Goose Island Brewmaster Greg Hall Pees in His Pints

Our pal Adam over at is reporting that current Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall was caught urinating into two beer glasses at a birthday party held at Bangers and Lace in Chicago.  The incident happened Friday evening.

The fact that Anheuser-Busch is in the process of purchasing Goose Island creates lots of opportunities to make light of this story.  For instance, I could say that Mr. Hall is simply doing what his new owners do all the time, putting piss water in pint glasses.  There are lots of jokes flying around online about this.  

But there’s something about this story that I don’t find funny – I find it kind of desperate. Grown men shouldn’t be urinating at the bar, especially guys who work with alcohol.  Perhaps Hall was just cutting loose, but it could certainly point to someone who’s out of control, a dangerous way to be when you brew for a living. It’s also a major asshole move.

Hall has three more weeks as brewmaster at Goose Island before he moves into an advisory role. says Hall has a new project cooking, which should be launching soon.  We’ll see if this latest development affects the timing.

Matty Eggleston was the guy who was tending bar that night and had to clean up Mr. Hall’s urine.  The Chicago Tribune has a wonderfully detailed account of the incident from Matty’s POV – it’s well worth a read.

Hall feels awful about the incident, and says “I wouldn’t stand it if someone did it at my place or if one of my people did something like that.”  He sent a case of Big John to the bar as an apology, an ironic gesture for sure.

For his part, Eggleston doesn’t accept Hall’s apology. He told the Tribune, “It was disgusting, vile and revolting. We all do dumb things; that went to a level that was pure insult.”

What do you think – were Halls actions desperate, funny, or just plain revolting?


Tip of the hat to the world’s pithiest brew reviewer Chad ( @BeerPoet ) for bring this to our attention.



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72 Comments on “Goose Island Brewmaster Greg Hall Pees in His Pints”

  1. April 12, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Disgusting, vile, insulting… yeah, I would start there. Look, I can only imagine the pressure and stress Hall is under. I get that. But he is not some Ed Hardy-wearing douchebag fratboy. He is the head brewer at a well-respected brewery, a professional, and an adult. This kind of behavior is purely unacceptable, regardless of the circumstance. I am with you in not finding this even remotely funny.

    • April 12, 2011 at 10:44 am #

      I agree. There are so many jokes to tell here, but I kinda found the whole thing pathetic and sad.

  2. April 12, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Dick move all the way.

    • April 12, 2011 at 10:51 am #

      Yeah, really disrespectful of the people who serve and enjoy his product. Basically, he pissed all over the craft beer community.

  3. April 12, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    You said “Anheuser-Busch is in the process of purchasing a majority stake in Goose Island” – Correction: they’re buying GI outright.

    I think there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Maybe the bartender (or the bar itself) and Greg have a feud going we don’t know about.

    Still, what would make a grown-ass man with an otherwise professional reputation do something so dumb? It is a head-scratcher of a story. I mean, I’ve been inebriated many times but I could always still make it to the bathroom in time. I think the average person, no matter how drunk they get, still retains the basic human etiquette that you’ve practiced every day since you were 2 years old that pee goes in the toilet and not the closest container you can find.

    I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this story.

    • April 12, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      Or at least the alley.

    • April 12, 2011 at 10:55 am #

      I heard AB was upping their share hold to a majority stake at 54% of Goose. Maybe I misread, but if I am correct that is clearly not buying the company outright.

      • April 12, 2011 at 10:56 am #

        It’s unclear and I’m lazy right now, so I removed the “majority stake” part of the post. Shorter = better when blogging anyway, right?

    • April 12, 2011 at 10:55 am #

      I updated the post (removed “a majority stake of”) – thanks for catching that Chad.

      It doesn’t sound like a beef when you read the Tribune account – it sounds like a drunk guy not giving a damn about anyone else around him.

      I agree that there’ll be more, probably A-B cutting him lose from Goose (he’s supposed to stay on as an adviser).

