'Twas out with some beer drinking friends about two weeks ago doing what beer drinking friends do best, namely drinking beer and talking at an unreasonable volume about inappropriate things, when I came across Something Curious. Now, those of you who've made a go of it behind a bar may have seen This before and probably didn't think much of It. Frankly, the concept behind This makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. The Curiosity in question is a "leave-behind" produced by a brewery and likely provided by a distributor to a bar owned by a friend. I'll remain silent on the brewery and the bar. I took numerous pictures of said Curiosity, but alas, only one picture survived my ham-handed attempts.
The Item was a Little Guidebook on serving beer. Sorry, my photo sucks. The section in this Book that caught my attention was about how to manage the foam levels in a beer in order to enhance profits. By pouring a pint glass with 1" of head, versus no head, you can get 145 16 oz. glasses of beer out of a keg. With no head, you can only get 128 16 oz. glasses of beer from a keg. Assuming you sell one keg of beer a week, this can result in about $3,500 extra gross profit to a bar per year.
Now, to be fair, this book did explain the virtues of head. Namely, foam is an important aspect of the presentation, releases aroma and helps with the overall tasting experience, and also apparently helps drinkers from getting a "filled up" feeling (no, the brewery was not MillerCoors). But given that the title of this section was "Foam and Rising Profits," I can't help but feel that these benefits were provided simply to assuage any guilt that an honorable barkeep might have regarding purposefully pouring a heady beer, a 1 inch heady beer at that, and possibly causing a patron to grumble about getting shorted a bit on the product for which they are paying.
I'm a bit torn. I like a bit of head on my beer. But I also like the places I frequent to profit from my being there. I guess I just don't like thinking that my bartender might be pouring my beer with head so as to eke out that extra $68 of gross profit per keg and not because he/she wants to ensure I have have an enjoyable product. I think seeing this Little Book was akin to Dorothy's seeing that man behind the curtain. Gah, what a hypocritical, fantasy-dwelling rube I am!!!