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Beer and Restaurants

Discussion in 'Beer & Food' started by DaGio, Mar 17, 2013.

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  1. DaGio

    DaGio Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 Fiji

    I think a lot of the restaurants are missing out on a ton of business by not serving craft beer and was curious what the rest of the BA community thought. If your favorite restaurant (or maybe not so favorite) began selling top notch craft beer would you be more likely to visit it? Also what if one of them created an exclusive beer with someone like Bell's or Founder's, would that make you more likely to visit that specific restaurant? I'd love to see Outback co-develop a craft beer with a big time brewery that is restaurant exclusive and crafted to go great with a blooming onion. Thoughts?
    FredGallagher likes this.
  2. RblWthACoz

    RblWthACoz Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I find that restaurants and establishments that are overloaded with mass produced lagers and nothing local usually showcase the same kind of commitment and attention to detail in their food, which is another reason for me to avoid them. Consumers shouldn't have to prod establishments to provide quality products, in my opinion. If they don't get it, then they are living in the clouds and I'd think it'd be an uphill battle.
  3. WBD

    WBD Initiate (0) Feb 3, 2013 South Carolina

    My thoughts are that the big box hash joints feel they cannot make their required mark up on craft so they punt.

    Eat and drink local and your wish will be granted. We have a fair amount of eateries that offer some kick ass craft beers.
  4. Hockey_Fan

    Hockey_Fan Devotee (476) Jan 13, 2013 Maryland

    I agree, my favorite places have always been small local places. You tend to get better service, better food, and a lot of them have better beer choices. I know this is a generalization and there are always exceptions, but it's what I've found to be mostly true.
  5. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    I don't care to drink at restaurants or most bars, unless the price is reasonable. (Green Dot Stables or Twisted Rooster's Late Night happy hour, for instance)

    I just don't see a reason to spend $7 on a 16oz craft draft when I can just buy a six-pack of the same beer for $10. At restaurants, I choose water.
    JBogan likes this.
  6. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (271) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    Local places seem to put way more effort into wine selection over beer selection. The chain places have at least some decent beer available. A nice and small local Italian restaurant isnt going to ever have a decent beer selection.
  7. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    Or any Mexican restaurant.

    I find that the best chain for craft beer is Buffalo Wild Wings. I don't care for their food very much outside of their onion rings, but the beer selection's not too bad... at least here in Michigan.
  8. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (1,967) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Supporter Subscriber

    I choose restaurants for reasons other than the beer list. It would be nice if my favorite restaurants had 50+ taps, but I'm mostly there for the food and the ambiance. However, I think I see a trend for more craft beers in some chains (Buffalo Wild Wings for one example) as well as locally-owned places so that everyone may jump on the bandwagon if they see the beer as being a customer-pleasing attraction.
  9. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    If Outback is one of your favorite restaurants I think you need to expand your horizons. That said, I go to restaurants for food, not beer...so I don't care too much about the selection. If they had a better selection I would be more inclined to order a beer, but it wouldn't increase my patronage of that restaurant. In a way I'm glad they don't because then I'd be tempted to spend money on overpriced beer...I'll stick to my soda water and lime:slight_smile:
  10. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (3,821) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I typically visit places that cater to my tastes. Contrary to what plenty of people say, there are lots of restaurants that have good beer and food. Those are the places I give my dollars to. I can't remember the last time I even wanted to go to an Outback, Applebees, or even Yard House.
    BuckeyeOne likes this.
  11. DaGio

    DaGio Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 Fiji

    Like most of you I too prefer to eat locally, I am curious if these chain restaurants could lure in customers by being more craft beer centric. As an example if you were craving wings, and Buffalo Wild Wings had great craft beer would you go there instead of Tilted Kilt of Hooter's. Or if Buffalo Wild Wings co-created an above average IPA with Bell's that was only available there, would it increase patronage and also perceptions of Buffalo Wild Wings? Of course I am only using these names as examples. I doubt something like that would ever happen.

    I am studying co-branding in my marketing class right now and it started making me think about this.
  12. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (632) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I do not eat/drink at any chains. Its local only and they all carry good beer.

  13. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,366) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    i have restaurants that i go to for the food and ambiance (i can have a great brew b4 or after at home) so brew is not my agenda i also have great bars/pubs that serve stellar brews/taps food is secondary here
  14. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (3,821) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Personally, I would not go to either if I could help it. There are some Buffalo Wild Wings with a good beer selection. Though I still avoid them when I can. Maybe one of them having a house beer from Bell's et al might persuade me one way or the other if I had to choose. I can go on a rant, but with respect wont. Putting it easy, none of these are my kind of places. Sorry, not sure if my opinion helped you.
  15. Barrelsnbeer

    Barrelsnbeer Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2012 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    im currently working a program with local restaurants to get the chefs and wait staff familar with craft beer and the possibilities it can bring in profit and pairings. theres a ton of places here selling swill with high end food and its disturbing. but since most of my friends are chefs and kitchen managers in my area ive been able to use my skills to promote craft here on the OBX. im hoping to see a big change here on the island when it comes to beer availability in dining establishments
    BeerBuddy2122 likes this.
  16. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    The problem is there is nothing in it for these chains. People don't go there to drink good beer, they go to craft bars if that's what they want. People go to these places for cheap food and to watch sports. They sell ultra cheap beer at HUGE profit margins and you simply can't get the same margin, or even close to it with craft. They charge dollars for pennies worth of beer. No craft enthusiast would patronize a place simply because it has one decent beer amongst a sea of shit.
  17. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    I kindly disagree with all of the "buy local" mentality (for where I live at least) and honestly I think it won't be the winning strategy for craft beer going mainstream in restaurants. The more practical solution for getting good craft beer is likely to be something resembling what we're seeing now with the clear example of Goose Island.

