the subject of my Wednesday Weekly column 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 brand new year are images from the past, which are becoming very dim in the rearview mirror. That’s 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.

Those who know me best always say that it isn’t necessary for me to try to explain myself; it invariably gets me into trouble, 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, and so when it comes to making policy changes like implementing a smoke-free workplace and radically reforming the guest beer program – simultaneously – there is a rigorous self-examination prefacing the public’s knowledge of the new direction.

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

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. I’m grateful for the wake-up call. If you are out and about at lunchtime on Friday, December 31, I’ll be smoking a cigar at my own bar for the last time, so 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

... Typical New Year’s resolutions are also relevant to state government ...

... Quit smoking: 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.

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