Thursday, June 11, 2009

About: Matt Baumgartner


When Demetra, Jimmy and I first sat down to talk about the idea of opening a bier garten, none of us expected Wolff’s Biergarten to be as well received as it has so far. We figured we’d have a small loyal following of soccer fans and people who liked German biers. We expected to hire one bartender per shift (we now have 4 bartenders on some shifts) and 2-3 people in the kitchen (we now have 15). So far, Wolff’s has been one of the greatest professional experiences in my life. It’s unlike any other bar I have ever owned or worked at. Wolff’s has some pretty unique statistics that I think are kind of cool…. and I thought it might be fun to point some of them out. So here we go:


Wolff's Bier Shed

  • We get a majority of our bier at Wolff’s through Decrescente, a local bier distributor. In order for Decrescente to get us good German bier, they have to place an order 3 months ahead of time because that’s how long it takes for the kegs to ship from Germany. I have been told that our first bier order that Decrescente placed for Wolff’s from Germany was a bier order that was supposed to last us 3 months. We went through all the bier in the first 7 days!
  • Once our original order was consumed, Decrescente actually had to go to German bars in NYC, and throughout New York State, buying back German bier kegs so that we had bier to sell!
  • During a typical week, we go through a little more than 100 kegs of German bier. About 75 of those kegs, we go through in 3 days. Rich tells me that he has seen the bier delivery guys take photos or our bier shed with their cell phones because they have never seen anything like it.
  • Speaking of our bier shed, we have a large storage shed on site that houses all the kegs of bier. Because weissbier is very sensitive to warm temperatures, we are converting the shed into a 20′x10′ humongous walk in cooler so that our kegs will always be at the perfect temperature. This walk in cooler is in addition to the one we currently have that houses about 25-30 kegs.
  • Bombers Burrito Bar is one of the highest draft selling beer accounts in Albany. At Bombers, we go through 2 tanks of beer gas per week. At Wolff’s, we go through 8-12 tanks of bier gas per week! (now I dont’ know whether I’m supposed to spell it “beer” or “bier”. argh!!)
  • Wolff’s goes through 25 cases of peanuts per week. When we originally opened, we bought 3 cases to last us for the first week, and we ran out of peanuts (all 3 cases) our first night.
  • The Albany AquaDucks touring boat has now added Wolff’s Biergarten on their tour! YAY!!! (By the way, if you’ve never taken one of those tours, you MUST. It’s awesome. I’ve taken 3 tours, and it makes you totally appreciate Albany so much more.)
  • Since our opening, our lovely customers have stolen (or broken) over two hundred German bier steins. (Which we buy directly from Germany).
  • High level people at the Spaten bier company in Germany are familiar with Wolff’s Biergarten because the “regional demand for Spaten has skyrocketed”.
  • And just to give a playful little jab to all the naysayers who criticized our decision to serve Stella Artois at Wolff’s, you’ll be pissed of to know that we are the biggest selling Stella account at Decrescente. The previous largest account (The Cheesecake Factory, or something) was going through about 3 kegs of Stella per week, we go through 12.

Some other tidbits of information you might find interesting:

  • The photos hanging up on the walls at Wolff’s are photos of Rich’s and my German relatives. Those family photos were found in my Grandmother’s basement after she passed away…. and I am convinced these relatives (and Demetra’s upcoming baby) are bringing us good luck.
  • The flags hanging outside of Wolff’s represent the regions in German where Rich’s and my families are from, and also where Rich Salaway (my cousin and General Manger of Wolff’s) was born.
  • I built the bier pong ping pong table. :)
  • Most of the furnishings for Wolff’s (including the billy goat in the front) were bought At The Warehouse, around the corner from Wolff’s. Great store.
  • The painting hanging in the back where you stick your head through the holes was painted by the amazing local artist Mark Gregory.
  • The tree inside Wolff’s was built by our very own Wolff’s family member Melanie O’malley, and her friend Liz Connor. Melanie also builds guitars (!!!), but that’s a whole other post that’s coming up.

Ok, that’s it. Thank you to those of you who have supported Wolff’s and brought your friends and family down. If you have any specific questions about Wolff’s, I’d love to answer them, so let me know! Prost!

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