      And no one steal the “Cut Loose from Goose” headline if it happens!!

  4. April 12, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    “…a major asshole move.” Agreed.

    I’d LOVE to hear AB InBev’s take. Chicago’s PEE-nal code says $500 (20o2 #s), if he ACTUALLY ‘feels bad’ about this ‘major asshole move’, he ought to make (at least) a 2X donation to ‘Pints for Prostrates’, $1000 to help guys that could wind up incontinent w/o drinking themselves stupid.

    And, while we’re at it, how ’bout an apology to the entire #craftbeer community for the black eye, Greg. Nothing like handing the anti-beer/craftbeer/adult beverage crowd ammunition.

    Color me…pissed off.

    • April 12, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      I think he’s more of a Prostates in Pints kinda guy!

      But I agree – a case of beer that named after a large toilet doesn’t really count as much of an apology.

  5. Andy Fullenwider
    April 12, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Wow.. I wasn’t ‘done with Goose Island’ when AB Inbev bought ’em out… I was willing to give them another shot, but after hearing about this. I’m never drinking a Goose Island again. If a brewmaster is willing to do this in public I absolutely shudder to think of what he may have done behind closed doors.

    I think I need to go vomit now.. It’s been several years since I had anything by Goose Island, but I know that disgruntled employees will do all manner of nefarious deeds, and if this is okay for the brewmaster to do in public, by his own reasoning…


    • April 12, 2011 at 11:10 am #

      That’s a good observation, Andy. Who knows what happens if he has to pee when he’s by the brew kettle. Eww.

  6. Don
    April 12, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Here is what I think happened. It is simple really, but still does not excuse his behavior. He was there on a Friday night. I’m assuming that on a Friday night Bangers and lace is quite crowded. It isn’t that he couldn’t get to the bathroom on time, but if he was seated at the bar, he didn’t want to lose his seat. I can see in an inebriated brain that losing your seat and having to stand the rest of the night (especially while highly inebriated) could begin to make an excuse in your mind that it would be acceptable to pee at the bar. Again, not an excuse in any way, but I could see this train of thought playing out.

    • April 12, 2011 at 11:12 am #

      So his brain is lazy, selfish and disgusting? There’s really no way to justify it.

      • Don
        April 12, 2011 at 11:17 am #

        Agreed! I wasn’t trying to add justification, only explanation.

  7. Dave
    April 12, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    I guess what strikes me most about this whole incident is how quickly any one of us can ruin our reputation with one really stupid, childish move. We all do dumb things after a few too many, but this goes way too far. In a matter of moments Hall has gone from the respected brewmaster of a major player in the industry, to a spoiled frat boy.

    Last week a lot of people stated they wouldn’t drink Goose anymore because they “sold out” and the quality of the beer would suffer. That didn’t hold much water with me (pun intended). I’m more likely to be turned off to the product by this kind of behavior from a guy whose livelihood relies on proper sanitation. No thanks to the Wanker’s Ale.

    • April 12, 2011 at 11:34 am #

      There’s another ‘message’ here for any/everyone brewing/serving their OWN beers; servers need to be empowered to limit service. And, not just AFTER they’ve gotten someone drunk, but BEFORE that point.

      Regardless of whether they are driving or not, enabling public drunkenness doesn’t reflect well on you brewing op/pub-restaurant or YOU. And, if [WHEN] there is some manner of accident, tragedy, assault/battery guess who the victim(s) are coming to see/SUE…?!

      Looking to make idiots or victims of idiots your [no so] ‘silent’ partners?

      • April 12, 2011 at 11:54 am #

        Ken that is a very goo dpoint. WHile Mr. Hall is 100% at fault for his actions, those who over-served him should bear some of the responsibility. Just because he is a brewmaster does not mean he shoudl be free to drink himself into stupidity.

      • April 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

        Perhaps the bartender wasn’t aware because Mr. Hall can hold his liquor well, at least until he needs to release it into a goblet.

