Selling Beer—Beer 101 course teaches Asheville servers how to showcase Beer City USA

Even the most well-intentioned beer list can fail if servers don’t know how to sell it. Enter Beer 101, a Course for Servers.

Most restaurant and bar owners understand that offering a well-planned beer list, including a variety of locally made craft beers, can increase their revenue. But to succeed, servers need to understand beer styles and characteristics and be able to discuss the drinks with increasingly beer-savvy customers., says local beer columnist Anne Fitten Glenn, who put together Beer 101. Servers also need to know which beers are brewed regionally, and to explain what’s what to beer tourists showing up for a taste of Beer City, USA, she says.

Glenn has put together the three-hour course covering beer styles and flavors, beer serving etiquette, classic beer and food pairing ideas. Glenn is Mountain Xpress’ beer columnist and frequent contributor to, certified Cicerone beer server and home brewer (she’s also a former teacher). The course was developed in conjunction with the Asheville Brewers Alliance and features guest appearances from Western North Carolina brewers and beer industry experts.

The primary goal of the Beer Server 101 course is to teach the staff of Asheville restaurants how best to sell their beers—and keep customers happy. At the end of the class, servers will be ready to take a beer-server exam, and call themselves “Asheville Brewers Alliance Certified Beer Servers.”


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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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16 thoughts on “Selling Beer—Beer 101 course teaches Asheville servers how to showcase Beer City USA

  1. Brewhaha

    So yeah this sounds cool but when is it? Where is it? Does it cost anything? Details, man!

    • Anne Fitten Glenn

      Right now, I’m teaching AIR owners/managers and servers, but if there’s enough interest, I love to teach a class to general public this winter.

  2. Barry Summers

    Apparently lesson #1 is: “Always have an under-age child next to you as you serve alcoholic beverages.”

    • Barry Summers

      Apparently I’m not the only one who had this response, Mr. “Winters” (if that is your real name…).

      I’m all for this course, just maybe don’t include a minor in the photo next time.

    • Anne Fitten Glenn

      Just FYI, that’s my child. And he was reading a book (see photo), but jumped into the photo. My kids do know a lot about beer, and a big part of that consists of moderation and good adult modeling of such.

  3. Julie

    I kept thinking it was the wrong photo…maybe those are cupcakes? But, no, it most certainly is a smiling child behind that tray of beer.

  4. Mona

    Bad choice putting the kid in the photo. If a regular beer ad in a magazine with a smiling child behind a full tray of beer was allowed, there would be outrage. This sends the wrong message!

    • Barry Summers

      Oh yeah – I was shocked to see beer served at a McDonalds in Germany some years ago…

      Does it come with the “Gl

  5. Dion

    I would also be very interested in attending such a class. As a server of many of our local beers, I pride myself on knowing what’s what, and I already do what I can to increase interest in our local offerings. Nonetheless, I always relish any opportunity to learn more and to hone my beer-selling skills.

  6. BeerJon

    1) To all who have a problem with the child in the photo: LIGHTEN UP. This is the problem with the neo-prohibitionist attitude we have towards alcohol in the US. If Ms. Glenn is teaching a class on how to properly sell and serve craft beer (plus her credentials, as listed in the article), my thoughts are she is also teaching RESPONSIBLE service. That should be taught to all under-age persons in the US. Alcohol abuse would be decreased tenfold if we simply taught our children to respect alcohol, rather than to fear it.
    2)I applaud Ms. Glenn on embarking on a similar path as myself. In order to bring beer to the level of fine wine and beyond, we must educate our servers, proprietors, and consumers alike as to its attributes, etc.
    3) Beer most certainly does not “sell itself” as @ashevillain7 seems to believe. Furthermore, it’s not about “selling” in the classical sense of the term…rather, it’s about educating.

    Cheers to you, @Ms. Anne Fitten Glenn in furthering education of the greatest beverage known to man, and the catalyst for civilization as we know it. Keep up the good work.
    (btw, I came across this article by sheer accident via Google search, and have never even been to Asheville.)

    Jon Piepenbrok
    Liquid Table Beverage Solutions
    Michigan Brewers Guild
    Detroit, MI

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