There are a lot of beers out there these days, and you have decided that it is finally time to add craft beers to your menu. But what craft beer or beers should you add? This week’s most popular searches were about Chimay beer, so we know that beer enthusiasts want Trappist ales today. But what about tomorrow? What craft beer will your customers want to see on their beer menu?
A Quick History of Craft Beer
In the late 1970s, beer in America was bland. All the imports had pretty much ended (except for light lagers) and American beer was defined as a tasteless, characterless brew, good for getting drunk. Blah. As good beer began disappearing from the shelves, homebrewers started stepping in and creating their own concoctions. In the early 1980s a few homebrewing pioneers started selling their beers. This started the craft beer revolution. Since those few pioneers, craft beer production has skyrocketed in the US and the ability to find a fascinating and complex beer is now as easy as heading to your corner liquor store. Americans are demanding more interesting beers, are you keeping up with their demands?
I Get It, But What Are My Customers’ Demands?
Well, we can’t quite answer that for you. Every type of restaurant in different parts of the country with different customers will have different tastes. What we can do is give you some tips. If you want to know what your customers want for their beer, ask them! Put a chalkboard on the wall where your customers can write the names or types of beer they’re interested in, and take notes. Put a clipboard near the register and ask the same questions. Ask them on Twitter or on Facebook. Ask them at their tables. If you ask them, they will tell you. Then, whatever your customers want, provide it.
The more local the beer, the more name recognition and demand it will tend to have for your customers. Look for local brewers in your city or region. A lot of times they won’t have distribution from the big guys, but reach out directly to the brewery to find out how you can carry their beer. We know restaurants that generate a ton of buzz from being the only place where you can find the beer outside of the local brewpub because they’re literally driving down themselves and picking up kegs (is this legal, we’re not sure).
One of the great things about Uncorkd Digital Menus is that you can view actual analytics from what your customers are looking at. What that means is you can see a breakdown of which types of beer your customers look at the most and what they’re looking for on your menu. The below pie chart shows what beer people are looking at on digital menus over the past month.
Once you get the new beer (or beers), advertise that you offer them. Connect with the brewery on social media for joint promotion. While many of the small breweries don’t have the marketing budget to provide tons of swag, they’re more than happy to promote your establishment to their loyal followers. Watch your customers come through the door and try a new beer, and then watch their smiles as they fall in love with it and order more.
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