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      Yes Dave, you can undo years of good work with a single stupid act. Of course, no one usually gets caught the first time, so that’s probably the case here as well.

  8. corbomite
    April 12, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Man, I’m definitely going against the crowd here but… who cares. He probably should have been arrested or fined(like you or I would be subject to in the same situation), but other than that he doesn’t owe me anything. He didn’t piss on me. If I were the bartender he would be barred for life, but as a craft beer lover I will buy a product that is good and not because I think the brewer is of high moral character.

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

      As Andy said above, I’m not sure I’d want a guy who likes to pee into beer vessels making my brews.

      • corbomite
        April 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

        eh, the yeast will clean it up…

        • April 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

          And folks will be asking, “why does this pilsner taste like pennies?” 😉

  9. April 12, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    I agree that this is a complete black eye to the Craft Brewing industry as a whole. All of us have done questionable things while imbibing, but if you’re part of a brewing company you have a responsibility to maintain; especially a brewery that has caused so much rancor among the devout of Craft Brewing. Maybe some of the evil of AB is rubbing off on him;).

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      The Tribune article says he’d been drinking his own products all night, so maybe he was just trying to create the freshest “Brewer’s Reserve” you can imagine!

  10. April 12, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Greg pissed in a pint glass. He pissed at the bar. Perhaps he pissed on himself. He pissed on the craft beer community. He pissed on all the Goose Island employees who worked so hard to make the brewery a success. But probably the most damaging thing he did (and one could argue he already did) is piss on the Goose Island brand.

    Now every time I see a Sofie on the shelf, I’ll see Greg pissing in a pint glass and on everything I just mentioned above. No amount of apologies or free cases of Big John will get that image out of my head (as a matter of fact the case of Big John added another unappetizing element to my mental image). I don’t care how good the beers are or who owns the fucking brewery, I likely wont ever pull a Goose Island brew off the shelf again.

    Maybe that was his highly inebriated intent. Maybe he has seller’s remorse. Maybe his subconscious wants to sabotage AB-InBev’s ability to make the purchase a success. I doubt it was anywhere near that calculated. But I can see a scenario where that very thing happens.

    Say what you will about the buyout, but if AB-InBev didn’t fuck up everything Goose Island built up, I was willing to give the beers a chance. Turns out, Greg may have fucked everything up before AB-InBev even gets a chance to.


    • April 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      Agreed Chad. I think this’ll do quite a bit of harm. As you said he pissed on the Goose Island brand.

      He pissed it out as well – I hear he was drinking his own stuff that night.

    • Don
      April 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Wow Chad! Strong reaction with no mincing of words! Good on you. I know giving up that Sophie is going to be tough for you, but I also know you to be a man of your word. If you are having a reaction like this, I think Goos Island’s days are numbered, regardless of the buy out.

      • April 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

        Maybe it’s because of my profession, Don. I know how hard (and costly) it is to build up brand equity like Goose Island had. It’s likely a very large reason AB-InBev was so attracted to the brewery in the first place. To see the guy at the top of the organization piss it away (pun intended) like that makes me cringe.

        Greg needs some quick crisis management lessons. Please Greg, you can still pull out of this (or more appropriately, put it back in). Just make some quick moves with real amends.

        I can let Sofie go, Don. I like a few other Saisons better. But if I see Bourbon County Stout back in Idaho, I’m going to have a real hard time sticking to my guns. :^/

        • April 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

          I wonder if this will affect the value of the company in the eyes of A-B. Probably not – my bet is they figure most folks don’t know or care enough about beer to know about this.

      • April 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

        I’m not sure. But agency buyouts that I’ve been witness to have all sorts of clauses in the contracts spelling out what the selling principles can and can’t do during and after the buyout. The most common being a non-compete clause for x number of years. And usually, there are consequences for breaking those clause. Not sure that’s the case here. But it wouldn’t surprise me.

