Joshua Fryer began his career in bars and restaurants like so many people do—as a way to pay the bills. He moved to Atlanta to pursue a graduate degree at Georgia State but loved the city’s restaurant scene so much he decided to work in the industry full-time. Now in charge of the bar and wine program at 8 Arm, he’s seen the demand for orange wine skyrocket, and credits the Atlanta heat, at least in part, for the success of an unexpected red.
Photo by Jonathan Phillips
The Tarlant Zéro Dosage Champagne cracked the top ten. What was the biggest contributor to its success?
It’s the only Champagne that we offer by the glass, so that probably has a lot to do with. Some of the other offerings that we have that have residual sugar are more on the pét-nat side. I think a lot of people are more conscious about their sugar intake, especially when it comes to bubbles and its association with headaches and hangovers. We’re able to sell it to people like, “There’s no dosage on this, it’s a nice Champagne,” and I think people are sold on it a little easier that way.
Have the proportions of red/white/sparkling (53%/34%/13%) changed significantly in the last year?
It depends on how you want to classify skin-contact whites. I feel like we’ve seen a huge uptick in skin-contact whites. If we’re going to include those in whites, then that number is growing—maybe a growth of 25 percent or more over the year before. We actually have four or five by the glass. We have people that come in specifically looking [to try all the orange wines]. The Nine Oaks Khikhvi we try to keep on long-term. It’s one of the only wines from the Republic of Georgia that we have access to in the Atlanta market. The other ones we kind of rotate through. We have one from Fram in South Africa and one from Alpha Box & Dice in Australia that we’ve had for the last six weeks or so. We’ve had stuff from Italy, especially around the Friuli region and along the Slovenian border, but price-wise it makes it hard to do by the glass. The ones that are coming from the New World regions are more accessible at that level.
Tell me a bit about the Strekov Slovakian 1075 Fred #3 Red Blend.
That was a Jenny & François import that I came across in a trade tasting and really fell for it. When we brought it in, the staff loved it, and when we tasted people on it, they loved it. It kind of caught on in a way that we weren’t expecting, especially considering the grapes are really obscure. It’s really kind of a pleasant surprise that people were on board with it. It’s a pretty bright, crushable red, too. Those reds are really great for how hot Atlanta gets.