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Old 08-23-2008, 11:41 AM   #1
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Default Growing irritation at restaurants and bars

Does anyone else cringe at the thought of buying a beer at most restaurants and bars?

The conversation inevitably goes like this:

"Can I get you something to drink?"
"Yes, what kind of beer do you have?" (because if I just said what I wanted, I'd probably be ordering something they don't have)
"We have Bud, Bud Light, Miller Light, Miller Genuine draft, blah blah blah blah"
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but do you have any microbrews?"
(On the rare occasion they'll think they're being helpful by saying) "Well we have Killians, Blue Moon, Yeungling more blah blah blah"
"OK, do you have Sam Adams?"
"Yes"
"I'll have that"


Don't get me wrong, I actually like Sam Adams Boston Lager, and most of the time when a place has that, they'll have whatever the Sam Adams Seasonal is. But I've been to plenty of places recently where all they have are BMC.

At the very least, restaurants and bars could at least carry one or two regional microbrews.

On a positive note, I was pleasantly surprised to get a Fordham Helles Lager last night at Gunnings Seafood in Hanover MD.

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Old 08-23-2008, 12:00 PM   #2
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I can understand your growing dissentiment, however, I also can look at it from their angle.. people like us are in the minority, if they kept it on hand, it coudl take forever to sell the beers because A) most people will stick to what they know and B) they will likely be on the more expensive side.

Dont get me wrong now, there are restaurants that specialise in having a wide selection of beer and they do well, but if I go to my local bar, I dont expect him to keep a microbrew there that will take up space that could be used by Bud light that will earn him more profit over time. I do agree if more people tried microbrew it woudl catch on.. but with the higher markup and all, I dont see it happeneing soon.

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Old 08-23-2008, 12:11 PM   #3
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I agree it doesn't make financial sense for most bars to carry micro's, but it is damn aggravating too! Find one that does carry different beers and support them!

I usually go with a Sam Adams too.

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Old 08-23-2008, 12:34 PM   #4
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Its not like I expect them to fill their taps with micros.

I don't know what bars and restaurants pay for their beer but I have a hunch that they're paying less than retail price.

A case of New Castle bottles here are my local liquor store is $27, which is $0.56 per bottle of beer. Most bars and restaurants in my area would charge $2 - $5 for that bottle of beer. Or, to get even more "micro", the same prices are charged for Clipper City, a Baltimore area micro.

At $2 per bottle, there's a $72 gross profit per case - about a threefold profit.

Clearly there's a very good profit margin with micros. It might not be the same profit margin as BMC, but its not a money loser, either.

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Old 08-23-2008, 12:51 PM   #5
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But can the micros adequetly support the bars and the distributors once the bars catch on? Kyle

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Old 08-23-2008, 12:52 PM   #6
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Good to see someone else from AACO!

Sadly my restaurant/bar budget has evaporated lately, so I'm not too good on advice for around here, but I find that most places at least make a stab at it. My wife likes Ruby Tuesday and they always have at least SNPA, plus a rotating tap of micros, so she can talk me into that pretty easily.

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Old 08-23-2008, 12:53 PM   #7
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Here's an idea, and I'm only saying this because I go through the SAME thing every time I go out to eat. Check online before you pick a restaurant. If they have a good beer list, go for it. Don't support the places that don't have what makes you happy. If you were looking for a good burger, you wouldn't go to McDonald's.

It was frustrating to me at the Sox game in Baltimore last week, when I went to a restaurant, and asked about the beer. They had Sam Summer, and Boston Lager, so I went with the Lager. The waiter brought me a cloudy yellow beer, and said " here ya go". I told him that I ordered a Boston Lager, and he said, "I know".

WHAT?!?!?

As a waiter, how could you not know the difference!?! I figured it was a Sam Summer, and decided just to drink it anyway. It didn't look right though. Sam Summer is clear, and this was cloudy! Anyway, I tasted my "Sam Summer" and it tasted like a glass of fermented orange juice. It was really sour, and over carbonated. I've had a lot of Sam Summer in my day, and this was really bad. My girlfriend couldn't understand what my problem was because her glass tasted fine. Later, after complaining and getting what I originally ordered, my GF tried mine and understood my complaint. It was a bad. really bad.

I think I'll be taking my own advise from now on. www.yelp.com is my friend.

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Old 08-23-2008, 12:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
A case of New Castle bottles here are my local liquor store is $27, which is $0.56 per bottle of beer.
I believe you halved the price, but I understand your point. Keep in mind, though, there are still cost such as storage, handling, etc. that are there. If that case takes up room that could be utilized by something that goes out the door faster, why keep the slow mover on hand? Unless it can bring in more customers than would otherwise be there, it isn't really worth it.

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Old 08-23-2008, 01:36 PM   #9
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I don't care about them having microbrews... but I do care about different styles.

I recently found a bar on my way home from work that sells the half liter bottles of Franziskaner for five bucks.

A draft pint of Bud is $3.50.

Who cares if they don't have Rogue or Bell's or whatever. Give me a hefeweizen, an amber, a pils, a Wit, a stout, etc and I'll be happy. It's not about the rare freakish things that nobody's ever heard of.... it's about having variety to offer your customers. I simply can't imagine a Bud drinker boycotting a restaurant because he can only get a Miller...

Variety is what I like to see. Who cares if the hefe is Franziskaner, the stout is Guinness, the amber is Sam Adams, the Pils is a skunky Pilsener Urquell and the wit is Blue Moon. At least you can choose a beer based on your appetite and dinner selection... so what if it's not a "great" beer?

Sure, micros are awesome, but I can see why they aren't kept in stock in some places. But no variety of styles? Doesn't your wine list have reds and whites? Come on, man!


Maybe that "split" is what causes the problem for restaurants- are you supposed to supply 5 styles of mediocre beer? Or should you supply 5 brands that people have never heard of? I'll tell you that most folks eating at most restaurants aren't going to order a beer they've never heard of... and yet the beer snobs probably won't order a Killians anyway. So it's kind if a Catch 22 unless you fashion yourself as a beer bar aimed at appeasing both sides of the fence. Still though, there are the few large brands that deliver a good product.... If I had to make the smallest possible beer list to appease the masses, I'd carry Bud Light, Heineken, Franziskaner or Hoegarden (Fat Tire in the winter), and Guinness on tap... with Miller, Corona, and Honey Brown in bottles. 4 taps, 3 bottles, and I'd probably cover 99.8% of the beer drinkers including a lot of the beer snobs, the ignorant but adventurous, and the picky stick-in-the-muds.

Frankly, I think Heineken is a great beer when served from a can or keg, and the wheat beer and Guinness would show the beer snobs that I'm trying.

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Old 08-23-2008, 01:38 PM   #10
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luckily we have plenty of decent places to eat with a great beer selection in my area...though, lots of places I like to go for the food don't and in those cases, I just have unsweetened iced tea.

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