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"A quart of ale is a dish for a king." - William Shakespeare

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Arbor Brewing Company Pub and Eatery Embarking on Menu Makeover

We recently read one of those life-altering books that immediately changes the way you see and interact with the world around you. It is called the Omnivore's Dilemma and it is an unflinching and utterly enlightening investigation into the American food system - how it works and how it has been altered by corporate interest, government policy, and the American way.

And it really compelled us to take the plunge and look long and hard at every single item and ingredient we use and research all of our options for getting things that are locally sourced, sustainably and humanely farmed in ways that support the environment, support the animals, support the workers, and support our local economy.

We are committing ourselves to purchase meat, poultry, and dairy products only from farmers who provide a happy life and humane departure. When animals are raised humanely on diets nature intended them to eat; with plenty of room for exercise and fresh air; and not overcrowded into horrible feedlots up their hocks in their own waste, they actually don't need an arsenal of artificial hormones and antibiotics to keep them alive.

And we are committing ourselves to locally source as many items as possible. We have convinced ourselves over the years that a high-volume restaurant really needs to rely on mega-suppliers for the majority of its "groceries" to facilitate smooth ordering and inventory management but we're ready to put that assumption to the test.

And finally we are combing the ingredient lists on all of our prepared foods to root out any overprocessed items or items containing the types of things that I screen for when I buy my own groceries - like high fructose corn syrup.

It's a big job and getting started has been the hardest part. We have assembled a committee of like-minded staff who are assisting with the research and we hope to hear from you as well. In addition to local farmers, we're looking for breads and pastas and condiments - the works. So let us know if you have ideas and suggestions.

We hope to begin some of the easier changes ASAP (like switching to ketchup and mustard with no high fructose corn syrup). Phase two will probably be to institute a special local/sustainable section while we work toward our ultimate goal of remaking the entire menu.

We are also seeking kitchen staff with an interest in this project.

And no, we haven't forgotten about the Corner - there are only so many hours in the day afterall and we figure that once we have our sourcing sorted out, the Corner's limited menu should be a snap.

More to come...