  11. johnking82
    April 12, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    I don’t think AB is going to give him a sudden thwack on his bottom for missing the toilet. I think it will be the boot from his advisory role, or he might just step down all together (which is probably what will happen). Hall was trying to be funny with his buddies but took it way over the line. He probably felt he was privilidged and couldnt really get in trouble for it, let alone make national headlines….boy was he wrong.

    I’ve been shitcanned with the best of them, but this is just disgraceful. You’re mocking a bar which sells your product. You’re mocking the patrons who visit that bar to drink your product. Two strikes for Goose…

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Agreed. I think he’ll be gone in the coming weeks, slipping away as quietly as possible.

  12. April 12, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Awe darn it. AB buys GI, there go my Anniversary plans.

    • April 12, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      Oh, and I’ve spent a few summers bartending, peeing in a glass and leaving if for a bartender to clean up is only slightly less better than taking a dump in a pint glass. A-Hole’eo move all the way. It’s either pure and utter arrogance, or, as others have suggested, there’s more to this story than we know.

      • April 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

        Regardless of if there’s more to the story, he admits to doing it, which is enough to create a major issue for him.

        And not for nothing, I’d actually give him a little credit for taking a dump in a pint glass, as I imagine it’s a tough thing to do!

  13. Matt M
    April 12, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    I’m actually happy to read the bartenders comments about not accepting his apology. The dude didn’t spill a drink or start a fight, he urinated in glasses behind the bar… vehicles of consumption. From the bartenders recollection it seems he wasn’t even going to tell anybody until he was called out for it. It could have been a lot worse if somebody actually drank that. Was that his Dumb & Dumber intent?

    I’m happy to see somebody not roll over and say “it’s OK, he was just having too good of a time.” No, the guy was a prick and showed zero class and zero respect.

    • April 12, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      Matt I agree 100%.

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      That’s why I put the bartender’s quote last – I think he deserved the last word here.

  14. April 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Let’s hope this is someone’s idea of a joke. I know the press reported on it. But man I can’t envision someone being that narcissistic to think that would be acceptable. The following I heard was that on his facebook page he put “my bad” as a way of mea culpa’ing the whole thing away.

    *shaking head (but inside laughing).

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      I would almost be okay if he was college roommates with the bartender or something – buddies playing gross pranks. I still wouldn’t approve, but I could at least see some humor in it. But that’s clearly not the case here.

  15. April 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    It most of all makes me sad. Not upset, not insulted, just sad.
    Here we all are, trying to lift the level of beer from the drink-to-get-drunk level to a more mature level of controlled and measured enjoyment. And now someone. already in the public eye, does something like this… It taints beer, brewers, the whole craft beer message of enjoying quality.
    Now, at the same time I don’t want to give this too much thought, it is not the end of the world or of beer. A blemish for sure, but not more than that. Every family has their idiots who do that kind of immature stuff. I hope someone really gives him a good scolding, and for him I hope he feels real shame. That being said, I won’t give it a second thought. Done is done, move on…
    Anyone a Gnomegang?

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

      I think it’ll be a quick blip and won’t derail the gains craft beer has made, Wim.

      Mostly, I think it’s sad that a 45 year old man who works with alcohol for a living conducts himself this way. It shows he might have the tiger by the tail here.

  16. April 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Wow. Pretty gross and VERY disrespectful. I’ve peed in a few interesting places while inebriated (including the bushes outside a presidential compound in Tunisia), but I can’t imagine being drunk enough to do what Greg Hall did.

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

      I think that’s considered “honorary watering” in Tunisia.

      • April 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

        I didn’t realize where I was at the time. When I found out later, it was pretty terrifying. If I had been caught in the act, I’m sure I would know what the inside of a North African prison looks like. Pretty dumb on my part. Fortunately, I’ve grown up a bit since that time and only relieve myself on civilian shrubbery in my own country.

