Beers with a Stoic: On Hop Atomica, brewery taproom expectations and generation gaps

Long ago and faraway, it was explained to me — again and again — that responsible (read: profit-seeking) restaurants and bars simply could not afford to ignore the will of the people by refraining from stocking mass-market items like Miller Lite and Diet Coke (as well as some sort of vaguely chicken-like nuggets for the kids).

I’d be told: Look, it’s all well and good to specialize in better beer, and institute a Lite Free Zone, and have the media slobber over you, and update the Sportstime Pizza menu only once per decade, whether it needed changing or not.

Just face it, Roger, you’re a niche kind of guy, while the rest of must try to appeal to everyone. We have to please them, and not openly annoy and offend them the way you always do, or they’ll spend their money elsewhere and we can’t pay the electricity bill. 

I usually found these rejoinders to be both highly flattering and remarkably flaccid (not to mention that Sportstime Pizza always carried Diet Coke, and the NABC Pizzeria still does).

Anyone who has worked in the service sector for as little as ten minutes knows that the most exhausted of all business axioms is “the customer...Read more