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In-store Tastings

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by LeRose, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. LeRose

    LeRose Advocate (725) Massachusetts Nov 24, 2011 Verified

    I have done a few in-store tastings, but they were of the "sit down" variety, so more like a guided tour. Lots of fun, 30 - 60 minutes depending, really informative, get a chance to talk with people. Some were given by the the store staff, but some by the distributor or even the brewery. Mixed crowd, but easy enough to ignore the "duuuuude...free beer" types.

    One has caught my eye coming up this Friday (Berkshire Brewing) and it is spread out over four hours. I think it safe to assume this is being run just by the store and will be more like a "here ya go" kind of thing? There's only four beers listed, so obviously that is not going to be a beer an hour. I would call this a sampling rather than a tasting, I think? This sort of fits in with the discussion on flights.

    The store is close enough to home and I am sure I can talk the missus into dinner, so I'm going anyway. Just wondering about experience/opinions with various formats for these kinds of things.
  2. wesbray

    wesbray Advocate (550) Alberta (Canada) Feb 29, 2012 Beer Trader

    I'm actually going to one tomorrow, so i'll let you know then.
  3. beerindex

    beerindex Savant (340) Michigan Jun 18, 2007 Beer Trader

    That's what they're like here (well, at least at my store of choice): X number of bottles are set out at a certain time, and are left out until a certain times, with certain bottles possibly replaced if they run out. They are just set out next to a stack of really tiny tasting cups, and you help yourself at leisure while/before browsing.
  4. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Advocate (550) Oregon Aug 17, 2005 Beer Trader

    We aren't allowed to let customer serve themselves (huge liability if they're over-served), but otherwise most of our tastings are run the same way. We pick a 2-3 hour time slot from say 5-8, set up a table for the brewery/distributor rep, and they pass out samples and answer questions for a while. They generally aren't something you hang out for all night, it's mainly a "Since you're here shopping anyway, why not try this free beer!" sort of a thing. Occasionally the rep runs out of something before the end of the tasting, but at this point we've become pretty good at predicting how much they'll need to bring, so more often than not there's partial bottles left over for the staff to try when they're off work.
  5. Northlax3

    Northlax3 Savant (345) New Jersey Aug 19, 2012 Beer Trader

    The store I work for mostly does wine tastings. but now that we are starting to get a much better beer selection, we will be doing beer tastings as well

    Our format is usually a server giving info about the bottle(s) we have open for the day. Its not advertised unfortunately, but we set up in the front of the store so anyone can stop by and have a try.

    hopefully, it'll help us move some of the new good beer we get in.

    Edit: In a store near my house, they have a beer tasting every Tuesday night featuring a different brewery or theme every time. Its a really awesome experience because they also have infomation sessions along with it for an hour about ingredients, taste profiles, and general beer knowledge.
  6. I think "In-Store Tastings" should be of the "Inverted Keg Stand" variety with only 7% + abv beers!
    zestd likes this.
  7. cyclonece09

    cyclonece09 Advocate (515) Maryland Aug 5, 2008 Verified

    This is how my local beer store does it. Sometimes it will be an hourly bottle (a bigger and/or rarer beer) and when it is gone, its gone. They do it weekly, send out the list on Wednesday or Thursday.
  8. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (805) California Sep 4, 2010 Beer Trader

    I've worked at two stores with good tastings. I set them up at my current job which is a plus so I can open up what I'd like. They will probably give you an oz. of each beer and offer a little info. Nothing serious and don't feel obligated to buy what they are sampling.
  9. LeRose

    LeRose Advocate (725) Massachusetts Nov 24, 2011 Verified

    OK...so a little variety in the format which is to be expected. Good point on the liability - i wouldnt think it would be self serve but around here you never know! Hope they do a little dog and pony and talk at least a little bit. Dont know the brewery other than the web and the reviews on here are decent, but infor is always good.

