Good talent is at such a premium for Boston tech companies, especially for those startups looking for experienced design, engineering, and development folks, that many resort to various gimmicks and enticements to attract that coveted “new hire.” While the good old fashioned, “Let’s throw buckets full of money at this techie” practice is still alive and well, some startups (especially early stage ones) can’t afford that approach. So they get creative.
A lot of companies have found that there is no easier way to win the hearts and minds of prospective employees (and to delight current hardworking startup-ers) than with rivers and rivers of sweet, ice cold beer.
After some serious “investigative journalism” and a few great Twitter back-and-forths, I can report that the competition among Boston tech companies to have the best selection of craft beer is legit and intense.
While it may seem odd to many, almost every startup-y company has some sort of party vibe (not that there are employees hitting the keg from 9 to 5) that usually swells across Boston offices late in the week, around 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock, or as big projects or inter-office hackathons are winding down.
While beer culture varies from company to company, it’s no joke to many of Boston’s craft beer guru tech founders. When Jon Gilman was working at RunKeeper, a keg of his home-brewed beer often filled the company’s refrigerator. I even had one very high profile co-founder (of a company rumored to soon IPO) send a few emails to make sure that his marketing and media relations team not only gave me the info on which beers they currently have on tap but also some media assets (aka photos) of their specially created beer tap handles. (Seen above.)
So here is a very unscientific breakdown of which companies are doing it right with their beer selections and are leading the Boston startup beer movement.
The Davis Square-based Clypd has really taken the whole “attracting prospective employees and building a culture” thing to the next level. While the next-generation television ad tech company may have one of the sweetest offices in all of Boston (due to its location on the top floor of the Citizens Bank building in Somerville and the design work of soon-to-be-a-big-deal Haley McLane), the company’s bar is the beer Shangri La for startups and beer fans alike.
Not only does Clypd have three taps always pouring a great selection of craft beer, a wine bar, and, usually a fridge full of various other beer and cider selections, they have a … wait for it … iced coffee and cold tea draft system. (Currently, Clypd has Allagash White, Notch Pils, and according to chief executive and co-founder Josh Summer, they may have just kicked a keg of Boulevard Imperial this afternoon.)
Summers told me that the focus on building a great craft beer bar was definitely a way to attract new hires.
“It was something that made us stand out, was a little bit different, and something that got people into the office space, a regular flow of traffic, especially because we host events,” he said.
“We found that, socially, within the office, it has created the culture that we want,” Summers added. “It’s a gathering point, people stay late, they drink out on the patio, and we all have fun trying to figure out what to serve on tap next.”
Summers added that it is surprising just how much iced coffee they go through as well.
Robin/One Mighty Roar
Robin, the connected office company that just raised some investment money, has two taps in its office. And, as I can attest from my own reconnaissance, they are prominently located in the middle of the office. I think that co-founder and chief executive puts it best by saying that the Robin bar serves as “a beacon of hope for all that surround it.”
As a company always trying to stay on the bleeding edge of the Internet of Things and sensor technology, Robin also has a little device called a Keg Bot, monitoring the beer flow to make sure it never runs out.
Dunn explained Keg Bot as “an open source project by some amazing Internet people that essentially creates Google Analytics for beer, tracking things like pour amounts, remaining beer, and who poured what beer.”
He added, jokingly, that this makes it possible to “address head-on, armed with data” any situation “when someone gets a beer before 10 a.m.”
Dunn wanted to make sure that I credited Eli Perkins, who serves as head of mobile/beer commissioner, with curating the beer selection. (Last I knew, Robin was serving Jack’s Abby.)
While things may be a somewhat tense these days over in Cambridge for HubSpot, as many believe they are holding off on an IPO until the market is more favorable, it probably can’t slow down the constant good vibrations going on behind the Tangerine Curtain.
When I first started my query into who serves what for beer in Boston, I was shocked, when almost immediately, up pops a tweet from HubSpot co-founder and chief technology officer Dharmesh Shah, summarily telling the head of the company’s marketing and media relations, Katie Burke, to get me whatever I needed relating to this topic. Oh, and Shah claimed that HubSpot “holds its own” on this topic.
HubSpot has long been dedicated to creating the best office environment in Boston.
As such, HubSpot has fridges brimming with different beer selections and some specially designed HubSpot “sprocket logo” taps.
Other Kings Ruling Boston’s Startup Beer Culture
I may not be completely current with some of my data (like I said, the “beer flows like wine” at Boston tech offices), but here are the other companies serving an impressive array of beers.
TapJoy – VP of engineering Sean Lindsey has some really good craft beer pouring in Davis Square, with White Birch Belgian, Notch Session Pils, Pretty Thing’s Meadowlark IPA, and Boulevard’s Tank 7.
Localytics – Not to be outdone, Raj Aggarwal’s squad is serving Brooklyn Summer Ale (maybe the best thing to drink on a hot summer day), Java Head Stout, and Good Juju. The Localytics team also reported that on deck they have Allagash Saison, Cisco’s Summer of Lager, and Victory Brewing’s Summer Love.
Yesware – Reports have come in that Yesware may have a nautically inspired combination of Cisco’s Grey Lady or its Whale’s Tale and Sierra Nevada Torpedo.
I’ve also heard rumors of some companies having loads of Zima as well as rare (and nonexistent) offerings like Startup Hipster Ale, Killing It Brocider, and of course, Unicorn Tears.
Who did I miss? I’d say send me an email, but I’m sure you’ll just crush me on Twitter at @DBKeohane.