As a business owner, it’s important that you offer something for every customer. Having a good beverage balance in your bar is about maximizing your beer styles and creating a beverage list that appeals to everyone.
As the craft beer industry grows, brand loyalty is dying, so maximizing beer styles is all about diversity. In the past, there was a very simple equation to beer lists that most bar owners followed:
- 2-4 draughts
- 6-8 domestics
- 3-4 premium beers
- 1-2 imports
Although this can still work, it is no longer good enough to gain a competitive edge—especially with the expectations that patrons have for craft beer. There is a way, however, to understand the diversity of your customers if you simply ask yourself the right questions.
Important Points to Consider
So what are the right questions? There are a few general points to consider when creating beverage balance in your bar:
- How much local beer should I stock?
- How many taps are enough for my establishment?
- Should national craft brands be on the menu?
- How many mainstream brands should I stock? (since they always sell)
- Do the beers make sense with food items?
- Is your staff equipped to sell each beer?
- Who is your average customer? College town? Business district?
As you can see, beverage balance requires a lot more consideration as the industry of craft beer grows. Your location, theme, and general customer persona should also dictate which styles you select.
A Balanced Pairing
There should never be a disconnect between the beer you pour and the food you plate. You should always perform thorough research on any new style and taste it with the food you intend to pair it with. Although it seems logical that Mexican restaurants will sell Mexican beers, and Italian places will sell Italian beers—it’s more about the experience of the pairing, than it is about playing to any gimmick. That being said, you should always carry a few beers with the theme of your establishment, but if you pair your food well enough, there is no need to overdo it.
Suggestions for Building the Best List
Once you have asked the right questions, you should be ready to build your list. Although there is no one perfect way to do it, the following are a few key suggestions that can guide you along the way:
- Ignore the mainstream beer drinker. Sometimes questioning your quieter patrons will give you insight into new styles and local flavors.
- Make your distributor your best friend. After all, it’s their job to know the market and what styles are successful.
- Listen to your front of house. They are the closest to your customers and converse with them all day long.
- Don’t overdo it with the IPAs. Although they are always very popular, you don’t want to over-saturate your beer list and create a beverage imbalance.
- In any pairing, you should always balance the weak with the strong.
- Support your draught beers with bottle and cans, and vice versa.
- Your ultimate key to success is the overall beer experience.
Once you have a truly defined and diverse beer list, it’s time to promote it.
Marketing Your List
You don’t want to spend all this time and research to maintain a perfect beverage balance, if you aren’t going to tell anyone about it. Once the list is made, you’ll need to update your menus and get the word out. TapHunter is a unique platform that enables bar owners like yourself to automatically revise your menus and print them with a simple click. You never have to mess with graphics or costly menu edits again.
Ultimately it’s about the patron and their experience in your establishment. Creating a beverage balance involves considering a variety of factors that all add up to a diverse beer list, and ultimately, a happy customer.
Bars and Restaurants – Want to save hours daily, drive thirsty patrons through your door and create an engaging experience for your customers? Learn more about how TapHunter can help your business today!