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Why The Porter is not going to have Founders CBS this year

Founders CBS is being released this year. The last time it came out we tapped it on Christmas and we had a line out the door at 5pm when we opened. The keg was gone in an hour and it was a very merry Christmas. This year we will not be buying CBS and this is why.

For the first seven years of existence The Porter was governed by the simple rule of we don’t sell what we don’t like. The “we” was Nick and I. Sometimes we disagreed and we picked up a beer only to drop it a few months later. Sometimes a bartender made an impassioned argument for a particular favorite and so we allowed it. It was an emotional not a logical system, but it ruled out Budweiser, Miller Lite, and PBR, which set us apart from our neighboring bars in Little Five Points.

For years the murkiness within the beer industry grew and we continued to carry what we liked for the most part. When Ballast Point sold to Constellation in 2015 we dropped our Sculpin draft line and started carrying it only in cans. Despite the fact we still liked the beer we didn’t feel like Ballast Point needed us in the way a smaller independent brewery needed bars like The Porter to hand sell and promote their beers.

We were a little guy; we wanted to help the little guys. We still only wanted to carry high quality beers we loved, but if we could also promote breweries that might still need our help it was a win-win. This was the beginning the shift for us. It wasn’t until Wicked Weed sold to AB-InBev in may 2017 that we realized we needed to draw a clear line in the sand.

Wicked Weed is a great brewery. We loved their beer; we had planned a beer dinner with them and a collaboration beer with them for 2017. We carried over thirty of their bottles and put almost every seasonal of theirs on draft. When they sold it felt like a betrayal.

I understand all the wonderful reasons for working hard for years and selling your business when the opportunity arises. It’s the American dream and I do not fault anyone who takes that road. But when a multi billion-dollar company now owns you, you no longer need a single bar in Atlanta Georgia to champion your beer. While the tiny brewpub in Cumming may still need The Porter to spread the word of great craft beer in the middle of nowhere (looking at you, Cherry Street!)

And so in May 2017 we decided we needed a very clear definition of what breweries were craft. We chose to follow the Craft Brewer’s Association definition, which gives a limit of barrels brewed along with several rules for ownership, one of which is that the brewery must be under 25% owned by any non-craft brewery.

Apparently we are in good company, here is a link to an article about bars in DC that have chosen to stop serving Non Craft beer.

Founders is not craft because San Miguel owns 30%. Avery also just sold 30% to San Miguel. Terrapin is over 50% owned by Miller Coors. Goose Island is 100% owned by In-Bev. The list goes on and on, but for clarification I have included a list of breweries we have dropped since May. We might still have a few bottles lingering, but we have not purchased their beer since then.

Wicked Weed

Founders

Ballast Point

Lagunitas

Unibroue

Terrapin

Bosteels (Triple Karmeliet, Kwak)

Rodenbach

The good news for our customers is there is a ton of true craft beer out there. We have not felt hampered by this limitation to our selection of delicious beers. In fact we will be a tapping Prairie Bourbon Barrel Aged Paradise on Christmas along with Vanilla Noir, Coffee Noir and regular Noir, so come see us for a merry craft Christmas!

Thank you for reading.

 

Cheers!

Zwanze Day Plans!

We are humbled and honored to have been chosen as the first bar in Georgia to participate in Zwanze Day. Zwanze means “to kid”or “to play around” in Flemish. The Zwanze celebration was created by Jean Van-Roy of Cantillon to be able to make a fun non-traditional lambic flavor as well as to share his love of lambics. In the spirit of fun and lambic appreciation we are attempting to have a casual Zwanze day where hopefully the most people possible get to drink and enjoy the amazing lambics from Cantillon.

On September 23rd, the first 100 guests in the door when we open at 11am will be able to purchase a Zwanze ticket, this guarantees you a 6oz pour of Zwanze beer and a commemorative glass. Once you have purchased your ticket you can choose to stay and grab a coveted seat and drink delicious lambics all afternoon or you may leave. If you leave you are not guaranteed a seat upon your return you will be asked to line up outside and upon receiving your Zwanze you may enjoy it on our patio if there is no space inside.

As long as you are here at 3pm for the tapping of the Zwanze keg, and you have your ticket, you will receive your pour. IF YOU ARE NOT HERE AT 3PM WE WILL NOT HOLD YOUR POUR OF ZWANZE! Also No Ticket, No Zwanze.

After those 100 guests are served, we will allow orders to be taken for the limited amount of Zwanze left in the keg, these will be on a first order, first served basis.

