If you are a Cider Geek, chances are that when you ask what cider is carried by the restaurant you are sitting in, the response is either 1) “we don’t currently offer any cider” or 2) “we have Angry Orchard on draft”.
As a bona-fide Cider Geek, you have a responsibility to respond to both of these replies in a way that encourages the restaurant to carried a larger selection or even a beginning selection of good, craft cider. There are a number of ways to do this. What follows are suggestions for the Cider Geeks in this audience on how to encourage dining establishments to enhance their cider selection.
1. Always decline the commercial cider you are offered, but then…
After saying “no thank you”, tell them you would be very interested in drinking a locally made cider (ask, “are you familiar with (name local cider producer) or a craft cider. Simply putting the idea in their heads is a very good idea. Believe it or not, servers rarely hear requests for specific kinds of beverages.
2. Bring your own favorite Craft Cider to the restaurant, and
Make sure the server knows you brought the craft cider because you love the stuff and you knew they didn’t carry anything like it on their beverage menu. You’ll pay their “corkage fee” but it’s usually a small price to pay to have your favorite craft cider on the table with your meal and it introduces the idea to the restaurant.
3. Ask to speak to the beverage director, but
Don’t call them to the table to berate them about their lack of craft cider, but rather to engage them in a conversation about cider. They will likely be somewhat familiar with craft cider but simply have not spent the time thinking about adding it to their offerings. Listen to them, tell them about your experience and offer a suggestion or two for a local cider or a nationally distributed craft cider.
4. Offer your server a taste of the cider your bought, because
It’s not only the polite thing to do, but it shows them what you are talking about. Wine lovers who bring their own special wine to a restaurant almost always offer the server a taste and many servers happily bring a glass to get a pour. They consider it a very nice gesture as well as part of their education process. And that’s exactly what you are trying to do…Educate them.
5. Offer great praise when you do find a good craft cider on the menu, and also
be sure to engage the server or beverage manager in conversation about it and discuss with them other craft ciders they may consider putting on the menu. This not only validates the job they have done, but gets them thinking about what more they can do to cater to the growing crew of Cider Geeks.