Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Movie Theater Popcorn at Home: take 6

Looks like the ratios are getting dialed in. I've had a lot of luck with the following proportions: 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, 4/9 cup of Orville's popcorn kernels.

Mix the Flavacol into the popper with the kernels then add the oils. Put the whirly popper on the stove for a few minutes and the popcorn's done.

The end result is popcorn that is about right for my taste.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's BW3 Trying to Say About Their Customers?

I've been a little annoyed by Buffalo Wild Wings' overtime commercials.

The message that I think they're trying to say is: Buffalo Wild Wings are so delicious, and their beer service is so prompt that young, attractive, and culturally diverse patrons would prefer to enjoy their tasty wings and cold beer much longer than the sporting events that are displayed on Buffalo Wild Wings' many gigantic projector screens. The young, attractive, and culturally diverse patrons are enjoying the tasty wings and beer so much that they'd like to see a referee risk his career, his livelihood, and the integrity of the game by intentionally make an incorrect call to prolong the game so the Buffalo Wild Wings patrons can enjoy eating the tasty chicken wings and drinking cold beer.

What Buffalo Wild Wings is saying to me is that their customers, the people who pay them money, aren't intelligent enough to understand how sports work. The people that one will find at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant during a football game would rather just have sports showing on the many gigantic projector screens so they can stay there.

I have to ask the obvious question: isn't enjoying tasty chicken wings and drinking ice-cold beer with friends reason enough to be in a bar/restaurant? Are these people embarrassed about being at the Buffalo Wild Wings such that they need to fabricate an excuse of 'enjoying the game' to justify their presence there? What are these people hiding? Do I want to be around people who live such complicated lives?

Let's pretend that the customers all have wives who expect them home right after the game and that's the reason that they want the game to get extended. Why don't they bring their wives to the game? The ringleader customer seems to have a female companion, could be his daughter. There are other ladies there, like the one featured at the 15 second mark. Is there an element about Buffalo Wild Wings that men would prefer their wives not see? Are they leading a secret second life? Is there something about the tasty chicken wings and ice cold beer that they would prefer their wives not enjoy? Do they hate their wives? Themselves? Society?

Let's also explore another possibility. Maybe the people in the commercial are highly influential morons. They don't understand the competition part of sports, but they still like the action. They'd be the same people who aren't all that interested in fine tapestry like way that the subplots of a Michael Bay film come together, but they sure like seeing giant robots beat the crap out of each other with lots of loud explosions. If this is the case why not just turn on ESPN Classic, Transformers 2, or replay the game on DVR and let them watch an old game and keep the integrity of the sport in tact for the rest of us? If they just want a game that will take a long time why not watch cricket instead of football?

I thought that Buffalo Wild Wings is a place where one can enjoy tasty chicken wings and an ice cold beer with friends at a reasonable price. These commercials make me question whether I want to do that in the company of these people who are willing to destroy the sanctity of the games that I love all so they can lead a secret other life/escape from their wives/entertain their simple minds. I don't like the idea that the patrons of a single Buffalo Wild Wings might have such influence over the outcome of sporting events. I think that mafiosi may frequent that Buffalo Wild Wings. I don't want to be there if another mobster tries to rub someone out.

For the sake of my personal safety, I think that I will stay away from BW3 on game day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Documentary Movie review: Beer Wars

We watched most of Beer Wars last night. It's a very well made documentary about the brewing industry as told from a former beer executive, Anat Baron.

I must admit I've been largely ignorant of the business behind beer. I was fortunate to have worked The Sanctuary Restaurant that featured many great beers before featuring many great beers was popular. My experience there gave me an appreciation for the non-macro brewed beers. My current favorite beers come from the Surly brewery.

I'm not a very good descriptor of beers. I honestly couldn't tell whether one beer is more 'hoppy' than another. I struggle to identify different notes in beers and wines, but I do know what I like, and Surly beer is one beer that I do enjoy.

One thing that I have noticed is that I don't really care much for the flavor of the big American beers. I used to enjoy drinking Budweiser during hot summer days. It is genuinely refreshing. So is water though. I can get good drinking water from my tap for less than a penny a gallon.

Miller and Coors don't taste much different to me either. As far as beers go, they are fairly bland.

Beer Wars explains how the big breweries are able to get people to drink their beer instead of the more flavorful, and IMO better, regional and local beers. The obvious first reason is branding and advertising. The big beers do a lot to get people to associate themselves with a brand of beer. I used to know a guy who'd only drive Ford vehicles and only drink Miller beers. He had a sense of pride for being loyal to his brands.

This is one of the most fascinating facets of humans to me. Why is it that we are so eager to embrace an identity and give so much to it, when it's not in our best interest to be loyal. If we were to look out for out best interest, loyalty is not something that we'd give out easily. A savvy purchaser knows that they will get more value for their money if the sellers know that the purchaser is shopping around.

It's probably in our best interest as customers to stray like tomcats between businesses. If they view us as loyal, they will be less willing to provide the best products and services at the most competitive prices. Instead, they will focus as little attention to keeping our business as they can afford and focus on gaining new business. That's true for any competitive market.

Beer Wars gives a copious amount of time to the small brewers and shows them as people who try to compete on the quality of their beers and whereas the mega beers compete through advertising and low prices. Seeing the smaller brews made me curious to taste some of these beers and less interested in drinking the larger beers.

The competitive beer market is far more complex than I realized. One thing that I was completely unaware of is the three tiered alcohol market. I didn't realize that brewers are prohibited from selling their beer directly to retailers, restaurants, and the public. They need to go through a distributor. The distributor acts as a middle person and sells the beer to the liquor stores and restaurants. That seems like a position of considerable influence. I struggle to understand how adding a mandatory distributor between the producers and the retailers will promote equity within a competitive market.

I enjoyed watching Beer Wars. Beer Wars is told from the perspective of a smaller beverage producer, but I think the content is valid. I was influenced by the film to want to experience the variety of the smaller craft brews and to drink less of the larger beers.