May 15, 2012
BOSTON — Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant and Music Club in Somerville’s Davis Square boasts playing host to some of the best acts in the world, from jazz to rock, blues and folk. They are particularly keen on local acts, which may be why they’ve made a bold move to start offering only locally brewed beer to go with the show.
"Local beer is just better," said John Bonaccorso, general manager of Johnny D's, adding that there is definitely a growing demand for unique, well-crafted brew. "In the past, if you knew about wine you were considered well-educated and sophisticated. If you knew a lot about beer, you probably had a drinking problem. Now, I think that has changed."
But it's more than just an appeal to new trends in sophistication driving Bonaccorso's move to offer better beer. He acknowledged that the move is also a choice to do good business.
"Some [beers are expensive], but you're getting a better product." Bonaccorso said. "We are trying to run our business according to our own ethics and how we feel good about running a business. That includes things like supporting local businesses, and offering good local products, like ethically-raised meats and things like that."
In the micro-economy of starting up a local brewery, Jeff Leiter, co-founder of Slumbrew, said it's that kind of inclusive, responsible business decision that makes it possible for him to get his business off the ground. "That's a critical thing to any brewery starting up," he said.
While he's glad to have distribution partners like Johnny D's, Leiter said brewing is not as risky an enterprise as some other kinds of start-ups.
"At the end of the day, people will always buy beer, regardless of how the economy is," he said.