Light beer overload hurts fine dining restaurant credibility
Why do so many fine-dining restaurants today still fall prey to the notorious light beer overload trap? Are they bullied by mass-merchandising beer marketers and multi-million dollar TV ad campaigns? Are they innocent victims, willing accomplices, or simply blinded by the light?
It is doubtful that there are many fine-dining restaurateurs who really believe that mass-marketed light beers are up to the quality image set by their establishments’ otherwise intriguing food and beverage offerings. Why then do macro-brewed light beers overload so many beer lists.
We’re talking about places with award-winning wine lists that would never carry generic mass-marketed wine labels (like Yellow Tail and Woodbridge), yet they will offer two or three generic light beers, a couple of standard macro lagers (Budweiser, Heineken, Corona), and little else. It’s like a wine list that only has Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Where’s the Chardonnay; where’s the Cabernet Sauvignon; where’s the Pinot Noir?
Why offer multiple brands of macro-brewed light lagers? It just doesn’t fit. It’s sort of like advertising that your paté came from Walmart. Might this be the biggest restaurant inconsistency of our time; it’s certainly the most pervasive.
This is not to say that macro-brewed light beers are no good. They have their place in establishments that cater to the popular taste—chain restaurants, sports bars, NASCAR sponsorships, and convenience stores, etc. It’s just difficult to see how they fit into a place that prides itself on offering unique, creative cuisine.
Beer is food and must be considered part of the overall food experience. It cannot magically be exempted from the standard-setting criteria that determines whether a restaurant deserves a top-notch rating — or is just a poser. If a restaurant will make exceptions on it’s beer list, what other exceptions and short cuts might it make in the kitchen? It gives one pause.
Here’s to making your restaurant a craft beer restaurant. Cheers.