        • April 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

          Yeah, I can imagine how awful THAT caning would be!

  17. johnking82
    April 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    maybe Goose Island is collaborating with R. Kelly on a new beer “Piss on you Pilsner”

    • April 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      Or Golden Shower Steam Beer.

      • April 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

        I knew you couldn’t stay away from the jokes for long, Jim. He was pissing in his pints after all. Hard not to reach for a zinger!

        • April 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

          Yeah, kinda had one in the headline…

      • johnking82
        April 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

        did you use asparagus in that beer?

        • April 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

          Oh, I see you’ve tried it. 🙂

  18. Marvin Kinney
    April 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    It was dumb, he should be fined, banned from the bar etc… But, I don’t know if this is national news. As a bartender, I hate to say it, but I have dealt with worse…much much much worse.

    Idiotic? Most definitely. Going to lose his advisory role? He should. A reason to blast the whole brewery because he did something stupid while drunk? Nope, all you’re doing then is punishing a bunch of good people trying to make this whole buy out work, and he won’t even be a part of the brewers group going forward.

    Maybe he IS pissed off at the buy out. People do really, and I mean REAAAAAALLLYYYY, dumb things when emotional and drunk. IMO, the only black eye he served is to himself. The brewery will and should go on, if this bothers people that much, then I know of a lot of places they probably should never set foot in. We are gross as a species, even more so when alcohol is involved.

    Mind you, I am not blasting anyone for how they feel about the situation, this is just my opinion on the matter.

    • April 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      I agree with you to a point, Marvin, but as the face of a business, he’s the one who has put the brewery workers in a bad position. I agree they shouldn’t be punished for his behavior, but they will probably suffer for it.

    • April 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      Very good point Marvin. One that I’m taking serious note of. The employees don’t deserve what’s just been hoisted onto them, at all. Hopefully the whole thing fades away. The market AB-InBev wants to expand Goose Island into will probably never know of the incident.

      Still, for me, it’s going to be weird pouring a Goose Island brew into a beer glass knowing its figure head has, even in a drunken state, thought it O.K. to piss in beer glasses.

      I hope that feeling fades away for me like the incident will. I do really like some of their beers. I give props to the employees making them. And I hope the brewery can rise above it.

  19. April 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    where can I get one of those pint glasses? When my friends come over and bring bud light with them, I want to serve it to them in one of those glasses!

    • Don
      April 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

      I’m pretty sure this is a fictional glass that Jim created in Photoshop. Thats the problem with creative types. They are good at illusion.

      • April 12, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

        I found the pic on the web, but couldn’t find where to get one.

  20. Bob Turban
    April 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    What this guy did is despicable. I tended bar in college and at night to pay for my masters degree, and this may be the worst act I have ever heard of. That said, I also know that I have never received a legitimate apology. Not for the time some clown smeared excrement on the bathroom wall, not from the imbecille who smashed a glass across my forehead for cutting him off, not from the clown who slashed my tires when I stepped between him and his girlfreiend so that he didn’t land a punch on his girlfriend and I save him jail. Never, not one apology,

    When I read the brewmaster apologized I thought this was a first. When I read the apology, saw how heartfelt it was, I was really taken aback. It sounded like his celebration was more of a memorial, a force play but a major buyer, he got out of hand, and truly regretted it.

    The problem I have though, is not his behavior in the end. He did apologize. Earnestly, I might add. My problem is that a code was broken, by both parties. First, when you are in the business, respect your fellow bartender. Any mess, including tearing off labels and leaving them on the bar, is wrong. Urinating in a glass goes way too far.

    When the fellow bartender decided to forward the apology to the Tribune, and relay the whole story, my stomach dropped. Face it, people screw up. We have all seen it, and I know, reluctant as we may be to admit it, most of us have done it. Those who haven’t are exempted, but it was a mistake. He admitted it. He apologized. He didn’t lie and deny as every dirtbag I have ever encoutered, he admitted, and apologized in a genuinely gracious way.

