Attracting Customers with Local Craft Beers

Attracting Customers with Local Craft Beers

Bump up business with a hyped-up happy hour. Alcohol accounts for a significant portion of any restaurant's profits. Tap into the craft beer market to start turning happy hour into a cash machine.

Craft beers take an ordinary happy hour and turn it into a trendy downtown hotspot. According to the Brewers Association, Craft beer sales grew by 13% from 2010 to 2011. Craft beer drinkers appreciate new releases, seasonal beers, and highly rated beers with cult-like followings.

Neighborhood restaurants are not the only ones competing for a slice of the craft beer market. Many hotels are joining the brewing business to provide guests with craft beer at social hours or creating their own beer through local breweries. Four Fairmont hotels collaborated with breweries to create their own house microbrews using honey from their onsite beehives and are offered on draft in their bars.

The Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles Airport has customized in-room beer fridges and a brand-wide "Best Brews" program featuring local, regional, and imported craft beers.

To have a line out the door at half-past five, choose beers that will attract new customers and gain a reputation for having one of the best beer selections in town.

  1. Learn what people like. Find out what people are looking for, what they are buying in other areas, and what they are searching for online.
  2. Get feedback. Train your staff to ask the right questions, including an insert in the check holder for customers to provide feedback on the brews. Use Facebook and Twitter to get real-time feedback.
  3. Be proactive. You want to get the newest tastes first. Keep up with your distributors and suppliers to see what is coming out and always be the first to offer new selections.
  4. Use seasonal selections. Websites like RateBeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com can provide insight into what beer styles work best during which seasons and what are the most popular beers people are looking for.

Craft beers bring younger, and often more loyal crowds into your dining room. A recent Technomic study found that 41 percent of Millennials purchase food away from home at least twice a week, which is up to four percent from Baby Boomers. Twenty percent of Millennials also agreed that it is important for restaurants to serve alcoholic beverages. They also found the younger generation is much more likely to experiment with different kinds of drinks.

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Unique and high-end beers offer something local, different, and exclusive. Give patrons something they cannot find anywhere else by putting away the generic and selecting only the best beers to transform your happy hour into a bountiful business.

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