Traveling Tuesday: Beer Updates for Disney Cruise Line

Last week, we were traveling on the Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship (the Disney Dream) and then stopped by Walt Disney World for a few days. While we were there, we noticed some beer related changes.

First of all, the Disney Dream is much bigger than DCL’s previous ships (the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder). And Disney seems to have learned that bars and lounges are a great way to make money on cruise ships. Everywhere you turned, there was a bar or location selling alcohol. There was even one in the buffet-style restaurant “Cabanas.”

While it was nice to see that many of these bars and lounges had one or two taps, the selection was less than exciting. The offerings generally stayed in the Bud Light or Michelob Amber Bock range, though one bar featured Guinness on draft. On both the Magic and the Wonder, the sports bar on board offered the most draft options so we were surprised to see only one tap handle in the Dream’s sports bar “687.”

This bar is named after the number assigned to the Dream at the shipyard. It’s considered bad luck to refer to a ship by its name as it’s being built so they referred to it by its number. The only tap in 687 has, what we were originally told, was a beer brewed just for that location. As we sat at the bar talking to the bartender, we asked who brewed it for them. “A small microbrewery in the Pacific Northwest” was the answer. We, of course, asked which one. Knowing Disney’s previous associations with breweries and distributors, we guessed Red Hook. No, that wasn’t it. Was it Widmer? Yep, that’s the one.

Twice while we were in the bar, the keg blew. The second time, Carla leaned over the bar to check out the keg tag before it was placed in the cooler. It was indeed a Widmer keg. But, it wasn’t something brewed just for 687. It was Widmer’s Drifter Pale Ale.

Now, we love Drifter. There’s a sixth barrel of it on our kegerator downstairs right now. Tom even calls it his “happy place beer.” What’s unclear is why Disney felt that they needed or wanted to pass it off as something brewed just for 687. Perhaps it was just a misunderstanding on the part of the cast members. Many of the cast members we spoke to readily admitted that they didn’t know much about beer. Tom struck up a conversation with a young ship’s officer who appeared to be in some sort of management position over the bars in that section of the ship. They quickly established that he was a home brewer with a penchant for brewing lagers. Tom commented on the relative lack of draft taps at the bars compared to the older Disney ships. The officer said it was intentional given that draft beer sales were slow on the other ships. He mentioned that the Stella Artois currently on the Dream was actually excess inventory from the Magic.  What Tom wanted to say was they’d probably sell more beer if what they sold was any good, but he didn’t. It would also probably help if the bartenders who didn’t like beer would be trained not to announce that fact at every opportunity.

Disney undoubtedly employs herds of MBAs from very good schools who have reams of data to show that this is exactly how they should be handling beer sales. They’ll be paying off their student loans for a long time and when they’re finally done with that and contemplate what they’ve done with their lives,  they’ll still be wrong. Folks who come on the ships and want better beer aren’t going to buy what AB-InBev-SAB-MillerCoors is selling. Those folks who usually like what AB-InBev-SAB-MillerCoors sells aren’t going to be buying beer.  There are far too many fluorescent drinks with bland, culturally-insensitive names (and umbrellas!) available. It’s not like Disney to leave money sitting on the table, but somehow they’ve missed the fact that better beer sells better than the mass-marketed stuff.

Disney has become justifiably well-known for the quality of their wine offerings at all of their properties (except the Magic Kingdom, of course). If the Disney ships did beer even half as well as they do wine, they’d truly become the happiest places on Earth.

How to get a better beer location listed on Hoperatives (A Bi-Monthly Post)

One of the more common e-mails we get has to do with the procedure for getting a place listed on Hoperatives as a better beer location. We’ve been getting more lately as readership has risen (thanks Cincinnati.com!), so we thought we’d put up a post explaining how it works. We’ll re-run it every month or so.

The first thing to understand is that there is no cost to have a location listed on Hoperatives and there never will be. Our primary mission is to be a resource for people who love better beer, and the listings are the backbone of that. The only cost, if you want to look at it that way, is the time it takes to let us know what a place offers. Being “listed on Hoperatives” means having a page created over there on the left under the heading “information.” You’ll notice that we list four kinds of establishments: Breweries, Brewpubs, Beer Stores, and Restaurants/Bars/Pubs. Those are self-explanatory. We also categorize things as local, regional and beyond. We’re defining “local” as anything within 10 miles of the I-275 loop around Cincinnati. We count anything within a five-hour driving distance from Cincinnati as “regional.” Everything else is, well, “beyond.”

So what kind of place qualifies as a “better beer location?” We asked our readers back in March. Here’s the definition we’re going with at the moment for bars, pubs and restaurants:

A better beer location serves a wide variety of beers. The beers are of different styles (not just American Lagers) and come from both large and small breweries. Local breweries are supported. The number of taps is irrelevant, it’s about the beer being served. The location has a staff that understands its beers well enough to advise its customers on flavors and pairing. Finally, it has a clear commitment to maintaining a high-quality purchasing and consuming experience.

