Wine on tap at new Hops Supply Co. pub
September 12, 2012By Liz Biro
When LM Restaurants’ new Hops Supply Co. opens, probably sometime in late October, the craft-beer-centric pub will take Wilmington into a new wine direction.
Along with suds, the list of which is still under development, Hops, 5400 Oleander Drive, will feature wine served from kegs, said LM spokeswoman Mindy Stroupe.
Wine kegs are nothing new in California, but they’ve reached major U.S. cities only over the past two or three years, said Chris Thompson, a Cape Fear region wine consultant for wine wholesaler The Country Vintner.
Serving wine from anything but a bottle may be off-putting to oenophiles, but Thompson, also a certified sommelier, said wine tapped from kegs is as good as that poured from bottles.
Kegs protect wine from damaging light, vibration and oxygen, providing a better drink, especially for customers who order wine by the glass, he explained.
Additionally, refrigerated kegs keep individual wines at the temperatures at which they are best served as opposed to fluctuating temperatures bottles endure on bar counters, Thompson said.
For bar and restaurant owners, dating and monitoring wine from bottles reserved for by-the-glass service may be traded for the no-fuss kegs, which increase wine’s shelf life, meaning less waste, Thompson said. The small kegs, about the size of a one-sixth beer keg, require less storage space than numerous bottles. Easier to transport and requiring less packaging than bottles, kegs reduce shipping costs and environmental impacts.
Wine kegs have caught on in Asheville, where various restaurants, including popular Sante Wine Bar, use the system. Sante serves a dozen wines on tap, according to its website.
“I’d like to see more people embrace it because it’s a win-win for both sides of the fence: the restaurant owners and the customers who like drinking fresh wine, not vinegar,” Thompson said.
Of Hops’ 30 wines, six will be served from kegs: three whites (Darcie Kent gruner veltliner, Acrobat by King Estate pinot grigio and Saintsberry chardonnay) and three reds (Acrobat by King Estate pinot noir, Saintsberry pinot noir and Darcie Kent cabernet sauvignon).
Wine is not the only drink going into kegs. Cocktail kegs are gaining ground, too, according to restaurant and bar industry reports.
The Hops Supply Co. team is developing a menu for the new restaurant, which will fill what was Eddie Romanelli’s, Stroup said. On the list so far: short rib nachos, a farm egg BLT sandwich and a chicken-two-ways entrée featuring both fried and roasted chicken.