Saturday, March 18, 2006

Revamped Bistro New Albany? NABC's take?

This morning, at my NA Confidential blog, I reported a piece of cautiously optimistic news:

Volunteer Hoosier on downtown commitment; meanwhile, fresh hope for Bistro New Albany.

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions whether the New Albanian Brewing Company still intends to supply beer to the Bistro New Albany, given the revised ownership situation and the generally unsettled condition of the project after such bright initial prospects.

It’s a conditional “yes,” but I’d be lying if I said that my level of enthusiasm matches what I felt back in January.

This isn’t a knock at the new partnership in whatever configuration it eventually takes. Greg, the originator of the BNA concept whose health problems scuttled the opening in February (and who’s now out of the picture - hope's he's feeling okay) is someone I trust to share my views on the importance of craft beer and the proper way to sell it.

Unsurprisingly, until I’ve had a chance to meet the man who is coming in to take Greg’s place, I must reserve judgment as to whether the atmosphere will be conducive to NABC’s beers. His name's been given to me, but until there's public word on the status, it'll be kept confidential.

I know that Chef Dave Clancy’s cool, and that he's staying on, and that helps assuage my anxiety. Much has been passed along to me suggesting that very little will change from the template that Greg designed – and what change there is may well be for the better ... or not.

We’ll see. The recent brewery expansion project was designed with limited outside distribution in mind, but we’re still not a production brewery and won’t ever be. NABC’s capacity is brewpub scale, and on-premise by the pint is more profitable than selling to other establishment in the community – a point conveniently forgotten by a few of my less analytical political enemies.

However, in the right place – and with the right attitude – it would be worth it to have our beers on tap somewhere. Greg’s BNA was to have been such a place, and the revamped BNA might still be. Will the Bistro be up and running by mid-April, as I was told on Thursday night? And will the plan of operation include NABC ales?

Stay tuned. Just now, you know about as much as I do.

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