rant of the day – misuse of the word ‘domestic’ on beer menus

First, I want to show what the actual meaning of the word ‘Domestic’ is.

domestic  (dəˈmɛstɪk)

— adj

1. of or involving the home or family

2. enjoying or accustomed to home or family life

3. (of an animal) bred or kept by man as a pet or for purposes such as the supply of food

4. of, produced in, or involving one’s own country or a specific country: domestic and foreign affairs

In this case, we are interested with #4.

What I’m talking about, more specifically, is how restaurants and bars categorize their beers. The most common method of categorizing beer is ‘Domestic’ and ‘Import/Specialty’. Under ‘Domestic’ you’ll probably find things like Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Lone Star, etc…. Under ‘Import/Specialty’ you’ll probably find things like Guinness, Corona, Dos XX, Fireman’s #4, Fat Tire…wait, pump the brakes! Isn’t Fireman’s #4 produced in Texas? And Fat Tire, that’s in Colorado. Aren’t those technically domestic beers? I mean, they’re made in the United States.

I’m usually not the one to bitch and complain about something as small as this, but it really does annoy me. I’m not saying everyone does this, but I’ve seen it enough now to complain.


Categorize beers by ‘Draft’ and ‘Bottle’. Most of the time, this is what people care about. One of the most common questions is ‘What do you have on draft?’ Well, here’s a list buddy! If you have to list a beer twice because it’s available by both, so be it, list it twice.

Case in point, Barley Swine restaurant in Austin, TX. To me, their beer menu is perfect. It’s categorized by Draft, Bottled Beer (12 oz), and Big Bottles (22 oz or 750 ml). They signify where the beer is from, the alcohol by volume (abv), and the price. Below is an example of what Barley Swine does, and what I think is the perfect way to categorize.

For example:


Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA       6.6% abv       Austin, TX                 $4.25

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA              9.0% abv       Milton, DE                 $5.00

*Live Oak Seasonal                                                 Austin, TX                 $4.25


New Belgium Fat Tire                        5.2% abv        For Collins, CO         $3.50

Bud Light                                           4.2% abv        St. Louis, MO           $3.00

*Please ask your sever what the current seasonal is

…and so on and so forth. Pretty simple right? This way, you can see where it’s from, if it’s bottle or draft, and how much it is. Serious beer bars categorize by style, bottle, draft, import, local and so on. You don’t have to get crazy into it like that, but please, use the words correctly. Using ‘Domestic’ to describe ‘cheap’ beers is such a 1980’s thing to do. Time to step into the new age, the age where there are over 1,600 domestic craft breweries in America now.

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