Garrett Oliver is the Brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery, the author of The Brewmaster's Table, and the foremost authority in the United States on the subject of traditional beer. After years of amateur brewing inspired by beers he had encountered during a year in England, Garrett Oliver began brewing professionally at Manhattan Brewing Company in 1989 as an apprentice. He was appointed brewmaster there in 1993. He soon became widely known both here and abroad for his flavorful interpretations of traditional brewing styles and as an avid and entertaining lecturer and writer on the subject of fine beer. Garrett has hosted hundreds of beer tastings and dinners, writes regularly for beer and food-related periodicals, and is internationally recognized as an expert on traditional beer styles and their affinity with good food.
Question: What aspects of the American restaurant scene need improvement?
Garrett Oliver: Well, what I want to see improved in restaurants is actually for the restaurants that think about beer is part of their overall beverage service because, for two reasons, one the restaurants are leaving a huge amount of money on the table, this is the biggest growing area of beverage and food etc. period, growing like a rocket. We're a 20-year-old company we grew 26% last year. That is not unusual. This is is something that people are really excited about, restaurants are generally speaking way, way way behind the American public. So you shop in your average decent restaurant and you get a beer list, list of what are came from gas station and people don’t get it, they don’t understand like why aren’t we getting here what we are drinking at home and we expect you to have better stuff than we have at home and said you have worse stuff, so that is certainly the first thing. And the second thing going from there would be to actually teach people little bit about okay, well, how can you pair this with what is going on in your restaurant. I think a lot of restaurants are worried that they are going to lose their wine sale which often is a very big part of there over all economy, but they haven’t really figured out that never happens. What happens is that people will pair the beer is with the appetizers, they'll pair the beer with desserts or pair it with cheeses and if they want a bottle of wine, they are still going to get a bottle of wine and in that case everyone is a lot happier. So I'm hoping to see not only at the fine dining restaurants but also the casual dining places the Applebees of the world and see them really working hopefully to, to beer has being some thing which really works with that type of food because many Americans eat out of these sorts of restaurants all the time and deserve better than what they're getting.
Recorded on: 3/25/08