Before I start, please believe me that this isn’t a rant but more of a plea.
I had the good fortune to be able to spend some time in the beautiful county of Fermanagh recently and was able to visit two bars/restaurants while there (which shall remain unnamed for now). Now two isn’t a lot but there were other things to do.
Both visits were primarily for a family meal but while there I asked if they had any craft beers available.
Bar 1’s barman: “Aye, I think we do. (long pause) P.I. (another long pause) Punk or something?”
Me: “Punk IPA?”
Bar 1’s barman: “That’s it, I don’t know much about it.”
while bar 2 actually displayed a small chalkboard pointer on the bar stating
Their barman wasn’t much better.
Me: “Hi, what craft beer do you have?”
Bar 2’s barman: “A donkey lager thing and, erm, a Japanese one – Shahi or Sasi?
He goes to the fridge and brings back Hillstown’s Drunken Donkey lager, Asahi and Punk IPA (I later found out there was also a Yardsman IPA that didn’t even get a mention).
Now I accept that Fermanagh isn’t quite the hotbed of a craft beer revolution and there’s nothing I hate more than beer snobbery (never forget that we all started at the bottom on our beer discovery) but surely to God staff need to be trained in at least how to pronounce a beer name correctly. If they don’t get that bit right, how is that inspiring the locals and tourists who are eating and drinking in the establishment to give it a go? Calling County Antrim’s Hillstown brewery offering “a donkey lager thing” is never going to make them fly off the shelves.
Bars and restaurants – I applaud that you are selling it. Be proud that you’re selling it but please take 5 minutes to educate your staff so they know a little about the beer you’re selling.