The following Cantillon Kegs will be tapped through out the day for any guest to enjoy a la carte:

12pm Cantillon Gueze

1:30pm Vigneronne

5pm Cuvee St. Gilloise

7pm St. Lamvinus

8pm: Cantillon Rose De Gambrinus

Nat will be tapped at some point during the day, but you’ll just have to be here to find out when!

Shelton Line Up Updated!

Events for Shelton Fest Week!

We will update further once we have the beers!

Monday August 14th–Carolina Baurnhaus Launch

Tuesday August 15th–Brewski Tap Takeover

Wednesday August 16th–Greenbench w/ Ciders and Meads from Shelton!

Thursday August 17th: Farmhouse as Fuck w/ beers from St. Somewhere, Blackberry Farm, Fantome, Jester King, Fonta Flora, Burial, 8 Wired, Cloudwater, 7th Sun, Stillwater and many more!

Friday August 18th: Session 1.5, the after session with amazing tapping all night long from breweries featured at The Festival!

Saturday August 19th: Session 3, more fabulous beers and breweries from The Festival!

Sunday: Southeaster Showcase****: come drink the best of our locals! Creature Comforts, Coppertail, Green Bench, Burial, Fonta Flora, Hourglass, Torched Hop, Wrecking Bar, Three Taverns and more!

 

 

Looking Forward to Shelton Fest!

In case you didn’t hear the awesome news, The Shelton Brothers are bringing their fabulous Festival to Atlanta this August! It will be August 18th and 19th and we will be hosting amazing events all weekend!
Here’s the line up so far:
Thursday August 17t: Farmhouse as Fuck w/ beers from St. Somewhere, Blackberry Farm, Fantome, Jester King, Fonta Flora, Burial, 8 Wired, Cloudwater, 7th Sun, Stillwater and many more!
Friday August 18th: Session 1.5, the after session with amazing tapping all night long from breweries featured at The Festival!
Saturday August 19th: Session 3, more fabulous beers and breweries from The Festival!
Sunday: Southeaster Showcase****: come drink the best of our locals! Creature Comforts, Coppertail, Green Bench, Burial, Fonta Flora, Hourglass, Torched Hop, Wrecking Bar, Three Taverns and more!

****Please note we can not serve until 12:30pm due to Georgia State Law.
For the tap takeovers on Thursday and Sunday we will have everything on draft when we open, on Friday and Saturday, special things (Cantillon) will be tapped at special times so stay tuned for updates as we finalize the awesomeness!

American Craft Beer Week is Just Around the Corner!

Monday May 15th : Verzet vs. Three Taverns

Tuesday May 16th:  Burial Mini Beer Dinner

Tickets are $65 at xorbia.com

To Start: Burial Terrestrial Paradise Brett Saison 2016

1st Course: Charred Cucumber w/ tapioca, fermented cucumber juice, lemon balm

paired w/ Garden of Earthly Delights 2016

2nd Course: Foie Gras Torchon w/ pickled green strawberry

paired w/ Fall of the Damned Sour Red Ale

3rd Course: Scallop w/carrot, lemongrass

paired w/ Garden of Earthly Delights 2017

Dessert: Chocolate & Chestnut

Ulfberht Oak Aged Baltic Porter 2016

Wednesday May 17th:  is Wicked Weed and Friends Collaboration Tap Takeover, featuring Lost Toys #1 and #2, Happy Blending, Metatropics along with awesome beers from Burial & Creature Comforts on draft. We have also been promised bottles of Red Atrial!

Thursday May 18th: is a massive Allagash Tap Takeover with 8 Beers never before in Georgia!

Friday May 19th:  is all Prairie all day, with over 20 prairie beers on draft including Apricot Funk, Barrel Aged Bible Belt and Paradise!

Presenting The Porter’s Patio!

Every Saturday and Sunday from 4pm-9pm The Porter will have a ten table patio in Findley Plaza!
Drink delicious beers and eat fabulous food while watching Little Five Arts Alive Performances!

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**Patio may close if there is inclement weather, so cross your fingers for sun!

The Porter Re-Brands as South of The Porter

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Press Release

The Porter Beer Bar is rebranding as South of The Porter as of this Saturday.

“We didn’t feel there was enough tex mex and Mexican food in the Little Five Points/Inman Park area,” says Chef and Co-Owner Nick Rutherford.

“Yes,” agreed Co-Owner Molly Gunn ”Between El Myr, Tijuana Garage, El Bandito, Super Rica, Pure Taqueria, Bar Taco, and Willy’s in Edgewood, we just didn’t think there was enough chips and salsa to go around.”

South of The Porter will feature a full menu of tacos, burritos, chips and dips. In addition, we can expect to see Nick put his own fine dining twist on classics like Rice and Beans inspired by Alinea served tableside in a corn tortilla piñata.