    Once again no excuse for what happened. As things stand, however, I have a far higher opinion of the guy who sold his soul to Budweiser than the guy who sold his story to the Trib. I used to stop here all the time. I know many of the bartenders. I have seen them do some pretty stupid things after hours. If Matty thinks he is in the right, I want him to know many of the loyal customers think otherwise. I will never go back there again, never brag about the place to out of town clients to draw them into what I thought was my favorite place ,never lave 50 dollar tips at Christmas, and never bother them again.

    Wrong is wrong, but two wrongs didn’t make a right. They made me empathize with someone I should despise. There are better ways to seek revenge. When I got the apology I would have instantly emailed back that I accept, see you tonight, you are on dishes. Instead, this clown emails the Trib. Done. Period.

    • April 12, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

      Good insights, Bob. You’re right that two wrongs don’t make a right. I wasn’t really seeing it from the ‘loyal bartender’ angle. I also didn’t know there’s a bartender’s code, or that brewers are part of it. I guess they’re all like free masons. 🙂

    • April 12, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

      Yet another great insight posted here, Bob. I didn’t look at if from that angle, either. Without knowing any more background than what I read, I guess turning someone in to the press point blank like is kinda douchey, too. Begs the question that’s been brought up before. Is there more going on here?

      Having said that, it’s still a seriously bonehead move by Greg. If it wasn’t the bartender, a waitress could have seen it or a patron could have snapped a mobile pic and posted to the world. Now that the story is out, it’s just bad any way you look at it. Bad for the bar, bad for Greg, bad for the brewery, bad for AB-InBev and bad for for GI and craft beer fans.

  21. Bob Turban
    April 12, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    One more thing. I hope no one misunderstands my post. I am not defending bad behavior. I have lurked here for a while, got a lot of good info, and this is my first post. I hope no one thinks I condone what happened. My issue is more about the way it was handled. Figuratively, and literally, as it were. I have learned a lot from this blog, got some great advice, and truly enjoy the posts.

    I hate to get serious but I truly love this site, but was sickened all the way around by what happened. After re-reading my post, and all of yours, I am clearly a minority of one. This is one of my favorite sites, and I apologize for being serious but this one struck me as wrong from all sides. Thanks again for everything I have learned from you guys over the last couple of months, but I can’t shake the bad feeling I have by the bar reaction to this .

    To sum it all up, when you are wrong you are wrong, and when urine trouble it is best to admit. There is karmic flow to the universe, and urethra with it or against it.

    • April 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

      You didn’t say Greg Hall’s not a ranker for peeing in the glass, so I don’t think you’re out of step with everyone else here. You just added your own wrinkle to it, which I think we all appreciate.

  22. April 12, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    I admit, I sort of laughed. But it was only in a detached sort of way. As in, if this happened in an Adam Sandler movie while he’s wasted and talking to penguins, it’d be sort of funny. But I concur with most opinions here. Once you move beyond the detachment, it’s a really jacked up thing to do in a whole lot of ways. He’s lucky he didn’t get his ass kicked by the bartender. I’m pretty sure if someone whipped it out and peed in pint glass in front of me- and I had to clean it up- I’d punch that person.

    Anyway, I got a kick out of this in your tags: “I’m rich so I’ll pee where I want”

    • April 13, 2011 at 8:43 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed the tag – it’s always interesting to see who notices.

      And I agree – this seems like a funny story until you realize that real people in a real place created this mess and had to clean it up. When I first heard about this I was like “ha-ha,” but then I quickly realized that this actually happened and found the whole deal unsettling.

  23. iris1973
    July 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    I was an employee of GI back in the mid 90s, and was regularly condescended to and put down by Mr. Hall. He was pompous, narcissistic, and entitled. I am not surprised by this behavior at all. It looks like Daddy’s money can buy a lot of things, but it can’t buy class.


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