Presentation Matters

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.
Beer Expo
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 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 achievements.
Powering up
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.