We create the page, but you need to send us the information by e-mail. Yeah, some day we’ll have a nice web form and such, but for the moment we’re old school. E-mail us at both /AT/ hoperatives /dot/ com with the information we need. And what information is that? No matter what we need this:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Twitter name, Facebook name, and/ or web site URL
  • Hours the business is open to the public

If you’re telling us about the a brewery we need to have a list of beers identified as either year-round or seasonal/specialities. For beer stores we need to know what brands are carried, though this doesn’t have to be exhaustive by any means. We really want to know about locations with growler stations, though we’re certainly happy to list places that don’t.

For bars, pubs and restaurants, we’d like to have a tap list (if there are taps) and a bottle list. Some places have incredibly extensive bottle lists and we understand if listing all of them is too time-consuming. Highlights are fine. The thing is, we’ll keep the tap and bottle lists updated over time if you’ll continue to send us the information.

So that’s the deal. Most of the time we get information from the folks who own a location, but it doesn’t have to come from the owners. As long as you provide us with the information we need, it can come from anywhere.

And that’s how a place gets listed on Hoperatives.

A Quick Tour of Hoperatives (A Bi-Monthly Post)

Since we’ve picked up some new readers, we thought it was time to run this quick tour of Hoperatives again. Step this way please…

On Mondays, we publish “This Week in Beer” and on Fridays, we publish the “Growlers and Tastings Report”. Most Tuesdays, we have our “Traveling Tuesday” post on a better beer location outside the greater Cincinnati area. The other days are filled with local Cincinnati beer news, beer reviews and posts from our regular contributors John Lavelle, Jared Whalen and Jason Rust aka Puddin’. We also have great guest contributors like Stephen Marks and tisenfine.

You can also find Hoperatives on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/hoperatives and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/hoperatives. If you use Google calendar, you can add our Hoperatives Cincinnati beer events calendar just by clicking here and then click the button in the bottom right corner to add it to your Google calendar.

Looking for books on brewing history in Cincinnati and beyond or possibly beer accessories? Check out our new Bookstore and Beer Wares links in the left hand column. Let us know if there’s a book or item we are missing.

If you are a believer in better beer (in Cincinnati and beyond) and you’ll like to make that official, you should be a Hoperative. All you have to do is drop an email message to rollcall@hoperatives.com with your name and location to join our ranks and get your roll call number. You can see the 325 already registered Hoperatives on our Roll Call page (and we have more we still need to add).

The best way Hoperatives grows is through the input of our readers. We love hearing your suggestions. Watch for a survey soon on how you had give us even more input!

So welcome! We welcome you (or welcome you back) and raise a pint of better beer in your honor!

Cheers and here’s to better beer!

— Carla and Tom

Show the World You’re a Hoperative!

I Believe in Better Beer

A frequent question we get when we wear our Hoperatives apparel to local beer events is whether the items are available for registered Hoperatives to purchase. Well, they are! In fact, you can choose between silk screened or embroidered clothing.

Cafe Press

We recently added a series of “I Believe in Better Beer” items to the Hoperatives Store on Cafe Press. Where the product design allows, it has the graphic you see in the image on the front with our motto “Believers in Better Beer (in Cincinnati and Beyond)” on the back. Not only will it reflect your good taste in both beer and fashion, it’ll help defray some of the costs of running Hoperatives.com (web hosting isn’t cheap). If you’re familiar with Cafe Press, you know they have a jillion things they can put custom logos on. We’ve picked a collection we think shows our stuff off best, but if there’s an item you ‘d like to see that we haven’t chosen, let us know!

Clothing and more from Cafe Press features a silk screened Hoperatives logo and sometimes our tag line or the “I Believe in Better Beer” logo mentioned above. There are many types of t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and caps. Non-clothing items include tote bag, mugs, steins, mouse pads, journals, aprons and buttons.

http://www.cafepress.com/hoperatives

Lands End

Clothing from Lands End features an embroidered Hoperatives logo (usually on the left side of the chest of the item). Items for women include cardigans, polo shirts (both short sleeve and long sleeve), t-shirts (with two different neck types), broadcloth blouses (both short sleeve and long sleeve) and fleece jackets. Items for men include polo shirts (both short sleeve and long sleeve), t-shirts (with and without a pocket), twill shirts (both short sleeve and long sleeve) and fleece jackets.

http://ces.landsend.com/Hoperatives

Don’t see something you were hoping for? Let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

Cheers and here’s to better beer!

–Carla and Tom

How to get a better beer location listed on Hoperatives (A Bi-Monthly Post)

One of the more common e-mails we get has to do with the procedure for getting a place listed on Hoperatives as a better beer location. We’ve been getting more lately as readership has risen (thanks Cincinnati.com!), so we thought we’d put up a post explaining how it works. We’ll re-run it every month or so.

The first thing to understand is that there is no cost to have a location listed on Hoperatives and there never will be. Our primary mission is to be a resource for people who love better beer, and the listings are the backbone of that. The only cost, if you want to look at it that way, is the time it takes to let us know what a place offers. Being “listed on Hoperatives” means having a page created over there on the left under the heading “information.” You’ll notice that we list four kinds of establishments: Breweries, Brewpubs, Beer Stores, and Restaurants/Bars/Pubs. Those are self-explanatory. We also categorize things as local, regional and beyond. We’re defining “local” as anything within 10 miles of the I-275 loop around Cincinnati. We count anything within a five-hour driving distance from Cincinnati as “regional.” Everything else is, well, “beyond.”