South of The Porter will also feature the finest selection of Mexican craft beer (Ballast Point)

Please join us this Saturday for a melted cheese dip fountain, mariachi bands and lime, in literally everything. Ay Caramba!

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Brewing at Delerium

This January I was invited to brew Deliria at Brouwerij  Huyghe  outside of Ghent. Always being up for an adventure, Nick came along and we visited Het Anker in Mechelen before heading to Ghent. But as luck would have it Joren from Three Taverns and Verzert was in Belgium and took us to his family’s farm and then to Verzert which he started with two friends from brewing school.

All in all, it was an amazing three days and here are the pictures to prove it!

 

The Restaurant Bubble

Nick has been talking about a restaurant bubble for a while now. It seems like more restaurants opened in 2016 than ever before, and not just corner cafés or pizza shops, note worthy restaurants with name brand chefs and cool concepts.

So it was nice to get some validation in this thrillist article.

I highly recommend reading it if you are in or connected to the restaurant industry in anyway.

I think Atlanta’s bubble will continue for longer than the bubble in San Francisco mostly because our labor costs have not been forced higher through regulation only a tight labor market. Everyone I know is trying to find cooks, decent cooks, who will show up on time and work hard and fast when it’s busy.

We aren’t new at 8 years old, but we also are not struggling. I’d like to say we are an aspiring institution.  I think we offer a unique experience and atmosphere, one that only gets better with age. We are not the hottest new concept (poke ramen cocktail bar), but that’s comforting to me. Trends change, but beer, beer will be here forever. Eventually folks will have tried all the new restaurants and it will be time for them to come back to their tried and true old favorites.

Babette’s Café where I had my first job just turned 24 and is still kicking along just fine thankyouverymuch! So I’m looking forward to at least another sixteen years, baby!

Bring on the bursting bubble!

It will make the good restaurants stronger and weed out the weaker ones that you won’t miss anyway.

Growing the Business or Why Size isn’t Everything

So while listening to Marketplace on NPR recently I heard an advertisement for a product that allowed small business owners to “focus on growing their business” and it made me wonder, is “growing your business” always the goal for small business owners?

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some very specifics ways I would love to grow our business. I would love to sell more $50 dollar vintage beers to guests to who really appreciate the time and effort it takes to create a vintage list like ours.

But I am not interested in growing our business in other ways, for example, by adding catering sales or more locations.

Those things would probably help our bottom line. But there’s a formula of sorts for time vs. money. You can make almost infinite amounts of money, but time is limited.

To do more catering business would take an enormous amount of time for Nick and I, because catering is incredibly different from running a restaurant and in some ways is more difficult in our opinion. A second location adds a whole other set of headaches and also requires an entirely different skill set than running one location.

Even though it’s been almost eight years, some days I feel like we are just getting good at running The Porter.

In America I think it can be difficult to be satisfied. Our culture screams, “Bigger! Better! More! More! More!” And in business there is a certain ethos that your are either growing or shrinking, maintaining is not an option.

It is not enough to simply sit on your laurels, restaurants must evolve to stay relevant, but that doesn’t mean we need to open a new location to continue to evolve. In fact, not opening additional locations has allowed us to focus on our brand and continuing to define and refine it. With each year there are more things The Porter doesn’t do that sets us apart as well as new things we try. For example we used to do pint nights, but we found people are not really drawn to free boring shaker pint glasses. It’s not special enough for us or our guests.

A new thing this year has been our slushie machine. Nick and Chris saw Omnipollo making Slushie Beer Toppers at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration and they immediately thought ” let’s do that!” Voila! The slushie beer topper was born at The Porter, and had been a big hit this summer.

So yes, maybe we are “growing our business,” but in our own way, The Porter’s way.

Welcome to The Porter Beer Bar, Atlanta’s premier beer bar located in the heart of Little 5 Points. With an extensive menu of over 430 beers, there is ample reason for beer lovers to keep coming back! Voted Best Bar Food by Creative Loafing, The Porter Beer Bar offers a variety of excellent beers, and excellent food as well. Rated highly by BeerAdvocate, Draft Magazine, The Porter Beer Bar has earned recognition among beer enthusiasts nationwide.
The Porter Beer Bar offers a variety of special events from beer tastings and festivals, to classes and themed dinners. In addition to its exceptional beer menu, the Porter Beer Bar showcases a full cocktail menu, along with many unique wine, whiskey and liqueur options. The Porter Beer Bar serves lunch and dinner every day, as well as a special Sunday “Hair of the Dog” Brunch menu. Specials are updated daily!