Are microbrews 'domestic' beers?
It's 5 p.m. -- prime happy hour time -- and you're parched.
You duck into a corner bar advertising $3 domestics and $4 imports, scan the draft list Yuengling, Bud, Bud Light, Clipper City, Dogfish Head, Oliver, Guinness, Stella Artois.
You order a Clipper City, and the bartender asks for $4.
"But it's not an import," you say.
"It's a microbrew," the bartender responds.
That's usually where the conversation ends. But it shouldn't, because Clipper City is brewed over on Hollins Ferry Road. Why, at many Baltimore bars, are microbrews considered 'imports?' ...
I can count numerous times that I've been told something like "All Domestics $3, Imports $4.50" and then gone on to order a Clipper City (I disapprove of the Heavy Seas re-branding), Dogfishead, or Flying Dog and been charged $4.50. Ignoring the fact that the three aforementioned beers are more "domestic" than any Coors, Bud or Miller, the fact that any bar would employ such a backwards system just tells me I'm not in the type of place I want to be.
What should bars do to solve this problem? The simplest answer is to make microbrews count as domestics, as long as they're brewed in America. Or, bars could advertise, "$3 domestics, $3.50 microbrews and $4 imports." That's a deal I could get behind.
This reminds me of the time I stopped by Muir's Tavern on a Sunday and asked for a sixer of Yuengling to go. The bartender smirked and said, "We don't sell imports." Apparently, Pennsylvania is another country.