So what kind of place qualifies as a “better beer location?” We asked our readers back in March. Here’s the definition we’re going with at the moment for bars, pubs and restaurants:

A better beer location serves a wide variety of beers. The beers are of different styles (not just American Lagers) and come from both large and small breweries. Local breweries are supported. The number of taps is irrelevant, it’s about the beer being served. The location has a staff that understands its beers well enough to advise its customers on flavors and pairing. Finally, it has a clear commitment to maintaining a high-quality purchasing and consuming experience.

We create the page, but you need to send us the information by e-mail. Yeah, some day we’ll have a nice web form and such, but for the moment we’re old school. E-mail us at both /AT/ hoperatives /dot/ com with the information we need. And what information is that? No matter what we need this:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Twitter name, Facebook name, and/ or web site URL
  • Hours the business is open to the public

If you’re telling us about the a brewery we need to have a list of beers identified as either year-round or seasonal/specialities. For beer stores we need to know what brands are carried, though this doesn’t have to be exhaustive by any means. We really want to know about locations with growler stations, though we’re certainly happy to list places that don’t.

For bars, pubs and restaurants, we’d like to have a tap list (if there are taps) and a bottle list. Some places have incredibly extensive bottle lists and we understand if listing all of them is too time-consuming. Highlights are fine. The thing is, we’ll keep the tap and bottle lists updated over time if you’ll continue to send us the information.

So that’s the deal. Most of the time we get information from the folks who own a location, but it doesn’t have to come from the owners. As long as you provide us with the information we need, it can come from anywhere.

And that’s how a place gets listed on Hoperatives.

[Also, listings aren’t instantaneous. Sometimes, we get a bit behind due to other life issues. Not to worry. We’ll get you listed just as soon as we can.]

Looking for the “Best” in Better Beer in 2010 (In Cincinnati and Beyond)

Since Hoperatives launched on January 1, 2009, New Years is very important to us. As we start to wind down on 2010, we thought it would be fun to do a “Best of” collection for the year. We have some things in mind, but we want to hear from you too. What was the best beer you had for the first time in 2010? What was the best beer festival you attended this year? How about best beer dinner or best beer-food pairing? Best new “better beer” location in 2010? Or your best “better beer” find this past year? Or anything else you want to share. So let us know! We’re listening!

–Carla and Tom

Send Us Your Better Beer Information… PLEASE!

Sometimes it sucks not being psychic.

Last Friday, Polly Campbell (the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s restaurant critic and food writer) sent out these three plaintive messages on her Twitter account:

@BeingPolly — Note: my job is to collect information. You do not need permission to give it to me! Call me, e-mail me, however you want. I am not scary.

@BeingPolly — Am I? Nor do you need some kind of fancy press release. Do want all pertinent info like—dates, times, name spellings,addresses.

@BeingPolly — I am more frustrated by ppl NOT calling me than calling me too much. (Not including NY PR ppl hawking non-local products and news.)

We know where she’s coming from. Almost weekly, as soon as either our This Week in Beer or Tastings and Growlers posts go up, we get a comment about some event we didn’t know about. And it makes us sad 1. Hoperatives was created to let people know about the better beer locations and better beer events happening in Cincinnati. But we can’t let people know if we don’t know ourselves.

So it would be a lot easier being psychic. Then we’d know what’s going on. The problem is that we’d also have to know a lot of stuff we’d rather not know, like why people drink Bud Select 55. Given the choice, we’ll pass on being psychic. Besides, the collective power of the Internet is better.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. both@hoperatives.com is the best way to reach us.
  2. If your favorite better beer location is not in one of our listings in the left hand column, let us know. Optimally, we would love to have the location’s name, address, phone number, web site and hours if possible. But, we’d be happy with just a name to start with. We have Google and we’re not afraid to use it.
  3. If your favorite better beer restaurant or bar has a rotating tap list, send us an update when you get a chance. This is an area we really hope to expand in the future. If you like, you can even just snap a picture of it with your cell phone and email it to us.
  4. If your favorite better beer location is having an event, drop us a line and let us know. Don’t assume we already know about it. You would be amazed how many events we stumble upon on FaceBook or by surfing websites.
  5. We don’t do formal reviews of anything other than beer, but we’re perfectly happy to talk about the people and places that serve better beer. Maybe you were someplace and a bartender or other server told you about something new. Or you have a place you just love and want the world to know about. Send us an e-mail! There are 227 Hoperatives listed on the Roll Call page and more in the pipeline waiting to be processed. We’d love to hear from all of you.

It’s been said often in this space, but it’s true: Cincinnati’s not that big, but we’d hate to have to paint it. Let us know what’s happening and we’ll make sure to get the word out.

Thanks!

Carla and Tom


1Don’t get us wrong, we’re happy to get the comment. We’ll usually update the post as a result. But it just would have been nice to have the information before we posted the first time.