At the three local Tallahassee establishments I own, Madison Social, Township and Centrale, we serve more than 30 types of beer from breweries all across the country.
And, I sincerely enjoy and have an appreciation for each of their unique qualities and love to share them with our patrons.
But in my establishments, like most bars and restaurants, we sometimes don’t have access to one key element that would improve the beer-drinking experience for customers — the right glassware. To explain, in Europe, different beers are served in different glassware depending on the style and brand — from tulip and pilsner glasses, to snifters and chalices. This glassware serves a real purpose, because the glass a beer is served in can draw out that beer’s unique quality and flavor profile.
Take for example a Belgian-brewed blonde pilsner; it is meant to be served in a chalice-style glass because they are designed so every curve serves a discrete purpose to how the beer should be enjoyed. The authentic shape encourages the perfect balance of CO2 and liquid, enhancing head retention and flavor. Overall, this enhances customers’ beer-drinking experience.
While many bars and restaurants, including my own, would enjoy the ability to serve each different type of beer in the appropriate type of glassware, we are often not able to do so because we lose inventory to breakage and theft, and simply cannot afford to keep the various glasses we need on-hand.
In the same vein, the beer industry would often like to supply us with their branded glassware in an effort to elevate consumers’ experience as they enjoy their product. Yet, due to a current Florida law, the industry is prevented from giving retailers, including bars and restaurants, their appropriate branded glassware at no cost.
But there is good news on the horizon for establishments like mine, the beer industry and beer connoisseurs alike. There is an effort underway in the Florida Legislature, House Bill 853, by Representative [Tom] Goodson and Senate Bill 1040, by Senator [Frank] Artiles, that would allow the industry to provide the appropriate glassware to accompany their beers to Florida bars and restaurants.
At the end of the day, retailers, along with the beer industry, are all trying to provide consumers and beer lovers with the best experience possible, and that includes serving their beer in the right glass. And, as the beer scene continues to be an exciting industry space, which is especially true now with the craft beer scene continuing to flourish, I hope we can evolve to serve these unique beers in the appropriate glassware.
I thank Representative Goodson and Senator Artiles for sponsoring these bills and hope my fellow restaurant and bar owners, as well as Floridians across the state who wish to enjoy their beer the right way, join me in asking the legislature for their support of House Bill 853 and Senate Bill 1040.
Matt Thompson of Tallahassee is an alumnus of the Florida State University School of Communication and owns Madison Social, Centrale and Township.