The summer in Chicago
means alfresco dining for me. One such occasion this month left me
scratching my head about how my beverage was served.
With my dinner one evening at a trendy bar and grill, I
ordered a Boddingtons Pub Ale on draft. To my surprise, it was delivered in
a plastic cup instead of a normal pint glass. The establishment was
charging more than $5 for the imported brew from the United Kingdom, so I
figured I’d ask the server why it was served in a plastic cup instead
of glass. Her response was that beer gets served in plastic outside.
“Why?” I asked her, when the ladies at the table next to me
were drinking $5 specially promoted martinis in glass. “In
plastic” was just the way she was supposed to serve beer outside this
summer, she said.
I guess this wouldn’t have irked me to the degree
it did if I didn’t work for Beverage
Industry, and hear from the people I interview
about how important on-premise promotion is. I couldn’t imagine more
blatant prejudice against beer’s image compared to wine and spirits
at this restaurant. Granted, my water was sitting in the same plastic cup,
but it was free, direct from Chicago’s municipal sources, and not
brought across the ocean. But wine and mixed drinks were served in their
appropriate glassware outside. I also understand the logic that bringing a
glass product outside provides more opportunity for breakage, but I’m
pretty sure I could be a responsible beer drinker and not break my glass,
just like the martini drinkers.
The appropriate glassware is essential to the drinking
experience, as that evening drove home to me. When someone shells out more
than $5 for a quality beverage — from any category — the
product deserves a bit of presentation with it.
Chicago Beverage Systems, a retailer-focused beer
distributor owned by Reyes Holdings, hosted its first annual “Beer
Expo.” From left to right are CBS’s Mark Hierl, Fritzi
Konstantelos, Don Wallace and Chris Reyes, co-chirman of Reyes Holdings;
joined in the event. Held at the company’s warehouse in
Chicago, more than 500 attendees were able to attend presentations, visit
14 brewers’ booths and tour CBS’s facilities. Bar owners,
restaurant managers and liquor store owners heard about beer trends among
other topics, sampled and networked at booths from exhibitors including Boston Beer, Coors and others.
Student art on labels
Torani introduced two new syrup labels designed by
elementary school children in after-school programs. The labels for Torani
Cherry and French Vanilla syrups will feature the art of Houston’s
10-year-old Alejandra Garcia and eight-year-old Alina Arevalo for a limited
time, with 5 percent of sales to benefit the Afterschool Alliance.
‘Art’ on the Web
“Art of the Drink,” a weekly bartending
video podcast from Lion's Cathedral Productions LLC, reports it has had
more than 35,000 downloads to date, and is growing at a rate of 10 percent
per day. The bartending video has become a featured iTunes How-To podcast
and has been featured in the GoFish.com home page. Each week, the video
includes a new drink recipe.
Strike a pose
Bawls Guaranexx was named the official energy drink of
the IMG Sunglass Hut’s Miami Swim Shows Presented by Lycra and
Olympus Fashion Week New York. The sugar-free, calorie-free drink fits well
with the non-stop energy needed in fashion, the company says.
Scotch for a Scotsman
When the American Film Institute presented actor Sir
Sean Connery with the 2006 AFI Life Achievement Award, the actor was
bestowed a bottle of Laphroaig single Islay malt Scotch whisky in addition
to the honor. The bottle of award-winning single-malt Scotch whisky was
presented to the famous Scotsman as a special gift to mark Connery’s
Nascar frontrunner Kasey Kahne revealed a little bit of his secret
to success: Glacéau VitaminWater in Power-C
flavor. Kahne reportedly drank the Dragonfruit -flavored
VitaminWater before, during and after all his races, four of which he won
for an overall third place point finish. The company has honored Kahne by
placing his #9 on the bottles and a special message about racing fans.
3 Chefs, 3 Beers, 3 Dishes
Samuel Adams challenged three chefs to create three
unique dishes featuring three beers at this year’s “Food & Wine Magazine Classic”
in Aspen. Chefs David Burke, Ryan Hardy and Mary Dumont faced off to create
an appetizer, entrée and dessert featuring Samuel Adams Boston Lager
and two new brews, Traditional Ginger Honey Ale and George Washington
Porter, both part of the Samuel Adams Brewer Patriot Collection. Dumont won
with her Boston Lager braised ribs and molasses brownie with George
Washington Porter ice cream.