    I walked through a rum tasting at a store I don't frequent anymore. But for the sign on the door would never have known that is what it was. Sort of disinterested person standing behind a tray table not saying a word to anyone - very poor. I don't expect that at the store I will be visiting for the beer sampling.

    And no - no obligation to buy whatsoever, Erik, but good tip to remember!
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  10. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,420) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Beer Trader

    I just got back from one. Only 4 beers, Odell Lugene, Batch 19, Third Shift, and that new Apple Ale from Miller.
  11. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Advocate (745) Oklahoma Oct 22, 2010

    Never been to one. I was in a Springfield, MO liquor store where a Makers Mark rep was serving shots. That was pretty awesome since I'd never seen that before. When the rep asked if I wanted any I was like, "Uh...yeah, sure...if that's cool." I was looking around half way expecting some ATF agents to pop outta the displays. I mean...shitfire, liquor stores can't even sell serving vessels in OK, let alone provide free samples of good liquor.
  12. LeRose

    LeRose Advocate (725) Massachusetts Nov 24, 2011 Verified

    The number of beers is ok...whatever they want to do, you know? But one thing I am is an information hound. If it is just walk in, take a sample, have a nice day then that doesn't work for me. For one thing, although the check out girl talked very nicely about Founders last time I was there, I don't have any idea if the knowledge level at what us almost a boutique store us any better than the other stores I visit. So hopefully it s a bit better than heres your Dixie cup....we shall see!
  13. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,420) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Beer Trader

    Well the guy who was pouring told a group of us that Blue Moon is the no. 1 craft brewer in the US...
  14. Hey. If I'm there, I'll try it. It won't sway a purchase, because a thimbles worth if beer is hardly anything for me to assess. Thanks.
  15. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,475) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    Which was the best? :rolleyes:
    Bitterbill likes this.
  16. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,420) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Beer Trader

    I'd rank them...ummm...tops is tough. I dig both the 19 and the Lugene, different styles and all. Third Shift was okay(not as complex and tasty as the 19) but, not surprisingly, the Redd's Apple Ale was nothing like the New Glarus; I didn't expect it to be but hell, really?
  17. LeRose

    LeRose Advocate (725) Massachusetts Nov 24, 2011 Verified

    Oh yay....
  18. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,420) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Beer Trader

    I kind of chuckled inside when he said that but hell, I reckon he didn't know any better and I didn't want to start something=argue with him.:rolleyes:
  19. Envelopes

    Envelopes Savant (420) Ohio Aug 26, 2012

    There's some law again giving free alcohol in Ohio. From what I've seen advertised store tastings vary from somewhere around $5-12 or $1-2/per drink depending on how it's set up and what's being poured.

    I don't plan on attending any just because I've accidentally gone into three different bottle shops on a tasting night and found it to be annoyingly uncomfortable and damn near impossible to move. I'd probably shell out every once in a while if the bottle shops around here had a bit more room to breathe.
  20. LeRose

    LeRose Advocate (725) Massachusetts Nov 24, 2011 Verified

    That crowd factor is really tough to gauge around here. One store has an email reservation system for "sit down" tastings in thier tasting room, but even with that I have seen it packed like a sardine can, so obviously somebody doesn't follow through. Then other times it is dead empty. I have enjoyed the tasting room sessions when they actually remember to match the number of asses to the number of chairs.

    Well, will see how it goes...reckon the door swings both ways and I have walked out of better places!
  21. Went to one beer tasting at a discount wine store and the the rep from the brewery was a young kid maybe around 21. He poured the 4-5 beers one after the other into small Styrofoam cups and then after we tried one of each, he said "well thanks for coming". What? No option to say try the first one again...it was like, hey I am here for 4 hours but you get 10 seconds to try the beers and then get lost. And a tasting in Styrofoam, come on!
  22. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,475) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    I have been to some in store tastings, usually for a small fee. It's cool to be able to try 4 to 6 beers for like $1.