I wish owners owners of places with great beer programs would understand the value of what they have. Last night, I was at a bar/casual restaurant, a couple of barstools down from two young women and the owner was chatting with them. The women were contrasting two of the recent Grimm releases, Lambo Door and Pulse Wave, and said that is why they had paid the place a visit. The women intelligently parsed the beers and complimented the owner on the beer program. His response enraged me. “Yes, it’s good but I hope the beer drinkers don’t scare the wine people away.”
I pulled out a book and pressed my nose into it so far that I nearly touched the spine to keep from saying something.
The remark reminded me of a gig I had a few years ago running a retail beer program at a place near Central Park. Yes, I had seriously upscale beer fanatics. One of them would pre order entire cases of Maine Beer Company brews and pre-pay for it!! Not just Lunch, but Zoe, Peeper and Tiny Beautiful got this treatment. Another customer drove a Lambo and came every coupla of weeks to grab as many Hof Ten Dormaal barrel aged project beers (typically $20-25 per box) as he could; he sometimes dropped more than $200. After one of his roundups, the owner came to my station, beaming over the sale. Then said “too bad beer people aren’t our people.”
I still don’t know how I didn’t start screaming and yelling. It still bothers me that I didn’t. I don’t work there anymore.
But seriously, what does it take to move the needle? “Beer people” are serious gourmands and desirable customers. Why some business owners don’t get that is a mystery to me.