Home' Australian Hotelier : AH JULY 2016 Contents 14 | JULY 2016 AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER
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“It has been my dream for the past 25 years to try to give back to this
industry. For too long have I seen accidents that could have been avoided,
where I have been called in as an expert at coronial inquests and felt
powerless in trying to change the culture within the industry. It is my hope
that by providing a complete training course conducted by someone so
well respected as Rob at a state of the art, university-level facility we might
begin to train key people who can finally make a difference.”
HERE TO SERVE
Helping customers find a beer that is suitable for them is paramount,
and there are many scenarios where making suggestions and sharing
information is a natural conversation between bartender and patron.
Seasonality is a big one of them. For example, while light styles like
sours are generally more popular in summer, stouts are generally drunk in
winter. Guinness Draught is a perfect example of this.
Developed in 1959, this beer was a brewers’ celebration of Arthur
Guinness signing his 9,000-year lease – a fitting way to mark 200 years
of ground-breaking brewing. With a skilful pairing of nitrogen gas and
carbon dioxide, the smooth, velvety texture was born. Distinguished by its
stormy surge upon pouring, Guinness Draught established itself as the top-
selling Guinness beer with lightning speed. Guinness Draught is the number
one selling stout in the world, selling approximately 10 million pints a day.
While Guinness is a beer that is suited for year round, the warmer
flavour profile and full velvety body also make it an ideal complement to
any hearty meal that will help keep patrons warm this winter.
“Historically Guinness has naturally peaked during the winter due to
its distinct flavour and warming nature. People just seem to organically
think of Guinness during the winter time,” explains Whybourne.
So where to start with recommendations? First, ask a simple question,
as Johnstone suggests: “Ask questions, first and foremost. Find out what
they’re looking for. It’s done with wine, and there’s no reason why it can’t
be done with beer.”
For customers looking for a recommendation, one thing that is
imperative is that you don’t expect patrons to make a big leap from the
flavours they’re used to, to something totally different.
“If the analogy was food, if you’ve only ever eaten boiled potatoes or
spaghetti on toast and then I give you a really hot curry, the likelihood
that you’re going to embrace that straight away is very small. So going
from beers with moderate flavours to a very heavily-hopped or high-
alcohol beer is a big jump,” explains Pawsey
Nicholson agrees, stating that his staff is always encouraged to make
recommendations, while keeping the customer’s tastes in mind.
“With us having so many different types of beers, the staff will actually
know the difference and then can ask ‘Ok, do you want more of a sweeter
backbone or something that’s more bitter on the tongue?’ And a lot of the
staff can actually go through these things about each individual beer.”
And of course, the most effective way of ensuring that a patron will be
happy with their choice, is to offer a small, free taster. At Beer DeLuxe,
staff are encouraged to do this. If someone likes pale ale and there are
three on tap, then they are welcome to try a mouthful of all three, before
choosing – ensuring that they will be happy with their purchase. Many
brewers also encourage tasters, and will offer venues extra product for
“Australian Beer Company are more than happy to support our
customers with some stock to encourage that,” states Johnstone.
While craft beer is growing steadily as a category in Australia, it’s
important for staff that are passionate about craft beer to remember that
most beer drinkers still prefer mainstream beers, and that suggestions
nudging them into craft beer should be made gradually. This is a very
big point that both Johnstone and Pawsey, both involved with craft
breweries, want to impress upon on-premise staff.
“Craft beer is fairly new to the Australian market. It’s not quite as
mature as it is in the US and even New Zealand. Just having those little
snippets of information as to what [customers] can expect to smell, see
and taste, really help to fire their purchase intent, and the bar staff as well
feel a lot more confident in suggesting a beer to a customer and asking
the right questions,” says Johnstone.
“I think we – the small part of the population drinking craft beer –
we assume that everyone is like us, but we’re still a small part of the
population. There’s still a vast number of people drinking mainstream
beer instead of craft beer, although the trend is growing,” adds Pawsey.
Where he’s seeing the largest growth in beer, are in those that are a
gateway between mainstream and craft. He suggests that these are the
types of beers that staff should be recommending to unsure patrons.
“Where we’re seeing most of the growth is in the beers that are a small
step, so that’d be your 150 Lashes, Circe in Victoria, Two Birds are doing
a really good job of making beers that have interesting flavours, but they
don’t wallop you in the back of the head. And then you’ve taken your
first steps in your beer journey and in six months you might be drinking
IPAs with 100 IBUs and 10 per cent alcohol. Everyone’s different.”
Indeed, everyone is different. And with knowledge at hand behind the
bar, every type of beer drinker can be catered for.
Australian Beer Company’s popular
seasonal Yenda Twist & Stout
Beer DeLuxe King St Wharf
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