    Even here in Phoenix I'm starting to see mainstream restaurants (locally owned too) offering Sofie, Pere Jacques (both in tulips), Matilda, 312, IPA, etc. I think the successful spread will be from the distributing power of the big guys and whichever brewers they buyout and promote. Proper beer metros like San Diego, Portland, and others may be a different story however. But for the rest of the cities out there that are average and below, I'd wager that whatever InBev pushes is going to be the big thing for craft beer growth - whether it's Goose Island, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Spaten, or whatever.
  18. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    I've had the same experience with Mexican restaurants in general, but then I had a Hill Farmstead Abner and outstanding tacos last night at the Black Back in Waterbury, VT... Interestingly, and not surprisingly, good beer and Mexican go together really well!
  19. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    For one's ideal preferences I fully agree, but unfortunately I and many others have to make compromises because of colleagues, non-beer friends, family, etc. and it really makes a big difference if one of these places just has one or two craft options, even if they're "macro craft".

    Even though I'm frequently bashed for saying good things, one of my favorite places is a major compromise for me - Yardhouse. At Yardhouse I'll never order 90% of the taps, but they have a half dozen great IPA's (Sculpin $5 on happy hour!), rotating seasonals like DFH 120 and others, and I can go there with friends who have kids that they bring along. They're convenient, provide excellent service most times, and thankfully I get to avoid a lot of patrons that I'd rather not be around at some of the more pure craft beer places out there.
  20. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    Pet peeve.

    And why are kids allowed in bars but not casinos.
  21. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Right, for me too - that's why I never take mine to bars. Yardhouse, Old Chicago, and others are more restauranty yet have good beer options. Yes it's a major compromise, but it's a working one for many of us.
    SerialTicker likes this.
  22. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (3,821) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    That is a good point. I do not like the Yardhouse locations I have been to (Houston and San Antonio), though can see how a place like that appeals to people with families, or a large group with varying tastes. I for one am single, and pretty much go where I want when I want.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  23. kingofhop

    kingofhop Initiate (0) May 9, 2010 Oklahoma

    I don't mind chains. I can go to Old Chicago's and get something like Left Hand or Racer 5. Everybody else gets their Bud lite or Dr Pepper, and we're all happy. Even if a place just has Boston lager or SN Pale ale, I can live with that. No problem. Course I'm content with a Modelo with my TexMex, too.
  24. PieOhMy

    PieOhMy Devotee (415) Feb 23, 2013 Minnesota

    Right now I am eating with some friends at a Green Mill. I was SHOCKED to see Odell IPA on tap, the only other craft is Goose Island IPA, and was absolutely f**king blown the f**k away when the bartender told us that it was their #3 biggest seller. Of course #1 was Mich Golden and #2 was Coors Light but, shit, that says something about people's taste and I'm sure mgmt. has noticed.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  25. SaCkErZ9

    SaCkErZ9 Poo-Bah (2,148) Feb 27, 2005 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Ummm, because kids are notorious for running the table in craps, costing the casino millions of untaxed, minor, under the table revenue. The only things kids do at bars is cry and poop and spill milk all over the place. Sure it's annoying, but doesn't cost the bar anything.
  26. beercanman

    beercanman Initiate (0) Dec 17, 2012 Ohio

    I'm lucky, my favorite place to dine is a craft bar.
  27. YieldToNothing

    YieldToNothing Initiate (0) Mar 13, 2013 New York

    i go out for dinner no more than 2x a week, at least one of those times its for sushi....and usually the second time is for sushi too.

    i don't like sapporo or kirin ichiban...beer will come a few hours later.
    i don't need a beer with a meal, once in a while its nice, but i dont generally drink with my meals
  28. SmoothHoosier

    SmoothHoosier Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2013 Indiana

    A spot not serving craft beer wouldn't make me skip out on it if they served good food. I'm fine drinking sweet tea or water.
  29. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (515) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    My hometown of Seattle IS a different story, as you surmised. Most local good restaurants carry at least a couple of craft beers on tap. It has gotten to the point where I don't go to a restaurant that doesn't have craft beer on tap, unless I'm going for a particular cuisine for which I don't want beer --- like Italian.

