Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why I Prefer Beer

Last week we went for a special occasion dinner to the fancy Roseville restaurant in San Diego. We ordered a bottle of champagne - er, sparkling wine - with dinner. It was a Cristalino Cava Brut from Spain. The bottle was around $42 and we thought it was pretty good. This morning I searched on line for the cava and was shocked to find it was only $8 bottle. I called the restaurant to verify what I purchased, hoping it was a vintage version rather than the easily purchased non-vintage sparkling wine. No such luck, the restaurant was selling the same non-vintage brut I was seeing offered at $8 a bottle.

I paid more than a five times markup. Ouch. A five times markup is outrageous and I am angry at myself, not for paying $42 for a bottle of wine, but for not knowing much about what I was buying. I usually like to know the regular retail price of a bottle of wine or beer before ordering a bottle in a restaurant, but I have never researched Spanish cavas and took a flier on the Cristalino Brut. Beer is simple. A pint should be around $5, and faux pints (which Roseville serves, too) should be less. Too much deviation from this pricing model leads to an order of water or ice tea. With restaurant wine prices varying from about $20 a bottle to hundreds of dollars per bottle it's hard to know the best values. I learned the hard way that the two times retail markup does not always apply. I am sticking to beer.


Chris said...

Ouch! That's an seriously galling markup for Cristalino. I've seen similar price gouging on wine myself. Here in Wash, DC, though, the beer prices can be just as bad. I'll see beers that go for $9 a sixer, so $1.50 a bottle, sell at a restaurant for a 5x markup of $7.50 a bottle.

Rational Realist said...

$7.50 a bottle is outrageous, too. I remember paying $6 or $7 for a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at Disneyland but went with it because of being at Disneyland. Here in California small bottles of Chimay seem to get the big mark ups ($8 to $10 or more). I am sticking with draft pints.