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Can a great restaurant serve mass-market beer?

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Postby TP Lowe » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:30 pm

Hey, what happened to the thread on the food at Corbett's? Take your beer slugfest outside!
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Postby Robin Garr » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:33 pm

TP Lowe wrote:Hey, what happened to the thread on the food at Corbett's? Take your beer slugfest outside!


There's a way to split sub-threads into separate topics in this software, but it's quirky, and I'm kind of scared to do it. Shall I give it a try, with the understanding that the results might be ... um ... imperfect? ;)
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Postby Roger A. Baylor » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:36 pm

Will, if illustrating for a decade and a half on a daily basis what is possible with beer constitutes "hypocrisy", then your educational background obviously differs from mine.

You're free to choose the etymology you wish. At the same time, I believe my record of advocacy speaks for itself.

You can have the final word if you wish, 'cuz I'm going to commence a more rewarding task than our current debate: Teaching my cat to read Pepin.
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NABC Bank Street Brewhouse
New Albany, Indiana
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Postby TP Lowe » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:48 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
TP Lowe wrote:Hey, what happened to the thread on the food at Corbett's? Take your beer slugfest outside!


There's a way to split sub-threads into separate topics in this software, but it's quirky, and I'm kind of scared to do it. Shall I give it a try, with the understanding that the results might be ... um ... imperfect? ;)

Aw, shucks, not for me to decide - let's the jousters reach that conclusion.
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Postby Will Crawford » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:56 pm

Roger A. Baylor wrote:

You can have the final word if you wish, 'cuz I'm going to commence a more rewarding task than our current debate: Teaching my cat to read Pepin.



Cheers and a happy new year
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Postby Ed Vermillion » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:57 pm

Teaching your cat to read answers the majority of my questions, Roger. A Happy New Year to all the bolsheviks on the sunny side.

We now return to our regularly scheduled debate.
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Postby TP Lowe » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:00 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
TP Lowe wrote:Hey, what happened to the thread on the food at Corbett's? Take your beer slugfest outside!


There's a way to split sub-threads into separate topics in this software, but it's quirky, and I'm kind of scared to do it. Shall I give it a try, with the understanding that the results might be ... um ... imperfect? ;)


Well, that was slick!
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Postby Jeremy J » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:45 pm

Roger A. Baylor wrote:Why is is that the wine enthusiast is catered to, but not the beer enthusiast?


But the beer enthusiast IS catered to. Just along side of some stuff that you apparently hate so much that you think no one else should be allowed to drink them without being mocked. I appreciate fine wine and beer as much as the next guy, but who gives a flying flip if they carry Bud or not? From what I hear it sounds like they have you covered in terms of nicer beers.
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Postby Will Crawford » Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:23 pm

Jeremy J wrote:
Roger A. Baylor wrote:Why is is that the wine enthusiast is catered to, but not the beer enthusiast?


But the beer enthusiast IS catered to. Just along side of some stuff that you apparently hate so much that you think no one else should be allowed to drink them without being mocked. I appreciate fine wine and beer as much as the next guy, but who gives a flying flip if they carry Bud or not? From what I hear it sounds like they have you covered in terms of nicer beers.


Amen! Roger is on a mission so it is hard for him to let others enjoy what they like to drink.
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Postby Brett Davis » Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:39 pm

This is about choices. Be it Bud, KJ, Coca-Cola, or ranch dressing, an owner has a choice between leading their guests and following their lead. Neither is a wrong choice and it can be a tough one which is why most try to do both. I've had this same debate with a multitude of successful and not so successful owners over beer, wine, and food. At what point can a restaurant afford to stop catering to the masses that relish in mediocrity and brand loyalty and demand the quality standards in their beverage programs from top to bottom like most do their food menus. Many restaurateurs do not see their beverage program being as important as the menu since it is not being executed in house.

Roger's question is very clear and valid. Never does he bash anyone for what they are doing. He is simply asking why beer is not held to the same standards of quality as the food menu and more recently the wine list. If a fine dining restaurant offered traditional Buffalo chicken wings and Yellow Tail Merlot, there would be quite a few raised eyebrows. However, when they offer the equivalence in beer such as Bud, Miller...etc., almost nobody takes notice and it does not seem to lower the standards of the restaurant. WHY IS THAT? Nobody seems to be answering the question at hand; they just keep bashing the concept of the question.

I think the answer is right in front of you on this message board Roger. Louisville obviously isn't quite ready for what you propose and very few restaurant owners are willing to take on the risk of losing customers or investing the time to become a leader for real beer and its place in fine dining. Thanks to you and a few others like you, Louisville is much farther ahead of the game than most cities our size in Middle America. So please do not think your efforts are for naught. I travel quite a bit and I’m always proud of Louisville’s general beer selection across the city.

One note about Corbett’s. Carrie Crouch is working there and involved in the beverage program so I have faith that the beer program is a good one and if not, will be soon if she has her say. She is definitely one of the leaders in this city of promoting well thought out beverage programs from top to bottom be it beer, wine, or liquor. I can’t wait to see what they are doing. Unfortunately I will not be able to get there until the end of February.
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Postby Brett Davis » Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:48 pm

Jeremy J wrote:
Roger A. Baylor wrote:Why is is that the wine enthusiast is catered to, but not the beer enthusiast?


