There Is No Such Thing As A Free Drink…

Joker Free WorkRecently, I was at a local brewery and the brewer welcomed me at the bar. After exchanging pleasantries and discussing what’s on tap, I ordered a new brew. The brewer asked me “Do you want to taste it first?” My retort: “No… I want a pint. I trust that you put the beer on tap because you thought it was good enough to serve.”

My thoughts ran something like this: Would you ask your waiter to “try the steak” before ordering a porterhouse? Would you ask a bartender to “try the dry martini” before ordering? So why do people still ask to “try” a beer before ordering a beer?

Brewers need to stop offering customers a taste of their beer before ordering. Stop giving away your product.

It is my belief that there was a time when craft beer needed to evangelize the good news of good beer. One way that happened was for brewers to get people just to try the beer.  Offering a free taste or a 2 oz. pour of beer you could to try it. Get them to taste something new, something different from their Budweiser tall boy. The theory was, just get them to just try it and they will love it. I think that worked.

But times change. I have said before that the craft beer industry is no longer “The Little Engine That Could.” Time to start acting like it guys.

Brewers should only sell beer that they feel good about serving to their customers.  Breweries must provide a high level of detail about what both goes into each brew and its specific tasting notes. Breweries should work to either remain close to the proper characteristics for each style or provide proper notice when getting creative. Tell people exactly what they are buying up front with a detailed beer menu.

If customers want to “try” a beer, point them towards ordering a flight or better yet start selling half pints. I love a brewery that sells half pints. They are the perfect size for me; more variety without just those tiny little 4 oz pours.

It’s time to move past giving away the product. Brewers need to respect the hard work they do and only sell beer of which you are proud. If you truly believe each beer you brew is good, then you will gladly demand money for the purpose of handing it across the bar.

Customers should stop looking for a freebie. If you can’t take the risk to order a five dollar pint then why are you at the bar in the first place? If you want to “try” a beer, order a pint. It is not an entire case of beer; suck it up.

3 thoughts on “There Is No Such Thing As A Free Drink…

  1. I have mixed emotions here. I can’t imagine what it’s like to own a microbrewery. I assume there’s long hours, lots of hard work, and big financial decisions to be made. I only offer my opinion as an engaged patron.

    As a single dad craft beer is a treat. It’s my dessert. When I commit six dollars I want to know what I’m getting into. Too many microbreweries don’t put meaningful space between sample prices and draft prices. I’ve been drinking long enough to know what I like and dislike, though I’ve still had many misfires in drafts that I’ve purchased.

    Establishments walk a fine line with the Pennsylvania law banning free samples. The line between customer service and keeping the doors open is thin. A utopian view would paint a picture that all customers would be happy to blindly buy drafts based on a description. Unfortunately that is not reality.

    There’s no easy answers, two of the three breweries that collaborated on (717) ale let you sample anything they have to offer. That sets the expectation for customers to ask for samples at all microbreweries in Central Pa.


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