Friday, May 14, 2010

Hey, JOURNALISTS!

And bar-owners, too...could we get something straight? A "BREWPUB" is not a bar that sells beer, even interesting "micro-brewed" beer. A "BREWPUB" is a "pub" where they "brew" the beer they sell. It is a brewery. Don't brew beer at a place? Not a brewpub.

While I have your attention...If you have a bar, don't name it "The [somethingsomething] Brewery" or "The [somethingsomething] Distillery". Again, these are real types of places, more importantly, they are real types of places that your bar is not one of!*

Can we get this settled, please? Because you're screwing up my Google Alert, not to mention all the people who are walking into your place expecting fresh-made beer. Thanks.



(Tip of the hat to beer writer Don Tse for bringing that one up.)

28 comments:

Rick said...

You're my hero! Our local TV station is running a "Best Of Sacramento" contest and one of the categories is "Best Brewpub". 3 of the 5 are good beer bars, but a far cry from a pub that brews beer... I tried to explain, but to no avail.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

But substitute the term "beer bar," and you end up wasting a lot of time explaining that not every bar that happens to have at least one beer is a "beer bar" or a "real beer bar"--see the comments here as an example: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/midnight_sun/blog/2010/05/belgian_beer_bar_de_kleine_dui.html

On the other hand, this is nowhere near as appalling as the journalists that manage to mix up steam locomotives, diesels, and electrics in articles about railroads. Some of them could send us railroaders into fits of rage reminiscent of Herr Zeppelin's response to people calling his airship a "balloon" in the famous Monty Python episode "The Golden Age of Ballooning".....

Dean Browne said...

I'm with ya Lew. =)

Gerard said...

As a journalist-turned-beer blogger, I am completely on your side with the "brewpub vs. beer bar." First of all, no need to add the "beer" adjective at all. Just call it a "bar" or a "pub." If it serves only beer, or has an astounding array of craft beer, that can be mentioned separately. As far as "The [somethingsomething] Brewery" or "The [somethingsomething] Distillery," I'm afraid you're tilting at windmills, my friend. People can name their business pretty much what they want.
BTW, I shared your post with some friends still in the news biz. Hope it does some good.

Chris said...

Speaking of screwing up google Alerts, I can't wait for the governor of Arizona no longer be Jan Brewer...

Chas D. Kaier said...

The lexicon is changing, as it is wont to do. keep up with it or prepare to be left behind, as you desire to leave us ghosts behind, and as I had to lighten my preferred beer over the years.

Rick Lyke said...

Lew...why cause these sorts of problems on a Friday afternoon? Can't we all just get along? Afterall, some folks call McDonalds a "restaurant."

But, seriously, I have been sucked in a couple of times by the "XXXXX Brewpub" on a sign, only to find out that Bud Light is the best selling tap in the place.

Uncle Jack said...

This may be the single most important post in the history of the entire internets.

Lew Bryson said...

You mean "teh InterWebs", right?

Stephen Beaumont said...

Ah, but Lew, one of the earliest supporters of craft beer on the west coast was the Lyons Brewery, owned and operated by the wonderful Judy Ashworth. (Sure, it was technically the Lyons Brewery Depot, but no one called it that.) That's a pretty rock-solid precedent.

Or maybe just the exception that proves the rule...

Lew Bryson said...

That ain't precedent, it's proof of how time marches on. There's precedent -- Widmer Hefeweizen -- and then there's outdated -- Miller Lite's plea that it is "A Fine Pilsner Beer." Let this confusion cease!

bill mc said...

Thank you for the post, there is nothing more frustrating for a dedicated beer traveller than looking for a brewpub and seeing a brewery or distillery in the description(name)and being disapponted.

P.S. can i has cheezburger?!?!?

Bob Paolino said...

Gerard sez:
"I'm afraid you're tilting at windmills, my friend. People can name their business pretty much what they want."


Funny you should mention this. During the Brewers Association membership meeting at the Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago in April, during the open forum portion of the meeting when brewers raised issues of concern for possible consideration for lobbying action by the BA, one brewer (I think from New Mexico, but I may not be recalling that correctly) raised just that issue, that the use of the word "brewpub" in the names of non-brewing establishments was misleading and undermined craft brewing, and he asked whether the BA would consider advocating for legislation defining what kinds of businesses could use the term, in much the same way that various occupations have regulation limiting the use of the names of various professions to those who have certification as such.

JessKidden said...

Yeah, that one drives me crazy, too. NJ, well behind it's neighbor to the west as far as beer culture goes, has a beer bar that calls itself a "brew pub" and another one even uses "microbrewery".

http://www.goodnightirenes.com/
http://www.thecellarlounge.com/

And, of course, the premier craft beer distributor in the state is "Hunterdon Brewing Co." a name left over from their very brief time as a contract brewer.

http://www.hunterdonbrewing.com/

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Here in St.Louis we haven't seen too much of a problem yet. Places that serve a bunch of quality micros on draft call themselves "tap houses", usually. We even have one that is both. "The Stable" which is located in the old defunct Lemp Brewery brews their own product Amalgamated" on premises, but also serves lots of other great micros on tap. The confusion with the brewpub issue definitely needs to be cleared up. As an aside, I really don't see why such a forum as this needs to be a place to voice unrelated political opinions, as an earlier poster did.

