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Monday, July 11th 2011

Philly's Percy Street Barbecue:
A Craft Can Lover's Dream!

We've been sort of pondering which establishment in the US has the most cans of craft beer available for a little while now. Last week we got an email from Aric Ferrell, Manager of Percy Street Barbecue in Philadelphia, which we're pretty sure answered our question. Percy Street Barbecue in Philly is a (canned) craft beer lovers dream. With an absolutely astounding amount of cans on offer, not to mention some damn fine BBQ to go with them, this is definitely our kind of place. We wanted to get the inside scoop on this amazing beer destination so we posed some questions to Aric about the place he's lucky enough to manage. He was kind enough to answer them and to send along some thirst inspiring photos as well. Cheers Aric! We hope to visit you soon...

(CC) Can you give us some background on Percy Street Barbecue? 

(AF) We opened in November of 2009, as a Texas-inspired full service barbecue restaurant.  You’d be hard pressed to find a Barbecue restaurant like Percy Street Barbecue in Texas hill country, but we wanted to give Philly a full-service restaurant with great food, service, beer and whiskey.  The atmosphere is loud, fun, and the food is the perfect complement to any great craft beer.  



(CC) How many cans of craft beer do you guys offer?

(AF) In addition to 5 rotating drafts we exclusively offer all other beers in can format, and currently boast a list of 60+ domestic craft cans (Red Racer made the ‘domestic list’- its Canada its close enough- not to mention it is an incredible product).  This number does fluctuate due to seasonality.  We will continue to add more cans as they become available.


some of the 60+ cans of craft beer available at Percy Street!


(CC) Why so many? 

(AF) It really just comes down to ‘Choice’.  I think that each guest has different taste when it comes to beer.  Having so many cans means numerous styles of beer, and helps inform our guests that there are so many awesome beers in cans; and that they are just as good, if not better, than the ones they enjoy in different formats.


the (current) amazing craft can list at Percy Street!


(CC) What is the customer reaction to such an extensive canned beer list?

(AF) Many of our guests have never heard the breweries or beers that are offered in cans. We have to be very proactive in educating our staff. They have to ask the right questions in order to pair a beer to satisfy a guest’s preferences.  Once we get people comfortable with the idea of craft beer in a can, we get a lot of glowing reviews and feedback on our extensive list.



(CC) Are cans served with glassware? Do a lot of people drink straight from the can?

(AF) Yes we do offer glassware with the cans.  I would say that the “straight from the can” demographic is fairly high- maybe as high as 50%. We do sell Koozys for those that prefer it “straight from the can”. I find myself preferring some of our beers straight from the can (e.g. Lancaster Kolsch and Dale's Pale Ale).


(CC) Do you still hear people saying negative things about canned beer? Is the stigma still alive and well?

(AF) Yes (as you probably could have guessed) - I used to take offense to it, especially when guests turn their nose up after we’ve explained all of the positives of canning.  My favorite is when they refuse to drink a canned beer just to turn around and order a draft.  I have to assume that some people have never seen a keg before (I have lifted a few Kegs; they are one heavy can).

Even some my beer representatives scratched their heads when we first started our can program.  They all got it pretty quickly- if it wasn’t in a can; it wasn’t going to be sold at Percy Street Barbecue.

I do feel that negative connotations associated with canned beer are changing for the positive, and at a rapid speed.  Percy Street Barbecue is doing our part to help the effort.

"...negative connotations associated with canned beer are changing for the positive, and at a rapid speed.  Percy Street Barbecue is doing our part to help the effort."


(CC) What are some of the more popular canned beers ordered at Percy Street?

(AF) Currently:

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
Avery White Rascal
Brooklyn Summer Ale
Slyfox Royal Weisse
Sixpoint Sweet Action
Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

some of the currently popular cans at Percy Street Barbecue


(CC) What canned beer events do you have at Percy Street? I saw you were doing an event with Oskar Blues soon.

(AF) We did have a Canned Beer dinner with Oskar Blues during Philly Beer Week.  We had a five course tasting menu paired with five different Oskar Blues Cans.  The guys from Oskar Blues joined us and walked around the dining room educating the guest on the beers.  We don’t have any events scheduled for the immediate future….but we will certainly keep you guys posted. 

We are currently planning to roll-out a 6 pack program at Percy Street. This will allow our guests to choose a mix-and-match six-pack of their choice, and save a few bucks along the way.  The way we see it, the more variety of high quality canned beers our guests are exposed to, the faster craft canning will gain wider acceptance.




(CC) BBQ and Beer - does it get any  better than that?

(AF) No, I really can’t think of any cuisine  more conducive to beer than BBQ.  It’s a  no brainer.


(CC) Why is Philly such an awesome beer city? 

(AF) After growing up in the area and returning after a living in a few other east coast cities, I can attest to Philadelphia being an awesome beer city.  By chance, we have a few west coast employees who have also commented on the average Philadelphian’s beer knowledge. People have been drinking beer here forever, and as of the last 15 years the local brewing scene has helped fuel informed drinkers.  Let’s hope more local breweries start canning. 

Philly’s craft can scene is still in its infancy, I am excited to see what the next few years bring to Philly in way of craft cans.




Posted by Russ