Friday, April 20, 2007

For at least one day, developing downtown New Albany through craft-brewed beer.

On Wednesday afternoon, Develop New Albany held a member “event” at Treet’s Bakery Café. It wasn’t supposed to be “about” the beer, but in the end, it was, at least partially.

For the uninitiated, and briefly, Develop New Albany is a “non-profit organization composed of businesses and community volunteers. It is committed to the economic revitalization and historic preservation of Downtown New Albany.”

Your correspondent is a first-time DNA board member for 2006-07, and along with this new responsibility, I am continuing to do whatever I can to assist in the regeneration of a functional, living downtown along the general principles of New Urbanism, with a specific caveat all my own: The type of people we need enjoy locally-brewed craft beer, and the more NABC beer pouring downtown, the greater indication that these people are present and accounted for.

They like it – and we need them, both as a brewery and as a city.

Owing to my rotator cuff surgery, I’d missed a couple of DNA meetings, and only belatedly came to the recognition that for Wednesday’s reception, a portable bar would be traveling across the street from its usual licensed home in the Grand Convention Center, but with only mass-market bottled swill available in its ice tub.

Having worked with the Grand’s ownership previously on such matters, and with the assistance of NABC’s brewer, Jesse Williams, an attractively priced (for the Grand’s sake) 5-gallon keg of our Kaiser 2nd Reising (pre-Prohibition) pilsner was conveyed to Treet’s for the event.

I took a few minutes beforehand to brief the bartenders on the merits of the Kaiser so that they’d know how to explain it to customers, and in closing, I asked them how much they’d be charging for 12-ounce bottles of the Bud, Coors and Lite.


“Okay, how big are the plastic drink cups for the draft pours?”

“12 ounces.”

Jesse and I looked at each other, and simultaneously said, “$2.00” for the Kaiser … and I reminded the bartenders of the big profit margin for draft beer based on the wholesale keg pricing.

In the end, we came quite close to floating the keg, and only a half-dozen or so bottles were spotted being consumed all evening.

Every now and then it’s fun to beat the big brewery boys at their own game, but if their reps had been there to match tactics, they’d probably have been selling nickel swills – and that’s why I detest them so much.

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