Don’t Tell Anyone We Told You

I love to drink for free. Unfortunately, it’s rare for people to buy beverages for me out of nowhere, since it always ends in really awkward conversation. But luckily, those of us looking for a less embarrassing way to subsidize our drinking can join a new program called Secret Hopper. It’s very much like secret shopping for other industries, only at the end of it, you take an Uber home.

Retail workers hate getting secret-shopped because it means you lose points for not tipping your hairnet and doing the Walmart cheer for every single customer who so much as glances in your direction, so at first glance, this seemed like something rather cruel to do to breweries. But it’s designed to help breweries in the long run. After all, if you ran a brewery, you’d prefer to know if your most trusted bartender was hurling glassware at slightly rude tourists, because as cathartic as that might be after a long shift, it doesn’t really bring in a lot of repeat business unless they have quick reflexes.

Secret Hopper tells their shoppers to look for the little details that the brewery can improve upon and phrase those suggestions in a constructive manner, not in a Yelp review roast-fest.

Now for what you’re all waiting for: Explain the part where they pay me to drink!

Sadly, they’re not giving money away to occupy a bar stool all night, or else I’d have found my new career. They reimburse you a set amount for a pre-determined purchase, which is usually a flight of samples and a pint, and ask that you go on the tour. It’s not a job, but if you’re good at taking notes and very persuasive, you could bang out four breweries in an afternoon and then type your report very quietly the next day.

For details and to help make your favorite beer destination the best it can be, go to 

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