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Publican Has Hired A Craft Beer Veteran As Its New Beer Director

By Ben Kramer in Food on Apr 8, 2016 3:42PM

Adam_sandy noto-3.jpg
Photo credit to Sandy Noto.

Adam Vavrick has held many titles in his career. Beer guru, beer authority, World Beer Awards judge, and recently director of sales and marketing at Octopi Brewing. In Chicago’s craft beer community, Vavrick is best known for his tenure at the Binny’s in Lincoln Park (2010 to 2015), where he not only created the store’s first vintage beer program but also concocted “Black Friday”, the day when Goose Island releases the bulk of their Bourbon County Brand Stouts at the Lincoln Park Binny’s.

Now Vavrick can add "Beer Director" to his list of titles, as he just became beer director for the Publican. A few months back, while in Wisconsin working for Octopi, Vavrick received a call from the West Loop restaurant. He accepted the position immediately.

“It was exactly what I was trying to do before I left Chicago, after I left Binny’s,” says Vavrick.

Now Vavrick holds the reins for Publican’s stellar beer program, but what does that mean?

Vavrick wants to bring an “Old World” sensibility to Publican, which means a couple of things. It means having beers with high drinkability, and lower ABV—the brews one can drink and still hold a conversation afterwards. And it means making conversation with strangers (which is encouraged by the communal seating at Publican) and having a good time; Vavrick's goal is to provide people with beer that they want to drink when they're really enjoying themselves.

Sure, he’ll be responsible for the beer selection, but for Vavrick the title goes beyond that. Having each location speak with one voice is a priority, meaning whether one steps into Publican, or the soon to open Publican Tavern at O’Hare, the feeling will remain the same. The drinker will know they are at Publican, and while each location may be slightly different in menu, the idea of pushing the threshold of the beer drinkers palate will remain the same.

Hand in hand with the palate pushing, Vavrick wants to hold beer school events, like food pairings and tastings. The Publican does some of this already, but Vavrick wants to expand it; he’s brainstorming events to help the customer “sincerely understand product that much better.”

This can range from the customer learning what grains were used in their beer to understanding that “there are other hops out there outside of Mosaic or Citra.” He plans on being available to customers whenever he can because he likes talking to people about beer as much as buying it.

“I want whoever steps in walking away learning something,” says Vavrick.