Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Montgomery Brewpub

On the trip back from Atlanta, it was simple enough to program an address into the Tom-Tom: 12 West Jefferson Street, Montgomery, AL. That GPS thingy took us directly to the door of the Montgomery Brewpub just in time for lunch – with beer.

I don’t want you to think that every time Barbara and I go on the road, we navigate by microbreweries and pubs. Nothing could be further from the truth*. (We actually load the Tom-Tom with the addresses of Starbucks stores – Atlanta and Newnan, GA; Montgomery and Mobile; Slidell, Covington and Baton Rouge, LA…and so on. It’s easy: There’s a mapping function on the Starbucks site.)

Actually, we end up depending on AAA TourBooks more often than not. How come? Well, most microbreweries and brewpubs would rather leverage their “fan base” to build repeat business, rather than use relatively expensive classic advertising. True, this’s a generalization. But word-of-mouth can pay off big over time. Outlasting passing fads is a huge deal; being in the AAA TourBook for Alabama for years does pay off.

The Montgomery Brewing Company opened in October, 1995, in a building right in the heart of the city’s old Central Business District. The structure itself was built in 1913 by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad to store heavy equipment. We’re coming up on this pub’s 14th birthday…and it’s hung in there.

We’re glad we showed up because we got to try a rarity: “Velvet Elvis” is a dark lager created by brewer Jamie Ray to bridge the gap ‘til it’s time to produce the next batch of stout. Classically, schwarzbier is a medium-bodied, malt-accented dark brew, colored a deep brown, with a chewy texture and a firm, creamy, long-lasting head. That’s what the German Beer Institute says and I’m sticking with it. The Montgomery Brewpub version was real good and so was the food. The staff seemed a bit distracted but served us well.

Sometimes you’ve got to search out the product – it won’t come searching for you. I know, that’s not supposed to be advertising’s role. But so many marcom roles have already shifted over the past decade. With WOM, you can put your advertisements where your (fans’) mouths are. Earlier this week, ours were in central Alabama. Filled with “Velvet Elvis.”

*Why yes, we did stop in Abita Springs for dinner. Why do you ask? Thanks to AAA (again) for roadtripping aids.

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