Not long ago Mrs. Beer Blog and I were invited to join some friends for an afternoon of gaming and appetizers at Jillian’s, the sports bar and billiards parlor on Westlake Avenue in Seattle. Apparently someone won a VIP party package at a silent auction. We had a great time. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but we were happy with what we found. We wished they had a better selection of beer, but understood their need to appeal to the sports bar crowd with a limited number of taps.
Since then, things have changed at Jillian’s. And it is good news. They have a new focus on craft beer and they want to embrace the local craft beer scene. When a bar like Jillian’s decides to do that, they can expect a big shout out from the Washington Beer Blog. Attaway Jillian’s, attaway!
I have just learned of an upcoming event at Jillian’s which has me licking my lips. Next Friday (October 15th) Jillian’s will host Micros and Music, an event featuring beer from some of our favorite local breweries. There are a limited number of tickets available so you should act quickly. You can reserve your tickets by calling Jillian’s (206) 223-0300. Some of the breweries involved also have tickets available, so you might want to contact them. Event details are below.
A New Attitude
“We have 10 breweries bringing in interesting, creative beers for this event,” said Caitee McCormick, Marketing and Promotions Director for Jillian’s. “The people attending the event will actually be voting for their favorite. The brewery that gets the most votes will get a tap handle through the end of the year.”
“We want to appeal to the local craft beer crowd,” said McCormick. “We’ve added more taps so we can be flexible and have more craft beer. We want to be a part of Seattle’s great craft beer scene. People think of us as more corporate and less local. We want that to change.”
The new approach to beer is largely due to a change in management at Jillian’s. “Our new General Manager (Tom Balcom) came in and decided that he wanted to increase the number of taps so that we could offer a wider selection of beer, specifically craft beer,” says McCormick. “We now have 20 tap handles. The new taps were added specifically for the purpose of providing craft beer, with the goal of being flexible about what we offer.”
Insuring Real Flexibility
As anyone who has worked around the bar biz knows, there are people out there willing to make a move like this more affordable. However, if you play that game you might find yourself obliged to offer certain beers on tap. As I understand it, Jillian’s opted not to take that route. In other words, you-know-who did not pay for the increased draft capacity.
Jillian’s still offers a selection of mega-swill, so the stereotypical sports bar crowd need not despair. Perhaps having a nice selection of local craft beer alongside all that light beer might pique someone’s interest. Perhaps it will make someone turn the baseball cap around and order a real beer.
I can hope, can’t I?
Cheers to Jillian’s for widening its focus and supporting the local craft beer scene.
Here are the event details from Jillian’s:
Join us for a night of AMAZING local microbrews and great music!!Here at Jillian’s we are trying to become the go-to spot for local Seattle beers. In order to do that, we want YOUR help to pick which beers we’re going to put on tap. We will be having a taste contest between 10 local breweries to see which one people vote as the best! These craft brewers are going to bring their craziest, newest, or best beer they can and you have to be here to try them. The tasting and citing will be followed by a great hometown band called the BGP, going on at 9:30. There will all sorts of raffle prizes too! There are only 200 tickets available, so come in today to make sure you save yourself a spot for the best beer tasting event of the season! For ONLY $5.00 per ticket you will get 10 tastes, a vote in the contest, and entry for the awesome raffle prizes. Call today to reserve your tickets (206) 223-0300 or e-mail Caitee at [email protected]
Check out the line-up…
Two Beers Brewing
Emerald City Beer
Widmer Bros. Brewing
Schooner Exact Brewing
Red Hook Brewery
Naked City Brewing
Diamond Knot Brewing
Big Al Brewing