My last post was a little negative and really an outpouring of my feelings about how difficult it is to match the expectations of many, and indeed my own expectations of a pub. I found an interesting post on Fuggled about bars in the USA that serve a dazzling selection of obscure beers. Now whilst the main post was interesting enough, there was a comment by Cooking Lager that I thought was very good indeed. So much so that I'll copy directly here. Perhaps I'm a bit naughty for stealing his words, but it'll make me feel better about him stealing branded glasses.
A lot of good advise for any niche pub. The taster in particular is something I could evangelise about, something that I really do believe in. I'm not sure that we, here in my pub, do it enough. It's my fault for not pressing home to the staff just how important it is to provide a taster for any customer that is unsure of the product. It really works. Once a customer has tasted a couple and chosen what is preferred, not only did the customer get what was wanted, but has also gained invaluable confidence in the establishment.
Variety more than just numbers is preferable. In a pub with dozens of taps, many will be fairly similar. A choice of fairly identical fair is a false choice. You only need one good example of a beer style.
A more important feature is customer service. Something done better in your country than mine.
Punters are not intimidated if in a friendly environment where there is no such thing as a daft question. Offer tasters to the unsure.
Here in Blighty you can go in a pub with dozens of pumps, all of which have daft names rather than detail of what style of beer it is, and bar staff that have no customer skills and expect the punter to be aware of every small micro, its products and treat the unfamiliar punter like dirt.
Be aware the product is a niche and welcome the unfamiliar customer, and beer ticker alike.
Here I go, making demands on the pub industry, which is possibly just the thing I was objecting to previously. But, I wholeheartedly commend tasters and if you go to a pub and are unsure of the selection, ask for a taster, any pub should be happy to provide a taster if it takes beer seriously. If you do run a pub and wonder why you should be giving away free beer, trust me, the confidence it give the customer about you is priceless. Get a number of shot glasses, that way you're not really giving very much away at all.
Now watch it Cooking Lager, there is a big danger of me taking you seriously.
I'm trying to not reduce the size of the font for asides at the end of a post, but sometimes I just can't resist the temptation.