But the beer enthusiast IS catered to. Just along side of some stuff that you apparently hate so much that you think no one else should be allowed to drink them without being mocked. I appreciate fine wine and beer as much as the next guy, but who gives a flying flip if they carry Bud or not? From what I hear it sounds like they have you covered in terms of nicer beers.


You comment of "who gives a flying flip if they carry Bud or not" is exactly the point of this whole debate and the core question on this stream. Why is that? Why are beer programs not being held to the same standards as the wine and food programs in Louisville's fine dining establishments. This isn't about Corbett's, it's about the restaurant scene in general.

Not that Roger needs me to defend him but where does he say anyone should be mocked because of what they choose to drink?
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Postby Will Crawford » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:21 pm

Brett Davis wrote:This is about choices. Be it Bud, KJ, Coca-Cola, or ranch dressing, an owner has a choice between leading their guests and following their lead. Neither is a wrong choice and it can be a tough one which is why most try to do both. I've had this same debate with a multitude of successful and not so successful owners over beer, wine, and food. At what point can a restaurant afford to stop catering to the masses that relish in mediocrity and brand loyalty and demand the quality standards in their beverage programs from top to bottom like most do their food menus. Many restaurateurs do not see their beverage program being as important as the menu since it is not being executed in house.

Roger's question is very clear and valid. Never does he bash anyone for what they are doing. He is simply asking why beer is not held to the same standards of quality as the food menu and more recently the wine list. If a fine dining restaurant offered traditional Buffalo chicken wings and Yellow Tail Merlot, there would be quite a few raised eyebrows. However, when they offer the equivalence in beer such as Bud, Miller...etc., almost nobody takes notice and it does not seem to lower the standards of the restaurant. WHY IS THAT? Nobody seems to be answering the question at hand; they just keep bashing the concept of the question.

I think the answer is right in front of you on this message board Roger. Louisville obviously isn't quite ready for what you propose and very few restaurant owners are willing to take on the risk of losing customers or investing the time to become a leader for real beer and its place in fine dining. Thanks to you and a few others like you, Louisville is much farther ahead of the game than most cities our size in Middle America. So please do not think your efforts are for naught. I travel quite a bit and I’m always proud of Louisville’s general beer selection across the city.

One note about Corbett’s. Carrie Crouch is working there and involved in the beverage program so I have faith that the beer program is a good one and if not, will be soon if she has her say. She is definitely one of the leaders in this city of promoting well thought out beverage programs from top to bottom be it beer, wine, or liquor. I can’t wait to see what they are doing. Unfortunately I will not be able to get there until the end of February.

It really comes down to who is paying the bills and taking the risk.
You bring up a good point.
Sshould restaurants be penelized for serving coca cola or pesi when they could go out and get Jones cola or some other brand?
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Postby Suzi Bernert » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:25 pm

I don't have a dog in this fight, because I don't drink wine or beer (weird gene that makes everything alcoholic taste like perfume to me). It seems to me, it comes down to several points......

The feeling that beer is not as important to some of the finer dining establishments as wine is. OK, why? Is beer considered a lesser beverage? More for the masses than the dining elite? Only the owners can answer that and they have to do some amount of catering to the consumer, even if he disagrees with it, to meet his bottom line.

The other is Roger's passion for beer and his opinion about mass produced beers. Even though I cannot properly appreciate his product, I can appreciate his passion. I have the same type of passion for my job, I have trouble tolerating those who will not meet a high level of care (and am mourning the soon-to-happen loss of my passion - yeah guys, I am going to have to retire). Roger does not serve what he abhors in his business and that is his right. Others without his passion do serve mass produced beers and that is their right.

The original post asked what Corbett's was serving and noted what Dean was drinking. Again, asking if the beer list was as well planned as the wine list, Roger's zeal shone through. Hopefully that will be answered soon. Just as some of us will tsk-tsk those who live on Micky D's, Roger does to those who never try anything but Bud Lite.

I honestly don't believe all the back and forth will change either of the mindsets. Perhaps we can all accept Roger's passion and the right of others to sell as they please and not get so upset about it.
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Postby Roger A. Baylor » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:26 pm

Brett Davis wrote:One note about Corbett’s. Carrie Crouch is working there and involved in the beverage program so I have faith that the beer program is a good one and if not, will be soon if she has her say. She is definitely one of the leaders in this city of promoting well thought out beverage programs from top to bottom be it beer, wine, or liquor. I can’t wait to see what they are doing. Unfortunately I will not be able to get there until the end of February.


That's great news, Brett. Carrie gets it. Thanks for chiming in.

In other news, the cat has lost interest in Pepin, so now I'm seeking a new mission in a nearby bottle.
Roger A. Baylor
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NABC Bank Street Brewhouse
New Albany, Indiana
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Postby Michael Sell » Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:17 pm

Two points from someone who started with La Fin Du Monde as a entryway a few years back and just in the past few months has started to learn about Belgiums (had the pleasure of drinking at Toronado and New Albanian...)

Roger, you're one person but why not you taking the lead to pair up with different restaurants for beer/meal nights? If the price is affordable, my wife and I would probably go to most of these. I know you already do this to some degree, but just suggesting moreso if possible.

Also, part of the problem is "working-class" beers being trendy: PBR and other like swill. Money sure doesn't begat taste.
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