Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wine is the New Beer

Reading about the new upscale tavern that just opened near my office -- the Bent Brick at NW 17th and Marshall -- it caught my eye that they plan to offer 16 wines on tap.  Not beers, wines.  Beer bloggers are fond of saying beer is not the new wine (here's another)... but is wine becoming the new beer?

I first noticed wine on tap a couple months ago at St. Jack on SE Clinton, which offers 10 wines on tap, but only 2 draft beers.  That's where I took the grainy picture at right, and you can also see the giant-booted 46 cl bottle St. Jack will draw your keg wine into (the empty bottle on the left).  They're proud of those French-imported bottles; as an Honest Pint partisan, I approve of the 0.1 liter precision as opposed to "wine by the glass", though I don't know enough about wine to say if the 46 cl keg price is better than the price of a 750 ml bottle.

Then a few weeks later when Dave and I stopped at Standing Stone Brewing in Ashland on our way to San Francisco, I noticed that they have four wines from southern Oregon on tap.  In the comments below, Andrew points out that McMenamins serves their wines on tap, though none of their online menus talks about it.  And Google helped me find two more restaurants in Portland with wine on tap.  Here are the ones I know of today:
Wine on tap seems like a good idea for product quality, price, and sustainability, but as a beer guy I'm a little bit miffed that these restaurants are passing up draft beer for draft wine.  Is wine the new beer?


  1. McMenamins locations have had their wines on tap for as long as I can remember in many locations, plus Metrovino has the vacuum-sealed bottles with a tap for each.

  2. Andrew: I guess I wanted to highlight the kegged wine purveyors, since it has the potential to be cheaper and better preserved, as opposed to Metrovino's argon-bottle setup.

    I didn't know that about McMenamins, though it makes sense. For them, I mean. It doesn't make sense for someone to drink a McMenamins wine.

  3. Irving Streeet Kitchen has far more than 3 wines on tap. It's more like 12, give or take.

    also, it is far more economical to server it from a keg(shipping, bottling, etc,.)but does come with inherent flaws that make it riskier. The main drawback is that if there is any flaw/leak in the system and air gets into a keg, you could be potentially throwing 15+gallons of wine away instead of 750ml.

    So, the potential to get great wines at great prices is definitely there. It remains to be seen whether the restaurants will pass the savings on to you or keep the income to buttress their bottom line. For what it's worth, I see no problem with either, as they are both legitimate avenues to making money, and making money is the only business a restaurant is in!

  4. C.O.: Thanks, I read the wine list wrong. It's fixed now.

  5. I read your headline and all I could think about was Tracey Jordan's Meat Machine...Meat is the new bread!