15 December 2010

15Dec- ethics in wine/beer lists?

sometime ago i did away with our bud light and budweiser on the grounds that, partially, i didn't drink them but mostly that i didn't like customers to have that 'out'. i'd heard things like "i don't know any of these beers. i'll just take a bud." or worse "the only normal beer they have is bud." and they sold. pretty well. and, of course, the mark up was pretty good but i started feeling dirty about it and like i was enabling diners to give up. on a busy night once (and i tend to say stupid, frank things when i'm distracted) i did actually tell someone not to give up on me and to order something more interesting.
then i thought, to whom am i obligated to carry these beers of which i don't approve? no one, as it turns out. so i did away with them. and clearly, it's not about the money since we'd rake it in if we just offered cheap beers marked up. it's about encouraging people to try different things. expand those horizons for an hour at 5 or 6 bucks.
but am i encouraging or am i forcing? or both?
i've just decided to do away with our zinfandel. a pleasant lodi number that does what it's supposed to but i've begun to hear people waving a hand and saying "i'll just take the zinfandel." after a cursory glance at the menu. so. is it wrong to take it away just to force people to take the steps to try something new? i chose to try something new; no one forced me.
i think of this place as an extension of our personalities; an extension of our house. baan, after all, means house. and i certainly don't keep beers, wines, or liquors around the house to appeal to the broadest array of potential visitors. i stock things that please me. that fascinate me.
i haven't heard complaints about the decisions i've made on the beer and wine lists. i've heard some occasional pointed remarks on what has been perceived as "snobbiness" but i've heard more remarks about how refreshing it is to have the chance to try new and different things.

we recently had a glorious dinner at holeman and finch in atlanta and the beer/wine list (to say nothing of the astonishing food) was an absolute inspiration. i know. i know. it's a totally different market but they're getting away with awesome things (by the glass!) like a corvina, rondinella, sangiovese blend. by the glass!
and to be fair to columbia, we've done a (variably) brisk by-the-glass trade in my babies like mencia and godello. so i'm going to take the mild success we've had with little grapes like those as confirmation that i'm on the right path. that my gentle (to forced) urgings to try new wines and beers is a good thing.

and that as good as the zinfandel has been to us, i've got to go with something else. a petite sirah, perhaps. not just for me, you understand.
ah, who am i kidding.
i'm being selfish.

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