I began Friday with good news from one of my fellow supervisors at the store. Ownership has noticed that beer sales continue to climb even as overall store sales fluctuate. Friday was a good example of why and how. It was a slow day at the store, yet I only got to do one pairing because of my other responsibilities in the beer aisle. The one pairing came together somewhat haphazardly. Since customer traffic was somewhat light, I chose the Bittersweet Symphony, minty Belgian Pale Ale produced in collaboration between T’ Gavehopke and Tired Hands. I figured it would hold its fizz for a longer sample period if necessary. Also since the Friday before Memorial Day when we sold six in five minutes, I don’t think I’ve sold more than a bottle or two. I paired a firm Spanish goat rubbed in black pepper, which we somewhat drolly call Spanish Goat Rubbed in Black Pepper with it as I felt that the smooth, slightly sweet mouthfeel of the cheese would complement the finishing bitterness of the cheese, especially since the pepper wasn’t a big presence in the flavor. They worked well together and to my pleasant surprise, the sample board was well received and disappeared quickly. I was eager to put together another one using the Cigar City Helles Lager and the creamy brie Fromager D’Affinois, but my other duties got in the way. For instance I spoke with consecutive tourists in the beer aisle who wanted to investigate some of “this new American brewing I’ve been hearing about.” Each bought three larger bottles of the good stuff.
One of the beer program’s secret weapons is that we’re near two concert venues and representatives from each shop to get goodies for their headliner’s backstage area. It’s usually something middlebrow, but two cases at a time can boost sales quickly and nicely. Reps from both halls came in and next thing you know, four cases of beer were in shopping carts. Also we’re still selling Mexican Cake by request and there were several errands to the office to get a bottle. In addition to all that, we were short a supervisor on the sales floor so I spent more than usual directing customers.
By the time everything settled down, it was 7:50, too late for me to crack open that Helles Lager, so I went into the beer aisle just to see if I could straighten up anything before I left. Instead I just admired the results of the evening. The sections featuring Lagunitas six packs and both Founders four packs had been soundly dented as had the Maine Beer Co. single bottles. The new high end ciders had proven popular. It might be time to ask for a raise.