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Lemonade, and Other Such Musings

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

If we have heard the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” once, we’ve heard it at least 5x a week since March 2018. In fact, we hear it so much, it has been shortened to a shrug and “…lemonade….”. Honestly, when you break it down, when life gives you lemons, it really needs to provide sugar and water, because, well, lemonade is not just squeezed lemons. But you get the point. We all do. Make the best of what you are dealt….which brings me to the point of our holiday 2019 blog post, and the point of this festive gravel pile.

2019 has been a pretty weird year, when you break it down. All over the world. In our country. In our homes. It seems like the decade is saying “Yo, I’m not going out like a punk. Y’all will remember me!”. For Broken Goblet, it is no different. We officially re-opened in July to a crowd of over 1000, and it has been pretty non-stop ever since. Our space has been met with overwhelmingly positive responses, some confusion, a little consternation from those who believe we “never should have moved to a bigger place” – like we had a choice about moving – but overall, super positive responses. The beer has improved by orders of magnitude, and our ability to provide the variety we have always wanted is a real treat for the owners and staff. This, and more, is all the non-weird stuff – where it gets weird is behind the scenes. The stuff we cannot talk about, but is so obvious, so right there for everyone to see. Just like this gravel pile. No, everything is not going horribly, and yes, everything will be fine. But this gravel pile, this pile of rocks, this pile of LEMONS, it represents something that Jay, Bub and I have talked about for about 4 years – perhaps life is NOT giving us lemons to make lemonade out of. Perhaps, it is a bit deeper.

A quick wiki search will tell you that the origins of this saying come from an early 20th century writer penning an obituary for an actor who was a person of short stature. His “wildly optimistic attitude”, among other reasons, caused the author to state that ” His was a sound mind in an unsound body. He proved the eternal paradox of things. He cashed in on his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.” Of course, this was shortened, and modified, and adapted. Cultures from around the globe have a similar theory, and no matter what the language, origin, or era, the significance is always the same – how do you deal with challenging situations?

In the case of BGob, the challenging situations have been plentiful. Yes – every single business has challenges. We are not novel. And I bet that many have had the same or worse than us, but this is our blog and our redemption story. They can do their own TED talk. BGob’s unique situation has always been the unexpected external sources. Things that we could not only NOT control, but that we could not even see coming. It started with the name battle in 2013 and just kept going. And, believe me, I know – we whine about it. Often. Let’s be honest – it was a shit ton of lemons. This holiday season, however, the three of us started to realize something, a little nagging truth that had been around for years, but we were too busy trying to squeeze lemons to notice. And it is this – maybe they never were lemons. Maybe they were opportunities all along.

Take the granddaddy of the trials – the name battle. Honestly, thank goodness that happened. We got a David vs Goliath story, we got a better name, a better logo, better everything. Have to move? Now we have more space, more parking, more, well, everything. I could go on and on, but everything we whine about – maybe even that giant loss of money over the last 1.5 years – has been net positive. Losing money is positive? How much egg nog have you had today, Mike? Lots. The answer is a lot. But, yes, even that loss, because it has forced us to be frugal in ways that would not be reflected publicly in such a big place, be smarter with events, be more creative…just put our heads down and WORK.

This brings me back to the gravel pile. The physical embodiment of lemons. We decided to light that sumbitch up with some twinkly lights MOSTLY because we were tired of looking at it, and we were tired of people asking us about it. If you are going to ask us “what’s with the big gravel pile?” I would much rather you ask “what’s with the big lit up pile out there?” More festive, you see. But, the picture is bigger, if you are following. Everything looks better with twinkly lights (IMHO), and that pile of lemons is no longer lemons. It is a pretty, somewhat squat, pile of opportunity. That gravel is soon to become something awesome in the front of our building, just like all the rest. And as we looked at the photo we took in front of it, we no longer focus on that pile – we focus on what is in the background. We look at what we have built! We marvel at what we have accomplished. There is nothing like the new Broken Goblet around here. When the good weather hits in 2020, we are going to be the place to be. All that gravel will be under your feet, making up the beer garden and outdoor music pavilion and all the rest. It is what we do – it is in our DNA as a business.

It is time for BGob to stop the whining. It has never been about lemonade. This holiday, as we exit the decade, we make a pact to ourselves and to you that have supported us all these years – no more complaining. We are good at what we do, and that will not change. But now, we will embrace the lemons (within reason Mother Nature, please do not try to test us). To paraphrase something I read recently, we will take the lemons, and are asking for more lemons, if you have them. We are going to be lemon traders.. Build a company that loves lemons. Become a well known and well respected lemon seller. Expand our lemon empire. BE LEMON KINGS.

From all of us to all of you – whatever you celebrate this season, we hope it is a great one. Accept our challenge, and embrace the lemons in 2020. We believe in you!

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