Are generous tasters one of many reasons for the high price of ‘craft beer’?
We once saw a publican berate a member of staff for filling a lined glass to the top and thus giving away perhaps 35ml of beer. “That’s my margin, that is!” he cried with false joviality.
But craft beer bars seem to be above such pettiness and penny-pinching: they dish out free beer as a matter of policy.
We recently sat near the bar of a well-known venue and observed transactions. Most customers tried one or two beers before choosing, but we saw one couple, with the encouragement of staff, sample eight pricey keg beers between them before each ordering a mere third of a pint.
If each tiny taster nonetheless contained, say, 25ml of beer, that means 200ml went over the bar before any cash changed hands — more than a third of a pint.
We’re not saying that either customers or bar did anything wrong, but a business model which encourages customers to be discerning has to waste a certain amount of beer, and that cost surely has to be recouped.
Our suspicion is that those ‘free’ tasters for the fussy few are actually bundled into the price of everyone’s pint.
In which case, we really shouldn’t be so shy about asking for them.
If you work in the trade and confirm or deny our suspicion, we’d be very pleased to hear from you in the comments below.
UPDATED 11:21 25/06: now with some key points highlighted.