    As for the OP's question --- my family rarely if ever eats at chain restaurants when we are home. If I want Buffalo wings, we go to a local place that has a good craft beer selection --- same goes for burgers, BBQ, etc. There really is no reason to hit up a chain restaurant in our city. And, this has been my experience in visiting Portland, Minneapolis and San Deigo. There are likely many other examples.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  30. imbibehour

    imbibehour Poo-Bah (6,222) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland
    Supporter Subscriber

    Washington DC and the area has a great food scene, and many of the solid restaurants already offer a great beer lineup.

    This isnt a problem here hooray!
  31. FredGallagher

    FredGallagher Initiate (0) May 6, 2013 Alaska

    I am a food and beverage manager - I run a small pizzeria in Anchorage.

    I enjoyed the feedback on this thread and am happy to report not all places allow the big guys muscle them around. I am working with a small brewery that opened less than a year ago, King Street Brewing Co. We make pizza they make beer - a perfect harmonies match.

    It opens up collaboration – and that’s exciting. For example, their current seasonal offering is “Nirvana Wit”- we are looking at fusing their Witbier with our white sauce and using ingredients that enhance the beers profile.

    We do weekly beer picks – I encourage the staff to pick a beer or a style and do some educated research and if it’s a solid choice – we order it and push it for a month. This keeps everyone involved.

    I have 8 draft taps – 5 go to our main brewery King Street – the others are reputable “Alaskan” breweries (Midnight Sun, Silver Gulch).

    You will not find the mainstream breweries - no Budweiser, no Miller, no Coors. I also don't carry "buzz" beer like New Belgium and Alaskan Brewing Co. (though I may start getting their "Pilot" series). Though these guys are loved and there is a huge demand - I would rather promote the unpolished gems like King Street, which has been really producing solid beers - recieving more aclaim than the larger breweries in the state.

    My bottled beer collection is revolving and ever changing inventory. For domestic, I choose lower 48 breweries to focus on. This month North Coast Brewing Co. and Anchor Brewing Co. Imports tend to be more refined, we offer a monthly selection that focus on showcasing a specific style. This is my exceptional list. Trappist Ales and Hefes are this month’s focus.

    Some bottles are always on hand: Hofbrau, Anchor Steam, Framboise, Chimay, Angry Orchard (people love cider. Dont hate).

    I get brewers involved in the training of my staff – and encourage beer discussions at work. We engage the guests with samples to help them select their brew - a very impressionable approach.

    n a time when Americans are more money conscious – it is vital that your approach is above the competitions. When you visit my little pizzeria you quickly realize the difference.

    Wanted to give some dialog on what we are doing up here. Hope this approach seems solid. Feedback is very muck appreciated!

    GM @ Uncle Joe's Pizzeria
    Tudor, Anchorage
    JulianB and ZAP like this.
  32. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,475) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    Beer selection plays a big role in where I chose to eat. Don't get me wrong I'm not going to some shit place to eat just because they have great beer. In fact I just did this last week. We went and had an appetizer with friends while they ordered a meal....had 4 pints and we all left...then we picked up some pizza from top notch place on the way home.

    If all is equal I go to the place with better beer. Even if it is pretty close. Still, I do hit mexican and other places and drink what they have at times too but my preference is a quality restaurant with good beer. I figure if they care about their beer they must care about other things?
  33. FredGallagher

    FredGallagher Initiate (0) May 6, 2013 Alaska

    I used to work for the "chain" restaurants - and it shows in the beer selection. If a local brewery is chosen by these guys its a local with mass distribution ie) Alaska Brewing Co. It takes serious effort to follow the brewing scene and find a reputable brewer. Its easy to jump on the band wangon - especially when the distributor is offering major incentives like get three handles of this brewery and your $125 per keg is dropped to $99.

    I am not looking for a discount. I am looking for envolvement and commitment. Sadly, that involvement doesn't mean flashing logo signs and coasters. It means a collaberation. In Alaska, I have tons of breweries that want to get involved and support small pizzeria's like me - but few can give me the real hands on partnership.

    I find it's a complex and layered relationship between us and them. But when you find a brewery thats hands on like King Street Brewing - the sky is the limit. I am really impressed with the character of these guys - rare these days.

    To know they are this committed makes it easy to make them my brewery of choice.

    Cheers Zap! You are right - the level of commitment in regards to the beer selection is a clear gauge how detailed they are on thier ingrediants for their food.

    When I chose ingrediants for our food - I am looking for fresh and local. When I am chose beer I want fresh and local. Same deal.

    (My spelling my be off - sorry. English is my second language).

  34. Sneers

    Sneers Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I've observed the following as a good rule of thumb: Places that have good food usually also have good drink. Places that have good drink may or may not have good food.

    In the first case, I'm up to try the place whether or not the drinks include good beers. A place capable of giving you a quality meal across the board may not have beer on the menu for a reason, and I'm perfectly okay with that. Good is good. [Note: I've been to a handful of more upscale places whose beer menu consists only of Bud and the likes, but I figure that this is to appease stubborn drinkers, rather than a poorly-executed attempt at including beer on the drink menu.]

    On other hand, if the local Applebee's started carrying top notch beer, I guess there's a sense that it'd increase the odds of me checking the place out (I've never cared to go to one), but I still wouldn't be there for the food. In other words, to my mind, it'd just be a bar.
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