Tap Into American Beer MonthJuly 12, 2010 By: Alissa Ponchione
It’s July, and that means it’s American Beer Month. Americans have loved beer for as long as it’s been around, and in 1999 that love became official at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The first American Beer Month was held a year later. Since then, however, industry focus has shifted to American Craft Brew Week held in May, but that doesn’t mean American Beer Month is something to miss, especially with the resurgence and popularity of home brewed favorites.
What makes American beer stand out — and easy to love — is its diversity in styles (there are over 125 different American brews), which offer even more varieties than beer powerhouse countries like England and Germany, and those countries are taking notice. “Now brewers in these countries with rich brewing traditions are incorporating some American brewing ideas onto their traditional styles” Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association says.
American beers are just as innovative as their imported brethren meaning local beers and even ultrapremium craft beers should find a spot at your bar. Supplying and supporting local beers bring business to your establishment, creating camaraderie amongst your guests and your bar, Gatza explains. “It says something about an establishment when they have local offerings, such as we know what our patrons are into, we support local businesses and we carry beers that you can’t just get anywhere.” In fact, local beers don’t just taste good, they keep money in the local economy, provide local jobs and your guests are supporting a brand that isn’t everywhere.
Additionally, the beer consumer is changing. They want beers that aren’t mainstream, and it’s important to know who that person is. Gatza says bar and restaurant owners need to start catering to Millenials, who desire individuality in everything including their beers. They ultimately look to these smaller, local brands because they emphasize the uniqueness they crave.
Knowing who your customer is important, but Gatza also suggests looking to the Beglian-inspired sour beers. They’re higher in alcohol and come in a larger bottle, and though it may cost more, it can be shared at the table, which “is a big opportunity for profit and image for the bar.” He also advises bars to open with a minimum of six tap handles that include a variety of styles. “People no longer have to settle for a dull beer lineup where many of the beers resemble each other in a narrow flavor band. The beer drinker wants choices.”
A good bar owner knows that a social ambiance brings people to your bar, but a great, esoteric local beer selection keeps them around longer and coming back for more. For Gatza, however, he reminds that beer, above all else, is fun, and the more diverse your beer list, the more fun your customer will have at your establishment.