Viewers of the recent episode of Brew Dogs that was recorded in New Orleans may have been surprised to see Pearl Wine Co. (3700 Orleans Ave., 504-483-6314; www.pearlwineco.com) listed as one of the best beer bars in the city, but owner Leora Madden sees the honor as validation of her efforts to offer craft beer.
"I really have been working hard to have one of the best craft beer selections in the city." Madden says. "I love supporting small-production craft."
A native of Mississippi, Madden became a fan of craft beer when she lived in California and Chicago while building a career in the wine industry. She says bringing a large beer selection to her wine store was part of her business plan when she opened the shop in April 2013.
This fall, Madden plans to add draft beer at Pearl Wine Bar, located in the adjoining space, so she can provide beers that are available only on draft. She also is working to start the first retail growler program in the city.
"It will start small so we can do it right," Madden says. She expects to have the growler program in place by Halloween, and if all goes well, she will increase the number of taps by December.
At the wine shop, customers can buy beer to drink at the bar next door or to carry out. The store also delivers beer. For a minimum order of a six-pack, the Pearl Wine Co. van will bring beer anywhere in the city without a delivery fee.
Education is important to Madden, who says she's happy to open a beer for people to enjoy in the bar. If a customer doesn't like a beer, she'll swap it for something else. "You shouldn't have to drink beer you don't like," she says.