Lew Bryson said...

If you're talking about Chris's statement "Speaking of screwing up google Alerts, I can't wait for the governor of Arizona no longer be Jan Brewer...", it's not really political: a fair number of beervolk have Google Alerts out on the term "Brewer" to pick up news items that mention brewers. Jan Brewer has been in the news a LOT lately, and every time Google Alerts reports it. It's blowing out the search. That's all. At least, I think that's what he's getting at.

Bart said...

You are so right. The West Coast is currently in the mist of a 1849 style craft "Beerush." Far to many places have butchered the language and confused the hell out of many a beer tourist. I would like to add another disturbing trend to the list. The "guest tap" has no place in any self respecting brewery. On a recent trip to an unnamed brewery in Northern California me and the wife walked in to find two beers brewed on sight and five guest taps. What a shame.

Lew Bryson said...

Absolutely disagree on the "guest tap" rap, Bart. I love to see a guest tap; one local brewpub, Earth Bread + Brewery has four house taps and maybe 6 guest taps. I'm good with that: they tend to put local beers on the guest taps, their own beers are always interesting (and never the same -- they haven't brewed the same beer twice yet). Where's the rub? If a place brews only one or two beers, and does that well, and they're truly brewing the beers...I think that's okay. It's what they do.

JessKidden said...

re: Gerard's comment that "people can name their businesses pretty much what they want":

Well, no they can't. It's one of the times that government control over the alcoholic beverage industry can benefit the consumer.

New York state long had a Repeal-era law that prohibited a bar calling itself a "saloon"- left over from the fight to repeal Prohibition to not allow the return of the "saloon". Instead, they allowed the "tavern" (which, I guess, 70+ years ago had a more appealing image). Foolish, perhaps, but that's ABC laws for ya.

The TTB apparently no longer allows contract beer marketers to call themselves "___ Brewing Co."- instead they're usually called "____ Beer Co." or some other term. This was not always the case- one of the earliest contract brewers was "Old New York Brewing Co." and then there was "Pete's Brewing Co." and hundreds of others, including "dba's", etc. (OTOH, this is NOT why Koch's business was "Boston Beer Co."- that was an old Boston brewery's name dating back to 1828.)

So, since there are *legal* definitions in most (every?) states of what a "brewpub" and a "brewery" are, seems to me a law or ABC ruling could easily disallow other *licensed* businesses from calling themselves by those legal terms.

JohnM. said...

Best of luck on this one Lew. If you're successful with this effort, could you next work on getting a consensus regarding the meaning of a "pint" of beer?

At one point I was under the impression it was 16 ounces of beer, but visits to places such as Max's, Churchkey and the Big Hunt have now convinced me that I'm clearly mistaken.

S. Forry said...

Anyone confused by that old hole the brewery in State college?

Russ said...

Lew, I would also add that having shiny brewing equipment in your windows for decoration only does not a brewpub make (yes, I'm looking at YOU, Budweiser Select Brew Pub in the United Center).

Anonymous said...

Haha! Budweiser has NO shame. First the "cask bourbon barrel stout" now a phoney brewpub!

Lew Bryson said...

And there's ANOTHER thing that's gotta go: calling A-B InBev "Budweiser"! That's the name of one of their products; it's like saying you're going for fast food at a Big Mac's.

Anonymous said...

Right Lew. Who would do that? It's not like people say "i want a lager" when they want, say, a yuengling.

I'm going to take the time to explain to everyone what "A-B inbev" is after I get a blank look after I reference them when I can simply say "budweiser" which happens to be only one of the most recognizable brand in the world. Now you're (a controlling) dreamer!

Lew Bryson said...

Hey, the name of the beer IS "Yuengling Traditional Lager." What's wrong with that? Far as I know, name of the company's never been "Budweiser."

"Controlling," that's funny!

sam k said...

Regarding S. Forry's comment, The Brewery in State College predates the entire micro brewing movement, having been there since at least the very early 70s.

It was, however, originally called Hanneman's Brewery, which always made me wonder if there really was once a brewery in town with that name. There wasn't, so it's always been a bit confusing anyway.

There was the Happy Valley brewery in town in the early 90s, and it was an insult to the trade even though they actually made a beer-like product!

Frank Hahne said...

Well Stated Mr. Bryson! That confounded Adolphus Busch has caused my brewery grievous and irreparable injury by supplanting my enterprise's rightful association with the name Budweiser with his own exiguous attempt at a brewing concern. Now it appears that these Walloons will add further insult upon my Family's name and employ this dark method much in the manner of common highway men! Oh when will these injustices be cured!