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Complaining Works: Hotel Hershey to Offer More Local Craft Beers

I recently took the family on a mini-vacation to Hershey, Pennsylvania and we stayed at the fabled Hotel Hershey.  It’s a grand place, but the beer selection did not match the fine attention to detail found elsewhere throughout the resort.  I was especially disappointed that they were serving beers from California and Delaware at Harvest, their gourmet restaurant dedicated to using locally grown ingredients that come from within 100 miles of the restaurant.   There’s nothing local about Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head, even if they make damn fine beer.  I whined about it here on the blog.

After a little provocation, I shot them an email detailing my disappointment.  Here’s what I sent…  

Hello,

I just returned from three fun-filled days at Hershey with my family. Let me start by saying thank you for your gracious hospitality.

While we stayed at the Hotel Hershey, we had a wonderful meal at Harvest.  But what would have been a perfect “local” eating experience was marred by the thoughtless beer offerings.  Of the several beer brands offered on tap or in bottles, only two were from Pennsylvania, a state which brews some of the best beer in the world.

You are well within 100 miles of Victory Brewing, Troegs (which was on the menu but “tapped out”), Stoudts, and Weyerbacher just to name a few.  All of these breweries offer amazingly crafted beers that will brilliantly accompany your delicious cuisine, from gentle lagers and pilsners to powerful stouts and IPAs.  Instead, I had a bottle of beer from Delaware and a glass of Sierra Nevada pale ale all the way from California.  With so many wonderful regional beers to be had, it’s truly a shame that you haven’t applied the spirit of local sourcing to this important component of fine eating.

Having a beer menu is a good start, but not stocking the wonderful beers brewed in Pennsylvania is misfire, especially when you consider the environmental impact of shipping kegs and bottles from around the country to your hotel.

Best,

Jim Galligan


To my shock and delight, I heard back from the hotel yesterday:

Mr Galligan,

I received your input into the beer selections here at the Hotel Hershey. Let me first thank you, as your input is is very important to us. I have since evaluated the selections specifically the local and have made a few changes. I have 3 outlets that have draft beers. Normally I reserve two of those for local or in state selections. I have now added two selections from Stoudts. One is the Scarlet Lady and the other is the American Pale Ale. We will also be bringing back the Troegs Rugged Trail.

I am now with the Hotel for 4 months and continue to make changes that we hope will satisfy all of our guest. I look forward to having you return and enjoy some great local selections from any of our outlets. Thank you again for your most valuable input.

Cheers,

Richard Brian Confair
The Hotel Hershey Beverage Manager

Having two or three honest-to-goodness Pennsylvania craft beers on tap will be a huge improvement for visitors to the Hotel Hershey, and I’m tickled that Richard took my suggestion to heart. I did mention to him that Troegs Rugged Trail Ale has been shelved (much to my buddy Steve’s dismay), but I’m sure he’ll have plenty of fresh options from the Trogner brothers.

I’ve learned that Troegs is opening a tourist-friendly brewery in the heart of Hershey in the Fall of 2011, which will surely make the Sweetest Place on Earth an even more delicious destination for beer nerds.

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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15 Comments on “Complaining Works: Hotel Hershey to Offer More Local Craft Beers”

  1. Rob Crozier
    July 1, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    Who says the squeaky wheel doesn’t get the grease? Nice job!!!

    • July 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

      Yeah, unfortunately I won’t be back there to enjoy the victory any time soon. But that new Troegs brewery could point our car in that direction next Fall.

  2. July 1, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    See….TOLD YA! Good things happen when you listen to me 🙂

    • July 1, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

      Yes, wizened Katie, you were the one who egged me on, and travelers to Hershey PA owe you a debt of gratitude.

  3. Bill Bennett
    July 1, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    Troegs or Victory should do a collaboration beer with Hershey. Chocolate porter or stout anyone? perhaps with a hint of chili…

    • July 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

      That’s a great idea, and I’m sure Troegs will do just that once they’ve set up shop in Hershey next Fall. Sounds like a very cool brewery, designed with tourists in mind.

  4. July 1, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Jim, you have some clout! Good thing they didn’t check out the blog and see the Don/Clown hybrid picture, the cats in bikinis picture, or read through some of the comments here – they might have blacklisted you instead!

    Seriously though, good work.

    • July 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

      Yeah, I didn’t mention the blog because I didn’t want to feel like a self-important dickbag. But now that you mention it, it’s good I didn’t for the reasons you’ve outlined above. One look at the blog and he probably would have filled his taps Coors Light and Bud Lime.

  5. Elena
    July 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    Nice work Jim. We’ll be sure to drink a local brew in your honor when we make our way to Hersey.

    • July 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

      Thanks, Elena! But the local beer I’ve been thinking about is that wonderful Kellerweizen you guys at Manor House brewed. It was a Kellenweizen, right? What a wonderful beer – light, crisp and citrusy, with just a hint of sour. The perfect beer for a hot summer’s day, and that’s coming from the guy who’s grown weary of summer beers!

      I need to do a proper review of you stuff on the blog here. I always drink your beer and love it, but I don’t take notes, so it’s hard to recall all the details when it comes time to write about it! I want to make sure to capture every delicious detail so folks can almost taste what they’re missing. 🙂

      • Elena
        July 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

        Thanks! good to hear you enjoyed it. The idea behind that was to get a crisp summer beer, we call it ‘Summer House’, that will still be flavorful and intriguing. We changed it up a little the second time around and will have that second batch on tap in time for the party. 🙂

      • July 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

        Can’t wait!

  6. Jordan
    May 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Jim,
    I’m actually looking to get in contact with Brian Confair myself. Is there any way you could shoot me hit email? I would greatly appreciate it.

    • May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      Emailed it to you, Jordan. Hopefully he doesn’t owe you money or something…

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