Tip Your Bartenders: Shannon Lynnette

Good Beer Hunting
May 11. 2020
By Beth Demmon

Our team of writers, designers, and photographers have a profound respect for bartenders. They’re so often a second set of eyes and ears for what’s happening in parts of our larger beer culture. And right now, we miss them like hell.

Together with Captain Pabst, we wanted to offer a gesture of our love by profiling a dozen bartenders, and tipping them each $100 to help them through this dark, crazy timeline that hopefully we get to look back on together over a bar, a beer, and a collective sigh of relief.

Here’s to better days ahead.

Shannon Lynnette, San Diego

I’m pretty sure that Shannon Lynnette’s real address isn’t actually “The Walls of Valhalla,” which is what’s listed in my phone under her contact information. But I can’t be certain. The vivacious redhead could very well be mistaken for a Norse goddess: she’s supremely confident and projects an air of “don’t fuck with me,” both inside and outside of the Burning Beard Brewing Company tasting room.

Jeff Wiederkehr, Burning Beard’s co-founder, does little to unpack her complexities. “Shannon is like a Tarantino movie: the experience is much like, ‘Yeah, I’m really going to like this. Uh, wait a minute, what the fuck, uh, why? Just why? Wait! Stop! Wait, no no. YES! I think I like this. I really like it a lot. Thank you? I think? What just happened to me?’ If you know her, you know this is true.” Thanks, Jeff.

Shannon’s mythically forceful personality is tempered with a genuine approachability, ideal in any front-of-house position. As the hospitality manager for Burning Beard, whose brewhouse and coolship facility lies 20 minutes east of downtown San Diego, she handles a myriad of duties, ranging from beertending to events to oversight of the brewery’s customer-facing workforce.

Even geographically removed from the core of the craft beer scene, Shannon has helped build the team—whom she calls “lovable mischiefs”—into one of the top brewery crews in the region, thanks in part to their unapologetic self-possession … and really fucking good jukebox. “That’ll be the first thing I do when I go in every day, just preload what I want to hear,” she says. On sunny days, it’s Red Fang. Gloom requires Nick Cave. But “the only thing that really grates on you is when somebody decides to play a lot of Bob Dylan,” she claims.

A recent promotion to part of the growing ownership team (which she credits to her “sweat equity”) has cemented Shannon’s place in the lore of Burning Beard, the de facto gathering space for craft beer drinkers east of the city, which remains a region unaffected by the oversaturation of more central and coastal neighborhoods.

“San Diego in general has an ‘interesting’ perspective on East County,” laughs Shannon. But she sees that as a blessing rather than a slight. “It’s enabled us to just be who we are. We’re creative. We like music. We like books. We enjoy ourselves. We want people to be a part of it, but if we’re not for you, we’re all completely okay with that.”

Shannon is specifically known as one of the most gregarious personalities in local beer, which, by the numbers, is no mean feat. There are currently over 200 breweries and tasting rooms across the county, not to mention beer bars or beer-adjacent businesses. COVID-19 has threatened them all swiftly and thoroughly, but Shannon’s managed to launch a beer delivery program and maintain the tasting room for beer to-go as a haven for misfits, punk rockers, blue-collar workers, jocks, preps, and everyone in between. Still, she’s acutely in tune with how isolation is affecting her clientele.

“I miss my customers so incredibly much,” she sighs. “We’ve really become a part of each other’s lives, and I miss them bringing their kids in, and hearing about how school is going. I miss how their days at work are going, how their relationships are going. There’s a very genuine bond there.”

She’s trying to look at the potential positives of how the pandemic could shape the future. “I think that that’s going to be a really nice reset for a lot of our beer community, to have more appreciation for the simple enjoyment of what beer is really about.” In the meantime, she’s ready to supercharge her service with a smile, even from behind a mask. “People are really lonely, so it’s even more important right now to find any and every way that you can connect, because you’re not just selling beer. It’s about selling community and connection.” Skål to that!

Read the full article here: https://www.goodbeerhunting.com/tipyourbartenders/shannon-lynette