Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Firkin Pubs on Franchise 500 List

Excuse me for a second until I gain my composure. Am I reading this right? The Firkin Franchise of Pubs was listed #432 in Entrepreneur Magazine's annual Franchise 500 List for the second year in a row? Could it is.

I don't like to criticize, hell, I don't like to complain. So I won't. Or will I? I haven't decided yet. For new people out there reading this, I have said it before, I do not enjoy pubs that come from a box. By this I mean, Firkins, Phility's, Fox and Fiddle's, and Prime (who do have some places with a good bottle selection), where they all appear the same on both the inside and out and usually have one of the National breweries on tap (Labatt/Molson). They also play the likes of Pink, Avril, Justin Timberlake to high degree's of volume and there is a tv in virtually all corners of the place.

Don't get me wrong. These places cater to certain demographics and I know people that love them to death. And as you can see, the Firkin chain is very popular both here in Canada where it originated and in the United States where they keep expanding. I even like a couple of myself, well, only two though not Firkins(Mill St Brewpub and Bier Markt). What irks me is that people that don't know any better would actually consider these places real pubs. There is no personality to these places, lots of stuff hanging from the walls and rafters are fake, imitation knock offs to obscure the patrons sense of history, there is lots of dark paint, frozen entrees, waitress in short tartans, the list could go on and on.

What these places do have is marketing dollars behind them to sell them as 'pubs' to John Q Public. Can you imagine seeing a Caffe Volo bill board along the Gardiner? The director of marketing claims that the Firkin's are full of atmosphere and fun, and it's no surprise that people in the US are embracing our traditional English pub. Sure buddy, real traditional. By 2010, this chain believes it will have 1,000 pubs (I mean restaurants) operating in North America. You could have yours for the low price of anywhere from 400k to 1.2 million. Look-out!!

Well, I guess I did go on a bit of a rant here. Anyway, the point of this was to...well, I guess I didn't really have a point. Keep supporting your locals!

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