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Virtual gratuity: Portion of site’s merchandise sales proceeds go to buyer’s favorite server

At Your Service Industry has a variety of T-shirts and more to help support beertenders, bartenders, servers and hostesses. (Courtesy of Kevin Hopper)

Beertenders and bartenders get paychecks, but they rely on tips to survive.

Meanwhile, bars and taprooms remained closed and those tips have been put on hold but the bills keep coming in. New Mexico Brew Fest organizers Kevin Hopper and Francine Maher Hopper have come up with a way to help “tip” your favorite bartender or beertender without them behind the bar. It is way to say thanks virtually to those who sling our favorite cocktails and cold ones.

A portion of the proceeds from At Your Service Industry merchandise goes to your preferred New Mexico beertender or bartender, as well as your favorite server or hostess. Merchandise includes T-shirts for men and women, tank tops, long sleeve tees, hoodies, a tote and more. Items and information can be found by visiting atyourserviceindustry.com.

“We have a list of codes that are published,” Hopper said. “Once we get them, they’re published on the website themselves. So you can go there, and if you know any of the bartenders you can use that code that we list, so it’s constantly being updated. If you follow your bartender or server on Facebook or something, the idea is for the service industry worker to promote their own code and what they can do is once they sign up, we’ll send them the link to that goes to the website and anything you buy from there that automatically applies that code based off of the link they promote.”

But do not worry if your beertender, bartender, server or hostess has not set up a code on the website. At Your Service will help track them down to notify them that a purchase has been made to help benefit them.

“When you check out and you don’t have a code you can just make a note saying, I want this to go to so and so at (whichever bar or brewery) and then we’ll create the code for them and then try to get in touch with them and say you have this code,” Hopper said. “It’s a little confusing for some people because some people that have gone to the site they just put a code in and then we have to track down this person or that person. Luckily, with social media it’s not that hard, so there’s ways to do it if you don’t have a code. It’s all explained. We try to make the user experience as easy as possible for people to follow.”

At Your Service Industry has a variety of T-shirts and more to help support beertenders, bartenders, servers and hostesses. (Courtesy of Kevin Hopper)

Hopper gained experience in clothing merchandising last year and wanted to use his knowledge to help people in the bar and brewery industry. His online store can be found at americanvintageinc.com.

“Toward the end of last year I always wanted to do my own T-shirt line, which I did, and kind of got it out of my system,” he said. “It’s called American Vintage Inc. I put that up and got familiar with how to set up an online store, and it’s basically it’s direct to garment. I just come up with a design and a printing company actually handles the printing and the shipping like on a per order basis, so it makes it super-easy to really have a store, and all I’ve got to do is put up the products, and basically they do the rest. So I did that.”

Hopper and his wife, Maher Hopper, put on the New Mexico Brew Fest every year in the fall. They moved a few years ago to Idaho, where they operate a bar. Some of their staffers there have signed up for an At Your Service code. Hopper is hoping more of their New Mexico counterparts also take advantage of the opportunity.

“We try to make a win-win situation,” Hopper said. “We try to come up with really cool designs that say ‘I do support my service industry.’ So they get a cool new shirt and their bartender gets a little extra. They’re part of your community, they’re part of your life and they can’t work. It’s true for a lot of people, but specifically this industry, because the wages are pretty low and they do rely on tips.”

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