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Bringing your own to the restaurant

Ever think of taking your own beer to a fancy restaurant?

I don’t mean homebrew, but a special beer you want to have with a special meal. Wine lovers often have the option, usually paying a corkage fee. After all, the restaurant is giving up a two-to-three times mark up on the bottle of wine you’d otherwise order.

Bill Brand surveyed a few upscale Northern California restaurants – starting with the very upscale French Laundry in Yountville.

French Laundry wine director Paul Roberts said the restaurant has a number of regular guests who brew their own beers and bring them to drink with dinner. The corkage fee for beer is $10, compared to $50 for wine.

“One of our VIPs who comes regularly here and to Per Se (chef Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant) usually brings beer,” Roberts said. “Their son has been home brewing for years, so every time he comes in, he brings one of his beers.”

Other restaurants indicated they’d never had customers ask, but many said that they’d be happy to accommodate customers who want to bring their own beer. They even indicated there’d be no corkage fee.

Of course if many customers start taking them up on that expect a charge to follow.

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