Those who are regular followers of my blog and twitter know that one of the things that annoys me is when I go out to a nice place for a meal and the wine list and cocktail list are extensive but the beer list, thats another story. It tends to be a short list and only have macro beers on it and if you are lucky one of the larger craft brewers like Sam Adams or Brooklyn, here in the Northeast. Now, I’ve got nothing against Sam Adams or Brooklyn its just I want more choice.
I wrote about one of these experiences a while back when I went to a Bachelor Party dinner at a steakhouse here in NYC. Now for me I truly love a great beer with a great steak so when I ran into a huge wine list and paltry beer list I was highly disappointed. This caused me to start a letter template that other beer lovers like myself could use to send to dining establishments to try to encourage them to carry more beer. Yea, i hear the cynics saying “Isn’t it the jobs of the beer reps and breweries to sell more beer?” and theoretically you are right. However, the reps can do their best but in the end no one has more power over an establishments choices then the customers. If we as customers speak up and do so in numbers hopefully places will revisit their drink program.
With all this in mind I set out to create a letter template for people to use. Now, a letter like this needs finesse and care, so I reached out and got help from incredible beer folks and writers:
Carla aka The Beer Babe @BeerBabe
With the help of these three talented individuals my vision became a reality and I present you with a template letter to dinning establishments. Obviously, if you use it feel free to tweak it to your needs but hopefully this will give you a good start.
Without further ado here is the letter:
I am writing to let you know that while I greatly enjoy your dining establishment’s food and hospitality, I have recently been severely disappointed by the beer selection that is available to accompany my meal at your restaurant. When dining out, I seek out locations that have a variety of local, regional and international beer to enjoy with my meal, and this selection is absent in your restaurant, despite a somewhat extensive wine list.
Historically, beer has maintained a reputation for being a blue-collar or poor man’s drink, and some have had trouble envisioning its place at a respectable dinner table. However, in the last 20 years, the craft brewing industry has evolved into one that produces varied and sophisticated brews that pair with food in ways that can be even more versatile than wine.
There are over 2,500 craft breweries currently producing beer in the United States. This number does not include the growing number of international breweries choosing to import their beer into our great country. Most cities also now have a robust selection of craft breweries, offering beers that appeal to local enthusiasts, as well as visitors seeking local flavor. The ease of access to large selection of beer is incredible, and has been increasing each year.
Below are two resources that can assist you if you are interested in meeting the needs of craft beer-savvy patrons:
The Brewer’s Association (www.CraftBeer.com) provides advice, tools and tips to work with beer in restaurants and also provides resources to train servers in basic beer knowledge.
The CiceroneTM Program (www.Cicerone.org) is a training program designed to elevate the understanding of beer, especially in a food and restaurant context – and certified Cicerones are the beer world’s equivalent of a sommelier. Several levels of certification are offered, from the basic Certified Beer Server all the way up to the Master Cicerone certification.
These resources can assist you in not only expanding and choosing your beer selection but also with including beer recommendations right on your menu.
I highly encourage you to consider making this change. This small effort will help your bottom line as beer enthusiasts like myself are loyal and tend to patronize places with a great beer selection more frequently than those without. I hope to return as a customer to your restaurant soon, so I ask you to please consider this request.