Think the vending machine at your office rules? We did at Seattle Weekly when ours started carrying Orange Crush, but the award for Best Vending Machine Ever has to be handed to Sub Pop. As of last week, the Coke machine in the record company's Belltown break room began offering 75-cent cans of Rainier beer. And while the majority of Sub Pop's employees are well above drinking age, receptionist Alissa Gallivan said the office reacted like a bunch of high-schoolers at the sight of her wheeling in a case of the fabled Northwest (originally, at least) brew.
"I had been thinking it would be really funny to have beer in the vending machine," says Gallivan. "And everyone had been saying 'Why isn't there any beer around here?' So, I thought, 'Y'know, I'm just gonna get it and put it in there.' When they saw me carrying it, their eyes just lit up. It was hilarious."
Since freshly stocking the vending machine with beer, Gallivan said it's been a financial boon. They have gone through 48 cans of the stuff in one week, making Rainier the highest-selling product in the machine next to Diet Coke.
"I actually had ginger ale in the place where the Rainier is now," she says. "But I'd only sell, like, one can of it per week."
But don't go getting excited, thinking your office can just start carrying hooch in the break room (we've already looked into it here at Seattle Weekly). Sub Pop gets away with it because Gallivan owns the machine, having purchased it used for $800. It'll take her a while to recoup her investment, but with Rainier tumbling out at such a rapid rate, she's likely to break even sooner than she thought.
"When I first said I was gonna put Rainier in the machine, my husband was like, 'Don't you think you should ask your boss?' But I knew she wouldn't care," she says.
And she doesn't. Matter of fact, Sub Pop General Manager Megan Jasper says having beer on standby has provided a huge boost to employee morale.
"Since the Rainier was added to the machine, we've seen work ethic and productivity increase significantly," she says. "Our employees come into work earlier and leave much later. In fact, they don't go home. Some don't even have homes anymore. We're getting another vending machine with clean underwear and shirts."