Taps Off: Brewery Workers Fired Amid Makeover

Lowell Beer Works is undergoing a massive makeover, and it's leaving many of its employees jobless.

Owner Joe Slesar, who wants his restaurant and brewery to become a hot spot for locals and a tourist destination.

"We absolutely are trying to attract more people to Lowell from surrounding communities," said Slesar.

While he's excited about the expansion, his business on Cabot Street is now temporarily closed for the next couple weeks.

"Which is honestly kind of a slap in the face," former bartender Elliot Daily said.

Daily was fired along with more than 20 other full-time and part-time employees.

"The company did not inform me this was happening," he said. "I was actually informed by a fellow server."

On Monday, Daily says management abruptly cut off the taps. Another former bartender, Meghan Nadworney, says the announcement caught most of the workers off guard.

"I know the kitchen staff had no idea we were even close to shutting down," Nadworney said.

Even before this renovation, employees say other problems have been brewing here for months.

"They said if we didn't get on board and if we werent happy with the changes, that they'd just shut down," said Nadworney.

Nadworney says servers were frustrated after management recently made it mandatory to share tips. She believes this decision to renovate now was the easiest way to get rid of employees who pushed back.

"We didn't know it was actually going to happen," she said.

Slesar is the CEO of a beer empire with brew pubs all over Massachusetts, including its flagship location outside Fenway Park in Boston.

"There will always be people who come and go in any industry," said Slesar.

Slesar says none of his former employees were promised anything except for the opportunity to re-apply for their jobs in Lowell or at other Beer Works locations.

These former workers say it's just an ice cold business decision that left them feeling flat.

"I'm hurt," said Nadworney. "I poured my heart and soul into the company."

Lowell Beer Works is expected to reopen by mid-August and is now hiring.

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