Best Drink Lists of 2014

August 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

Winemetrics has expanded its database to encompass a vast amount of drink list information. Our inaugural 2014 Drink List Report will be available for purchase next week. To give you a snapshot of this innovative report, which surveys the largest national and regional restaurant chains, please see our choices for the Top Casual, Upscale Casual and Fine Dining Drinks List Winners and Runner-Ups below.  We have identified the exceptional programs, based on size, pricing, diversity and web presence.

Best Drinks Lists of 2014

 

Casual Chains

Winner : Yard House

Web Presence: Excellent, detailed information by location but without pricing.

Wine BTG:  Average in size but a diverse selection with excellent pricing.

Cocktail List: Well above average in size (35+) with a wide variety of imaginative libations.

Beer List: Off the charts, over 25 draft beers and more than 100 in bottles and cans

Pro: Most comprehensive beer list we have surveyed.

Con: Menu is the size of the Gutenberg Bible and drink prices are not listed online.

 

Runner Up:  BJs Brewhouse

Web Presence: Excellent, detailed information by location but without pricing.

Wine BTG:  Above average selection with 25 wines; very reasonably priced.

Cocktail List: A selection of 35, many from original recipes by BJ’s bartenders.

Beer List: Nearly 60 different brews, at least 10 of which are brewed in-house.

Pro: Entire menu and beverage list available on one sheet, the ultimate in convenience.

Con: Beer list selection lacks excitement.

 

 

Upscale Casual Chains

Winner:  Lucky 32 (part of Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, a small restaurant group in NC)

Web Presence: Excellent, complete drinks lists in PDF, location-specific with pricing

Wine BTG:  Excellent, 50 wines offered in 3 sizes, including 3 oz. tastes. Nearly every BTB selection is available BTG. Three wine flights offered.  Superb value and diversity.

Cocktail List: Has 20 very imaginative offerings often with artisanal spirits, attractively priced

Beer List:  Excellent. Over 40 brews, mostly local and nationally known craft beers.

Pro: Probably one of the best overall drinks list we have ever seen. Con: None

 

 

Runner-Up: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

Web Presence: Excellent, detailed information and prices by location

Wine BTG:  Superior, 40+ wines, nearly every BTB selection is available BTG. All wines available by the half-glass.

Cocktail List: A selection of 13 is about average for the segment, but their Asian-influenced libations are unique to this chain.

Beer List: A recent upgrade to the beer list has put it on par with its highly regarded wine selection. About 2/3 of the selection is composed of a diverse selection of fine craft beers.

Pro:  Beer program has caught up with the category-leading wine list. Con: Getting to account specific information was a little cumbersome online.

 

 

Fine Dining

Winner:  Flemings

Web Presence: Very Good.  Lots of detail available but no prices. Lists must be perused segment by segment which is inconvenient.

Wine BTG:  Superb, 90+ wines, the largest BTG selection of any major chain.  Pricing on the high side, which is expected, given the support required for such variety.

Cocktail List: With 22 selections, Fleming’s cocktail list is slightly above average in size but also above average in pricing

Beer List:  Solid list of 17 beers, half of them well-known craft brews,

Pro: Excellent wine selection carries the day here.

Con:Searching the selection online was somewhat difficult and lack of pricing and BTG designations omits vital information.  As each Flemings has a wine list addendum specific to their restaurant, it would be beneficial if this information were provided online.

 

Runner-Up:  Seasons 52

Web Presence: Excellent, detailed information with prices

Wine BTG:  Excellent, 50+ wines, most BTB selections are available BTG. Very diverse and well-priced

Cocktail List: With just 12 libations, Season’s 52 is below average in this segment. It also appears to rely on just a handful of spirits brands.

Beer List: A serviceable list of 18 with a handful of craft beers.

Pros/Cons: Extremely convenient drink list both to read and download.  The remarkable wine selection carries this beverage program but a few adjustments to the beer and cocktail list could make it a contender for the top spot.

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